Tunes you hear all the time, and tunes you wish you heard more often.

Tunes you hear all the time, and tunes you wish you heard more often.

Hi all. This is my first post, other than my bio. I’ve lurked for a long time even before joining TS. I love this place and thanks devs and admin for providing such a really nice site to come and learn a thing or two about Irish Trad.

I’m learning tunes on my own still and haven’t been to a session yet, but as things get better c-vid related, I hope to get out to one some time soon. I understand that every location’s repertoire is different, and you’ll hear a wide variety of different tunes from one session, to the next, and the next.

That being said, two questions:
1) What are tunes you hear a lot at the sessions you’ve been to (or seen)? Ones that, despite session, seem to be pretty well known almost anywhere you’re at.
2) What is a tune (or tunes) you wish you heard more often because you love it so much, but no one seems to know it where you’re at, how to accompany it, or whatever other reason?

Posted by .

Re: Tunes you hear all the time, and tunes you wish you heard more often.

Hey Josh, welcome into the forums! This site really is a wonderful resource in our journeys into Irish traditional music!

One thing that I think you’ll find in a lot of sessions is that the repertoire is always changing. There may be a tune that someone plays that gets other people inspired to learn it, and then that tune will get played in the session pretty regularly for a while, until people tire of it and it then becomes an occasional tune. Or someone will play something that hasn’t been played in the session for a long time, and everybody gets excited and plays it for a while, but it too will fade back into the background. In my mind, the best sessions tend to try to mix it up every time.

I like to try to think of at least 3-4 tunes we haven’t played in a while, and then try to remember to play them during the session - every week. I do this, because I get somewhat tired of playing the same tunes all the time, and it’s really the learning of new tunes (and rediscovering older ones) that gives me the most satisfaction in sessions… So I think you’ll find that one person’s list doesn’t necessarily match what they would have answered with a few months ago, let alone what other people’s lists might be.

I also think that there are numerous ‘classes’ of tunes, and they’re not all that static either. I think one class of tunes would be the so-called ‘bog standards’. And what’s on that list will vary some from place to place and from session to session. These tunes are the ones that pretty much everybody knows (but they don’t get played a lot in most sessions).

This would include tunes like Maid Behind the Bar, Cooley’s Reel, Kesh Jig, Rolling Waves, Mountain Road, Tam Lin, etc. You can find these (and many others) on some of the lists that have been generated by members here, like Dow’s List: http://www.cheakamus.com/Ceilidh/Downloads/Dows_List.pdf

That’s not to say that all of those tunes would fit in the ‘bog standard’ class, but they would pretty much all fit within most sessions around the world. So I would consider those all be ‘standard’, but not necessarily ‘beat to death’. 😉 It’s important to remember that tunes that become so widely played do so for a reason — they’re great tunes! So most people don’t roll their eyes too much when one of them gets played… And these are all good tunes to know, because if you’re visiting a session, but you aren’t playing a lot of the tunes, the other players will generally start to gravitate toward the standards to help you feel included.

But there are other classes of tunes too. Up and Coming (or Recently Popularized, usually by someone famous recording it), Newly Composed (either by players in the sessions, or more likely, by a famous player that recorded the tune, and it becomes popular), Resurgent (possibly old tunes that were once common, but fell out of favor, only to be experiencing a rebirth in sessions, Obscure (often times, there are really great tunes that nobody has heard for whatever reason), Show Off Tunes (these are often hard tunes, and a good player may pick one as a ‘party piece’), and finally Mediocre Tunes (which might be played around some, but never really caught on…)

I would say that tunes often fall within more than one of those categories…

So to answer your question, here are some tunes that I currently have in the ‘wish they got played more often’ category: Newtown Bridge, Jackson’s Reel, Redican’s Bow, Corner House, Down The Back Lane, Honeysuckle, Shoemaker’s Daughter, Highest Hill In Sligo, Woodcock, Flax In Bloom. (That list is not complete, and is very subject to change - and my current mood…) And I anchor both of the sessions I play in regularly, so if I want a tune to get played more, I play it more…

Here are some tunes I hear pretty often (some of which I am tired of at the moment): Reel Of Rio, Jim Ward’s, High Reel, Anthony Frawley’s, Hunting The Hare, Ormond Sound, Bird In the Bush, Trip To Athlone, Garrett Barry’s Jig, Sliabh Russell. (Also not a complete list, and subject to change…)

Hope you found at least some interesting information in there! Best of luck with your journey!

