Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Hi
Any guitar players on here? Just wondering what chords, in standard tuning, would you play for this tune.
I know most play it in key of Dm, but I’m accompanying a group of harmonica players in key of Am, well it starts off in Am so it could be key of C?

The chords I am playing in parts A A B B are:
A1: (Am Am Em) (Am Em G)
A2: (Am Am Em) (Am Em G)
B1: (C Am F) (C F F Am)
B2: (C Am F) (C Am F G)

I would be interested in any other nice chord variations.
Thanks
Barry G

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

It’s not so much the left hand , it’s the right hand that makes the difference ….learn to play the melody and you will find the chords become fairly obvious once you can do both at the same time because the melody is within the chords and the chords contain the melody .

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Hey Will, I’m not really into playing melody on guitar (mainly because I just don’t have the dexterity and getting too old in the tooth to change…), which is why I am asking for alternative chords or variations of my chords below.
So, what chords would you play for this tune?

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Am and G

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Seriously , that’s what the melody is doing if the Am doesn’t sound right, then it’s the G …. that’s why I say it’s the right hand that brings it all to life. There’s nothing complex about the chords though the pattern will need working out as it also needs to work with the harmony line .
Use different inversions if you want variation . The focus is on the tune and supporting the tune and players so as a backer it’s best IMO to let the tune lead the way and avoid substitutions and different chords through the second time . Use fingerpicking one time through or whatever comes to mind . The chords should contain the melody , some people use a baseline to good effect , depends on your style . But like I say it’s all in the right hand

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

I think what people are saying is that this tune doesn’t need a lot of variations in the chords.

Simple chords and well-considered rhythms.

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

"I’m not really into playing melody on guitar (mainly because I just don’t have the dexterity and getting too old in the tooth to change"

You don’t necessarily have to be able to play the melody to performance standard or at session speed, it’s just about figuring out where the notes are on the fingerboard and getting familiar with them.

As for age, however old you are you’re never too old.

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Another option is to sing or "hum" the tune and you can learn the melody this way.
Then the various chord possibilities will come more naturally to you.

Of course, this also takes a little time and involves listening in the first instance. Or "Listen, listen, listen" as Llig used to say. :-)

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Hey guys
I can play by ear by listening to a tune and I don’t need to be able to play melody to figure out the chords, as I have done below. All I was looking for was if any of ye had different chord voicings, that’s all.

And re playing melody, I can figure out the notes but I could never get quick enough to be able to keep up with a tune. Same with playing lead for blues or rock, it was never, and will never, be my thing. I am a rhythm guitarist and happy to be.
Play to your strengths, everyone doesn’t need to play melody, that’s why we have backing musicians playing just rhythm.

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Ok we disagree there. my point is that by knowing the tune, you will have a better understanding of it and how the chords work not to necessarily play the tune however easy it is .
Imo your chords are just wrong, all over the place and have little to no relationship with the actual tune. . Of course others will have different opinions. But thats mine, which is why i tried to help out . I mean your obviously a total beginer at this asking about a tune I learnt 35 years ago so i thought perhaps you might be willing to take one board advice from someone who has been Doing it for decades . But hey each to their own, if the tune player can handle your setting then thats what matters i suppose.
Enjoy

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

I created an arrangement for the Bothy Band version. You welcome to have a copy if you pm me. It’s a standard kind of arrangement but the software can do guitar tab of some sort as well.

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Am Em / Am Em / Am G / Em G

Dm Em / Dm Em / Dm Em / F G

C C / B#m /Am / F G
C C /B#m / Am / F G

This is just off the cuff and not really how I would play it but as AN answer to the OP; I do think that part A should live around Aminor, part B does well around Dminor and part C does well around C (descending swiftly down as above). If I heard a guitar backing with these chords I would at least know that the player was familiar with the tune, though I would also know that I was not listening to Donogh Hennessy, Jim Murray, Micheal O’Domhnaill, etc etc :)

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

On second thoughts, JWiseman posted his offer while I was typing; I think his/her idea is probably your best bet.

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Cabaiste, which key is your progression in? Am or Dm? Something else? B#m was an interesting chord thrown into the mix.

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

hmm is that a joke?! B#m ?! Lol

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Hi Jeff, what I really should have said was not B#m but more like G without the root G, aiming for a descending c,b,a run.
As I said, this is not really how I’d play it but the OP asked for chords, not advice on rethinking his approach to playing (which advice I happen to agree with). He also mentioned problems with dexterity which is no small issue. Hence the chords, but yes that one was wrong - but I stand by the c,b,a descent :)

If nothing else this has reminded me that conventional chords are just, I don’t know, too ‘full’ for most backing.

