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

  1. #101
    Registered User Ed McGarrigle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    Attachment 204299
    So, on first hearing I thought “ yeah, those are the same”. But applying my hybrid tab system the differences seem immediate and fairly substantial although the number of measures that are the same seem to make the differences stand out less. The version I’m learning has a couple triplets I’m not picking up in your version. Some measures are by and large the same with a few different notes and some measures might be the same except for transposed notes. It does make me wonder how those of you accomplished players know what version is up ( especially when there could be 5 different versions colliding). Speaks to the importance of someone like myself attending a session and really paying attention before attempting to join.
    And thanks for posting stack of rye/ jr crehan’s on your YouTube, Aidan. Maybe it will be the first tune I learn 2 versions of
    Ed

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  3. #102

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

    Hmmm... there is a lot to pore over in your post, Ed. In fact the issues which you raise lie right at the very hub of "the tunes" and are issues which I've often discussed with friends who play this music. It's about 10:00pm here this evening and I think I wouldn't be able to do justice to a response at this hour. So I'm going to sleep on it for a bit and hopefully come back with a response which is partway satisfactory at some point over the next few days...

    Aidan

  4. #103
    Registered User Bren's Avatar
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    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    Aidan,

    Your efforts have been very useful, not just that, but inspiring.

    It's just a fact that, since the age of recording started over 100 years ago, and the print distribution of notation and tabs that accelerated with the folk "revival" of the 1950s and 60s, we are now influenced by many more sources than was even possible 50 years ago.

    Most people will find something to celebrate and also somethings to deplore in all that. So what.

    Every tune I play has my own spin on it and is a live project influenced by every person I play with.
    And that's barely half of it - who here can deny they are also influenced by recordings and YouTube etc?

    Here in Aberdeenshire , I have been fortunate to know well and play with fiddlers who can trace an unbroken generational line of tuition from Niel Gow to themselves.
    They are not gods, just talented and dedicated people trying to find their way, and looking on the internet just like we do. And most of them have picked up a mandolin at one time or another.

    maybe I pick up phrasing and other ideas from them, maybe I don't, but we are all trying to express what we find in the traditional sources as best we can with what abilities we can muster.

    And anyway, as well-intended as they are, you know what Brendan Behan said about begrudgers.
    Bren

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  6. #104

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed McGarrigle View Post
    Attachment 204299
    So, on first hearing I thought ď yeah, those are the sameĒ. But applying my hybrid tab system the differences seem immediate and fairly substantial although the number of measures that are the same seem to make the differences stand out less. The version Iím learning has a couple triplets Iím not picking up in your version. Some measures are by and large the same with a few different notes and some measures might be the same except for transposed notes. It does make me wonder how those of you accomplished players know what version is up ( especially when there could be 5 different versions colliding). Speaks to the importance of someone like myself attending a session and really paying attention before attempting to join.
    And thanks for posting stack of rye/ jr crehanís on your YouTube, Aidan. Maybe it will be the first tune I learn 2 versions of
    Ed
    Ed...

    I've been giving your post some thought over a coffee this morning.

    All of these tunes have been around for a long time - even a tune like the Stack Of Rye which was, in the scheme of things, a fairly recent composition by Junior Crehan. They've been around a long time and they've been played by a lot of musicians and along the way the tunes have been adapted to suit individual players' styles (more ornamented versus less ornamented; played straight or played with swing, etc) , to suit particular instruments, to incorporate "zeitgeist" elements (e.g. syncopated phrasing or the substitution of, for example in ABC speak "D2 DD D4" endings for "D2 D2 D4" in hornpipes or the substitution of "AGF GFG" endings for "AGG G3" in jigs...).

    But the tune remains...

    Those of us who have been around this music for a while would tend to take with a large pinch of salt any version of any tune which we have been taught, which we've heard played by this or that player, which we've encountered in a book or which we've stumbled across on the net. Each of those versions is simply a moment in space and time - how in one particular instance the player(s) in question chose to express the the tune. (And bear in mind that often the settings of tunes which we come across written down may have been notated from someone playing a particular instrument - e.g. the pipes - which is very particular to that instrument and which doesn't translate well to other instruments.)

    I have minimal technical musical knowledge. I know A Dorian from A Mixolydian from A Major. That's about as far as my technical knowledge goes. (I read music like a 4 year old reads books, pointing out each note with my finger and virtually having to say them aloud!) And so something has always puzzled me. Since there are so many possibilities for variations in the playing of a tune, where is the tune itself? Where within those pages of squiggles - which can vary wildly from one notated setting to another - does the tune live?

