Kevin Burke book “The Solo Albums”

Kevin Burke book “The Solo Albums”

Anyone familiar with this? On Kevin Burke’s webpage. Transcriptions to the albums, “Sweeney’s Dream” “Up Close” “In Concert” “If The Cap Fits”. Per website, “Of particular interest to many players will be faithful representations of Kevin’s unique bowing style.” Betsy Branch assisted and noted actual Boeing’s used on all the albums. Anyone own it?

Re: Kevin Burke book “The Solo Albums”

Oops. That should be bowings not Boeing’s. Auto-incorrect

Re: Kevin Burke book “The Solo Albums”

Yes. BTW it comes with a small device that you affix to the tip of your bow. When you try to execute an up-bow that is not indicated in the score, it will force the bow down.

You can’t turn it off. No use looking in the book to find out what’s going on - the tune will have crashed long before you realise no information has been provided.

Re: Kevin Burke book “The Solo Albums”

I’d be interested in this. I find bowing fascinating, and it drives me crazy when people are asked about bowing and they act like nobody thinks about it.

Re: Kevin Burke book “The Solo Albums”

If everybody learned to do a “faithful representations of Kevin’s unique bowing style.” then it wouldn’t be unique would it? We would all be reduced to the same robotics.

Re: Kevin Burke book “The Solo Albums”

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t study it, by the way. I seem to remember doing that for a short while a few years ago, but I wouldn’t want to strictly adhere to it. You must eventually develop your own way. I’m afraid that by now I would be like one of those people who annoy Arthur Figgis in that I hardly give it a thought. Or at least, when I do, I couldn’t offer a formula for how I bow. It’s mostly just intuitive and flexible.

Re: Kevin Burke book “The Solo Albums”

I’ve had the privilege of attending a couple workshops with Mr. Burke and learned some cool bowing from him. Yet, I would not want to try to copy him stroke for stroke for two reasons: 1. I probably F*** it up if I tried; and 2. Like somebody said earlier, if everybody did it, it wouldn’t be unique. I just steal what I can and incorporate it into my own playing. I find it interesting to watch videos of Burke and Frankie Gavin playing the same tune. They bow so differently, yet they’re both massively good.

Re: Kevin Burke book “The Solo Albums”

Practicing specific bowing is almost as boring as practicing scales. But it is helpful to be aware of different possibilities, and let them seep into your playing as your familiarity with the piece increases.

Re: Kevin Burke book “The Solo Albums”

I do have the book. The introduction notes that “bowings have been added to about two-thirds of this project, including the entire If the Cap Fits album. We decided to leave them out of some tunes to give the users…the opportunity to try out their own bowings, perhaps influenced by Kevin’s. The bowing indications are intended to be a window into how Kevin approaches tunes, not precise instructions. “ Also noting written music never captures the tone and nuance of the player, or the music.
In addition to the album tunes there are some of his tunes. I also enjoy the story notes.

Re: Kevin Burke book “The Solo Albums”

At a Burke workshop I attended in the 1980s he mentioned that he had picked up technique from another fiddler (I don’t remember who) which was to use a finger gracenote rather than a bow direction change in certain situations.

He said it could transform a passage, making it sound much nicer. He also said that using that trick was handy to get him out of situations where he found the bow going the ‘wrong’ direction.

A strange thing happened at that workshop- somebody asked Kevin about a particular technique. They worded their question clearly enough (I knew exactly what was being referred to, an open-string double gracenote, the equivalent of a double-cut on the whistle or pipes) but Kevin was mystified.

Then the questioner played the ornament for Kevin, quite well it seemed to me, and Kevin didn’t recognize it, still didn’t know what the questioner was asking about.

It’s not the first time a great player evinced a lack of self-awareness about their own playing- I’ve seen it happen with Matt Molloy and a number of great pipers. Oftentimes a player is the very worst person to transcribe their playing, because they notate the way they conceptualise their playing rather than the way they play. So it’s nice to have the contributions of Ms Branch.

Re: Kevin Burke book “The Solo Albums”

Love to have it but $30 postage alone to UK
will have to keep bowing the wrong way I fear

Re: Kevin Burke book “The Solo Albums”

Thank you all for your comments and opinions. Yes I understand that a person does not want to be tied down to one strict way of bowing a tune. I just thought it might be educational to see how Mr. Burke approaches a tune and to see if he stays with that bowing the second or third time around; of course usually more notes and ornaments are added wit each iteration of the tune.

I watched his “Masterclass” DVD and saw him play the “Sligo Maid” differently then on the “Homespun Tapes 20 Irish Fiddle Tunes” cassette tapes. On the Masterclass he talked about the “wavey bow” and demonstrated it. It was nice to see him actually do it.

So based on the review of Catnfiddle, the one person who responded and actually owns the book, I think I’ll put it on my Christmas list.

Re: Kevin Burke book “The Solo Albums”

Richard, was the workshop with Kevin Burke in the morning hours? I remember a workshop w/Joanie Madden & Liam Kelly which was in the morning. The coffee probably hadn’t yet kicked their brains into full gear. Both were funny & played well but asking any technical or detailed questions were not quite getting the expected results. The festival goers though seemed to have already had their regular dosage of caffeine. Good times!

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Re: Kevin Burke book “The Solo Albums”

Yes of course one wants to be unique and change things up. But surely if someone was bowing very square, straight down and up, and said “how can I make this sound more like Irish music,” you wouldn’t say “Damned if I know what you could do differently?”

Re: Kevin Burke book “The Solo Albums”

AB it was in the afternoon, and it was just Kevin.

Re: Kevin Burke book “The Solo Albums”

Stiamh, that is hilarious!

Re: Kevin Burke book “The Solo Albums”

Richard, thank you for answering my question. I always appreciate it.

Ben

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Re: Kevin Burke book “The Solo Albums”

This is a great book. I had to get it from Claddagh Records as seems limited availability so far this side of the Atlantic.

I was a bit apprehensive when I saw earlier comments about the bowing - I expected to find the book full of up- bow down-bow symbols - but it isn’t - the bowing annotation is light touch with slurs and is unobstrusive

I have a slight niggle: ‘In the Tap Room’ on page 95 is really ‘Roll the Barrel’ repeated in error. That aside I have nothing negative to say about it.

I am an admirer of Kevin Burke’s playing. The transcriptions are for the most part significantly different to the many versions already available on this site.

This - as it says - is the solo albums. So it does not include many great tunes he has played in his various collaborations, or recent solo material such as Sligo Made. But it has the whole of If the Cap fits in the order is is played, Sweeneys Dream, In Concert and Up Close (omitting Jerusalem Ridge for copyright reasons)

If I keep practising, maybe in another 150 to 200 years I may even be able to play like Kevin Burke