Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

I have not pinned down my 1st tune. But I’m guessing it was not a jig, march, nor polka.

The obvious ones which come to mind are; "When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob Bobbin’ Along", "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" or "Happy Birthday To You".

And yours?

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Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

The first tune I taught myself on fiddle was probably Twinkle Twinkle. Tried to learn a few tunes on my own but it wasnt working - couldnt get anything to sound musical.

First real tune with a teacher was Lilting Banshee.

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Re:Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?Re:Do You Remember the First Tune You Ever Learned?

As far as Irish tunes go, the first I was exposed to and tried to learn was Drowsy Maggie, the Chieftains’ version. I learned it on whistle. As far as the fiddle… I’m not sure. Probably either "The Mug of Brown Ale / Paddy in London" or "Basket of Turf" / "Up Sligo". "Rakish Paddy" followed.

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

Sure don’t. Started piano lessons at five and I literally do not remember their beginning. I remember my first violin lessons - Suzuki - twinkle twinkle little star. But I don’t remember which was the first Irish tune I learned.

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

1st tune on the harmonica Bob Dylan’s ‘Times they are a Changing’ and the 1st trad tunes ‘Marie’s Wedding ’ and ‘Hielan Laddie’ - still playing them 50 years on for the Gay Gordons………………

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

Oh ja! The first tune I learned on the violin was Bow Down, O Belinda. My first proper Irish tune (self-taught with the help of a CD), was The Trip to Sligo.

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

When I was seven, either Row, Row, Your Boat, or Twinkle, Twinkle, followed shortly by Baa Baa Black Sheep. My first trad tune was Donnybrook Fair (Light of my Life).

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

"She’ll Be Comin’ Round The Mountain". I can still see the hallway where my kindergarten class sang it in 1956. It wasn’t a memory I wanted to replay. Then there was that darned "I’m A Little Teacup". Dang it Ben! Why did you have to ask that particular question?

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

Callison, I’m sure it’s "I’m a little TeaPOT"!! 😉

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

I picked my first tin whistle while hitch hiking around the Highlands, 1990 I think, and the only tune that I knew in my head was the wee fiddle thing from the end of Sinead O’Conner’s ‘I Am Stretched On Your Grave, so I learnt that.
https://youtu.be/N8mU8kBvSnI?t=4m30s

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

Guitar was house of the rising sun.
Banjo was Kerry polka.

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

John Ryan’s polka…. listening to a recording off the Titanic soundtrack about 100 times before getting it right…. I am soooo glad for slowing programs like Capo now!

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Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

The Bog down in the Valley, followed by the Miller of Glanmire (lilting banshee)

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

Blowing In The Wind on the guitar as a beginner, and when I got around to the banjo some 9 years after starting on guitar the Noel Hill/Tony Linnane LP was all the rage here in Melbourne and everybody was playing The Home Ruler/Kitty’s Wedding so I learnt those two as a set.

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

That’s a good question.

I grew up in a house with a piano, but I never learned to play it. So my first tune was probably "chopsticks" which my sister showed me how to do. (She didn’t play piano either, nor did anyone in our house. The piano was last played by my Grandfather, who passed away when I was a baby.)

Setting aside childish play, my first tune would have been the first one in the infamous College Of Piping Highland Bagpipe Tutor Part One (The Green Book) which is "Scots Wha Hae Wi’ Wallace Bled." Me and just about every other piper on the planet of my generation, I suppose.

On the uilleann pipes it would have been tunes out of The Dance Music Of Willie Clancy book, which I bought when it was first published in 1976.

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

I knew many tunes already as most of us will. It was just a case of working out where the notes were on the instrument. Once I did that, I was able to play any number of tunes without thinking about it and still do.

Consciously learning tunes is a different matter, of course. These will be ones I’ve just heard or not heard but also some familiar ones which may have tricky bits which require some work.

The first proper tune I learned on the fiddle was Bennachie Sunrise https://thesession.org/tunes/4544 taught to us by the late Angus Grant Junior at "The ALP" but I’d already taught myself a few on the mandolin prior to that including the polkas from the Planxty album.. 🙂

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

Britches with Stitches. (Aside from "Twinkle, Twinkle", of course.)

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

I just started playing the whistle about 1.5-2 months ago. The first song I tackled was the Kerry Polka.

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

Too far back for piano, but it would gave been something in the key of C, just using the 5 notes from middle C up to the G above.
Timpani: not the easiest: one of Dvorak’s Slavonic dances: it was in 3/4 time but the first three notes went (1-2) (3-1) (2-3) in a cross-rhythm!
Guitar: probably "Oh Sinner Man" - only 2 chords needed!
Box: Egan’s Polka in D.

