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Thread: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

  1. #26

    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    Thank you so much for the kind words, Eric. I’m genuinely touched by the sentiment. Aidan

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    Thank you so much for the kind words, Eric. I’m genuinely touched by the sentiment. Aidan

  2. #27
    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    Aidan, I printed out "A Tune for Fee" when you provide the link last spring. I play it almost every day. Besides being a very pretty tune, it includes every note in first position on the mandolin, top to bottom and back. Makes a great warm-up piece.

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  4. #28

    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    Hi Louise... lovely to hear my tune described in such glowing terms. When it first came to me -almost a case of the tune writing itself! - I wasn’t sure if it would move others in the way it spoke to me.

    It hasn’t occurred to me until reading your observation that it covers the full spectrum of first position in G. (Of course as a player of Irish trad music, there is no other position! ;-)) So I’m glad it serves as a purpose as a warm up/workout as well as being tuneful.

    I’ve been away from home for a few days and haven’t been playing music. Your comments are an inspiration to pick up the mandolin as soon as I get home and play a few tunes. Thank you...

  5. #29

    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    Thanks to a very helpful suggestion from Michael Gregory, I've tweaked the "mandolin players' favourite sets" section so that as well as listing the tunes in the set, I include a link to the relevant page in the "tunes" section of thesession.org and I include a little bit of narrative about the tunes' provenance. Hopefully these additions will add a bit of interest to this section.

    And a reminder before I go that your contributions to this new section of the site and to the mp3 section are always very very welcome. The more players who contribute, the better. We all have our own particular takes on the music and the mandolin and we all have something to learn from each other.

    Many thanks.

    Aidan

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  7. #30
    Registered User Joe Dodson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    I just stumbled across this thread and your site for the first time today. Thanks for the terrific resource!

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  9. #31

    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    I've spent the last few days reorganising and redesigning the "learn some tunes" section of the website. You may remember that I had set out the tune title, type and key, links to further info and mandolin tablature and finally a sound file in table format. A friend suggested that since the number of tunes has grown like crazy, it might be an idea to categorise them by tune type (jig, slip jig, reel, etc). And then to create links in this index to take the viewer directly to the tune in question. Sadly wordpress doesn't allow for the creation of "anchors" within tables and so I had to completely redesign the format of this section. However I think the redesign has improved its usefulness. Grateful to know what others think... The direct link to the "learn some tunes" page is https://theirishmandolin.com/learn-some-tunes/

    I have also created a complementary youtube channel, again as learning resource for mandolinists interested in the Irish musical tradition. It's still very much in its infancy but will grow over the months ahead. (Making good use of the long winter nights...) The address is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVv...HMfjET8I2fQJg/

    Again, I'd be very interested to hear what others think.

    Very best.

    Aidan

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  11. #32
    Registered User Ed McGarrigle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    Aidan,
    Thank you so much!
    I don’t know beans about technology but that must have been a ton of work. As a beginner mandolin player and a relative newcomer to the music “The Irish Mandolin“ is a real gift.
    Your “inexpressible delight” thread has triggered a hornpipe jag and the new format provides a nice comprehensive introduction.
    I’ll probably have to get some ink for the printer as I begin to assemble “The Crossey Collection”
    Many thanks
    Ed

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  13. #33

    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    So...

    Having redesigned the nucleus of "The Irish Mandolin", i.e. the "learn some tunes" page, I'm now slowly trawling through the site to make upgrades to some of the earlier tablature and - where I come across them - recordings which suffer from background hiss. (I've got my hands on some better recording equipment since I first started creating sound files for the site and the quality of some of the earlier recordings leaves a lot to be desired in comparison to the results which I can get from the new gear...)

    This process of cleaning things up will take some time and it gets in the way of adding new tunes. But slowly, surely I'll get there.

