Easy tunes that sound difficult

Easy tunes that sound difficult

We’ve had some people ("Fools", Michael calls them) who have requested suggestions for really complicated tunes which they can learn so as to "impress" people at sessions or to play as party pieces.

However, I think we should cheat. Why bother learning difficult tunes, if you can play easy ones which listeners might believe are difficult? 🙂
Conversely, you’ll get lots of simple sounding tunes which are actually quite difficult to play. Therefore, there’s less sympathy when you make a mistake.🙂

So, just as a bit of fun here, have you got any suggestions? One example I can think of is "The Mouth of the Tobique" which is remarkably easy to play.
Again, I’ll reiterate that this is just meant to be a humorous exercise. I’m not going to actively pursue this pracice.
Oh, and I also realise that all "diddley=Irish" and "diddly=Scottish" music is easy anyway. 🙂

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Any of the tunes off the Donal Lunny live album. They’re really easy once you’ve got them. But learning them’s a beeyutch.

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Q, you’ve just made think about another point. Quite often, when you hear a tune played really well by a good musician you might think that it’s actually more difficult than it is. So, I’ve often been pleasantly surprised at how easy some tunes are when I eventually get around to tackling them.

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Also, before anyone else says it, I realise (and firmly believe) that learning "the tunes" is not the same as learning "the music". 🙂

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Just play any old tune really really fast. Sounds hard, punters love it. And it’s dead easy to do. (just steer clear of me)

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Reel of Rio.

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Now, now, Michael. As I said, I don’t intend to actually do this. I’m just having a bit of fun here. 🙂

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"The Boys of the Lough" is a fairly easy piece especially on the flute, which I never grew tired of. Hammy Hamilton’s well-known composition "Kerfunten" is also an easy but impressive tune. Slightly uncommon tune "If We Hadn’t any Women in the World" is another good tune.

I always find "Harvest Home" much more difficult than it sounds. Ugly but fun tune, indeed.

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*yawn* Morning.

Ever notice how many times people launch disclaimers with stuff specifically hoping to pre-empt Michael Gill? ;)

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HA HA !!!

You’re scared of him Johnny Boy !

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Convenience Reel (Boys of Sligo)

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hehehehe. I was going to say that and then erased it. Great minds. *yawn* Or maybe not-awake ones….what time is it over there, Johnny J?

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Hey, only I get to call him "Johnny", BegF!

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*fart* morning Zina…oppps parden me.

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Just a little nervous. Why do you think I never get to Sandy Bell’s on a Tuesday night? 🙂

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I prefer easy tunes that sound good.

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Apparently not as nervous as BegF, John! ;) Conán! How’s it goin’, dude?

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Anyway, playing any old tune really really fast isn;t exactly what you’re looking for, is it John.
But tunes that sound as if they would be hard to pick up, but
turn out to be easy peasy

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Definitely Reel of Rio, then. I taught it to our tune learning session last Sunday, and it was hilarious to watch them realize how repetitive it was. When I first played it for them, they all thought it was terribly complicated. As I recall, so did I when I first heard it. Plus it’s a good tune as well as an easy one. Gotta love those.

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Well, if you can write down that you’re yawn, then I can write down the other business….especially after all the beans !!

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Well, that’s what I’m looking for in this discussion.
However, in real life, I just want to play tunes that "sound good" and I enjoy playing. Regardless of their difficulty.

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Great, thanks! I’m back in London at last, after sampling the delights of Reading, Bath, Newbury and Edinburgh this week. Didn’t get to Sandy Bells on Wednesday, since I got in at around 11 and (fortunately for some) hadn’t my box with me.


Suggestion for tune that sounds more difficult than it is: Troy’s Wedding

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I’m with Conan !

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*Will* you lot catch up? *smirk*

So have you lit in London for a short while, then, Conán? Are you going home for the holidays?

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Only the "third part" of Troy’s Wedding, though.

Hey, this thread is moving really fast. "Chatroom" fashion. 🙂

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Yes, compaqjohn should be pleased. ;)

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Ah well, Nottingham on Monday, Manchester on Thursday, then the following week Southampton and Isle of Wight (Newport). Phew!

Good man yourself BegF!!!

JJ, yeah, that’s the bit that’s get’s them going!

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You’re a wanderer, that’s for sure, McDonnell. Troy’s Wedding? Now I’m going to have to go off and see if I want to learn it.

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Reel of Rio - yep - I just went through this very exercise last week with that tune: "Wait a minute…what the hell…this is a little too easy…stupid brain - lying to me this whole time"

I really felt pretty silly, discovering I could already play the tune and hadn’t bothered to even try it week after week at one of my regular sessions.

