"The Irish Mandolin" - a work in progress…

"The Irish Mandolin" - a work in progress…

I was a little reluctant to post this discussion. However I’ve had some encouragement from Jeremy himself (e.g. see the links section of this site) and so I feel it’s in order.

I’ve recently begun putting together a website which is aimed at mandolin-players who play (or want to play…) Irish trad.

The core of the site ("The Tunes") is a list of tunes in alphabetical order with links to further information here at thesession.org, with a lins to mandolin tablature for the tune in question and a link to a clip of yours truly playing said tune once-through on the mandolin.

In addition, I’ve rescued a collection of recordings which feature the mandolin and which were donated to me some years ago by the musicians themselves for inclusion in the now-defunct "Pay The Reckoning" website which I used to run.

The germ of this idea originated from thesession.org itself. I’ve not been an active visitor to this site (nor indeed to many "social" websites) for several years. So I was a little surprised when a session-mate told me that a post had appeared here a couple of years ago, asking if anyone had any media of me playing the mandolin…

That prompted a chain of thought which nagged at me for a while and eventually I decided to put something together. The result is www.theirishmandolin.com

As I said in my intro, it’s a work in progress. I’ll be adding to the tunes as I go along and I have some ideas in development about ways in which I can widen the scope of the site. But all in due course… we have to start somewhere and I don’t have unlimited time.

I know there are risks in publicising any venture of this nature in a community of ITM players and aficionados and I’m a tad nervous about the possible response. There’ll be varying views on its worth, on its quality, etc. But I’ve put caution to one side and I’m open to constructive feedback - either in replies to this post, via direct messaging or via the "contact me" section of www,theirishmandolin.com itself.

Many thanks and have a tuneful 2020.

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It looks really good Aiden! Thanks for sharing.

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Hi Aiden,
Just one thing to add. On the last mandolin discussion here I posted the link to Sean Casey playing some fine tunes on the Clare Library Site.
It really is the nicest mandolin tune playing I’ve heard from that era.
http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/music/live/bobby_sean_casey_JH46.htm
As someone who didn’t touch a mandolin in preference to the flute for years I have loved getting ahold of a Gibson A style in the last year.
A great instrument in the right hands.
All the best
Patrick

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Re: "The Irish Mandolin" - a work in progress…

Thanks for the comments. Appreciated!

Patrick … many thanks for that link. I’m assuming that these tracks are pretty much public domain? In which case I could isolate tracks 6 to 10 and publish separately in the “exponents” section of the site. Maybe best to get in touch with Clare County Library to check the copyright etc issues out. I will certainly include a link in the meantime.

GRMA.

Aidan

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Thanks, Patrick. Shame I can’t access that. I don’t do facebook. But I’m sure it’s grand.

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I’m with Aidan, I don’t do FaceBook and it’s too bad I can’t access them. I’m sure they’re probably grand tunes.

Aidan, I just gave a listen to your site and it’s a blessing to have it available just as I’ve returned to playing the mandolin again. I had to set my mandolin aside for three years while I waited for my preferred luthier to return to my area. I finally have my Joe Foley back to good operable condition.

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Are mandolin players fiddlers at heart, but lack courage? It’s a shame to have a mandolin player in the session. The mandolin is a lovely, quiet, intimate instrument. But it isn’t suited to an intense session unless the other players tone down the volume to accommodate the mandolin. How likely is that?
Mandolin players have to try so hard to be heard (or to hear themselves) that a lot of the sweetness of the instrument is lost. Pushing for volume itself is a self-defeating endeavor: the music inevitably suffers. Bobby Casey, referenced above, is playing within the capabilities of the instrument. He is a lovely player, but he is, first, a fiddler. My advice would be to skip investing in, and learning, the mandolin. Learn the fiddle, and then come back to the mandolin as a solo or duet instrument.
This is not an attack on the mandolin. I play it and I have recorded with it. But IMO it isn’t a good choice for a session instrument.

