Different Style’s of Ireland

Different Style’s of Ireland

Has every different county in Ireland got their own style? I think there may be more - east clare and west clare are considerably aren’t they?

Well anyway I’m in the process of developing my own style for when I leave school and (hopefully) become a professional musician (that plays at venues all over the country) or musician (that performs at local gigs) blah blah blah….
and I’m trying to mix those styles up a bit.

Which tunes on this site have a paticular style from the counties of Ireland e.g. galway hornpipe comes from
Galway e.t.c

If anyone has any info about each style that would be greatly appreciated,

thanks

Sam

Re: Different Style’s of Ireland

I would be a bit wary of trying to "make" your style by consciously mixing together different county’s styles. Many experienced listeners would likely pick up on this forced "style creation" right away. The fun part of the music is just seeing where your interests lead you and what your style ends up being, and that only happens over time. I don’t think it’s really something you can just sit down, look at the dots, and do. Just listen listen listen to the music and over time your instincts will take you in the direction of one or more styles and after a while when you start playing, you’ll be able to hear where your influences came from.

Just give it time and have fun with it.

Re: Different Style’s of Ireland

To answer your first question though, each county or area within a county does tend to have a distinct style, but some would argue that since the early 20th century when the music started being recorded, the lines have gotten blurred a bit.

If you grew up in a particular area (i.e. East Galway) and learned from the older musicians who had learned the music from older musicians long before there was recorded music, they are certainly likely to play in a somewhat similar style simply because they didn’t have access to thousands of different styles and musicians like we have nowadays.

However, with the large number of commercial recordings now available, many people are getting their style from the recordings, not from the actual musicians themselves, and unless you sit down and only listen to one particular style, then you are going to be influenced by a wide variety of styles. Then over time after listening for countless hours on end, you’ll start to develop your own style.

Re: Different Style’s of Ireland

Thanks Jason I’ll keep that in mind.

One more thing are there any tunes that are in the donegal style on this site? (I really like that style but I probably would like lots of other styles it’s just that when I heard Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh i thought ‘I’ve got to at least play a few tunes in that style.?

Re: Different Style’s of Ireland

Ah…you can play any tune in any style you like, Sam — sort of the point of having a style, you see, it helps you make a tune your own regardless of where the tune came from. That said, there are definitely some tunes that lend themselves to Donegal style fiddling. There’s a CD called The Brass Fiddle that you might like to get hold of to hear some of the greats of Donegal fiddling play their favorite tunes in the style.

Re: Different Style’s of Ireland

Listen to some Altan, btw most the tunes are not ‘Donegal tunes’ and I wouldn’t call Mairead’s style a typical Donegal style, it’s her own…I don’t think you’re going to find any transcribed styles of playing on this site…
Like Jason said, develop your own style. Listen to different things, immitating is good to a certain point and you won’t develop your own ‘style’ over night, it will take many years…

Re: Different Style’s of Ireland

Zina that’s kinda what I was trying to say lol, but I wasn’t very good at explaining it. Got there before me anyway :P

Re: Different Style’s of Ireland

There are as many different styles as players, for nobody plays ‘exactly’ the same as anyone else. There are similarities of style in any given county certainly, but on a trip to any county in Ireland you are sure to hear loads of different styles.

You won’t hear any particular style, reading the ABC or sheet music here. To hear styles of playing you must actually listen to the players, either live or recorded.

Fraid there’s no short answer really to the question of styles of playing ITM and books could be written on the subject. I’d say just listen carefully to all the players whose music you enjoy and you own style will develop, but as PJA says, don’t be in a hurry cause it will take years.

Good Luck

Re: Different Style’s of Ireland

Jason G wrote ‘each county or area within a county does tend to have a distinct style’.

Jason, please tell us more about the fiddle-playing styles of Cavan, Louth and Wexford!

G

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Re: Different Style’s of Ireland

Way to back me up TomR 🙂. Key word used to cover my backside in my original post was "tend". Can’t speak for every county or every region so I’m glad somebody has the info.