    In the meantime, I've created a YouTube channel which I hope will turn out be a useful tune learning resource for people. Each video pulls up sheet music and mandolin tab for the tune in question so the viewer can play along with my sound flle. YouTube has an excellent feature whereby in the settings for each video the viewer can adjust the playback speed to half or quarter speed without affecting the pitch of the original recording. Check out the channel - currently growing at the rate of around 5 videos per day - at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVv...HMfjET8I2fQJg/

    And finally, for those on Twitter, I've created a Twitter account in the past few days where I post updates about tweaks and additions to the website and the YouTube channel. My profile page is www.twitter.com/TheMandolin If you're a Twitter user, why not follow me there?

    Back to upgrading those tabs now!

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  15. #34

    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    Another update from yours truly.

    I'm ploughing my way through upgrading the tablature files on the "learn some tunes" page of the website - www.theirishmandolin.com When I originally set the site up I was manually tabbing tunes in MS Word and some of those early tabs look a little "prehistoric" now. So I've been using the abc converter function at mandolintab.net to generate tabs which are much easier on the eye. (And because there's a midi generator built into the abc converter routine, it's much easier to check that the tabs are accurate before I post them...) It's a mammoth task, to be honest. I reckon I'm only about a third of the way through this upgrading process and there's still quite a lengthy list of tabs that need upgrading. But sure, it's a task that will keep me out of mischief during these beak days of winter.

    I've also been populating my YouTube channel with very simple videos which are designed to help people learn tunes in mandolin-friendly settings. The concept is quite simple - the screen simply displays tablature (and "dots") for the tune while a recording of yours truly playing (attempting might be a better word in some cases! ) the tune on mandolin plays in the background. Unlike videos of maestrae/maestri such as Jill McAuley, Marla Fibish, Dan Beimborn and others, these videos aren't dazzling displays of technique and virtuosity. Instead they're designed to give those new or relatively new to Irish music (or new to the particular tune in question!) an idea of its gist. One of YouTube's great features is the ability in the settings button of each video to slow down the soundtrack to 0.75, 0.5 or 0.25 times the original speed without altering the pitch. Ideal way to learn tunes if the listener finds the original speed a tad too brisk... I've lost count of the number of videos I've posted so far but I'm sure it's close to 200 with many more on the sidelines awaiting their turn to make the team! A reminder of the YouTube channel again https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVv...HMfjET8I2fQJg/

    My twitter account provides a more or less "real-time" update on all new additions/improvements to both the website and my YouTube channel. In addition, I aim to post every day at least one classic (non-mandolin - cos man doesn't live by bread alone!) Irish Trad album track that has featured significantly in my many years of listening and at least one superb mandolin track/video that I've come across over the years. It's a good way of keeping on top of stuff that I'm doing and if you're a twitter user, I's be really pleased to follow you if you follow my twitter feed and drop me a quick hello. My twitter account is at https://twitter.com/TheMandolin

    Finally, before I sign off this post, I wrote a polka a few days ago as a tribute to my wee nephew Louis (6 years old at the time of writing) who is an endless source of fascination (and pride) to his parents and my partner and I on account of his sheer competence at all manner of domestic chores and his willingness to roll his sleeves up and get stuck in. It's called The Tiny Butler and you can find it on the original tunes page of my website https://theirishmandolin.com/origina...aidan-crossey/ or here at YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDagCByRy8A

    Anyway, thanks to those who've read today's despatch from the front line and to all who have visited my website, viewed my YouTube channel and followed my twitter account. In these strange and isolating days, it's a great way to maintain a form of social contact with musicianers that is sorely lacking outside of cyberspace!

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  17. #35

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    A few words, mainly to say thank you to those at the cafe who have provided help, encouragement and inspiration over the course of the past year. It's been a tough one for all of us and I'm sure that Christmas will be somewhat more bleak and sombre for many of us than normal - and that the next few weeks and months will also be tough.

    For me, personally, the music has been something of a consolation. My website and youtube channel projects have been a great diversion and given 2020 a sense of purpose and "mission" that otherwise might have been sorely missing.

    I hope that all who read this post have gained some consolation from the tunes and that you'll continue to find some consolation from them in the time to come.