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Good stuff - I was inspired in my mandolin days by "Pay the Reckoning" recordings.
I suppose you’re already plugging this on the mandolin cafe. Much as it’s a great thing having one central forum for all things mandolin-related, it could be a bit lacking on ITM stuff in comparison to bluegrass etc, so good to have a standalone site that fills the gap between that site and this one.
Can’t say I’m one for mandolin tab, and felt it only held me back, and is well worth the effort for even beginners with no previous musical knowledge to cross over into standard notation, but you have linked first to the session, and I suppose it’s handy having links to the tab for those who will stick to it.
Good luck with it, hope it goes well.

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@David Levine "Are mandolin players fiddlers at heart, but lack courage?" Now waitaminnit, buster. Them’s fighting words. 🙂

I play mandolin (and a little flute) in sessions and I can be heard well enough to kick off a set and lead the changes to new tunes within a set. I have some Gordon Duncan tunes I play along with a player of smallpipes, where it’s just the two of us and one fiddler who also knows the tune. Anything that can play along with pipes well enough to be heard in a small group is surely "good enough"?

The requirement to be heard in a session is satisfied by:

1) Owning a decent instrument with good tone and projection. Mine is a luthier-built, carved archtop with F-holes. Not the loudest one I’ve ever heard, but good enough. What sounds good at home for Irish music — lots of warmth and harmonics — isn’t necessarily the best thing to cut through the mix of other instruments in a session.

2) Having the technique to pull enough volume out of it without having to dig in so hard that you lose expression and dynamics.

3) Most important of all, choosing to avoid sessions that are too large and too loud. I don’t enjoy that, whether I’m playing mandolin, flute, or backing on guitar. In a group of say, 4 fiddles, one guitar, and one whistle, my mandolin can carry its own weight well enough. You might not hear more than the initial "ping" of the attack among the sustaining instruments, but that’s enough to make a contribution. I just don’t attend sessions that are so large I can’t be heard except by those sitting next to me.

"This is not an attack on the mandolin." Well, yeah it is (lacking "courage"?), but we can still have a polite discussion about it. BTW, I did start learning to play the flute in the last few years, hence my username here, more as a different window on the music than because I don’t think a mandolin is suitable for sessions. I’m still very much a "learner" on flute and slowing building repertoire and confidence, but I’m not giving up my mandolin. There are some things you can do on mandolin like playing bits of partial chords and double-stops within the melody line, that can’t be done on flute.

P.S. A big thanks to Aidan for putting up that web resource.

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Oops, sorry Aidan, autocorrect strikes again!

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Great to see you back Aidan. I did occasionally wonder where you’d gone! I often used to visit your earlier site and am really looking forward to checking out your latest one.

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Firstly, well done for reviving this great resource, and for creating it in the first place.

You have asked for constructive feedback. If I have one criticism, it would be that the site could do with some visual refinement, to make it a bit more user-friendly. I only say this because I think it would be well worth the time (if and when you have it) and effort to make this resource as accessible as it can be. The particular things I am thinking are:

1. You could use a slightly smaller font for the headings (on the homepage in particular), to make it less cluttered.
2. Abandoning the two-column format on the homepage would mean less scrolling up and down and make it easier to read.
3. Moving the ‘Navigate’ menu and ‘Donate’ button to the top (perhaps as a tab bar, like on this site) would leave more page width for text.

I have never built a website in my life, only browsed them. You might have particular reasons for choosing the layout you have and these might just be my personal foibles… or you might be working on this very aspect as I write or be planning to do so. It is also possible that it is just my browser that does not display it optimally. Whatever the case, it is great that the website exists.

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Aidan, what a great resource! I viewed it on my phone, and my only issue was finding the navigation links, which showed up at the very end of the page after much scrolling.

I’m guessing there are other players here as well who might be able to help if you need samples to be recorded. I have a Breedlove mandolin and Pro Tools. I play settings I learned here in the New York City area.

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Aidan, thanks so much for the website. I will be a regular visitor. The mandolin is a superb instruments for traditional irish music and the opportunity to share its joy with others who appreciate this is wonderful.

re the preposterous suggestion that mandolin players are cowardly wannabe fiddle players i’d encourage readers to revisit Conical Bore’s post which says it all. A well built mandolin in the right hands can light a session up as well as any instrument.