All the best.

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

I would agree with Will. Stick to Am and G and let the tune do the talking. I know that’s not going to give you "nice chord variations" but it’ll give you nice chords.
As Will suggests, you can use inversions. I might go slightly further and use either stripped back voicings (e.g., x079xx for "Am" and x057xx for "G") or enriched voicings (e.g., xx7500 for "Am" and xx5400 for "G").

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Cabaiste: you can write it G/B (G chord with a B bass) or in strings - x20033

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Thanks Allan. A slightly more pressing point is the fact that when the OP asked for chords to The Maids of Mitchelstown, my brain instantly decided that what he in fact needed was chords for….. The Butterfly! D’oh! Sorry for confusing this thread; personally I blame the Bothy Band for this…although the mysterious presence of a third part was a bit of a giveaway :)

All the Best

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Another vote for Will’s approach.

As a fiddler, the last thing I want from backup is tons of chord changes, even though they might be considered "right."

Posted by .

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

@gilbarry3

If you need inspiration, listen to recordings.

Bothy Band plays a slow arrangement (with a harmony line), something like this:

|:Dm Am7|Dm Am7|Dm Am7|Am7 Dm:|
|:C |D Gm|Am Bb|Am Gm:|

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4iPD6Epl4w


Kevin Burke does a pretty standard rendition.

Basic chords:
|:Dm |Dm |Dm |Dm:|
||C |Dm F|C |Dm|
C |Dm F|C |Am C||

Variations to B part:
||C |Dm F|Bb |Bb C|
C |Dm F|Dm|C Am||

||C |Dm |Dm |C Dm|
C |Dm F|Dm|C Am||

||C |Dm F|Bb |Bb C|
C |Dm F|C|C ||

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4GoJeqSp2k


Something like this would be the chord skeleton:
|:Dm |Dm |Dm |Dm:|
|:C |Dm |C |Dm:|

Transpose to Am, and let yourself be inspired. The worst thing is to make up an intricate chord progression and use it every time.

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Ergo wrote:
As a fiddler, the last thing I want from backup is tons of chord changes, even though they might be considered "right."

I’m not sure I follow this.
I have been in sessions with brilliant guitarists who add backings I could never imagine, contributing much to the playing of the tunes. It doesn’t distract, it adds.
But it’s about balance: less is more, more is too much sometimes.

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

as a fiddler the last thing i want is loads of fancy chords and substitutions because I am playing the chords already spread out over phrases …..if the backer is good and listens , and knows the tunes then they are not going to be doing that . I also play lots of double stops drones and chords as a fiddler so the backer needs to be playing the same chords, the chords of the tune…..
so im in total agreement with ergo there.
there is a reason guitar players are so frowned upon and it can be found in this thread….

regarding 2 backers playing together, well it can work very well if they are both playing the right chords ! you see there are lots of people who like to think there are many ways to back a phrase in Am and be ‘right’ im not one of them if the melody says Am so should the chord…. no substitution. none, zilch. zero.

yes of course there are all sorts of players who come from other genres and bring those influences and they are tolerated , even feted by some, but Im not one of those! yes because a backer is such an important part of music these days they can get away with all sorts of shite and often tunesmiths dont know any better ourselves, if they play the right rhythm and key then we will count our blessings and try not to be rude .
but for me , a substitution throws me off badly because i actually listen to the whole sound .I cant abide Am when it should be C or vice versa, worse still is an F maj chord in an Am dorian tune wtf?! if Am was right the first time through how on earth could C be right the second time?!im baffled
my favourite backer to play with is a bodhran player who knows their stuff guitar players can be great fun to play with too but good ones for trad are so rare as to be an endangered species.

if a guitar player wants to learn to back, dont listen to other guitar players, listen to box players chord choices.

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Would we be right in thinking you’ve got a bit of a bee in your bonnet about this, Will?

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Yep , me along with a lot of other tune players I think . Which is why guitar players are banned from some sessions , only one allowed at others and just not welcome at others !! Could it be that it’s the guitar players causing disruptions!? if they don’t know the difference between a reel , polka slip jig and a jig, is a trad session a suitable venue for them?

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

As far as bog standard sessions go, I’m one of those "Keep things simple" people myself but the same should surely apply to players of melody instruments too?

Of course, for a performance or if there is a group of musicians playing together regularly through choice then there is no harm in being more imaginative in your approach. In fact, this is usually welcomed and encouraged.

So, I’ve often listened to many "fancy" fiddlers and other musicians including accompanists doing things to tunes which I’d never dream of myself. Sometimes, the results are great but, occasionally, they just "jar" (To my ears, anyway).
Musicians can choose to play the music whatever way they like, of course, and I can also choose whether or not to listen or even join them if it happens to be a session situation.

