View Full Version : Celtic Tunes

Aug-14-2004, 5:07pm
I am really getting into Celtic music, but I have nothing to play. Whenever I ask someone I know to give me some, I end up with hill-billy honky-tonk stuff. I want some good jigs or reels. Anyone know of any??? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

John Flynn
Aug-14-2004, 8:20pm
This is a great link. It is to the BBC "Virtual Sessions." You can learn all the basic Celtic session tunes and play along.

Aug-15-2004, 9:32am
There is a huge section of irish/celtic music tabbed out in the tablature section on mandolincafe.com. Thesession.org has lot more tunes in regular notation or ABC.

steve V. johnson
Aug-15-2004, 10:08am
A practice resource that I like is the "121 Favorite Session Tunes" set by L.E.McCullough. There is a book with staff notation and guitar chord diagrams and four (or is it five?) CDs. On the CDs the players go thru the tunes twice each, with the first time slower than the second.

Walton's also makes one of these, very similar, but with slightly better arrangements of the tunes and the notations are a bit better, but they are a bit tougher to play.

I forget what these cost, but until you find some players to join in with, they will do pretty well to learn the 'language'.


Aug-16-2004, 6:48am
Emily - The Session (http://www.thesession.org/index.php) mentioned above has about 3500 traditional tunes catalogued. You need to sign on to get access to all the tunes / facilities / discussion groups but it is worth the effort. (FREE)

Some of the tunes will have four or five different arrangements, or versions or keys so, there is a lot of material to scour and explore. This group is developing a marvelous collection of Strathspeys and even (most recently) explained and explored both varsivienne and Rants. Now those are something you don't run into everyday on the West Side of Chicago but ... they really add a lot to your personal knowledge base. (A Varsivienne is a Mazurka with the accent placed on the first beat of the measure, a Rant is a Scots Reel with the first stroke of EACH measure played with an upstroke ... )

If you go to this site, you can hear what the tunes sound like in Midi so the melody will sort of become familiar, then you can download the tune either in ABC or as a .GIF and print it up as you want. If you have TablEdit, you can import the tune in ABC and then explore it in tablature and notation. A lot of marvelous variables here.

Also ... keep listening to as much Celtic Traditional music as is possible, Scots, Irish, Shetland, Cape Breton etc. It will help you establish your ear and interests. Some fun stuff out there ...


Martin Jonas
Aug-16-2004, 7:27am
My first recommendation for Celtic mandolin tablature (and standard notation) is always Nigel Gatherer (http://users.argonet.co.uk/users/gatherer/music.html), who has loads of great versions of Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Shetland tunes. I find them better notated and mostly more fun to play than the Mandozine TablEdit files. Some, but not all, of the tunes have MIDI files as well.

Otherwise, there are lots and lots of non-mandolin specific sites out there with abc and/or standard notation tunes. If you have the names of any specific tunes you're looking for (maybe ones that you have on a CD and want to learn how to play), then the best place to go is the abc tune finder (http://trillian.mit.edu/~jc/music/abc/FindTune.html), a search engine for traditional tunes, which can translate into standard notation.


Aug-18-2004, 1:50pm
I am also interested in finding 'intermediate' and 'beginners' level tunes for octave mandola. While the replies to the original question are a great source of tunes, some of them seem to miss the point. Emily (and I) are looking for recommendations for easier tunes to play, rather than just where to find lots of tunes.


Martin Jonas
Aug-19-2004, 3:15am
While the replies to the original question are a great source of tunes, some of them seem to miss the point. Emily (and I) are looking for recommendations for easier tunes to play, rather than just #where to find lots of tunes.
That wasn't my understanding from Emily's post. I thought she was looking for interesting tunes, not necessarily easy ones. Either way, the Gatherer site I've linked is a good start, as many of the versions there are easier than the Mandozine ones and more selectively geared towards those that are suitable for mandolin than the generic session sites.


Aug-19-2004, 6:22am
Emily used the word 'intermediate', not interesting. So, I assumed you she referring to the level of difficulty. Maybe I got it wrong.


steve V. johnson
Aug-19-2004, 10:37pm
Hey Steve!

Have a look at the thread called 'Need Chords' in this group!