Good books for Irish fiddle tunes?
Hey everyone (again),
I'm trying to expand my repertoire/skill set to include Irish fiddle music. I've got some old Finale sheets from my high school fiddle club, so I'm not a total newbie, but I think I need to start getting some books or anthologies.
Also, possibly some resources on how best to learn the proper way to go about learning these tunes? To my understanding, this music is traditionally aural, and that the notated music is merely a guide, rather than gospel. In high school, my teacher wouldn't give us music until he had gone through the whole song by ear (easier for those with perfect pitch!)
I'd like to improve in this area so I can create my own "fiddle club" at the studio I teach at, and I was asked by my cousin to play a combination of classical (easy peasy, my friend and I are doing Mazas duets) and Irish music at her wedding at the end of June (no pressure...right?)
Thanks for putting up with me, guys, it's much appreciated.
I found this one, 235 pieces, and they have the chords in there too. Seems legit, but you can't be too careful.
O'Neill's will work just fine..... Get out and play with some active ITM fiddler's/sessions if you can...... the "Dot's" don't tell the whole story.
Many situations are not conducive to an aural tradition, but there is always the notation. learn the ornamentations that defines Irish music, rolls, cutting, crossing bowing, trebling, etc. The notation would be too cluttered if the ornamentations were included, but it can be learned to ornament any note of a tune at ones desire.
Try www.thesession.org for tunes. I also know of people who speak well of the Online Academy of Irish Music.
Thanks KT!! I've been on the Session, but I'm unfamiliar with a lot of the pieces so I figured I'd buy a book with a bunch of them and get familiar. I'll check out the academy though!
You could always photocopy pages out and put them in a three ring binder as you learn them. Unless you end up getting really dark center page areas.
Don't wait until someone is 'willing to lend me some pointers', read up and start practicing the ornaments. I've had O'Neil's for about 40 years, yes it fell apart, but that didn't stop me from learning many tunes, and I can still to this day put it on the music stand. The book is divided into categories of tunes, learn some tunes from each. Find a list of the most popular tunes, there'll be one on sessions.com.
Another - almost monumental - source is the three volumes of 'Ceol Rince na hÉireann' (Dance Music of Ireland) which has some good notes on ornamentation. Not sure if it's still in print, but it's at abebooks.com.
The Online Academy of Irish Music is good.
Staples, or a similar store, will remove the bound edge and either punch it for you for a 3 rung binder or will spiral bind it. I did the latter for my copy of the Violin Lesson due to the condition it arrived from shipping - it only cost $8 and took 1 hour. Punching it for a 3-ring binder should cost less... just an idea.
Thank you everyone! I looked up the Online Academy, but I can't afford to pay for my own classes right now (I can barely pay for my graduate courses!) but I am definitely going to keep it in my back pocket for when I have more disposable income!
@Kristen, I bought a bound copy of O'Neill's "1001" around the turn of the century, and well understand the problem of having it on a music stand! The problem was solved for me one warm summer's evening a few years later when the binding "exploded", strewing the pages all over the floor. I collected them together, punched holes in them with a 4-hole punch and inserted them into a 4-ring binder, where they've happily been ever since.
Oh, thank you Trevor! I didn't know that there would be quarter tones deliberately in the music; I bet that's why I thought the player was just playing with bad technique or just had bad intonation in a few recordings I listened to. That's really good to know.
Kristen - not a print shop, but to a basic office store like Staples or Office Max - they can absolutely help you with this for much less than a print shop. My book, The Violin Lesson, is at 338 pages and 8.5 x 14 in size, they didn't give it a second look for the plastic spiral binding. Punching holes is even easier, you need only choose a binder.
Hi again Kristen,
Do you have an iPad? O’Neill’s 1001 dance tunes of Ireland is in public domain and readily available as a .pdf file. If you get a printed version I recommend the yellow cover version by Mel bay. It is much better than the other version out there. I have both printed versions and had them wire spiral bound at Staples for about $4 each.
I should have included this link in my post above. Don’t know how to make it active but copy and past should work:
in pentatonic scales, the notes don't exactly correspond to the standard notes- players with a good ear for pentatonic will "adjust" them. Typically a 3rd in a standard 12-tone scale will need to be raised approximately 1/4 step to make the 2nd note in the pentatonic scale. You hear this in blues guitar all the time, too. It's not always exactly a quarter tone, but when you hit it right, you'll know it. Willie Dixon's "Spoonful" is a good example in blues music.
Thanks everyone! My edition of O'Neill's came today. I got it used because funds are tight, and it looks well-loved, but it'll do! It looks great, and I'm going to go to Office Max and have it bound. That's what I had meant when I said "print shop."
And there ya go!...... Enjoy.
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