    Very best wishes.

    Aidan

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  19. #36

    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    I managed - with some considerable expenditure of time and effort - to complete the "re-tabbing" exercise I referred to in my post of 10th December. And I've even managed to find time to add a few wholly new posts to both the "learn some tunes" page https://theirishmandolin.com/learn-some-tunes/ and the "original tunes" page https://theirishmandolin.com/origina...aidan-crossey/

    In the past couple of days I've also posted up a few tracks from an up-and-coming young mandolinist, Caitríona Lagan from Co. Derry. Only 14 and already a very stylish and tasteful player. Surely she's got a grand future ahead of her... see https://theirishmandolin.com/exponen...rish-mandolin/

    I was very honoured towards the end last year to have been gifted a truly lovely mandolin by Michael Gregory - who many mandolin cafe regulars will know well. It has since rarely been out of my hands. Can't remember ever having played an instrument which has so inspired me. I've written a short piece and provided some pictures at https://theirishmandolin.com/the-go-...cial-mandolin/

    A reminder to all members of this niche within the mandolin community that I'm always very happy to showcase mandolinists who play in Irish (or related) musical genres in the "notable players" section of the site. Please get in touch via here or b via the contact me page at the website https://theirishmandolin.com/contact-me/

    But I appreciate that many of us simply love playing - and don't necessarily feel confident about exposing out playing to the ears of the world. In which case maybe you'd like to share with fellow mandolinists the sets that you've developed over the years. I'd be happy to include these in the "mandolin players' favourite sets" page within the site. See https://theirishmandolin.com/mandoli...avourite-sets/ I'd love to be able to let other mandolin players within our particular neck of the woods know what their musical comrades are playing...

    On a personal note, I've found myself being increasingly attracted to the idea of playing tunes at speeds way below normal session velocity and find that this approach often brings out a dark, melancholy atmosphere - even when the tune at session speed might be quite sprightly. See what you think. Here are two examples. The Lilies Of The Field https://crosseyirishmandolin.files.w...-o-v2-slow.mp3 and Love At The Endings https://crosseyirishmandolin.files.w...ow-version.mp3

    That's all for now in this thread.

    Thanks again to all who have provided support, assistance, tunes(!) and more. Much appreciated.

    Aidan

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  21. #37
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    What a gorgeous mandolin, Mike is the salt of the earth!
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  23. #38
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    What a stunning mandolin. Really nice looking. And very nice playing, too.

    And, yes, it's sometimes fun to play the tunes slower than "standard". But if you get too slow, then you might end up in Martin Hayes territory. (Saying that with tongue firmly in cheek. Have been watching and admiring his playing since the late 1980's.) Giving tunes the time to breathe sometimes makes all the difference.
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  25. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jill McAuley View Post
    What a gorgeous mandolin, Mike is the salt of the earth!
    You're not wrong there, Jill. A gentleman and (literally!) a scholar. I'm very fortunate to have made his acquaintance, regardless of the gift he made me. Simply being able to share our mutual enthusiasm has been a pleasure and an inspiration beyond words.

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  27. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Platt View Post
    And, yes, it's sometimes fun to play the tunes slower than "standard". But if you get too slow, then you might end up in Martin Hayes territory. (Saying that with tongue firmly in cheek. Have been watching and admiring his playing since the late 1980's.)
    I was talking to a fiddler friend a while back. It turns out we were both at a gig by The Gloaming at the Union Chapel in London a few years ago (although we didn't bump into each other at the time). We were reminiscing about the gig and I mentioned that I have never been so moved by music as when Martin Hayes played his incredibly sloooooooow version of The Sailor's Bonnet. It was my equivalent of a beatific vision. Turns out she felt exactly the same.

    That one moment will stay with me all my life and while I wouldn't say it profoundly changed my way of playing at the time, its influence has been very long-lasting and it's possibly only now - having been given a mandolin which is truly a quality instrument with just the right amount of sustain - that I'm able to approach the tunes at this very slow pace...

