Tunes without the "last sharp"

Tunes without the "last sharp"

Hi everybody!

Do you know tunes without the "last sharp"?

I mean by that, talking in major mode:

- Tunes in G Major missing the F Sharp.
- Tunes in D Major missing the C Sharp.
- Tunes in A Major missing the G Sharp.

(Same principle applies to the relative modes to the Major keys).

Now I explain why I’m interested in this, I’m afraid this is a very specific thing for tremolo diatonic harmonica players: those tunes can be played in two keys with the same harmonica. One key is the usual one (for example playing in G Major with the G harmonica). But the other key would have a very special pattern that I need to practise (for example playing in G with the C harmonica). This other pattern is very important to me now because I started not too long ago combining tremolo diatonic harmonicas and I found myself playing bits of this pattern.

Re: Tunes without the "last sharp"

I think you’re asking for tunes in which the 7th note of the scale does not appear at all?
Rather than tunes without a sharp seventh?

Re: Tunes without the "last sharp"

"Tunes in A Major missing the G Sharp."
Depends. A tune can be in the key of A in the mixolydian mode (*missing* G#).
Or you could be asking about gapped scale tunes.

edit: I think I see what you’re getting at. Lots of tunes like you are describing. Here is one ~
https://thesession.org/tunes/4195#setting4195

& maybe this An Dro ~ https://thesession.org/tunes/18938
I suspect there are tons of Breton tunes which fall into your criteria. We play one which is similar to what I just linked… because I don’t know if the one we play is in the collection. Not much difference though.

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Re: Tunes without the "last sharp"

The way I read the question is that he wants hexatonic tunes that are:
Major missing the 7th,
Mixolydian missing the 3rd,
Dorian missing the 6th, or
Minor missing the 2nd (and maybe the rare modes missing the corresponding notes).

Re: Tunes without the "last sharp"

Looking alphabetically through my long-outdated tunebook, I found these before I ran out of patience barely into the Bs:
https://thesession.org/tunes/1029 An Seanduine Doite
https://thesession.org/tunes/1631 Anderson’s
https://thesession.org/tunes/726 The Ashplant (the c#s can be omitted)
https://thesession.org/tunes/239 The Ballydesmond
https://thesession.org/tunes/775 Banks of Lough Gowna
https://thesession.org/tunes/12410 Barrel Rafferty’s

Re: Tunes without the "last sharp"

"two keys with the same harmonica"
"G Major with the G harmonica"
"playing in G with the C harmonica"
By my count it can be one key w/2 harmonicas or… ^^

Go figure. Kidding aside I think it’s a basic answer/question once you have your tunes.

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Re: Tunes without the "last sharp"

Red Haired Boy is in A and has no G#. Also known as Little Beggarman.

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Re: Tunes without the "last sharp"

Almost all highland pipe tunes that are in Amaj (Bbmaj), exept some that have a passing g natural. There are lots of examples on my profile page.

Re: Tunes without the "last sharp"

Two that immediately come to mind, both in A with no leading note, are:
The Britches Full Of Stitches
Bill Sullivan’s Polka

The first one has no 4th (D) either, making it pentatonic.

Rolling In The Ryegrass is another (unless you choose to open the B part with an A-B-c# triplet, as some players do) – and some versions of Some Say The Devil’s Dead/Johnny Will You Marry Me/The Braes of Mar (but not the related reel, The Killavil Fancy, alas).

The last paragraph, however, serves to demonstrate the flexibility of tunes; many, if not most, tunes can survive losing their leading note (or the corresponding note in other modes). If you listen to great single-row melodeon players like Johnny Connolly and Bobby Gardiner, you’ll hear how they work around the unavailable notes with small variations (or sometimes just play them in a non-standard key).

Re: Tunes without the "last sharp"

Ailin: "Red Haired Boy is in A and has no G#. Also known as Little Beggarman."

Yes, it can be played without G# (although there are places they would fit), but it does have a G natural, on which it is very dependent. So it’s not really what the OP was asking about.

Re: Tunes without the "last sharp"

Wow very nice! Thanks for the answers! Yes you all gave me a few good ones!

I didn’t want to make a long post, but now that I see a few of you in the loop, I will join the discussion.

First of all I will explain a bit more for those that didn’t understand it. Sorry, that’s my fault, I don’t know the right way to explain it using music theory terms.

One example will do I think. I’ve just published this setting:

https://thesession.org/tunes/865#setting44151

I can play it with the G harmonica. But I can play it in the same key with the C harmonica as well because it doesn’t have the F Sharp.

Taking only the G harmonica, I can play the tune in two keys: G Major and C Major.

That is right that many times there is a choice. This notes can be played or not. This is quite good because they can be used to play variations or ornamentation like triplets.

For sure there will be lots of polkas that will suit this because they have a more simple melody.

Thanks again for all your examples 😄

Re: Tunes without the "last sharp"

Now I will give an example of the harmonica combination:

This setting can be played combining tremolo diatonic harmonicas:

https://thesession.org/tunes/693#setting39234

The tune is in G Major. Then we would need the G harmonica. There is an F Natural in the third part, we will need to use the C harmonica then. And in this particular case, as there is no F Sharp in the third part, the C harmonica can be played in the whole third part. This requires a bit of practising because the pattern used to play in G Major in a C harmonica is different to the one used in the G harmonica. This is the pattern I need to practise and I prefer practising it with tunes.

Re: Tunes without the "last sharp"

As Bogman points out there are many Highland pipe tunes which strike the ear as ordinary A Major tunes, achieving this by lacking the 7th degree.

In like manner there are tunes which strike the ear as being minor, but in fact have no 3rd.

Oddly, on the Highland pipes these pseudo-minor tunes are sometimes played in B, though they could just as easily be played in A.

And it’s not just trad Scottish and Irish music, there are loads of old Hymn tunes which are in "gap scales" missing the 7th (see MARTYRDOM, ST COLUMBA) or the 4th (see BUNESSAN) or both (see BEACH SPRING, NEW BRITAIN).

Re: Tunes without the "last sharp"

@Fernando, when you mentioned playing in "G with the C harmonica" I immediately thought of some tunes I can play in A on the D row on my button accordion (same principle). Some have been mentioned, e.g. Britches Full Of Stitches and Bill Sullivan’s Polka. The Road to Glountane a.k.a. the Kerry Fling ( https://thesession.org/tunes/1615 ) is another one.

@Creadur:
"but it does have a G natural, on which it is very dependent. So it’s not really what the OP was asking about."

Original post:
"Tunes in A Major missing the G Sharp."

Re: Tunes without the "last sharp"

No doubt someone will correct me, but I think I heard some of my Scottish moothie-playing friends say that you could get a harmonica that works with the mixolydian scale - "The Highlander" - and is useful for playing all those pipe tunes with the flattened 7th. (And OK, I guess this wasn’t what the OP asked but loosely relevant to the rest of the discussion).

Re: Tunes without the "last sharp"

Nice one Jeff! Very interesting, for me it is difficult to identify tunes like that one because some music scores are directly with the key signature of D Major.

I’ve just discovered this one:

Seanamhac Tube Station composed by John Carty

https://thesession.org/tunes/280

Re: Tunes without the "last sharp"

On fiddle/whistle it’s usually the G and A tunes that feel pentatonic/hexatonic. Spootiskerry is another reel that springs to mind. And sometimes the F# in a G tune is just a passing note and can easily be ignored.

I thought of Seanamhac Tube Station yesterday, because I remember going through it in twelve keys on the button accordion a few years ago. I think I played it exclusively on one row in a number of keys. (Then, maybe I tweaked the melody to be able to do so.)