Music For The Sets Volume 1: Round The House

By Séamus Meehan, Paul O’Shaughnessy, Mark Kelly, Neillidh Mulligan, Neil Mulligan, Frank Hogan, Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich (Brendan Begley), Gerry Bevan, Steve Cooney

Added by kjlowe .

Twelve comments

Three Sets by Three Bands

This album contains music for the following three sets. I especially like this version of the Lancers. Our non-musician dancers had a hard time dancing to it because the phrasing is hard to hear. I guess you could say either that all the notes run together, or that it has a very nice flow - depending on whether you’re a "glass half empty" person or a "glass half full" person. :)

The Clare Plain Set
Séamus Meehan (Piano Accordion), Paul O’Shaughnessy (Fiddle), and Mark Kelly (Guitar)

The Clare Lancers
Neillidh Mulligan (Pipes), Paul O’Shaughnessy (Fiddle), Frank Hogan (Mandola)

The Sliabh Luachra
Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich (Button Accordion), Gerry Bevan (Fiddle), Steve Cooney (Guitar)

Music for the Sets, Volumes 2 - 5:

Talented musicians, but these early tapes helped contribute to a rise in tempos that went la-la in the 80s and for which the tradition still suffers from. They are rushed and in my opinion not great for dancing to, but some lovely tunes none the less ~

"Music For The Sets Volume 2: Mind the Dresser"
https://thesession.org/recordings/display/1031

"Music For The Sets Volume 3: Pay the Piper"
https://thesession.org/recordings/display/1032

"Music For The Sets Volume 4: Call the Tune"
https://thesession.org/recordings/display/1033

"Music For The Sets Volume 5: Show the Lady"
https://thesession.org/recordings/display/1034

“Music for the Sets - Volume 1: Round the House” ~ notes from the cassette

Published for Brooks Academy by
Na Píobairí Uilleann, 1986 ~ NPU 002

Producer: Irene Martin
Sound Engineer: Harry Bradshaw
Sleeve Design & Layout: Frank Spiers
Sleeve Notes: Terry Moylan
Cover Photography: Liam McNulty

The music on this cassette has been arranged so that each track is the correct length for a particular set-dance figure (as indicated in the sleeve-notes), and so that the tunes are played at a pace suitable for dancing ech set in the style traditionally considered appropriate to it.

The musicians, although all playing dance-music for many years, have not until recently been accustomed to play for dancers. This is not uncommon experience for Irish musicians, and it is hoped that the publication of this cassette will help to correct this unnatural state of affairs by providing learners with real music to dance to, and musicians with an awareness of the requirements of dancers.

“Music for the Sets - the Yellow Book”

Compiled by David J. Taylor
Published by Dave Mallinson Publications, 1995

Containing all 111 tunes from the three recordings ~

"Music For The Sets:
Volume 1: Round the House"
Volume 3: Pay the Piper"
Volume 5: Show the Lady"

“Music for the Sets - the Blue Book”

Compiled by David J. Taylor
Published by Dave Mallinson Publications, 1995

Containing all 101 tunes from the three recordings ~

"Music For The Sets:
Volume 2: Mind the Dresser"
Volume 4: Call the Tune"
Volume 6: Face the Hob"

La-La Tempos ~

Doing some work on this first cassette of the six I’ve discovered that the ‘la-la tempos’ were not all the fault of the musicians. In fact, for "The Plain Set" and "The Clare Lancers", the reels, the musicians were originally playing at between 110 and 114 bpm, for "The Plain Set" it was 114 and for "The Lancers" it was 110 - 112. The jig for the 5th figure of "The Plain Set" was just a little rushed. Even "The Sliabh Luachra" wasn’t unreasonable, though on the high end, the polkas for the first two figures were 138 bpm, for the last figure, the hornpipe, 98 - 100. The pushed figures were the 4th and 5th, polkas and slides, both at 146 bpm.

BUT!!! ~ someone decided to boost it all in the processing to cassette, and that idiotic decision was made by either a button junkie, a techie, or by the sponsors, someone from NPU and Brooks Academy, or by both. This recording was boosted a FULL step up, so, if needing an explanation of what I mean, the equivalent of from D to E. When you do this kind of thing, which raises the tempo, you’re best to not keep the original key, as ‘artifacts’ can occur, unwanted sounds in the recording. When everything normally in D is in E and G is in A, well, the proof is there. Mostly these musicians were playing at OK tempos, but someone decided to make it more exciting by, after the recording, speeding it up. Here’s what that means, bpm (beats per minute) roughly averaged:

The boosted speeds ~

Reels ~ 116 - 122 bpm
Jigs ~ 128 / 150 bpm
Polkas = 158 - 164
Slides = 166
Hornpipes = 112

The musicians themselves are, on the whole, innocent. Some speed junkie did this, and damn the idiot(s) responsible for this, may their joints and ligaments give them hell…

NOTE: I haven’t yet rechecked the other five recordings. I discovered this from an old recording of this I’d made from the original, having also made adjustments down to proper pitch - fr0m the archives. ;-)

I should have also mentioned that such diddlin’ isn’t necessarily the fault of a ‘speed junkie’. Sometimes this ‘speeding up’ is a way of compressing the tracks so more can be fitted on a limited media, in this case a cassette… It has been done in the past, and it is still being done in the present, to fit more in within the time limitations of a CD…

Intended for teaching dance, not just for listening, the traditional (original) tempos should have been respected and kept to…

Recently, after adjusting for pitch and cleaning up the audio for a digital burn, nothing over 146 bpm, we’ve had great fun teaching and dancing "The Sliabh Luachra Polka Set" to the music from this recording…

Re: Music For The Sets Volume 1: Round The House

I don’t suppose anybody here knows where one could get a digital copy of this recording

Re: Music For The Sets Volume 1: Round The House

It’s interesting how some used to the whole ceili band thing find it difficult to dance to a recording of the uilleann pipes, for one example, as with this recording for ‘The Clare Lancers’. Some seem to be at a loss without both drums and a keyboard banging away under the melody, needing that in order for them to find their place in the dance. Crazy! But, I understand. Personally I prefer things less regimental, with dance in it, under control and steady, definitely not ‘session’ erratic. I find my greatest pleasure in dancing to one musician or a few rather than to a ceili band bump and grind, but I’ve enjoyed and made the best of both…