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Looks like a great resource Aidan - I am forwarding it on to several mandolin players I know. They’ll be delighted. With regards to Mandolins being too quiet in sessions, this past year we had a house concert with Luke Plumb - a marvelous player - who had a lovely Gilchrist Mandolin. It had a wonderful bell-like quality to its tone, not at all tinny or harsh even when picking full out at in a loud room. His playing was perfectly audible in our noisy session afterwards.

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Yeah, JNE, Luke Plumb and Marla Fibish are both great players that can literally drive large sessions with a mandolin. (But have you happened to price out those Gilchrist mandolins?!? Yikes!)

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Hi Aidan. Well done on getting the ball rolling on another mandolin project. It seems so long ago when you were putting together the mandolin tracks for Pay the Reckoning. Bet they were enjoyed by many - and will be by many more now that you’ve dug them up. It was the first time I had recorded anything and the nerves were consuming.
Fair play for keeping the Irish Mandolin flag flying.

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Aidan
Great to find you present again, and congratulations on a wonderful effort. May it go well!

Volume in Sessions?
I play regularly with Luke Plumb; we have some superb, glorious sessions and his instrument is as clear as a bell.
Other mandolinists play in Hobart and they can be heard clearly too. One of them, my dear friend Tom Dunlop made his own, using King Billy Pine. It’s a very beautiful looking and fine sounding instrument.

Paul, if you do get to Tasmania, the offer is still there. There’s a mandolin waiting for you 🙂

All the best
Brian x

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Luke’s Cd "A Splendid Notion" is essential listening for players of irish tunes on mando (or anyone else). Agree - if you’ve played a session with Luke on either his Gilchrist or his Daffy you’d have little doubt about the capacity of the instrument to take the lead.

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@David Levine "Are mandolin players fiddlers at heart, but lack courage?" No. I’ve just finished the 7th surgery on my hands and they will never bend far enough to play a fiddle unless I use it like a cello. I have no desire to do so, it’s going to be weird enough to play mandolin and what-have-you with a fused wrist as it is.

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That sounds like courage to me Callison.
Speedy recovery and best wishes going forward!

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Thanks Daviec, I started finger-picking the guitar at day 4 after surgery, the B/C box at day 8 and this Thursday the splint comes off. Then I should be able to grasp a pick again and really start working the new tunes again on the fretted beasts hanging on my den wall.

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Hi callison!
May I wish you all the best in your rehabilitation! And obviously, your mandolin playing.
One piece of ancient advice
FESTINA LENTE!
I’ve had a few injuries over the years and it takes some discipline and dedication to NOT rush back and cause further complications.
Eleven years back there was a click in my left forearm as I lifted a box.
I’d only gone and got a 1cm tear in my APL (that’s the tendon which lets you wiggle your thumb) AND I am left handed! 🙁
It took some physio to get back to normal, as it does when you’re older, but all’s OK, buíochas le Dia!
I hope all goes well with you
Brian x

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Firstly, thanks to everyone for their words of encouragement. I won’t have time to answer each post individually (although I would like to address several in this reply), so suffice to say for the moment that such a warm response is very sustaining. Developing this site to its current state has been a labour of love and I’ve sometimes wondered if it was at all worth it.

To address - in no particular order - a few specific points raised.

The inclusion of mandolin tablature. For many players of many instruments, particularly those who don’t read dots, tablature is a great help to feeling their way into both the instrument and the genre of music which they hope to explore (assuming they’re interested in specialising). The learning section of the site contains tablature. And via the links also contains settings of the tune in abc format, dots and yours truly playing a setting of the tune on the mando. Four different ways to learn the tune. If people want to learn the tune via tab, then the option’s there. I’m not going to create any rules to make someone feel badly about using this or the other learning aid.

Site design? Thanks CMO for the comments. Thoughtful and made in the usual gentlemanly fashion. To be quite honest, I’m not sure that I’ve settled on the eventual site design just yet. The site is a work in progress and when time allows (well spotted!), I’ll experiment with a few more designs and possibly may need to have one or two site map revisions before it finds its eventual final shape and theme.