My above comments, notwithstanding, I’m not advocating that players should always restrict themselves to the most basic melody or accompaniment every time. That would be boring, of course. However, in your typical session, it’s important to take cognisance of what your musical colleagues are doing before trying out anything which is just a little too different or "left field".

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

I was referring more to your very conservative view on chord choices, Will.
I’m not disputing the fact that a clueless guitarist or percussionist is far more disruptive than a clueless fiddler or flautist.
I would probably rank myself as fairly conservative, compared to some of the younger players, but not as conservative as you. But then, I don’t play ITM. I play STM where there is a different accompaniment tradition. But I also respect the Irish tradition. It’s good to be different.

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

"Ok we disagree there. my point is that by knowing the tune, you will have a better understanding of it and how the chords work not to necessarily play the tune however easy it is .
Imo your chords are just wrong, all over the place and have little to no relationship with the actual tune. . Of course others will have different opinions. But thats mine, which is why i tried to help out . I mean your obviously a total beginer at this asking about a tune I learnt 35 years ago so i thought perhaps you might be willing to take one board advice from someone who has been Doing it for decades . But hey each to their own, if the tune player can handle your setting then thats what matters i suppose. Enjoy"

Will, you have some gall talking to me like that. Who do you think you are, the cat’s whiskers? You are so so patronizing, saying my chords are all over the place. You are obviously not a very experienced player and certainly not a guitar player. I actually played the gig, backing 8 harmonica players and they all really liked by guitar backing, as have many others I played along in sessions with. Tell me where you play Will and I will make sure I never play in a session near you. God help poor younger inexperienced melody players, never mind guitar players. You seem to be one of those puritanical legalistic trad musicians who look down their noses at anyone who doesn’t fit into their idea of what Irish trad music is and isn’t. IMO, trad music would be boring without good backing by guitar, bazouki or banjo to soften and add color to the music. Yes I agree that a bad guitar player just bashing out 3 chords in the wrong places can be detrimental to a session (I’ve been at those sessions), but a bad melody instrumentalist can be even more detrimental, so it isn’t about the instrument, it’s about the player.

Please don’t offer me any patronizing advice again, I can well do without this!
My original post was merely to see what other musicians would play for this tune, that’s all.
I am a sensitive guitar player and I listen carefully to a tune and try and match the melody with nice chords, I don’t just bash along with the same chords all the time.
Have some faith in guitar players

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

We’ve discussed this before Donald and I think we have reached some agreement . I acknowledge and accept my chord choices are conservative{ though my style is anything but !! 8-)} that’s how I was taught , the old fiddler was very emphatic and determined and quite severe about it , but even at that point as a teenager I was willing and able to take that on board and my chord choice would often be identical to a box player I’d be playing with so I’m fairly confident that his lesson was justified and he was Correct .
Thing is as a bass player originally , and still , the chords fundamentally effect what I play , by ear , so
When a chord is substituted I find it very very hard to just ignore it and carry on with the tune , it pushes me as a melody player in a direction the tune is not actually going , while many tunesmiths just ignore the guitar player and hope he will go away !! :-)
trad tunes are full full of chords and arpeggio and they can change very very fast , so it can be pretty tricky to catch sometimes , we just do the best we can as backers , I’m sure we’d all agree on that .

As an aside , I started a set of reels just the other day in a 2/2 meter on guitar then switched to backing 2nd time around , at first the flute player was itching to push it to 4/4 but I stayed put and it went remarkably well, very different to what he was used to but he was able to make the best of it , and did!!! Such a pleasure to play with musicians who actually listen to each other . Wish I’d recorded it ( story of my life:-))
Anyhow it seems my Advice was not appreciated 8-) like I say if the tune players are ok about it then it’s ok .

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

" if the tune players are ok about it then it’s ok"

Well, that sums things up really. It really depends on what is welcomed in the musical company you keep.
More scope for being adventurous in a band situation, I’d suggest, but there can be a lot of variety in sessions too.

Many years ago, when I first started going to sessions I was welcomed by the older musicians there but they advised that me that a "simple accompaniment" with the basic chords was all they required and I’ve continued with the approach that it’s always better to err on the side of restraint/caution/simplicity until you suss out what is acceptable or not.

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

"if a guitar player wants to learn to back, dont listen to other guitar players, listen to box players chord choices."

LOL. If a guitar player did that they’d not be playing anything at all most of the time, and a lot of the rest of the time they’d be flailing around randomly, thankfully inaudibly, or playing a completely wrong chord.

