Clarinet polka, Grandfather’s Polka
Not really a Session tune but it is heard at contests and such in the U.S and Canada.I’ve heard it in B flat and G, Graham Townsend (at 2:15) seems to have liked in A.
Great tune! Stacy Phillips transcribed it twice in his Traditional American Fiddle Tunes books. You can hear a wonderful rendition by Leizime Brusoe’s Orchestra at http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu This is fiddle, accordion, bass, and, yes, Clarinet.
You used to be able to listen to all the Jehile Kirkhuff you cared for at jehile.com but I see their archives aren’t up anymore and you have to write the proprietors and ask for them to send you CDs; that’s a shame. He was a terrific Pennsylvania fiddler, played a lot of Irish tunes by and by as well. Recorded the Clarinet a couple times too.
I learned this tune off another site, which said it was traditional Polish …
Then I played this tune to my mother, and she said it sounded German …
Whatever the case, it’s one of my favourite pieces.
I know hammered dulcimers aren’t always thought of highly in Irish circles but the music world lost an incredible musician when Paul Van Arsdale, aged 97, passed on today. Along with his brothers Sterl and Phil, Paul learned the hammered dulcimer from his grandfather, Jessie Martin, who played in Henry Ford’s square dance orchestra in the 1920s. He also learned tunes from the radio and listened to a lot of French Canadian fiddlers growing up in upstate New York. Here is Paul’s rendition of Clarinet Polka.
Sorry to hear about that, I remember seeing him play in the 1970s and 80s and his name came up recently in a conversation I was having with Sam Rizzetta, another dulcimer player.
I was fortunate to take an Old Masters class at Elkins, WV from Paul in 1980 or 1981. I still play several of the tunes I learned from him. And I was surprised to learn that his brother Phil lived in Arkansas, where I lived at the time, so was able to spend time with Phil as well. They were both very kind and generous toward others interested in the dulcimer.