    (Having said all of the above when Mr Hayes decides it's time to "give her the diddy" (as they say in North Armagh where I come from), he can fairly let rip!)

    And thanks for the kind words about my playing, Eric. Much appreciated. Really.

    Aidan

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  29. #41

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    I've added a new page to the site.

    Those who follow my Twitter feed (a mere handful, tbh) which kicked off in November 2020 will know that now I've got rhythm going there, most days I post a link to a track from a classic Irish trad (or related) album track or live video and a piece of mandolin music that I've come across on YouTube which has impressed me. I thought I'd start keeping a list of these and have now created a "recommended listening" page. https://theirishmandolin.com/recommended-listening/

    I've chosen to list only material which is available via YouTube because as far as I know YouTube doesn't require subscriptions to listen (it certainly doesn't from the UK and Ireland) and lots of the mandolin players whose music I enjoy use YouTube as their primary (only?) method of getting their music in front of listeners.

    Could be a useful resource in due course for ideas and inspiration. Or simply for an hour or so of browsing for enjoyment...

    G'luck.

    Aidan

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  31. #42

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    I'm really excited to say that I was asked to take part in the excellent Blarney Pilgrims podcast. I chatted and played a few tunes last week and the podcast is now available for listening. Beware - it's quite loooooooooooong.

    https://www.blarneypilgrims.com/epis...rview-mandolin

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  33. #43
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Aidan Crossey View Post
    I'm really excited to say that I was asked to take part in the excellent Blarney Pilgrims podcast. I chatted and played a few tunes last week and the podcast is now available for listening. Beware - it's quite loooooooooooong.

    https://www.blarneypilgrims.com/epis...rview-mandolin
    Oh, well done! Looking forward to listening to this - I love the Blarney Pilgrims podcast!
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  35. #44
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    That is a great podcast, excellent for getting perspectives on The Music from a variety of different angles. Looking forward to this one!

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  37. #45

    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Jill McAuley View Post
    Oh, well done! Looking forward to listening to this - I love the Blarney Pilgrims podcast!
    Let's hope my contribution doesn't spoil your grá for the series, Jill. ;-)

  38. #46

    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    That is a great podcast, excellent for getting perspectives on The Music from a variety of different angles. Looking forward to this one!
    There's most definitely some unexpected angles in this particular one... it's an unscripted conversation which, just like conversations "in real life" sometimes take all manner of twists and turns...

  39. #47
    Registered User Greg Ashton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    Just finished listening to the Blarney Pilgrims podcast, Aidan. Well done. It always impresses me when the guests are so generous in sharing their stories.

    What mandolin were you playing? Sounded great.

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  41. #48

    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    Thanks so much, Greg, for the kind words. Much appreciated. It was quite nerve-racking prior to doing the interview. Darren explained beforehand that his approach is very unscripted and the podcasts tend to run on until the interviewee runs out of steam. I wasn't sure that I could hold the audience's attention for very long. (Or my own, to be fair...)

    The mandolin I played throughout has been hand-built by Mike Gregory, who is quite well known to many on this forum. I have written about the mandolin here https://theirishmandolin.com/the-go-...cial-mandolin/

    Thanks again.

    Aidan

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  43. #49
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    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    Thanks Aidan.

    I'm a fan of the BP podcast and noticed you were due on it. Haven't listened yet, but will do soon.

    It's funny how the loudest instrument at home isn't always the one that stands up best in a pub session.
    Bren

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  45. #50
    Registered User Paul Cowham's Avatar
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    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    Hi Aidan,
    I've just listened to you on the Blarney Pilgrim's podcast, I wasn't aware of this podcast before - so thanks!

    I also really enjoyed hearing you talk and play the mandolin. Long in-depth discussions appeal to me and make a nice change from the brevity of much communication on the internet.

    My parents-in-law live in South East London, so once things have eased on the covid front and I'm down there, perhaps we could hook up and play a tune together at a session or similar?
    cheers,
    Paul
    Last edited by Paul Cowham; Feb-09-2021 at 6:45pm.

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