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

Not the first tune I learned, but the one that got me hooked on the whole fiddle thing was definitely Morrison’s jig. Something about the B section grabbed me like nothing else.

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

Scots Wa Hae

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

I have no memory of my very first violin lessons other than that mars bars were involved, but I believe the teacher used the Suzuki method so I would guess twinkle twinkle .
The first few fiddle tunes I learned were the Kerry polka and the britches, the boys of bluehill and off to California, the rakes of Kildare and the blackthorn stick. I think I tackled the jigs first, oddly enough. Then the salley gardens and the silver spear quite soon after that.

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

Morrison’s grabbed me as well, like Adam Work. But the first tune I was taught on my flute was a jig, Saddle the Pony. I still have a warm feeling about that tune because it was the first one.

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

It would be difficult to say what my very first tune was, as I began picking out tunes on the piano from the age of 4 or so - probably something like ‘Three Blind Mice’. The first Irish tune I learned, as far as I remember, was The Hag At the Churn. Although the melody quickly became lodged in my memory, I initially just strummed chords (all two of them) on mandolin, accompanying a ‘fiddler’ (actually a classically trained violinist, but a very gifted and adaptable musician) and it was some time before I was able to play the tune fluently.

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

at least 3 people have named the ‘Kerry Polka’ as their 1st tune - what does that mean? its like saying the ‘Shetland Reel’ or the ‘French Waltz’…………….

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

"… at least 3 people have named the ‘Kerry Polka’ as their 1st tune …"

I don’t know who was originally resposible for it, but the tune that has become widely known as ‘The Kerry Polka’ is the one also known as ‘Egan’s Polka’ https://thesession.org/tunes/39 .

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

Pre-ITM: no idea, but smth along the Twinkle Twinkle lines. When I started learning the guitar, I just tried to play along to whatever I was listening to, e.g. chord sequences, riffs etc.

ITM: following the above approach and based on what got me into ITM, I assume some instrumental solos from the Pogues albums fit the trad (or slightly trad) bill (after all, a couple of jigs and a slip jig!). Shortly after, whatever trad tunes there were on the Van Morrison and the Chieftains album "Irish Heartbeat" (at least an A part of a slide as a solo during Tá mo chleamnas déanta, and then Star of the Co Down, I Tell Me Ma, Mairi’s Wedding and the likes).

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

Not a clue…I would have been 6 years old and got my first harmonica for my birthday. I remember the day but not the tune.

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

Hrrrm. good question.

The first tune I played in a session was The Congress Reel.
Before that, the first tune I learned specifically to play Irish music was Road to Lisdoonvarna (slide, not reel).
Before that, my first GHB tune might have been Skye Boat Song, but Scot’s Wa Hae is a good possibility too.

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

First whistle tunes: Harvest Home and Boys of Blue Hill. My mentor, Michael Henry in 1972, told me these were tunes you just had to start off with - verified a few years later and on the other side of the world ( New Zealand) when I found them in a session and played along - first inklings (pre-internet) of the magical spread of ITM!

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

The first tune ever was Hot Cross Buns. On the French horn.

The first Irish tune on the whistle was Sally Gardens ( song, not reel) and on the pipes it was Jimmy Ward’s Jig.

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

Go Tell Aunt Nancy, when learning the recorder aged 7. A whole group of us must have some sounded a bit harsh.

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

Being totally new to Irish folk when I started, I started out with the little leaflet I got when I purchased my whistle. That had Baa Baa Black Sheep on it. However, I didn’t know that tune either (not familiar with those English kid songs :P ) so I started via some youtube video tutorials and learned my 1st tunes being: The Dawning of the Day, Roddy Mc Corely, Song of the Chanter and Boulavogue. Later things as The Foggy Dew and Star of the County Down. After went to polka’s like Egan’s Polka and then slowly moved to jigs and reels. In between some simple airs.

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

Cheers!

I was going back to the earliest music I was exposed to (when I thought of the OP). We always had lots of records. Old 78s, the contemporary LPs and us kids had our Golden Records. I don’t think a bit of it was Irish, much less traditional. Most was contemporary, classical, jazz or what we had on radio, local TV, and movies. Not to mention music classes in elementary school and private piano lessons. For myself my earliest music was whatever I experienced; a gestalt I’d think. A bit of everything.

There was plenty of traditional music all around me, though it was never referred to that way (except for Stephen Foster). Traditional music kind of snuck up on me (eclectically) through old-time fiddle tunes, ballads, delta blues, Planxty, Horslips, Bothy Band and then Van Morrison recording "Irish Heartbeat".

