The Guitar and Irish Traditional Music - What’s the Story?

The Guitar and Irish Traditional Music - What’s the Story?

If you were to ask any musician at any session in Ireland what they thought of Steve Cooney or Arty McGlynn, Tony McManus or Chris Newman you could expect a range of positive answers like,

Genius Brilliant,Superb, or very occasionally, Who?

These four musicians along with a host of others including M

Re: The Guitar and Irish Traditional Music - What’s the Story?

I find the current guitar debate somewhat mystifying as its place in the music can hardly be questioned by this stage. I have been playing with guitarists for almost 30 years. The only question is, as with all players, one of competence. Whilst I still personally prefer the bouzouki — and the old six string Greek variety at that — a good guitarist is most definitely a great addition to a session. But, to state the obvious, no accompaniment is required.Even 2 whistles make for a session, two guitars, unless the guitarists can play the tunes, do not. What I can say, very broadly speaking of course, is that the role of guitar is better understood in Ireland, if only because the Irish session is a much less forgiving environment than its US counterpart and flashy exhibitionists would soon be humbled.

Re: The Guitar and Irish Traditional Music - What’s the Story?

Michael, is that you up there perchance, ye divil ye?
;

Re: The Guitar and Irish Traditional Music - What’s the Story?

Blimey, was that the longest post in this web sites history?

(And since when was the violin an irish instrument?

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Re: The Guitar and Irish Traditional Music - What’s the Story?

One instrument which vies with the guitar in the unpopularity stakes is the bodhr

Re: The Guitar and Irish Traditional Music - What’s the Story?

I’ve just read the earlier thread on guitars, but I thought I’d write my comments here since they’re on the same subject. A lot of people seem to judge guiatrists on the basis of how many chords they know. There’s nothing wrong with a three chord guitarist, so long as he/she plays those three chords well, in time, in the right places and when and where they fit, or else doesn’t play them at all. The main things are being able to identify the key of the tune, knowing the 4 or 5 basic chords (e.g I, II, IV, V & VI for a major key) in each of the common keys, and knowing exactly where to put them.

On multiple accompanists: I always think that having two accompanists in a session is pointless unless they are sitting next to one another and each can hear or see exactly what the other is playing. In a 15-strong session, with a guitarist at each end, one may be playing away, oblivious to what the other is playing, but somebody in the middle will very likely be hearing two different sets if chords jarring against each other. On the other hand, two accompanists that are familiar with each other’s style, who accompany each other as well as accompanying the tune, can be a great asset.

Re: The Guitar and Irish Traditional Music - What’s the Story?

That really was the biggest ever comment michael! Now lets see, I really believe that good guitar and bazouki backing really add something to a session, Its about personal taste isnt it? I wouldnt say that I really like the cooney/murray style, but I like the McGlynn style. There are a few fab backers in galway, really sweet and I love playing with them! And there is one fab backer in melbourne that I know of. I truly believe a good backer makes a session about %400 more enjoyable.

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Re: The Guitar and Irish Traditional Music - What’s the Story?

Aye Bridie its me. I’ve finally gone mad. Send us an email I can reply to ‘cos I couldn’t with your last one. Both girls doin well. Thanks for your reply it’ll join the list now
All the best
Mick

Re: The Guitar and Irish Traditional Music - What’s the Story?

bb
The answer to your question is yes.
That’s the same bucko.

Re: The Guitar and Irish Traditional Music - What’s the Story?

Of course it’s more fun playing with a good strummer, Really lifts it etc etc etc etc etc

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Re: The Guitar and Irish Traditional Music - What’s the Story?

As a flute player I love great accompaniment, whether that be piano, guitar, or bouzouki [and even the bodhr

Re: The Guitar and Irish Traditional Music - What’s the Story?

Sound advice Breandan, well done.

Your point 3 touched a nerve with me. You spend years getting that chair moulded exactly to the shape o’ yer bum, for maximum comfort, not to mention finding the spot that suits your instrument in relation to the instruments of the other regular musicians, only to come in some night & find some visiting musicians, who should bloody well know better, sitting in all the good seats.

In the old days I used to grin & bear it, but no more. It can work out OK sometimes I suppose, but usually what happens is, all the regular musicians are uncomfortable, sitting out of order, so don’t play well, & so don’t enjoy themselves. They’re the ones who have paid their dues to that session, over the years, & they deserve the best seats. So I would say to anyone, hold back & wait for the regulars to get comfy first & then introduce yourself, & *ask* if you may join in. Just because you carry an instrument, that doesn’t give you the right to barge in. You’ll rarely be refused.

In a session in Milltown, way back in ‘77, (Zimmer time, & the livin’ is easy!) I remember Maurice Lennon & Paul Roche (Stockton’s wing was just around the corner, so to speak) approaching our run of the mill session & politely asking if they could join us! A lesson I have never forgotten, & more people should heed.

Re: The Guitar and Irish Traditional Music - What’s the Story?

I posted this on another discussion but I guess it needs stressing agian to none tune playes:

Learn the tunes

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Re: The Guitar and Irish Traditional Music - What’s the Story?

I almost passed this discussion by - I’ve seen the subject on different lists many times before. I’m amazed at how critical most of them are to guitarists. This discussion seemed more supportive. I have played guitar at sessions for 30 years. - but I started as a dance musician - frequently open air dances or with small sound systems and it was neccessary to be loud with a strong beat. So I find the eletism of session players interesting. This was supposed to be dance music. Few sesson players I’m afraid, are able to play for actual dances!
Re: chords. I know a little DADGAD and other tunings but I usualy play in standard tuning as my guitars scale length (a 12 fret Martin D35S) just works better in standard. But I play mostly just standard 3-4 chords - I vary my attack and what strings I play, using many drones - trying to support the tunes, but occasionaly giving my own voice depending on how I feel at the time, how the tune is going, etc. I have a good time with it. Sometimes I play melody and my guitar is loud enough so the melody can be heard.
I remember taking my guitar out at a session in East Durham and having a concertina player - before I played one note- say that there was already a guitar player, (happened to be apretty young girl), so I should stick to my tenor banjo. I gave him a cold stare and played my guts out.
Lately I find myself leaving my guitar home more often than not. I’m a frustrated fiddle player and usually use sessions to practice rather than show off. Also my guitar is big and don’t like leaving it over to the side if I’m switching off to different instruments. But every once in a while I need to get my rocks off I’ll bring it. I haven’t in a while, but watch out Clove Inn, I’m gettng the urge!