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Thread: Good source for beginning Celtic and Quebecois music

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    Question Good source for beginning Celtic and Quebecois music

    Hi! I'm a beginner and one of the reasons I started (in my 50s no less) is that I love Celtic and Quebecois mandolin music. I have a background in classical guitar so I can read music. Does anyone know of a good website/publisher of easier C/Q music? Hoping to get good enough to justify buying a good Celtic mandolin one day! Thanks!!

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    Mangler of Tunes OneChordTrick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good source for beginning Celtic and Quebecois music

    Try traditionalmusic.co.uk, http://www.nigelgatherer.com or if you have something that can convert .abc file abcnotation.com. All are good resources for tunes.

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    Default Re: Good source for beginning Celtic and Quebecois music

    Hi Leslie and welcome to the Cafe!

    Here are some resources to start with on the Irish side which I'm more familiar with, maybe someone else will jump in with Quebecois info.

    A good place to start is with something called Dow's List (link below for PDF file) which has 60 "essential" tunes, meaning that they're very common in informal Irish sessions around the world.

    http://www.cheakamus.com/Ceilidh/Dow.../Dows_List.pdf

    I wouldn't necessarily call them all easy tunes. Some are more challenging than others, but the nature of the music is that it isn't very complicated compared to say, Classical music. The important thing is to listen as much as you can to good recorded (or live) examples of good players, to get a sense of the different dance rhythms -- hornpipes, jigs, reels, etc. -- so you know how to get the right feel when reading sheet music. Also, realize that the specific setting of these tunes can vary, depending on where you are and who you're playing with. The settings in Dow's List are just representative examples that might vary a bit in a local session.

    Another good resource for beginners is the Comhaltas Foinn Seisiún Books 1 and 2, where even if you don't buy the books you can hear audio examples of all the tunes on the web site. They're snipped from longer sets of actual pub sessions (a "set" is several tunes played in sequence), and the playing can be a little hard to hear sometimes, but these are samples of what you might hear in the wild. Click each tune name to reach the audio file:

    https://comhaltas.ie/shop/detail/foi...book_volume_1/

    https://comhaltas.ie/shop/detail/foi...book_volume_2/

    One final thing, this is just my personal opinion but you don't need a "Celtic mandolin" to play this music. Opinions will vary on that, but I think any well-made mandolin with decent volume will work for this music. I've been playing an arch-top F-hole mandolin -- the type used in Bluegrass -- both at home and in pub sessions with fiddlers and pipers for years now. You may want something marketed as a "Celtic" mandolin for other reasons, like visual aesthetics, but I've seen almost every type of mandolin used for this music.

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    Default Re: Good source for beginning Celtic and Quebecois music

    While there may be some overlap, Celtic and Quebecois tunes are usually separate genres, though I supose there are some musicians who can play both with expertise.

    In Celtic or at least ITM I am a big fan of these free downloadable Kingston tunebooks. I even had them printed out and coilbound at my local Kinko's.

    Another good source of lots of tunes is the Session, though it is more of a wiki-style, meaning some versions are better than others since they are supplied by players.

    As for Quebecois, Lisa Ornstein, an American fiddler who immersed herself in the genre many years ago has a website with links to source materials and sheet music. I downloaded many tunes from Pascal Gemme's site which she links to there.

    The Montreal Session Tunebook is another good one for both Quebecois and ITM.

    Actually this site also has quite a few links to both Celtic and Quebecois tune books.

    In addition there are over a thousand Scottish tunes on Tom Buchanan's site.
    Last edited by Jim Garber; Oct-31-2018 at 11:21am.
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    Default Re: Good source for beginning Celtic and Quebecois music

    I have made great use of TheSession.org and their tunes database. I look forward to sampling some of the other sites mentioned above as well.
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    Default Re: Good source for beginning Celtic and Quebecois music

    Thanks Jim! I appreciate all the links. I was aware that Celtic and Quebecois are different, but one of my favorite bands, Le Vent du Nord, out of Montreal seems to fuse the two. The Irish had a large presence in Quebec in the 19th century (as my great grandparents could attest), and I have always loved this fusion!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5s0VtSgXDT8

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    Default Re: Good source for beginning Celtic and Quebecois music

    Thank you so much! Love the packet with all the tunes and music. That will keep me super busy!

