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Thread: help not-quite-intermediate player put together a tune set

  1. #1

    Default help not-quite-intermediate player put together a tune set


    I have it stuck in my head that a tune set should be at least 3 songs. I've been working on a pair I found on The Session (The Red Crow, and St. Kilda Wedding (the 4th of 5 versions)). I am looking for a 3rd. I have no preconceived idea about what should be 1st 2nd or 3rd, I just want the 2 tunes above to be 2 of a set of 3 (or more but not terribly long - I have been playing a year and a half but I still feel like a beginner).

    Any ideas?


    PS I'll attach the 2 I have in mind. I have access, obviously, to The Session, and also found a couple of PDFs of big song collections (I think from people here, but maybe from a FB group, I can't remember), including one called the Montreal Session, and another The Kingston Irish Slow Session. And purchased paper music including a MelBay irish mandolin book, and the Fiddlers Fakebook (which has a lot of styles but it's at least 1/3 if not more, Irish).
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails The Red Crow (reel) on The Session.pdf   St. Kilda Wedding (reel) on The Session.pdf  

  2. #2

    Default Re: help not-quite-intermediate player put together a tune set

    Hi. There is absolutely no reason why a tune set should comprise any more than two tunes if youíre happy that two tunes ďsayĒ all you want to say.

    In fact, and this is merely a personal opinion, I find that some tune sets of three or more tunes can be a bit over-rich. When playing with a friend or in a session Iíd much prefer to play two tunes 4 or 5 times over than a larger set.

    But itís all about personal preference I suppose. Just donít torment yourself to think that youíve always got to find a third (or fourth or nth) additional tune(s) if the set youíve already worked up hangs together quite well.
    Last edited by Aidan Crossey; Apr-19-2020 at 4:49am. Reason: Spelling

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  4. #3
    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Oct 2009
    Ardnadam, Argyll, Scotland

    Default Re: help not-quite-intermediate player put together a tune set

    I would agree with all Aidan says here, Heady. Also, are you playing for an audience, for dancing ,or for yourself (and maybe a few fellow-players) for your own enjoyment?
    For dancing, and I am thinking principally here of Scottish set dances (country or ceilidh), the dance will dictate the length of the music (e.g. 8x32 bars), and some longer dances we may well want three tunes, but even here there is wide scope.
    In our Scottish repertoire I can think of prescribed sets which are used especially in competition playing. The one that comes to mind is the March, Strathspey and Reel which we have inherited from the piping world and is a standard competition format in fiddle and accordion competitions, letting the players showcase the range and versatility of their skills. Very often this set is preceded by a Slow Air!
    Just go with what you feel suits you and the tunes you have selected, and remember that you can create some fine sets for audience entertainment by mixing tune types! One set my band has played regularly matches up Phil Cunningham's slow air "Sarah's Song" withe the rousing "Tam Bain's Lum", and we have always had a very favourable reaction to this combination!
    I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order. - Eric Morecambe

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  6. #4

    Default Re: help not-quite-intermediate player put together a tune set

    Thank you for all these new thoughts to mull

    I'm just playing in my bedroom after work. I realize I'm mixing regions with these songs, and I know some frown upon that, but I did it anyway

  7. #5
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Mar 2017
    Ottawa, Canada

    Default Re: help not-quite-intermediate player put together a tune set

    Cape Breton fiddlers often follow St. Kilda's Wedding with "Trip to Windsor," as recorded by Winston "Scottie" Fitzgerald. On another recording, Buddy MacMaster followed it with "Elizabeth's Big Coat." That being said, the others posting above are correct, there are no hard and fast rules as to how many tunes to play in a medley. Fitzgerald recorded only the two tunes as a medley, though he often played longer ones. It has become traditional in CapeBreton to play a slow air or march, followed by strathspeys, then reels (see post 3, above); again, there are no rules about this -- although some young fiddlers seem to think there are. If you're blending styles of music, I think you have even more freedom to decide what sounds good. I often play "Gary Owen" and "Haste to The Wedding" as a fiddle medley, never wanting to add another tune, though I have longer medleys of Cape Breton tunes. My short combinations usually consist of two jigs.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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