Most common (musical) phrases used at a session
As a little play off of the other thread about common phrases at sessions, I thought we could talk about the most common phrases in tunes. We all know the old adage about this music being made up of common phrases, and that when you build your "toolbox" of these phrases, learning and playing tunes gets easier. (Or harder, in some ways, because if you know a bunch of tunes that have the same phrase, it’s easy to get lost and go into another tune…) Instead of talking about the most common phrases overall, maybe we limit it to talking about starting phrases of tunes.
An example I just gave in another thread is G2BG DGBG. Milliner’s Daughter, Peeler’s Jacket, Duke of Leinster, Miller of Droghan, and likely several other tunes start with that phrase. (Putting that phrase into my tune search engine, it came up with about 30 unique 100% matches, but that’s including all parts of the tunes, not just the beginnings…)
Maybe the most pervasive way to start tunes in my repertoire are in D, and start with dB|AF (3FFF. If you take any note in the D scale and put it after that phrase, I think I know a tune that starts that way. A Night in Ennis, Jackie Coleman’s, Murphy’s Reel, Green Mountain, and Ríl an Spiddal are the ones that come to mind off the top of my head.
And don’t get me started on all the Ador tunes that start with EAAG ABc…
So what are the most common opening phrases of tunes for you? Do you find yourself getting confused? And how have you worked around it?
For me, I find that it isn’t bad having tunes that start the same, you just need to figure out where they diverge from each other, and have that in your head when you’re starting the tune. Then once the tune is flowing, it’s not hard to remember which one you’re playing…