There are box players who accompany well, of course. But before you take Will’s advice to heart, or rather, as you throw it out the window, consider that B/C players with a standard bass layout don’t have a B chord, let alone an F# chord, and C#/D players don’t have a C chord or an F chord.

Here is a clip with some bass accompaniment that I really admire - watch the whole thing - but which might give Will a fit:

https://youtu.be/Sp_M88utsxk

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Here are the chords I use to accompany the Bothies’ version

A: Dm C Dm Am
Dm C Am Dm 2x

B: C / Dm F
Am Bb Am Gm
C / Dm F
Am Bb Am C (back to Dm)

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

A few thoughts on accompaniment.

If a backer asks melody players about the chords, someone hasn’t done their home work.

It’s OK to exchange ideas with other backers.

If you base a progression on a box player’s choice, it really has to be the right tune for the system. As Stiamh, many common chords (even chords that "should be" in the tune!) isn’t available on the box in question.

And again, it’s enough to look at, say, the progressions used on Kevin Burke’s recording. A basic version, some variations on a theme. If you ask twenty guitarists you may get twenty unique progressions, from small variations to big. There’s a chance that everyone is right, although you might not agree with any of them. That’s the problem with defined progressions. "OK, this is fine, but I’d never do THAT… (even if the pay was good)".

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

My point regarding box players was that 1 if your playing with one, you need to play the same chords ,2 they actually know the tune ….. 3 they are probably well versed in The tradition and possibly fairly conservative . All these factors are IMO important . I have had the pleasure and honour of playing with some awesome box players around Co Clare so my advice might not hold true in other parts of the world . Remember I’m just giving my opinions and those I learnt from , that’s all they are opinions .
There are always exceptions to every rule. But I think it’s important to have some rules or guidelines especially for beginners .
When I suggest aspiring backers don’t use other guitar players as role models It’s because so often they come from other genres and bring those influences . Just as I would not suggest a fiddler use a modern classically influenced player as a model …. etc
I think that it’s better to get to the roots of the tradition , the old guys , and not neccassarily today’s old guys who grew up in the swinging 60’s ….
backing has such a powerful effect on the music that it’s important the player is open to listening and learning from the tune players .
By the way I’m not a Puritan ! I love crossing the bridge by Eileen Ivers for example, when I played that track to a friend of mine she was quite shocked !!! :-)
For me what is important is that the backer plays chords that are in the tune , that they listen. Of course I play with a backer who does substitute!! Occasionally and not with full chords rather hints and this is not enough to throw me off , so it’s about taste and subtlety. She also knows a lot of tunes as a fiddler, and when I double up backing with her for a flute player I watch with an eagle eye what and where she plays and back her …. so I’m backing the backer backing the tune !!
Thing is . As a backer , sitting in sessions in and around Ireland for decades Playing with all sorts of people the most important thing I can do and recommend is to listen with an open mind , find those chords that are there , don’t impose preconceived ideas , rather listen and respond . Support the fiddlers , there’s nothing more rewarding that helping an old guy struggling, with good solid reliable chords that help them play better . The backer can bring things together , or throw it all off .
So I will say again , find a source like the fiddlers fake book and learn the chords for a couple of dozen tunes before inventing your own or just jamming along . They do include some substitutions in brackets , and they can work as we all know but I personally don’t feel they are appropriate most of the time , sparingly the third time through perhaps , but repetition of chords helps the tune player investigate and experiment more with their phrasing ornaments and melodic variations .
It’s not about the backer and their ego , it’s about the music , just the music , the tunes, as backers we are there to support the tune players . And as musicians we are there for the dancers and listeners . So it’s about heart always the heart .

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Not much I would argue with there, Will, except that I would use my ears rather than look at chords in the Fiddler’s Fake Book.

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Ok fair enough Donald , so do I but I’ve been playing by ear over 40 years most of them trad . I still feel able and willing to learn from anyone though ….
the fake book however has proven itself a valuable resource for fiddlers and backers and they really do get things right there and can be relied upon . It’s always good to get a different view of things and the book has some great tunes!! Try the Russian rag ! Or up jumped the devil , It has interesting settings of tunes transcribed from recordings and is a brilliant resource for chords to trad tunes in a world sadly lacking and remember the ear can be deceptive …
“There an old horse fair in co Clare “ became” a hairy arse fair in Clare “ and worse got written into a book as such :-) so you can’t always trust what you read either…..