Re: Different Style’s of Ireland

It’s not clear to me whether Sam is asking about styles of tunes or styles of playing. One could look at tunes that are especially popular in one area or another, and maybe find similarities in those from one area that are different from the similarities in those from another area. Maybe. Or one could look at how the players interpret the tunes in different areas (tempos, bowing, amount of swing, etc.) and maybe find local characteristics.

There are two volumes of transcriptions of older fiddlers that focus on the bowing they used. The second volume, which I have, is fiddlers from Munster. The first volume, I think, is Connaught. It’s called Bowing Styles in Irish Fiddle Playing, by David Lyth, and is published by C.C.E.

I once heard a theory about local singing styles in England, which may be relevant. Namely, what passes for a local style is actually just the local singers attempting to emulate whoever they consider to be the best singer in their area in their collective memory. When someone new comes along who is so good and so different that their style captures the imagination of the local singers, the style changes. often quite quickly.

Of course nowadays "local" is no longer determined by geography, but by where people are (or choose to be) in the telecommunications network.

Re: Different Style’s of Ireland

Of course we musn’t forget the ‘Comhaltas style’!

Developed over the last 50 odd years, this is:
a blend of over ornamentation, ( taken to the extreme to make sure the tune is almost unrecognisable )
a lack of humility when playing,
a well developed cosmopolitan style of playing ( which hides any natural regional style the player may have once displayed )
an air of showmanship and self-assured cockyness ( which invariably produces symptoms of nausea among other session players & often knowledgable onlookers too ),
and an ability to snub and shun lesser mortals ( who have not got the little winners medal ).

Have I missed out any of the tell-tale signs? 🙂

Re: Different Style’s of Ireland

Oooh, pt. I guess from that, thet you just missed out on the bronze then.

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Re: Different Style’s of Ireland

It’s definitly a case of splitting hairs these days I have been told by a reliable source in the trad music scene of regional ireland

Re: Different Style’s of Ireland

Well, to be honest MG I did pick up a silvery thing the year I tried it, on the constant screamer, but I found the experience completely pointless & it seemed to me to be just a joke, trying to say one musician was ‘better’ than another.

Made about as much sense as that thing on TV last night - Sports Personality of the Year.
What the bejaysus is that all about anyway?.
I’m sure sportsmen & women don’t get into sport, to be popular.
I learned today that a Cricket player won!
I mean to say, Gordon Bennett, ……….but of course, what am I thinking, I’m sure there’d be thousands & thousands of Welsh, Scots or Norn Ironers who voted for him, now wouldn’t there! 🙂
Glad I didn’t waste any time watching it.

Re: Different Style’s of Ireland

Good players develop their own styles and others copy. In the past this resulted in having regional (even Parish Styles) where local musicians would copy the local master players. Nowadays with all the recordings available it is the master players that create the styles (Sean McGuire was a Cavan man but is his playing the "Cavan style?.) The worry is that there will be less and less styles going forward as everybody copies just the few "in" musicians. Thankfully there are still some old time musicians around with unique styles that we should listen to while we can or listen to the old recordings. Then go ahead and delvelop your own style.

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Re: Different Style’s of Ireland

Hey murcu, check with cos, but I think you’ll find that Sean McGuire was in fact - Belfast born & bred!

I agree though, we should all keep listening back to the recordings of the old players & listening live to the non-famous country fiddlers too.
It’d be dreadful, wouldn’t it, to think that in years to come everyone would just be playing in the same Boy Band/Comhaltas induced style!

Re: Different Style’s of Ireland

I like what Tommy Peoples had to say about regional styles. Although I’m sure that many will disagree.

When asked about regional fiddle styles, he said he doesn’t feel there really is such a thing. He said it has more to do with the style of the stronger players in an area and the people that listened to and learned from them.

Somewhere along the way, those styles have become accepted as "regional". Examples include Scully Casey from Clare, Padrig O’Keefe from Kerry and Jonny Doherty from Donegal.

His point was you need to find someone who’s playing really grabs you and figure out what they are doing to make those sounds you like, rather than trying to learn some esoteric "regional" style. Once you have that you naturally will adopt it into the tunes you play.