Barry made the suggestion that some of his friends may be able to provide samples to help populate the tune learning section of the site. I’ll pass on that one, Barry, for two reasons. The first is that I need to work at developing this site at my own pace. If I end up with a backlog of tunes that need to be entered to the underlying database and for which I need to create tab, etc. then I’ll feel under a degree of pressure. And I don’t handle "obligation pressure" very well.

The second reason is that creating this section of the site is also - in some ways - a learning experience for myself. I’ve not given music much serious attention in the past few years and I found that I’d forgotten - or nearly so - some of the tunes which once formed the core of my repertoire (such a pretentious term, but what you gonna do?). So this has been a way of reacquainting myself with those tunes (and many more to come). And when I exhaust the tunes which I have already learned, then I’ll have to learn a few new ones in order to keep the site growing.

However, Barry. If you have mandolin player colleagues who’d like to showcase a few sets in the "exponents" section of the site, please (please!) ask them to get in touch with me and I’ll make arrangements with them to include their music in that part of the site.

Finally to address comments about the suitability of the mandolin for playing in sessions. I would agree with all of those who say that a well-made instrument in the hands of a player with great technique can hold its own in most sessions. However in a hairy-chested session with upwards of a dozen players - boxes, fiddles and pipes to the fore - even the best-made mandolin played by the most projecting of players will likely get lost. But such scrums are not the apex of good music - at least not for me anyway. I get most pleasure these days from a few tunes with one or two good mates outside the open-to-all pub session. A few tunes, a couple of beers, a bit of a chat and where all the players can hear themselves and their fellow players clearly without having to compete with background din. In such a setting I find that I have sufficient volume to make a contribution. Suits me just fine…

Anyway, many thanks indeed for the comments. All much appreciated. Have a great New Year, all.

Aidan

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Cheers Aidan, being a whistle player I am quite enjoying playing along with the tunes. I think we had a few tunes back in the misty past at ‘The Woodman’ Lee Green? I came a few times with Andy P (Banjo)

Good luck,

Dave.

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A few thoughts:
1) The website looks good. "Don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good", but you are achieving excellence here, Aidan. There’s good music there.
2) I think, I hope, certainly, that we are now well past the point where anyone questions the authenticity of the mandolin as a traditional Irish musical instrument. (I’ve sat in the Kilfenora in Ennistymon, and they used a casio portable keyboard in lieu of piano at that sesh —back in the 90’s!) But there have been generations, plural, at least, of mandolin players. My guess is Dr Mick Maloney wasn’t the first, for all his importance and our thanks.
3) When was that Sean Casey recording made? I mean, that alone…
4) Note to aspiring mando players — while many of us admire virtuosos who happen to record on treasured, expensive instruments, you are free to play on any mandolin which sounds OK and plays in tune. I had a buddy in California, a name player, who had a collection of Loars. Amazing. But I’ve seen kids with 50euro mandolins leading tunes in hot sessions. Just like whistles,,a good one’s a good one.
5) Aidan, I meet other mando players who play zook or tenor in GDAD, and thus play mando the same (as I do). Any chance you’ll be devoting space to alternative tunings, especially that very popular one?

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@Dave The Woodman. Blimey that was a while ago (20 years or so!). A lot of water under the bridge since then; but nice to know that we’re all still at the racket…

@pgm3 I don’t have any plans to retab tunes for GDAD tuning. The time it takes to tab the tunes out in standard fiddle tuning is about all I have time to manage. It’s not a tuning I’ve ever attempted. I’m a bit unadventurous when it comes to that sort of thing. (I’ve only seen zouk and OM backers use that tuning - but then again, I don’t get out and about as much as I used to, so don’t claim to be an oracle on how other players tune their kit. The stretch to the ninth fret for the high b must be a challenge.)

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"… where all the players can hear themselves and their fellow players …"

Indeed. For me, the important thing is being in sync with one another (I don’t just mean keeping in time, but the general musical ‘vibe’). It doesn’t matter so much who can be heard above whom - every instrument contributes to the totality of the music, even when it can’t be heard individually.

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Thanks for getting the site up and running. I look forward to exploring it and seeing it develop over time.

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Aidan, cracking site and a brilliant project. Well done.