Re: Tunes you hear all the time, and tunes you wish you heard more often.

Just to add to Reverend’s excellent reply, I wrote this in response to a query about repertoire a few months ago:

> Is there a short list

Many, and honestly they are all useless. Take the tunes one at a time as they come to you. You can buy books of a hundred tunes, or 300 tunes, or indeed 1001 tunes, and if they contain the tune you need, so much the better. But a better approach might be to build up your repertoire by taking them one at a time. Does a recording catch your ear? Make a note of the tune and work on it. Attend a workshop, and the same will happen. Go to a session, and you’ll soon notice a few tunes pop up week after week. That’s what creates a tapestry of knowledge (a tradition, even) in your mind, as opposed to a roaring wall of tunes learnt by rote from some waterfall of dots. One at a time.

Posted by .

Re: Tunes you hear all the time, and tunes you wish you heard more often.

I like your 2nd question, Josh. There’s plenty of tunes to fit the bill. But I’ll hold back and just say one I’d love to be in a session where the players are willing to join in (but I usually find a certain reluctancy) {it} is "Fred Finn’s Reel". I doubt it’s obscure (or even impossible) but have yet to hear it fully embraced in a session.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cua6BSaZqDk


Your 1st question becomes more interesting for me in it’s latter half, "Ones that, despite session, seem to be pretty well known almost anywhere you’re at." I prepared a list which, for myself at least, attempts to answer that inquiry. May not hear many of them often, especially lately, but I think most are fairly well known and usually find players joining in at the sessions I’ve played .

Ashplant
Banish Misfortune
Banshee
Drunken Landlady
Fermoy Lasses
Fig for a Kiss
Foxhunter’s Slip Jig
Garret Barry’s Jig
Hills of Tara
Her Long Black Hair
Lilting Banshee
Limerick Lassies
Lucy Campbell
Magic Slipper
Many’s a Wild Night
My Darling Asleep
Otter’s Holt
Rakes of Kildare
Rolling in the Ryegrass
Smash the Windows
Star Above the Garter
Temperance Reel
Tom Billy’s Reel
Wind that Shakes the Barley
Woman of the House

Posted by .

Re: Tunes you hear all the time, and tunes you wish you heard more often.

Personally I’d like to hear and play more “vaudevillian” tunes played if only for the joyful quality, the humor. Think of tunes like the High Level, the Banks. Dunganon Sweetheart, the Mathematician. They always make me happy! Otherwise, we’ll, tunes come and go. When it starts to sound like a tune is played to just get it out of the way it’s time to give it a rest.

Re: Tunes you hear all the time, and tunes you wish you heard more often.

"1) What are tunes you hear a lot at the sessions you’ve been to (or seen)? Ones that, despite session, seem to be pretty well known almost anywhere you’re at."

This depends on the people present. In general, (festival) sessions across the country (including neighbouring countries) tend to look for a common ground. E.g, the Dow list, the usual suspects copied from recordings…, the top 10 of any tune type you could imagine (then the top 50 of reels and jigs).

"2) What is a tune (or tunes) you wish you heard more often because you love it so much, but no one seems to know it where you’re at, how to accompany it, or whatever other reason?"

Too many to mention. But to name a classic, I think I’ve played Dr O’Neill’s jig ONCE. In 30 years.

Re: Tunes you hear all the time, and tunes you wish you heard more often.

"But to name a classic, I think I’ve played Dr O’Neill’s jig ONCE. In 30 years."

You need to travel to San Diego more often! We play it here quite often. 🙂

Re: Tunes you hear all the time, and tunes you wish you heard more often.

That’s great news. I’ve liked it since the day I learned it.

Re: Tunes you hear all the time, and tunes you wish you heard more often.

Thanks all for the replies, I’ve enjoyed reading them! You all have some good points, and offer up some good music to add to my playlist. 🙂

Posted by .