No, its not irish, but it is on one of the Andy Irvine albums on this site. Rain on the Roof.
No, its not a barn dance, but a krivo horo.
No, its not C major, but a more obscure Balkan mode.
But, it’s not too hard to play, a damn good session tune. The third part in particular is quite simple to pick up real time.
Hope you don’t mind.
Just checked the submitted "Rain of the Roof" details.
This tune is the third in the Pamela’s Ruchenitsa set. The full set of tunes is.
Little hint for any whistle player:
Do not worry about the strange mode used, transpose it from c to d and and you will have the Dmaj scale with an added Bflat. The latter can be played by closing all holes but the second from the top on most whistles. Bflat is not so good in tune sometimes, but maybe that’s adding to the exotic flavour, too.
This scale is used very often in Balcan / Klezmer music - Any names for it?
The “obscure mode”
Well, I meant obscure in the ITM context. About a third of the Balkan tunes i play are in this mode. Your question prompted me to chase up the name of the mode in my scattered references. I think I found it. The name seems to depend on the tradition you come from.
altered or augmented Phrygian
If anyone more knowledgeable on music theory can correct me, please do so.
I enjoy playing tunes in this mode, as it creates a very specific feel.
I love this scale - guitarists use it a lot. Warning: please don’t read on if theory bores you! Ahava Rabba is the formal Jewish term for it I think, and Freygish is just Yiddish for (Jewish-type-of-) Phrygian. I have a feeling that Altered/Augmented Phrygian is a bit unusual to find in modern terminology. In Western terminology it is most often known as the Phrygian Dominant, or Spanish Phrygian because it sounds like Spanish flamenco music. It’s basically a Phrygian scale but with a major 3rd, or some musicians prefer to think of it as the 5th mode of the Harmonic Minor scale.
Sorry to be boring but I forgot to mention 2 more common names for the benefit of urs and neil - the Spanish Gypsy scale, and (less commonly) Phrygian Major.
We Need A Place For These - Not ‘barndances’
The joys of mixed meter and crazy modes. The longest I think I’ve played or danced was 21/16. Yeah, I spent a little time in the former Jugoslavia. I love those Macedonian white wines and the plum brandies, well, some of them.
Basically, for those with the curiosity, the rhythmic definition is in long (3 count) and short (2 count) beats, and a knowing percussionist is nice to have on hand, to give that extra swing at 1 and the following two beats, in that swing and roll. 7/8 is a common time signature for the Balkans and comes in three flavours:
|N3 N2 N2| long-short-short
|N2 N3 N2| short-long-short
|N2 N2 N3| short-short-long
- or the way you tap your feet, or the beat you follow in dancing to this dance music…
For a nice collection I recommend:
"The Balkan Folkdance Music Gig Book"
by Maimon Miller - a fine fiddler, musician and person
Available also from Andy’s Front Hall:
Maybe someday we’ll have a MISCELLANEOUS section for this site instead of dumping it all here under ‘Barndance’, including compositions by folk who aren’t sure of what they’ve composed or who’ve never danced a ‘barndance’ but just like the name, so they call their effort a ‘barndance’. Well, hell, they’ve all been played or danced in barns in various times and places so why not lump everything under the one heading, eh? Sorry, GRRRRR!-umble, hiss, POP!