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    Default Re: Good source for beginning Celtic and Quebecois music

    Here's a link to a great website with lots of Irish tunes - one nice feature is that you can slow the speed down, great resource for learning tunes by ear:

    https://wellington.session.nz/tunes_archive/
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    Default Re: Good source for beginning Celtic and Quebecois music

    http://www.mandolintab.net/index.html

    Hundreds of good tunes here
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    Default Re: Good source for beginning Celtic and Quebecois music

    Wow, a lot of new resources from these posts. I hope you found enough to keep you busy Leslie!

    Thanks folded path, the Comhaltas Foinn Seisiún Books 1 and 2 are on the way here. The website for Comhaltas is a bit dated, they apparently are up to Book 4 now.

    The Wellington Session tune archives appears to have a lot of Comhaltas Foinn session audio recordings on their list. Too bad their tunes labeled "Slow Session" aren't really recordings of a slow session. I really need to find a local slow session or start my own.
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    Default Re: Good source for beginning Celtic and Quebecois music

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply, and for that wonderful packet of tunes. I will print it out and get to work. Most of the tunes can be found on Spotify so I can listen to them first. As for the mandolin, I currently have an inexpensive Ibanez a shape mandolin that I had professionally set up and restrung, so it is fine for now. I just love the sound though on a real Celtic mandolin--maybe it's my guitar background but I think sound hole makes a much more beautiful sound. Can you recommend a good brand for under US$1,000?

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    Default Re: Good source for beginning Celtic and Quebecois music

    Coming in a bit late here, Leslie, but nobody else has mentioned the great books of Scottish tunes (aimed at fiddlers mainly) published from the Isle of Skye by Taigh Na Teud and edited and arranged by Christine Martin and Anne Hughes. Christine has a set in six volumes called The Fiddle Music of the Scottish Highlands (Ceol na Fidhle in Gaelic) in standard notation with suggested chords. I have the combined volumes 5 and 6 in front of me at the moment and the ISBN for this is: 1 871931 7X. Further information on all the books can be got at: info@scotlandsmusic.com. I have no financial interest in the publications but am a very satisfied owner of several of the books.
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    Default Re: Good source for beginning Celtic and Quebecois music

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    While there may be some overlap, Celtic and Quebecois tunes are usually separate genres, though I supose there are some musicians who can play both with expertise.

    In Celtic or at least ITM I am a big fan of these free downloadable Kingston tunebooks. I even had them printed out and coilbound at my local Kinko's.

    Another good source of lots of tunes is the Session, though it is more of a wiki-style, meaning some versions are better than others since they are supplied by players.

    As for Quebecois, Lisa Ornstein, an American fiddler who immersed herself in the genre many years ago has a website with links to source materials and sheet music. I downloaded many tunes from Pascal Gemme's site which she links to there.

    The Montreal Session Tunebook is another good one for both Quebecois and ITM.

    Actually this site also has quite a few links to both Celtic and Quebecois tune books.

    In addition there are over a thousand Scottish tunes on Tom Buchanan's site.
    Thanks so much for the Montreal Session Tunebook Jim! I have just started to dip into it and there are some lovely melodies.

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    Default Re: Good source for beginning Celtic and Quebecois music

    Reviving an old thread to thank everyone for these suggestions. Am just starting to learn some Quebec tunes and this thread was a great source.

    The link to Pete Braccio's site ("this site" in the post above) is a real mother lode of music, including a link to the pdf of The Northern Fiddler. Have been lucky enough to have a copy of that book for a few years, but it's still nearly impossible to find. And doing some more searching (through The Session), I've discovered that Allen Feldman did not object when it was put out. And for those who care, Neil Gatherer has a site with more information on many of the tunes in The Northern Fiddler - http://www.nigelgatherer.com/books/nf.html
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    Default Re: Good source for beginning Celtic and Quebecois music

    Lots of great sources guys, here’s one with mainly old French tunes, dances etc.
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/4mhtbh61mg...DOTAB.pdf?dl=0

    It’s a PDF from a site, Tourne a L’aube, that sadly no longer exists.