My first Irish tunes were … guessing here, but probably Drowsy Maggie, Rights of Man, Lilting Banshee, Tralee Gaol, Kid on the Mountain, Denis Murphy’s Slide and so on and so forth…

And some airs, too. Definitely played airs.

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Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

‘The Kerry Polka’ - thanks Creadur, now I understand. I still think its a dumb title……………

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

"… I still think its a dumb title……………"

Any more so than ‘The Donegal Reel’, ‘The Leitrim Jig’…?

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

well, I guess not. c’est la vie.

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

On the whistle: Rose in the Heather (the first tune in the Tutor for the Feadog Stain); on the fiddle: Kerry (Egan’s) Polka; on the flute: The Dawning of the Day (the first tune in Seamus Egan’s Mad for Trad flute tutor). On other instruments, too long ago to remember.

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Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

First tune ever on any instrument, I can’t remember. Started playing trumpet (cornet actually) at about age 9 or 10.

First Irish tune: the opening theme (first track on the record) of "Playboy of the Western World", from the Seán Ó Riada sound track LP, on the whistle. A friend in County Antrim had the record. I still remember how much Paddy Moloney’s whistle playing moved me; how beautiful it was.

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

First tune was "The Butterfly" thanks to this here lovely website.

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

First tune was Angeline the baker (or Angelina Baker, whichever). First Irish tune was Swallowtail Jig.

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

Well, my first Irish tune was ‘Lark in the Morning’ (4 part).
And the first song I played on guitar was "Люди идут по свету" (People are going around the World) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOBPEoLWuvk

How long ago it was.

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Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

My first tune was the jig, Off She Goes.

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

First Irish tune i fell in like with was Swallowtail jig. First song i learnt was Road to Lisdoonvarna. Second song i learnt was Swallowtail Jig. 40 years on i can’t stand Road but i still like Swallowtail.

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

Gawd I picked a hard one for a beginner. ‘The sailor’s wife’ on whistle. I believe it is a Scottish tune. I heard it on the show ‘Firefly’. Still trying to undo the bad habits I developed from a couple parts of that tune. I have to slow right down again to relearn it.
First Irish tune on harmonica was ‘Arthur McBride’

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

Ashokan Farewell …on the fiddle.

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

It’s funny when I think back but when I first bought a fiddle (a cheap $100 kit), I’d heard "Ashoken Farewell" on the Civil Wars documentary and thought it was brilliant. I remember thinking that if I just spent forever learning to play it I’d be happy. I persisted with it for about twenty minutes before I hated it and turned to Dr. Gilberts reel which I copied by ear from Matt Cranich. I was off and running after that. Well, okay it was a slow start into what’s been a 9 year run and three fiddle upgrades so far, but I fly along nowadays and my point is that it wasn’t till I started to actually play that I realised I wanted to fiddle, not play sweet violin tunes. Ashoken farewell makes me cringe now, except when I hear it in the documentary, where it should be left.

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Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

I also started piano at an early age, so don’t know what was actually first. Interestingly enough, my first ITM tune was "Irish Washerwoman", which I learned out of my xylophone book in college.

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

Gobby..the thing I found about Ashokan is that ..yeh you can fed up with it..I but revisit it every so often..with new skills..and add to it..it may be improved bowing or ornamentation..or changing the expression..or even the timing. I have listened to various recordings and listened to how that artist has played it, and then had a go at trying to emulate their sound. For me it had been an interesting experiment…even trying to play it in a way JU would cringe..make it angry or silly or wingey…hey ho. !!

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

Yeah pikillily, I know what you mean. I have a load other of other tunes that I don’t like to play, but something keeps making me experiment with them every now and then. You are right, with the Ashoken, the challenge that draws me back on rare moments is to try and emulate the original sound. I largely put that down to the mixing and mastering though. Hey ho, indeed!

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Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

The first tune I learned at Comhaltas on mandolin was a polka…taught to me as The Kerry Polka. After that it was The Lilting Banshee, then Boys of Bluehill.

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

First tune I learned on whistle was "We Won’t Go Home ‘Til Morning"; after that and "Rattlin’ Bog", I realized I wanted to pick up fiddle. I think my first fiddle tune was an English Country Dance tune called "Goddesses", followed by my first ITM tune on fiddle, "Kesh Jig".

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

Irish Washerwoman

Re: Do you remember which was the first tune you learnt?

I played classical for over 10 years, you always start with Suzuki Twinkles at age 5.
My first trad tune was either The Surround (sj), Wandering Minstrel (j), or Jackson’s Morning Brush (j)