The thing is that there are so many tunes , each with a unique chord pattern that matches the unique melody , and that melody can even change from fiddler to fiddler , and the whole genre has a uniqueness about it , being an expert in one genre means nothing much in another ….. I have next to no clue with Balkan tunes bar understanding the meters and like wise Breton music and Canarian music , they go places that don’t seem instinctive or obvious to me having played Irish music most of my life , I don’t just struggle ,I’m unable because you need to know where these things are going and where you are , otherwise you are lost. Which is how I feel when Breton tunes come up . I sit out then mostly unless it’s easy and obvious .

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Ok Will …. truce, agree?

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

I have found , backing on tenor guitar , that the chords , with only four notes , a single triad or less, offer more room for chord variations while with the 6string the triad is often doubled making it more definite and offering less wriggle room .
So chords that to my ear work well on tenor don’t work so well on 6string . So then when I speak about guitar I’m thinking more of 6 string chords . Once partial chords are being used there is more opening for harmonic variation , hints in a different direction, sign posts as opposed to full chords which really dictate where the melody can go , which then clash with the actual melody which is the constant thread to the whole thing .
In other forms of music the chords are the constant thread , the road upon which the tune travels .
So for me in Irish music I like the road to match the tune , it makes the whole job much easier and more flowing if both threads are going in the same directions , the same twists and turns. When a GChord is substituted for an Em phrase it’s like we’ve just left the road and are going cross country !! Who knows where we are going next !! Will we get back to the road ? Or end up in a ditch ?!
My plea for backers in general and the six string beast in particular is to consider the idea that the backer wants to put the road beneath the tune , not take any major diversions and maybe not even minor ones!! As driving on the verge can end up shaking a few teeth loose even though it’s very close , it’s not the road. Let’s take the same journey together , if you don’t know where the tune is going , either listen and react carefully and quickly to the twists and turns or create a broad path by keeping things very simple.


No worries gilbarry , best not to take online interactions personally !

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Canarian music? A lot of passerine chords involved in that.

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

@Will Evans: I assume you probably meant ‘Canadian’, but you did prompt me to look up music of the Canary islands, yielding a few nice YouTube clips.

…and I like the road analogy.

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

No Canarian is what I meant , has similarities with South American music . African as well as Spanish peninsular connections.

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

OK. Thanks for making me aware of it.

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Regarding the Fiddlers Fake Book, Will, I have to admit that my main beef is not with the chords given, but with the many instances where Scottish tunes are listed as Irish, for example, The Fairy Dance and Farewell to Whiskey[sic]. It’s no wonder Scots have an inferiority complex when all their best efforts are claimed by other countries.

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Well it’s an American book ….. tunes get passed around a lot and the provenance can be sketchy at times !
I play a lot of Scottish tunes , there are so many old traditional Pipe tunes that are absolutely brilliant , classics that should be played more imo . And the Irish have taken more than a few Scottish tunes to their heart and vice versa .
You can probably blame the musicians who recorded them without clarifying . Do you play that great Irish strathspey :-)

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Lad O’Drumblair’s?

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Lol yes that’s the one , the well known townland of drumdare in co Meath

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Agreed Will.
I like your road analogy. I’ve been to a few sessions where the guitarist played the same sequence of chords no matter what key the tune was in, never mind not being on the same road, we were on different continents :-)

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

That video I posted was one I found that included Maids of Mitchelstown (2nd tune) being accompanied on guitar

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Perfectly respectable settings both.

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

What do you mean Will, respectable settings?
I know the 2 videos are in different keys, but which do you think gives the better accompaniment, 1st or 2nd?

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

They both did the job required of them, were thought out and in the right ballpark . I wouldn’t write home about either but fair enough . As long as the musicians are happy and the crowd , who cares what I think . 8-) have a nice day and enjoy your music

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Let us hear you backing some tunes then Will and I will review

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

I found the Bothy Band version exquisite but not one that you’d play at a session as it’s more of a performance piece.

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

Well Will, where are your videos of you backing, come on let’s be having you!!

Re: Maids of Mitchelstown guitar chords

We try to keep the venue friendly, non competitive helpful and open to all so perhaps your comment is somewhat inappropriate! ? You came here asking for advice and you got it , sorry if it ruffled your feathers but you asked .
I’m under no obligation and have no interest to upload anything for you ! You can hear me playing a few bits and pieces on my page . I’ve demonstrated my ability over 3 decades around Ireland and there are a few little reviews you can peruse just to show I’m a real human being …
At some point it’s quite possible I’ll play a few tunes with some friends and someone might record it but it’s not something I do much and I’ll be sure to let you know if we do !
. Music is an impermanent art form by its nature and I’m ok with that . I tend to play in kitchens and bars mostly and if you come to co Clare you might meet me in the back of beyond .