    It's a question I often find myself asking. Particularly when I'm in the company of someone who has got some technical training in music. I'm not sure I've ever had a satisfactory answer...

    So my take on it is pretty much as follows.

    Strip the tune back to its basics. Forget about ornaments. Learn the absolute bare bones. And then, when you're familiar with the tune, listen to your playing and decide for yourself where you would choose to ornament it (if at all). And remain open to the possibility - probability? virtual certainty? - that at some point you'll hear someone else play the tune and there will be a flourish, a substituted phrase, an ending which will catch your ear and which will make you re-think the tune and which you may end up incorporating into your playing.

    I try not to overthink this sort of question nowadays. I'm much more interested at the moment in providing visitors to my website and YouTube channel with fairly plain and accessible versions of tunes in the knowledge that eventually they will ornament them as they see fit. I'm not sure that this necessarily works, but to use a "google maps" analogy I show a possible direct route from A to B but the player makes the journey and they may choose to deviate from the direct route and do a bit of sightseeing along the way...

    Aidan
    Last edited by Aidan Crossey; Nov-19-2022 at 1:58am. Reason: spelling

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  8. #105

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Bren View Post
    Aidan,

    Your efforts have been very useful, not just that, but inspiring.

    And anyway, as well-intended as they are, you know what Brendan Behan said about begrudgers.
    Cheers, Bren. To not only have been useful to a player with your pedigree but to have inspired. That's kudos! :-)

    I am indeed, well acquainted with Mr Behan's sage words about begrudgers. A useful mantra. Have they turned it into a fridge magnet or an inspirational poster, I wonder?

    Give us a shout when/if you're next back in London, Bren...

    Aidan

  9. #106

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

    Two pieces of news ... one good. The other, not so.

    First the good news. I'm delighted that Bill Black - a fine musician and a maven who will be well-known to many with a keen interest in Irish traditional music - has published a collection of 100+ of my compositions at his website. I'm in some pretty illustrious company! The collection represents over 25 years' worth of my original tunes. Head on over to http://www.capeirish.com/ittl/tunefo.../65-table.html to check out how Bill has set out my tunes. And while you're there, go to his home page and have a browse. http://capeirish.com Pour yourself a coffee. Or a long, cold one. It's an absolute treasure store!

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    The not so good news. Well, I discovered recently that due to some glitch on Wordpress's behalf, all of the internal anchors to which indexes on several of the "learn some tunes" pages at TheIrishMandolin.com were deleted. To recreate them will take me weeks, if not months, of hard work. And so for the moment I'm considering the options. Thankfully all of the links to tablature and sound files are still working OK. Sigh.

    'Puters, eh! You can't live with them, can't live without them...

    Hope everyone's keeping well.

    Aidan

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  11. #107

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

    Yesterday was a red letter day for my YouTube channel http:/youtube.com/TheIrishMandolin. 1,000 subscribers. I had no idea when I started out on my venture, trying to make Irish music as accessible as possible to players of the mandolin, that it would prove so popular.

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    A huge thank you to any Mandolin Cafe members who have subscribed to my YouTube channel and helped me reach this watershed moment.

    By way of marking that milestone, here are two of my recent compositions:

    A mazurka in D called "The Ship Of Fools" and a jig in E Minor called "Our Lady Of Perpetual Regret".




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  13. #108

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

    It's been a while since I last updated this thread...

    While my work continues on tabbing out Irish traditional tunes and making them available via my website and youtube channel, I've also recently been putting a fair bit of effort into a side project. Called "Ceol Dorcha" (which translates roughly as dark music), it revolves around lo-fi, trad-influenced drones'n' distortion. The project aims to draw on my love of Irish trad as well as my earlier musical (ad)ventures in the Northern Ireland punk scene of the late 1970s/early 1980s. There are influences as well on my thinking about music from the likes of Lankum and Stick In The Wheel. It's been interesting to document the development of this idea through a series of demos which I've posted to YouTube. (There's a complete playlist at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...7GGpJZWzH6KWXY)

    I've embedded a couple of recent demos so you can get an idea of how this project is shaping up. So far the project has divided the room... as I knew it would. And I don't expect that it will appeal to everyone. However a long-time friend, now living back in Ireland, who I've known through some fairly riotous and badly-behaved days in Belfast and London got the project on first listen. He noted that there's an underlying tension in much of the Ceol Dorcha music which we don't always find in "straight" traditional music. (in fact he used the phrase "Alan Vega of the Skerries". If you know Vega's work, you'll understand why I may have taken as a massive compliment - of which, of course, I am not worthy...)