I sort of support your view that mandolin tab will encourage new people to start playing. I used to take the same approach in teaching finger style guitar. However, it doesn’t promote a progression to learning to read music. (And you get the whole transposition to another tuning question, as witnessed already).

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Aidan, excellent site, haven’t really browsed it sufficiently yet but I will be re visiting from time to time. It’s well designed and easily accessed, especially with someone like me with lo-tech skills!
I have to admit I mainly play mando at home for working up tunes but take tenor banjo or GDAE zouk to sessions - but that whole volume/audibility issue has already been talked over enough……………….

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I think I was the person who made the inquiry about your old mandolin recordings that inspired this whole thing. I totally butchered your name, and I’m sorry. I had to go from memory only. Anyway, thank you for putting up a new site with more tunes for inspiration, learning and listening.

I like learning tunes from mandolin because even when they put in ornamentation, mandolin is a crisp and clean instrument to get the tune from.

As for mandolinists being cowardly fiddlers, in my case I am a fiddler who lacks skill. I cannot for the life of me figure out how to bow Irish music, especially jigs. I can play only at about a quarter or an eighth the speed required for a session, and even then my technique is terrible. I can manage in American old-time sessions okay, but not Irish ones. I’m a fairly decent mandolinist as long as it’s not bluegrass, for which I genuinely am too cowardly. I know that mandolin is generally too quiet to hear amongst all the noise of the others, but what it does add is a crisp, clean ping that is audible. You can keep the time and you can keep the tune together with decent mandolin playing. And also, some mandolinists (not me) are plenty loud, sometimes louder than anybody else. And finally, playing the mandolin is fun.

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On Sean Casey: He is one of only a few mandolin players I have heard that, to me, completely embody the essence of Irish Traditional Music in their playing. There are some very good players out there - brilliant players, in fact - but often, the focus seems to be more on technical wizardry and individualism than surrender to the music. I have played with (or *along to*) him in sessions many times, but he was mostly playing the fiddle - I have only once or twice seen him play mandolin (*my* mandolin on at least one occasion).

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ps *mandolinists - fiddle players who lack courage* Lord knows I’ve tried over the years , I can just about get away with fiddling at an old timey session [as long as there are other fiddles and a banjo to hide the scrapes] but I would never dare to inflict it on an Irish session. I reckon some are born to fiddle but most of us ain’t………..

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Aidan.
An absolutely *ripper* site.
A first class asset for ITM.
P.

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Just a few more acknowledgements from me for the warm words. They really are much appreciated.

I’m aware of the debate around tab and I understand that some people feel it inhibits musical progression. However as someone who doesn’t read music, tab was a real boon to me when I first started playing the mandolin. Without it, I would have given up. So I will always include a tabbed version of the tunes in the learning section of the site.

Having said that, nowadays I don’t use tab. I still don’t read music very well - i.e. without moving my lips and following the dots with my finger (and never will; got along ok without it and life’s too short) but I can read abc fairly well. However all of those "written" media are just gateways to/shadows of the tune; the tune only really exists as a tune when it’s played and it only becomes *your* tune when you’ve played it umpteen times over and it’s embedded in you…

@sbhikes - Yep. Your post prompted me to think seriously about whether I could/should resurrect my online presence and, if so, how… Many thanks.

Finally for the moment - those Sean Casey tunes. Just lovely. I’d never heard Sean play mandolin before. There’s a steadiness and a grace - and a lack of ostentation - that is genuinely inspiring. Thanks again to Patrick for bringing this to our attention.

Oh - and before I disappear - given the day that’s in it, Happy New Year.

Aidan

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"There’s a steadiness and a grace - and a lack of ostentation - that is genuinely inspiring."

Beautifully worded.

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Fantastic resource, Aidan!

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Thanks again for all the comments. Very helpful. I’ve taken some of the comments about layout, navigation etc on board and have attempted a limited redesign. Grateful for thoughts on whether this slight redesign works better for people. Very best. Aidan

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Wonderful resource. cheers for making it. I’ll have to submit something when I resort my recording equipment.