It definitely depends on who’s playing it and how they play it - I’d say the real ‘fun’ is happening upon a tune that sounds so easy that you charge right in thinking "ahhh yes I’ll pick this one up before the bacon’s ready to be turned", only to discover that the tune is really the Space Monster in disguise. Some of Paddy Fahey’s tunes and Reavy’s tunes especially are that way (when in the right hands).

The Five Mile Chase and Lady Anne Montgomery I think have the same thing going on as the Convenience reel - somehow they come off sounding hard to play though they’re not. Maybe anytime the ear hears big steps in pitch between successive notes the thrill of hearing something other than up or down one-at-a-time-please leaves Brain doing more work to process what’s going on, resulting in a perception of greater difficulty. And a tune that hangs out in multiple octaves would certainly have that effect as well.

There’s your pile of rubbish for the morning. Cheers.

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Good luck, Zina. The third part is manageable but I always have to keep on practising it. If I haven’t played the tune for a while, it tends to go again.
There’s also the problem that, when you play this tune in a session, most people cheat or get it wrong. So, it gets very confusing sometimes. 🙂

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But if you get it right, It’s great, especially if on one repeat you play harmonies to the third part.

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"Brenda Stubbert’s" is much easier than "Reel of Rio." Don’t know, but it might be opposite on the fiddle.

The session in Sandy Bell’s on Tuesday nights! I hope M.G. doesn’t remember I played with him on a couple of occasions and how bad I was.

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I learned Brenda Stubbert’s at the ALP about twelve years ago. As I recall, it was quite difficult at the time though it’s hard to believe that now. Mind you, in those days, it took me much longer to learn tunes. Also, I hadn’t heard the tune very much at that time(Again that seems unbelievable now) and didn’t really get to grips with it until I played Alasdair Fraser’s version over and over.

I notice still, though, that many players don’t play all the triplets. Of course, that’s often a matter of style and taste but it might also be an indication that the tune’s more difficult than it first appears.

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No, but Brenda Stubbert’s *sounds* easy to play (and lots less notes), where Reel of Rio sounds complicated until you realize that once you learn to play the first 4 measures, you have already learned 3/4 of the tune!

Of course, this is sort of a demonstration of what I’ve told my stepdancing and sewing and computer software students over and over again — nothing’s hard once you know how to do it. Until you know how, it all looks hard. It’s usually best to remember that, one day, you’ll look back and think, "why did this seem so hard?"

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You’re right, Zina. These days, I would probably learn a tune like B S very quickly. Back then, it was quite an achievement to learn anything at all. Though, I did find it fairly easy to play those tunes that I’d grown up with and were already in my head.

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easy = familiar
hard = unfamiliar

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There you go again, Will — taking four words to say what I needed hundreds to say!

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Oh, and John, the thing about Brenda Stubbert’s is that it’s actually harder to learn as a beginner because the last four of the B is different from the first ending of the B, and it tends to confuse new players a bit.

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irish women or Irish tunes Will ??

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All tunes are difficult to play WELL - that is, with technically flawless execution PLUS a stylistically mature, inventive, highly developed and highly personal interpretation. You don’t REALLY know a tune until you’ve known it for years and years and have played it literally thousands of times.

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BegF, it should be the other way about, at least in my case; the more they get to know me the less they want to get to know me more.

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I knew that would come back to haunt me in some shape or form.
Yes, a "fellow accordion player", if anyone bothers to read the post.

Thanks, BegF!
:¬)

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That "easy = familiar" business is the universal solvent. Works on everything, tunes to women, pie crust to pulsars.

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Jesus jumping Christ, cthulliann — do I have to do that EVERY night? ;)

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Some tunes seem to be easier on certain instruments. Alexander’s Hornpipe is fairly easy on whistle, not as easy on accordion. The opposite can be said about the Bay of Fundy reel.

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boyne hund. especially all 3 parts. o’neills has the last part. it keeps droning back up to a high a. sounds more difficult than it is. or maybe i just like the tune and convinced myself that, idk.

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Tam Lin.

Also Windbroke. I played that at school for a GCSE performance. It was dead easy, but I got 100% for it!

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Dog Leap Stairs - a 3/2 hornpipe by english concertina wizz, Alistair Anderson.
(And also a steep flight of steps in Newcastle)

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It’s funny, John, I don’t find the "mouth of the tobique" to be that easy to play, but I only started to find it awkward once I’d discovered what all the notes actually were in that second part. The strange thing is that it’s the third part that *sounds* difficult, and is actually really easy.

I find there are quite a few tunes that start off feeling really difficult, but after a while they just trip off the fingers with no effort, whereas others seem OK to start with but cause hassle for years!

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