Steam packet

Steam packet

I recently (just now) began starting to learn the reel The Steam packet by ear for the first time from a recording of Paddy Keenan and I noticed that my playing sort of mimicked the pipes a little bit I can even imagine the pipes droning when I play the first couple bars (Maybe I’m just crazy) This poses three questions "Does the instrument used in the recording of a tune you learn from effect how you play the tune in question?" and "Has anyone else noticed this sort of thing before?" and "is this just because The Steampacket is a tune designed for the pipes specifically?"

This is the recording I learned from

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlhjELODO-4

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Doesn’t matter as long as you sound Irish. The only problem with learning from other instruments is that it is easy to overlook the strengths and unique flavors of your own instrument. But, IMO, we’re all better musicians when we learn from a variety of instruments and players.

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Indeed we are Aaron.:) But if you were to learn from recording with a different instrument and then you were to play it would it still sound like pipes?

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Kellie, do you ever listen to the ClareFm podcasts? I’ve been listening to them for a decade. All sorts of instruments, mainly those typical in Clare. Lots of listening material, and you can’t go wrong with all the variety presented.

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No I can’t say that I have is it like a certain show/podcast does it have a specific name?

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Yes, there is an element of pipes in there if you learn from the pipes, especially as a new player. Once you develop your own style, you make things more your own despite the source. There is nothing wrong with sounding like the pipes.

MacDara Ó Raghallaigh sounds to me like his fiddling is heavily influenced by concertina and his playing is great.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A34vlNwhwho

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www.clarefm.ie look up trad podcasts. Many of the presenters are musicians themselves, and have great connections to other players. Lots of studio guests, kitchen recordings, etc. Great stuff, but there is one problem. You’ll discover all sorts of music you want to buy but can’t afford.

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Ok I’ll check it out!! Thanks!!

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Hope you have 8-10 hours per week of free time. :-P

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"I noticed that my playing sort of mimicked the pipes a little bit I can even imagine the pipes droning when I play the first couple bars (Maybe I’m just crazy)"

I don’t think you’re crazy. About half of the time at present, I capo my bouzouki at the second fret for an "A" drone and a partial capo across the first three courses giving an A,AEA tuning. Certain types of music, marches and strathspeys mostly, fit that tuning fairly well. I do not play in that mode all of the time but for the few times that I’ve approached some tunes in that fashion at a session, I haven’t been booted out the door. Yet. Fingers crossed…

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There are plenty of players across a plethora of instruments whose playing often mimics certain aspects of piping. I’ve often wondered whether the cut (or pat) as a means of sounding a note initially derived from the sound of piping… who knows…

One thing that frequently strikes me as paradoxical within irish music is that it is characterised as largely melodic (rather than harmonic) music. Yet on the pipes you have, of course, a drone: the simplest form of harmony there is. It’s always puzzled me that instruments capable of providing drone-based harmony (e.g. fiddle, squeezebox) haven’t developed that way. Sure, there’s double-stopping in Irish fiddle and some chordal accompaniment in box playing but it is traditionally sporadic, and very different to the concept of drone-based accompaniment. The closest thing to this I’ve ever heard is in Donegal playing when a fiddler plays a pipe-mimicking tune, often with a retuned bottom string. But even in its native environs, that’s rare, I believe…

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Sounding like pipes is a good thing! Also learning by ear is a good thing, partly because it helps you to sound like pipes. Now if you listen to and work out a fiddle version and a box version of the same tune-great tune by the way-you will be start to discover what you can do to incorporate those sounds into your playing. Eventually you will fuse these elements into your own personal style which is at once unique and true to the tradition. And that, Mr. Kellie, is a noble goal.

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Yes, twice.

Pipe tunes are based on the piper’s scale and keys and have a particular sound. If you play them on another instrument they still sound like pipe tunes. Fiddle tunes may have particular features, maybe in bowing techniques, which can’t be duplicated on other instruments but can be approximated.
Some players mimic another instrument or type of tune: Tony McManus and pipe tunes.

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2 more questions "what key is the steam packet most commonly played in?" and "what key is Paddy Keenan playing in the recording above?" I think it’s G but I can’t be 100%

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G and G. The only occasional major variation is that sometime "F"s are played sharp, and sometimes natural. There’s an extremely detailed transcription of Paddy Keenan’s recording of that tune which was published in some book or other - can’t remember where it came from, but I’m sure I have it somewhere.

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How many parts does this reel have? Cause from what I can hear is that the first 4 bars are played twice and then it goes into the B part

Thanks for the video Kenny!

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2

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Sorry should have asked is the first four bars repeated twice?

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This is a 16 bar reel. Bars 5-8 are essentially a repeat of bars1-4 but you should vary them enough to avoid monotony. There is a little more variety in the B part.

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Oh Ok Thanks 5String

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Kenny, it’s in Tomás Ó Canainn’s book "Traditional Music in Ireland," published in 1978. He notated Paddy Keenan’s playing of the tune five times through, including the regulator accompaniment, and analyzed the performance in detail.

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That’s the one, "Jumper". Well remembered.

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Kellie - there is a Clare FM programme" The West Wind" which is broadcast every week night between 7pm and 9pm Irish time that is dedicated to trad music. It is very good. I listen to it via the internet.