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 Forum index » Discussion » Schmooze
Traditional Irish Music Concert
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JovianPyx



Joined: Nov 20, 2007
Posts: 1943
Location: West Red Spot, Jupiter
Audio files: 221

PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:46 am    Post subject: Traditional Irish Music Concert Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi Ladies and Gents,

Yesterday I went to a traditional Irish music concert. The band isn't established with a name, rather they were a collection of 4 musicians that play together.

The concert began with a single member on stage who played something I didn't know existed, but it makes cultural sense. The instrument is called Uilleann Pipes (pronouced like ill-ee-ann). Basically, it is Irish bagpipes. You don't blow this instrument, it has a bellows which is held between the side and the right arm which is used to slowly pump the bellows. The word "Uilleann" comes from an Irish language meaning "elbow". In that language it is called "elbow pipes" for the obvious reason. It has three drones and another pipe (the chanter) that is fingered for melodies. Pitch bend is possible to two or more semitones The gentleman brought tears to my eyes as he played the most beautiful music I've heard in a very long time. After perhaps two minutes of solo, he was joined by a fiddle player, then a guitarist and finally a female percussionist on an Irish drum. This hand held drum could play bass which was quite tonal in timbre and matched the keys in which the other three played. Depending on where she struck the drum and whether she muted it form inside with her left hand, it had different percussive timbres - on ONE drum instrument. Each musician had a turn as "lead" on the different pieces they played. The female musician also sang with an INCREDIBLE range.

Then out came a female dancer (in a little slinky green dress) very pretty - but whoa could she do Irish dance along with a male dancer. It is difficult to say which of the two dancers was the better - they were both awesome.

These six people had the place literally stomping the floor with their art.

I haven't been this impressed in more years than I can count (I'm an old guy).

One thing for sure, they shamed me for not practicing my guitars and ukuleles enough and I am now on a mission to spend a lot more time practicing those instruments.

If you ever get a chance to see and hear traditional Irish music, I highly recommend it.

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Acoustic Interloper



Joined: Jul 07, 2007
Posts: 2032
Location: Berks County, PA
Audio files: 87

PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2019 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Nice post, thanks! One of my retirement fantasies for many years has been to ride trains around Ireland with my banjo in tow and hit the pubs. I don't know whether that will ever happen, especially with 4 rescued dogs and 3 rescued kittens in our house, but I can probably just do it here in eastern PA. This stage in nearby Bethlehem is a club where Mosc and I have both played open mics long ago. I borrowed a book of union songs here in 1983 so my banjo & I could lead strike songs out on the picket line. There is a lot of Celtic music around here, and an annual fiddle festival about 3 miles away.

Another goal is to get a bouzouki and get good at it.



When I was still in Bell Labs in the 2000s, before it went down the toilet, three of us had The Trio from Hell, consisting of highland pipes, accordion, and 5-string banjo. We could play a rousing rendition of Cindy Lauper's She Bop. Cool

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JovianPyx



Joined: Nov 20, 2007
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Audio files: 221

PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Nice vid that one.

Limited funds as they are, I too am looking at more instruments (can there be too many? I don't think so Cool ). Bouzouki would be one. Mandelin is another that interests me (tuned differently than guitar or uke). My sister just bought a "light-weight" banjo with doesn't have metal ring and drumhead, but rather a wooden ring with a wooden "head" and also smaller than a standard banjo - but I'm sure you've seen them. On the "backyardmusic" website, it's called a beginner's banjo, but that would be good for me as I am a bit uncoordinated regarding finger picks (tried them with guitar and epic fail) but perhaps it's possible to flat pick it. My sister's sounds banjo-y to me.

If I could afford uilleann pipes, I'd get one and struggle to learn it because I think it sounds delicious. The gentleman in front of me at the concert told me the name of it and said that they start around $20,000 - that's a bit much. I'm so disappointed that the concert was not recorded, I'd have purchased, it was phenomenal.

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Time flies like a banana.
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Acoustic Interloper



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I have been playing mandolin since sometime in the 70s, but find the spacing on the fret board becomes too close & cramping for my hands, which is one reason I am interested in the bouzouki.

All 5 of my banjos are open back, not bluegrass resonators, and I never use finger picks. In another two years I will have been picking banjos for 50 years! You definitely don't need finger picks unless you are in a bluegrass band.

There is a prof at our college who gives free lessons in Highland piping and organizes performances. Next time I see her, I'll ask about finding reasonably-priced Uilleann pipes. She may know.

Here is a flyer for a gig at our planetarium 2 April Fools Days ago. I downloaded the instrument outlines from an on-line coloring book, and used them to paint the dome during one of the tunes. The evening was all processed acoustic instruments.

Have fun!


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JovianPyx



Joined: Nov 20, 2007
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Location: West Red Spot, Jupiter
Audio files: 221

PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

That sounds familiar. I bought a tenor uke in Hawaii (a Mele) because I understood about the soprano and concert being a bit small for guitar players. It took only two months being home with it before I bought a Kala 8 string baritone which is much more comfortable and is in the same key as guitar. I saw what you said about bouzouki (reading on wikipedia) and thought the same because of my experience with ukes. I can play the tenor, but can't finger much above the 12th fret on the tenor. So now I'm looking for a local retailer that sells bouzouki (yeah, good luck with that). But I live in Los Angeles which is a music town so I could get lucky. Interesting tuning it has. I'm self taught on string instruments and I believe I can figure bouzouki out (to see if it rocks - I bet it can).

If you have info about economic uilleann pipes I would LOVE to hear about it. That instrument is just beautiful sounding IMO.

Thanks!