    Funnily enough I’d suggest (though you may already know this) learning some OldTime tunes, ESPECIALLY ones that, as a classical musician you feel are too simple or easy. The idea is to learn that different types of music have sometimes very different priorities. Number one here I’d say is rhythm, hear the pulse, steady all the way through, no changes for feeling, well rarely. You have to want to move your whole body to it. If a mandolinist has that then it’s half way there.
    So practice sessions with metronome or powerful backing track, standing up, feeling the tune from your boots to your hat.
    Here’s one that you might like to try, with Bruce Molsky (mainly fiddler)
    Good luck with the tremolo, doublestops, harmonisation, and octave changes.


    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=d6jh1vqNvMs

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    Default Re: Good source for beginning Celtic and Quebecois music

    Quote Originally Posted by Leslie4197 View Post
    Hi! I'm a beginner and one of the reasons I started (in my 50s no less) is that I love Celtic and Quebecois mandolin music. I have a background in classical guitar so I can read music. Does anyone know of a good website/publisher of easier C/Q music? Hoping to get good enough to justify buying a good Celtic mandolin one day! Thanks!!
    http://www.mustrad.udenap.org/introduction_E.html
    Click on The Repertoire on the left side of the page.


    and a Google Docs page:

    https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...hhNTIxMDk0OGVh
    Last edited by Dick Dery; Oct-06-2019 at 9:21am. Reason: Additional information

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    Default Re: Good source for beginning Celtic and Quebecois music

    One of the single-best resources for traditional tunes from Quebec is Laurie Hart and Greg Sandell's exhaustively researched collection: Danse ce soir - Fiddle and Accordion Music of Quebec

    Lots of great, well-known repertoire, meticulously notated. There is a companion CD with a bunch of the tunes, too.

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    Default Re: Good source for beginning Celtic and Quebecois music

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Kotapish View Post
    One of the single-best resources for traditional tunes from Quebec is Laurie Hart and Greg Sandell's exhaustively researched collection: Danse ce soir - Fiddle and Accordion Music of Quebec

    Lots of great, well-known repertoire, meticulously notated. There is a companion CD with a bunch of the tunes, too.
    Agree 100%, Paul. In fact I have been reviving my Québécois chops on fiddle by concentrating on Danse Ce Soir repertoire. Lately I have been focusing on jigs and 6/8 tunes since, as a primarily old time fiddler, I rarely play in that meter. DCS is an excellent book and I would highly recommend it (for those who are comfortable learning from standard notation) and the CD (downloadable) which has been getting non-stop play in my car. BTW Laurie Hart has a web site.

    Also, another excellent fiddler who specializes in Québécois tradition is Donna Hebert.
    Last edited by Jim Garber; Oct-08-2019 at 1:24pm.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good source for beginning Celtic and Quebecois music

    An excellent source for Canadian music is the Virtual Gramophone which has digitized a great number of old recordings.

    Similar to Québécois music is the music of the Métis from the Canadian midwest. Some of their music is on this page of the Virtual Museum of Métis site.

    A nice downloadable tune book from the playing of Joseph Allard transcribed from old recordings (heard on Virtual Gramophone linked above) by Jean Duval.

    And a second book also from Jean Duval transcribing the music of Isidore Soucy.
    Last edited by Jim Garber; Oct-08-2019 at 1:53pm.
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    Default Re: Good source for beginning Celtic and Quebecois music

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Similar to Québécois music is the music of the Métis from the Canadian midwest. Some of their music is on this page of the Virtual Museum of Métis site.
    We call it the "west" though. We don't have a "midwest." Winnipeg, Manitoba is near the middle of the country, going from east to west that is, but it's in "the west." Ontario and Quebec are to the east of Manitoba, but they're "central Canada." The geographic centre of Canada is near Baker Lake in Nunavut, halfway between Winnipeg and the North Pole, but that's "the far north." Most Canadians never get that far north in their lives. Don't look for any logic in this naming of regions; that's just the way it is.
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    Default Re: Good source for beginning Celtic and Quebecois music

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    .... BTW Laurie Hart has a web site.
    Great stuff, Diego. Thanks. I checked out LH's site. Lyme disease? Mercy, mercy, mercy.

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