Writing A Slow Air

Writing A Slow Air

Does anyone have any tips for composing slow airs? I’m not really sure how to begin, so any advice would be helpful. Thanks!

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Re: Writing A Slow Air

Listen to lots of other slow airs to get you in the mood 🙂

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Re: Writing A Slow Air

Well I suppose any slow melody can be said to be ´a slow air´, but it would be well to be clear what you mean by ´a slow air´. I note that you have only recently joined the mustard board (about 7 months ago) so I really don´t have any feeling for your understanding of the traditional music heritage.
I suppose it could be said that one doesn´t ever really ´compose´ a slow air so much as interpret it, but that isn´t quite right. First, I think, I would urge you to make a thorough study of everything you can possibly find by Len Graham and his wife Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin.

¨Listen to lots of other slow airs to get you in the mood 🙂¨

Actually I like that answer rather well. 🙂

Re: Writing A Slow Air

I’m keen to eventually play slow airs, and will hopefully do so in part by receiving kind help from a Sean Nos singer.

Re: Writing A Slow Air

Hi TMK, it might be obvious to say that many (or most) slow airs would have a base in the rich song tradition. As such, you probably don’t need an instrument to compose one. Being able to sing what you create, but not necessarily with a lyric, should be a good start. All the best

Re: Writing A Slow Air

I ‘composed’ a slow air in memory of a dead friend. Though it wasn’t so much ‘composed’ as ‘happened.’ It grew and evolved over time until I felt it reflected and expressed the person I knew and when I do play it, it comes from the heart not the head.
It’s not played as a lament but rather as a recollection of my friend and our friendship. So, ‘slow air’ it is.
If playing slow airs is your desire I would say look inside yourself and find the truth of the tune as you play it for yourself and it’s meaning to you. Start with the idea, the why and then the how will follow. Finally, technical genius isn’t required. Play it with your heart and soul and the best of your ability.

Re: Writing A Slow Air

"Does anyone have any tips for composing slow airs? I’m not really sure how to begin."

I think one begins by listening to hundreds of airs and learning and playing a few dozen.

Same with reels or jigs or marches or what have you: the genre has to be fully integrated into yourself.

Since a part of playing traditional tunes (airs, reels, or what have you) is generating variations of the melody it’s a short step to generating entirely new melodies.

If there is such a thing! A composer told me once "there’s only one melody".

Re: Writing A Slow Air

Thanks everyone for the help!

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Re: Writing A Slow Air

Just do it. Or not.

Re: Writing A Slow Air

"Does anyone have any tips for composing slow airs? I’m not really sure how to begin, so any advice would be helpful. Thanks!"

Leave some place that you love, never to return. That should get you in the mood.

Re: Writing A Slow Air

What John Knoss said resonates with me. Visual imagery too as well as how it sounds.