    I'm interested in the notion of collaborations "at a distance" and I'd be fascinated to see what might emerge if anyone else fancies trying their hand at doing a remix/version of some Ceol Dorcha tracks. Get in touch by DM and I'll send a link to a shared Google drive with the raw GarageBand files for several demos and you can add, subtract, use effects, whatever and when you're happy, send the resulting file and I'll publish it as a remix at my YouTube channel crediting your input, e.g. Ceol Dorcha x Joe Bloggs. If you'd like to get involved, DM me and we'll get the ball rolling.

    On a personal front, things are not going brilliantly for me at the moment. I've been diagnosed with two medical problems; I won't bore you with the details. Suffice to say for the moment that, although the issues have been identified, there's going to be a period of tests and so forth before doctors can assess how severe each issue is and therefore to work out how best to treat them. They are unrelated but their effects combine and my energy levels are not what they were. They're more of a curb on my social life than anything else currently and I have my fingers crossed for significant improvements once treatment gets underway.

    Anyway, here are a couple of Ceol Dorcha demos (a jig, The Cook In The Kitchen and a set of reels, The Torn Jacket/Paddy Taylor's) which I hope some of you, at least, find interesting. And that suggestion of possible long-distance collaboration is genuine; I'd be delighted to hear what direction others might take when given the opportunity to remix any of my demos.

    Very best.

    Aidan




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  15. #109

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

    A quick note about some changes which I've recently made to my youtube channel - http://youtube.com/TheIrishMandolin

    Users of the channel may be aware that I have categorised the tune learning videos (notation, tab and sound file played on solo mandolin) which I host in the channel into various playlists, according to tune type. When I set the channel up I didn't know just how many tune learning videos I would eventually host and so I did a little bit of "lumping together" which has subsequently proved unhelpful.

    In particular I had a "jigs and slip jigs" playlist, a "polkas and slides" playlist and an "others" playlist which housed "cinderella" tune forms such as mazurkas, planxties, etc. I've spent the last few days diligently separating out those playlists and the full complement of playlists which house tune learning videos at my youtube channel now comprises (at today's date). (NB - these playlists often contain "revisited" versions of the tune learning materials, so - for example - 1,086 tune learning videos in the reels playlist does not mean that there are 1,086 different reels - probably more like 600-700...)

    Reels 1,086 videos
    Jigs 1,048 videos
    Hornpipes 320 videos
    Polkas 290 videos
    My original compositions 182 videos
    Slip Jigs 145 videos
    Slides 110 videos
    Barndances 89 videos
    Marches 82 videos
    Mazurkas 36 videos
    Waltzes 21 videos
    O'Carolan Tunes/Planxties 18 videos
    Set Dances 17 videos
    Airs 11 videos
    Flings 11 videos
    Laments 4 videos

    There's also a hefty playlist which features demo recordings by my Ceol Dorcha project which I've mentioned above which features 51 videos at the time of writing (although one or two are private).

    A complete list of all the playlists at my channel (which include material other than tune learning resources, e.g. collaborative A-Z of Irish Traditional Music playlists) can be found at http://youtube.com/TheIrishMandolin/playlists.

    After all that teejus admin, time to play a few tunes!

    Aidan

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  17. #110
    Registered User Richard Carver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    Very best wishes on your health, Aidan. And take it easy.

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  19. #111
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Aidan Crossey View Post
    Those of us who have been around this music for a while would tend to take with a large pinch of salt any version of any tune which we have been taught, which we've heard played by this or that player, which we've encountered in a book or which we've stumbled across on the net. Each of those versions is simply a moment in space and time - how in one particular instance the player(s) in question chose to express the the tune.
    That is the absolute truth. Add to that when we get done with a tune, after years and years of playing the potatoes out of it, who knows what changes, deliberate or not, we have introduced into it. We are not just bystanders in this.
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

    The entire staff
    funny....

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  21. #112

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

    @Richard - very many thanks for your concern. I've been very lucky and never had to deal with any significant health complications so far. It's been a looooooong haul from initially experiencing symptoms through several iterations of diagnosis until finally referrals to specialists who - fingers crossed - will be able to assess just how serious are the two conditions which my family doctor has identified. And then whatever treatment ensues. In the meantime, I've had to make some lifestyle changes; some of which may have been a tad overdue in any event. (I'm not 21 any more. ;-) )

    @Jeff - first time I've ever been accused of telling "the absolute truth". :-) Best I've ever managed so far in life is an approximation. :-). (Seriously, thanks for the kind words and for taking my observation a useful step further...).

    Aidan

  22. #113

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

    A summary of new additions to my YouTube channel this week (18/9/23-24/9/23) http://youtube.com/TheIrishMandolin

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