Any other newbies focusing on Irish music?

  1. Ed McGarrigle
    Ed McGarrigle
    I’m a long-term beginner. I was taking lessons many years ago but never got past the beginner stage when I had a hand injury and gave-up. With the pandemic I decided to pick it up again using the Online Academy of Irish Music (oaime .ie) lessons by Paddy Cummins . Still, a slow learner but have gotten Molly Malone, The Kerry Polka, The Foggy Dew, Britches Full of Stitches, the Ballydesmond Polka under my fingers fairly well and working on my first jig the Lilting Banshee. I really like that these lessons are very easy to listen to a phrase repeatedly. The melodies in Irish music seem to follow in a more intuitive sense to me, so it seems (somewhat) easier to find the right note when I’m trying to Commit a tune to memory. Probably helps that they are short tunes, too!
    Aidan Crossey’s The Irish Mandolin has been a great source of inspiration and Education too.
    So, just introducing myself as a new “newbie” And wondering what others experience learning Irish tunes on the mandolin has been like?

    Ed McG
  2. HonketyHank
    I have very much enjoyed learning Irish fiddle tunes. I thought I had practically no familiarity with that genre when I started with the mandolin five years ago, but I quickly learned how important they are to what we call bluegrass or old time here in the US. My favorite source and reference is . And Baron Collins-Hill has a fair number of Irish and Irish derived lessons on his site, . I haven't tried any polkas but I have happily jumped into the world of jigs, hop jigs, double jigs, slip jigs, slides, reels, and hornpipes, with a three-two or two thrown in as well.

    O'Neill's books are invaluable for tunes that existed a hundred years ago and are still available in facsimile editions.

    One problem I have is that sometimes it is hard to do justice to a tune that makes use of fiddle-centric ornamentation. But usually there is a way to either glide over it or approximate it.
  3. SOMorris
    Hi Ed.

    I like Irish tunes, but I pretty much like a wide range of music. I'm not much for Bluegrass, though.
  4. Spragster
    Hey Ed welcome. I gotta say Hank pretty much hit it on the nose with the session and Check out the fiddle tunes section, he does a great job at simplifying them down and usually has a bunch of play along tracks and tabs/notation all for free
  5. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    Ed, Marla Fibish (fabulous Celtic mandolinist) is starting a new series of online classes soon. Three or four different levels. Her teaching web page doesn't have specifics, but there is contact information:
  6. Spragster
    id also like to mention, up in the "learn/listen" tab on the main page theres a drop down for a tab library, at the very bottom left there you should find "the O'Carolan project" its by no means exhaustive of his works but theres a lot of the more popular ones with tabs as well as standard notation. Not as jiggy and reely as more modern traditional (is that a thing?) music, a lot of aires and waltz I guess. pretty stuff
  7. HonketyHank
    Thanks for the tip, Spragster. I had never noticed. The cafe is a pretty roomy place with lots of nooks and crannies to explore.
  8. Swimbob
    Hi Ed, I'm in the same boat as you. I don't know what it is about the Irish tunes but I seem to be addicted to them. My teacher is a bluegrass fiddler who is always trying to get me to learn the songs he's most familiar with but when I get home I find a new Irish tune somewhere and try to learn it.

    I found The Lilting Banshee was not that hard to learn so that became one of my favorites. I also like to play Cooley's Reel, Red Haired Boy, and Silver Spear. They weren't hard to learn and are a lot of fun to play.

    Now if you're in the mood to try something harder I would suggest Taylor's Twist or Monahan's Jig. Those are a couple of finger busters but so rewarding when you get them down.

    Bye the way, I've only been playing for three, almost four years myself. Don't get discouraged or intimidated. The more you practice the more you'll get out of it.
  9. Spragster
    @Swimbob, I went through the same thing with my violin teacher but with classical pieces. She would want to hear the bach i was supposed to practice but id blast out the Irish washer woman or something.
    I also play all those tunes you mention a good deal, think they mostly came from the site. be happy to trade some videos to jam along too. That goes for anyone really. PM me if anyone has another tune or something irishy youd want to collaborate on. And im no pro so dont be bashful about skills!!
  10. HonketyHank
    You may have noticed a post on the main forum from Ralph Carr announcing his project to work his way through all (yes, ALL) 1001 tunes in ONeill's 1001 Dance Tunes of Ireland. His YouTube channel is , so you can go there to follow his progress. Today he posted tune number 6.

    If you scroll down through his videos, you'll also find some excellent mandolin lessons. I just now watched his lesson on how to get different tone qualities with different playing techniques.
  11. Swimbob
    Spragster I don't really have the technology to do video. My computer is very slow but I manage to muddle through with it. I just worked on learning Banish Misfortune over at Mandolessons and what should have taken 17 minutes to watch took nearly an hour because of spooling. Next I want to learn Calliope House.

    Hank, I did see that but haven't had the opportunity to check it out. Ralph is incredibly good and I know it's going to be wonderful stuff.
Results 1 to 11 of 11