New ITM Forum: Learning the Style
Some of you are aware of the zany tin whistle message board, chiff & fipple. Some members of that board recently started an Irish Traditional Music Forum. The idea was to provide a dedicated space for in-depth discussion style and technique in ITM. What makes the new forum special is that two very fine musicians, Peter Laban and Steven Jones (whom some of you might know as Brother Steve) have posted a number of transcription of recordings of great traditional Irish musicians. Mostly these recordings are private recordings done by Peter, or collected by him. You will find there transcriptions of tracks by Jimmy Donaghue, Tommy McCarthy (from the Sporting Nell CD), Joe Bane, Kieran Collins, and Willy Clancy himself. More transcriptions will follow.
As you can see from this list of musicians, the emphasis is on "pure drop" and on stuff that is a bit older. It all grew out of the desire of some acolytes to get guidance that a bit more tangible than "well, you have to listen a lot to get it." Listen for what? Peter and Steven are great resourses for tips and hints, and both have posted comments to each transcription that discuss rhythm, timing, variations, ornamentation: all those subtle things that make a great performance. It is really a tremendous effort by Peter & Steve (and others who will put up their transcriptions in time or who have commented). I believe it is unique. The point of the transcriptions is not so much to make it easier to learn the tune, but rather to bring out what the player does with a specific tune, and why: to show the richness and subtlety of the Tradition. Discussion & comments are more than welcome (I think they will be required to keep the transcriptions coming). The new forum is a great place to ask questions specifically about style, interpretation, and history in Irish Traditional Music.
One last note before I give you the link: Like The Session, the chiffboard (The Poststructural Tinwhistle Forum) is an open and slightly chaotic place in which every post, on topic or off topic is welcome. The new ITM Forum, while equally open and friendly, represents an effort to keep the substantive threads from being burried. You can help that effort by making your posts on topic. It’s all still very new and there are some kinks to be worked out (the FAQ is in revision, for example), but I think "for sale" posts, how to behave in a session, posts that are about a specific instrument rather than the music, and the like are off topic. But please don’t be shy about posting ITM questions or comments.
Hope you stop by there and join in the discussion and the fun!
Index of tune transcriptions: http://www.rogermillington.com/siamsa/brosteve/tunetoc.html