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Just a note to say that there are some recent additions to the "exponents" section of the site which may interest some session.org members (not just mandolinists). This section of the site can be found at

http://theirishmandolin.com/exponents-of-the-irish-mandolin/

*Pete Strickler* playing Single Again/The Colliers/The Humours of Portal, accompanied by Charlie Branch. The first tune is one of Pete’s own. The final tune in the set is by Will Harmon. It features Pete on, variously, tenor guitar, mandolin and banjo with Charlie Branch accompanying on six-string guitar.

*Marla Fibish* has kindly donated three tracks to the "showcase" section of the site. The First Rain/An Choisir/Tommy Peoples’ (self-composed slip jig/trad slide/trad reel); Paddy Canny’s Toast/The Tempest (the first tune by the estimable and prolific tune-conjurer Charlie Lennon; Mr O’Connor/The Broken Pledge (O’Carolan tune/reel set).

(I’m also very excited to note that one of my favourite Irish mandolinists has promised to record some tunes especially for the site. She’s someone who works hard not only at developing her own extensive repertoire and amazing technique but she’s also a tireless advocate for the tunes more generally. Due to other commitments it may be a few weeks before she has time to record the tunes but I’m really looking forward to being able to showcase them.)

And please remember that I’m always delighted to feature other mandolinists who play the tunes - both to generate interest for you, the artist, from visitors to the site and also to stimulate the interest of budding mandolinists in the tunes. If you would like me to feature some of your recordings - or if you’d like to take the plunge and record for the first time - please get in touch.

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Just one more thing for today. I’m between jobs at the moment, so lots of time on my hands which I’m attempting to use to some advantage. And so I’ve added a new section to "The Irish Mandolin" which features some of my recent compositions.

I know there’s a heated debate about the merits of self-compositions and I don’t want to re-open that one. That’s why - following my re-entry to Ballymustard - I’ll not post any self-compositions to the tunes section here. I’ve been guilty of that in the past and I can appreciate how it irritates. However, I *will* post abcs of those that I think worth "keeping" in my profile blurb at thesession.org and I’ll post recordings of them in my own site.

The address of that particular new section is http://theirishmandolin.com/original-tunes-written-and-played-by-aidan-crossey/

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Just quickly resurrecting this thread to mention that recently I’ve had emails from a couple of visitors to my site, asking if I’d be happy to showcase some of their playing. (Roy Johnstone and Michael O’Meara take a bow!)

If you’d like to see some of your mandolinery - either solo or as one of the contributing musicians in a group effort - then I’d like to hear from you.

I’m afraid that my own interest in playing tunes has taken a hit during the current lockdown. For me, a large - the largest? - attraction of the tunes is playing with others, with the bits between tunes being as appealing as the playing itself. Without that stimulus, my tools sometimes seem like an irritating reminder of just how easy it was to have the very best of good times in the recent past. Here’s to a time when they can safely return!

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This afternoon I posted a new tune which I’ve written called “A Tune For Fee”. It arrived a few years ago almost perfectly formed but I’ve played around with it for a long time, tweaking the odd note here and there until I now feel ready to “let it go”. Grateful for any feedback on the tune. You can find it here https://theirishmandolin.com/original-tunes-written-and-played-by-aidan-crossey/

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Thanks for the resource, Aidan.

Didn’t you have another site in the early days? I remember it being quite useful or, maybe, my memory’s failing me a little?

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Thanks, AB. It all comes back to me now. Lots of good stuff up there.

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Thanks, AB and Johnny Jay, for the comments. I would have acknowledged Johnny Jay’s post yesterday except for the fact that Jeremy has introduced a new feature which warms members that they’re dominating the discussion and so until now I couldn’t acknowledge Johnny’s question. (I did, however, directly message him.)

So, yes, years ago I ran a website called Pay The Reckoning. It featured album reviews, rants and raves from me on all manner of subjects - mainly ITM-related - and a section which featured mandolin players from across the world showcasing some of their ITM (or related) madolinery. I found myself with much less time on my hands and had to abandon it. However I have managed to resurrect most of the aforementioned mandolinery and they can be found via the link which AB has highlighted. I’m also pleased that a few people have got in touch to share their tunes on mandolin and so the showcase is slowly expanding.