_________________
FPGA, dsPIC and Fatman Synth Stuff

Time flies like a banana.
Fruit flies when you're having fun.
BTW, Do these genes make my ass look fat?
corruptio optimi pessima
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JovianPyx



Joined: Nov 20, 2007
Posts: 1943
Location: West Red Spot, Jupiter
Audio files: 221

PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Oh and thanks for the picking tip. I thought you were finger picking. I'm a flat picker so I think I'll go for the long neck banjo at backyardmusic.com. It's a 5 stringer which I love.
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FPGA, dsPIC and Fatman Synth Stuff

Time flies like a banana.
Fruit flies when you're having fun.
BTW, Do these genes make my ass look fat?
corruptio optimi pessima
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Acoustic Interloper



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Location: Berks County, PA
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Since we are talking partly about ukes, I'll tell you my favorite uke story. We started our kids on baritone uke -- our daughter went on to classical guitar for many years, and our son is a (mostly electric) guitar player. When my dad was in the cardiac ward, the night before he passed in 1994, I took a baritone uke to the ward because I figured the nylon strings and gentle timbre wouldn't be annoying to anyone. There were no walls between beds, only partitions. My sister, her husband, and I took turns sitting up with him. He couldn't respond due to respirator, but his shoulders would move in time to the music. I was finger picking Christmas carols (it was early January) and lullabies that I had played for my son when he was little. At one point I looked at a clock and realized that I was playing music at 1:30 AM in a ward full of people in critical condition, so I stopped. A few minutes later a nurse walked in and said to me, "The lady in the next bed would like you to keep playing, if that's OK." They got another half hour out of me before I crashed on a couch and handed off guard duty to my sister.

I don't know how accurate this piece of Irish bouzouki history is, but I'll go with it for now.
Quote:

By far the most common tuning for the Irish bouzouki is G2 D3 A3 D4. This was pioneered by Johnny Moynihan (apparently in an attempt to replicate the open, droning sound of Appalachian "clawhammer" banjo) first on the mandolin and then transferred to a Greek bouzouki. It was later picked up by Andy Irvine and Dónal Lunny, and quickly became the next thing to a standard tuning for the 4 course instrument. Other tunings used, although by a minority of players, are "octave mandolin" tuning G2 D3 A3 E4, and "Open D" tuning A2 D3 A3 D4. "Open G" G2 D3 G3 D4, is used by some players and has proven useful for "bottleneck" slide playing.

G D A E is standard fiddle & mandolin tuning in 5ths, so G D A D is just a drop-D tuning. I usually drop the guitar's 1st & 6ths strings to drop D (D A D G B D) if I am playing a D mode, and also drop that A to a G for a G mode. I can play chord changes faster that way because they are banjo chords, also allows using various strings for drones. It's funny that wikipedia says, "an attempt to replicate the open, droning sound of Appalachian "clawhammer" banjo", because Appalachian folk music derives heavily from British Isles folk music, so I'd think it was the other way around. However, Moynihan was a musician in the 1960s, and 5-string banjos are used with flat picks in British Isle musics, so I guess they could have influenced his adaptation of the Greek bouzouki.
Quote:

The most famous innovation of Sweeney's Men is probably Moynihan's introduction of the bouzouki, originally a Greek instrument, into Irish music, albeit with a different tuning: GDAD.

This was in the 1960s, so, not a traditional Irish instrument.

Appalachian folk music uses an assortment of modes, as do British Isle folk music, Eastern European string music, and as I discovered when I started listening to jazz in 2000, modal jazz. You can do all kinds of genre fusion, once you get into them modes. Cool

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JovianPyx



Joined: Nov 20, 2007
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Audio files: 221

PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

That's cool about the hospital and asking you to continue - I'm in Arizona for two weeks visiting my 90 year old mom. The last time I was here, I had the baritone with me and started practicing in the guest room where I sleep with the door closed. Mom comes with her walker and knocks on the door to tell me to come to her bedroom to practice. Smile Smile Smile . I took that as a nice complement. I find the ukes to be easier to play than guitar. When I first started, I thought they'd be limiting because of only four strings or courses, but that's not true. I've found many new fingerings to play all sorts of interesting chords up and down the neck. And wild hand motion isn't as bad as a guitar since the 12th fret is much closer to the nut. I've taken both ukes to a luthier to have dual mics installed in each. Nice to just plug in so I have reverb and can record without a lot of horking around.

I'm retired now for a year and am cursing the time I've wasted watching TV. I want to spend at least 2 hours a day playing something with strings. I have a Les Paul, Gibson Dove, an old Silvertone 6 string (nylon acoustic) which is 50 years old and plays very welll and now I've added the ukes and want the banjo and more - very possibly bouzouki if I can find a place where I can go play some nice ones. Will have to duckduckgo it and see what comes up. I also have crafted a nice Karplus-Strong synthesizer (32 voice) that has VERY nice bass sounds which I want to use with physical string instruments. I don't want to waste the time I have left on this planet.

_________________
FPGA, dsPIC and Fatman Synth Stuff

Time flies like a banana.
Fruit flies when you're having fun.
BTW, Do these genes make my ass look fat?
corruptio optimi pessima
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Acoustic Interloper



Joined: Jul 07, 2007
Posts: 2032
Location: Berks County, PA
Audio files: 87

PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Music is a great way to interact with older people. My mom had a series of mini-strokes in her early 90s. It became hard for her to hold up her end of a conversation, but playing music for her, and also bringing along our German Shepherd for some pet therapy, always raised the energy level. Smile
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when shallow, she drinks.
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JovianPyx



Joined: Nov 20, 2007
Posts: 1943
Location: West Red Spot, Jupiter
Audio files: 221

PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Awwwwww... Smile
_________________
FPGA, dsPIC and Fatman Synth Stuff

Time flies like a banana.
Fruit flies when you're having fun.
BTW, Do these genes make my ass look fat?
corruptio optimi pessima
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View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
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