Thanks very much for the interest. These labours of love can often feel like howling into the wind! Feedback and discussion makes the work seem far less so…

Stay well.

Aidan

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Hi Aidan,
I’ve only just found this discussion and have just had a quick skim through your website. I’ll look at it in more detail forthwith.
However, congratulations are in order, and many thanks.
As you know from our recent conversations, I’ve only recently picked up the mandolin. Progress is going at a glacial pace, but going nonetheless.
If my opinion should merit inclusion, I’ll post something at a later date, but in the meantime, to you and to all, stay home and stay safe.

Re: "The Irish Mandolin" - a work in progress…

Good to hear from you, my man. Do, please, let me know what you think when you’ve had a chance to have a deeper delve. In the meantime, you know where I am, so if you need a chat over email or whatever, get in touch. Hope you and the fam are doing OK. And here’s to some tunes after they open the gates again. Aidan

Re: "The Irish Mandolin" - a work in progress…

Hi all. Quickly reviving this discussion thread to say that I’ve added a new section to the site - "Mandolin Players’ Favourite Sets". It’s designed to be an inspiration to players to a) maybe learn a few "classic" sets and/or b) maybe attempt a set of tunes that wouldn’t have occurred to them…

See https://theirishmandolin.com/mandolin-players-favourite-sets/

So… I list the tunes, with a link to the relevant pages on this here mustard board and a little bit of narrative about the sets’ provenance. Michael Gregory and I have started the ball rolling.

This new section and the section of the site that features mp3s of mandolinists strutting their stuff are intended genuinely as ways for fellow mandolinists to get involved and to help further the cause and to inspire others around the world. So your contributions to either of these sections will be very very welcome indeed.

GRMA.

Aidan

Re: "The Irish Mandolin" - a work in progress…

Over the course of the past few days, I’ve been putting quite a bit of effort into redesigning the "learn some tunes" section of the website. Initially I had made use of a table format to display the tune title, key/mode, a link to further info (generally here at "the session"), a link to mandolin tab and a link to a sound file of yours truly playing the tune once-around (for those who don’t read dots, abc or tab - or who do, but would like to get a feel for how the tune might conceivably sound).

The limitations of this format were beginning to tell. I suspect that the table format is a bit of struggle for WordPress as it was taking longer and longer to update the table as I added new tunes. And then, at a friend’s suggestion and since the number of tunes on the site had grown way beyond what I had ever originally imagined, I decided to add an index by tune type, hoping to hyperlink the tune name to the relevant row in the table.

Sadly WordPress tables don’t support such functionality and so I had to completely redesign this part of the site. That was a slog! However I’m quite happy with the outcome. As ever, I’d be very grateful for feedback from session members (particularly any who have visited the "old" learn some tunes section). Two ways to check it out. Either go to the homepage www.theirishmandolin.com and click on the "learn some tunes" link. Or alternatively just follow this link to go there direct https://theirishmandolin.com/learn-some-tunes/

And finally, for the moment, I’ve launched a youtube channel which is intended to complement the website. Very simple idea, really. Nothing remotely jazzy. As I play through a particular tune, sheet music and tab of the tune is displayed on screen to enable folks to play along… The youtube channel is still in its infancy but it will become increasingly well-populated over time. Here’s the link if you’d like to check it out. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVvlBAsMSlHMfjET8I2fQJg/

Many thanks.

Aidan

Re: "The Irish Mandolin" - a work in progress…

I’ve now made available for purchase "The Irish Mandolin Tunebook, Volume 1". In pdf format, to read online or print as works best for you. 100 tunes selected from the "learn some tunes" archive at TheIrishMandolin.com in standard notation and GDAE tablature format. With an option to purchase an instrument case sticker…

Every purchase will go some way towards helping with the costs of maintaining the site as a useful resource into the future.

See https://theirishmandolin.com/buy-the-irish-mandolin-tunebook/

Many thanks.

Aidan

Re: "The Irish Mandolin" - a work in progress…

*bump*
Thank you, Aidan! I hit on this thread after you posted last week. When I went looking for it again it took be a minute to realise it wasn’t in the usual *new* or *active* tags but I sorted it anyway.
Cheers!
I’m bookmarking your website. ;

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