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Thread: One Celtic (Irish) Tune....

  1. #1
    Registered User Sandy Beckler's Avatar
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    Default One Celtic (Irish) Tune....

    I am sure this question has been posed before, I just couldn't find the answer in a search.

    In your personal opinion....(yeah...I know, everyone's got one)

    All kidding aside,
    What would be the "one" single Celtic (Irish) tune that you would consider a must know, one tune that you would consider the epitome of your Celtic (Irish) repertoire.
    Mine, I would consider Saint Anne's Reel

    Sandy

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    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: One Celtic (Irish) Tune....

    Impossible to say, at least for me - there are thousands of great tunes out there and I'm constantly learning a new tune/set of tunes that then becomes my absolute FAVOURITE...until I learn the next new one! Also what would the criteria for "must know" be? Is it because the tune is a staple in your local session? Is it because it's challenging to play? Is it just because you plain love the tune? Lately I've been loving the Tarbolton set -"The Tarbolton/The Longford Collector/The Sailor's Bonnet", before that it was a set of two reels, "Raymond Rowland's/Imelda Rowland's", before that it was "The Drunken Landlady/The Shaskeen"etc, etc etc. I guess the novel factor about a new tune always makes it go to the top of the pile for me, but that said, I still love/enjoy playing it's predecessors!

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    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: One Celtic (Irish) Tune....

    Now that is an interesting thought, Sandy. There are so many and the ideas Jill airs here are absolutely relevant - choice by difficulty, novelty of a new tune, favourite sets, etc. I think it also depends on your mood at the time and even the folks you are playing along with in the session and the instrumentation being used.

    I would include Kildare Fancy, The Blackthorn Stick, Top of the Old Cork Road (Father O'Flynn) and others of the jig and reel varieties, but I also really love the slow tunes such as Boolavogue, Carrickfergus, Sean O'Dwyer. Perhaps the epitome of Irishness is Danny Boy (The Londonderry Air).
    Then again, I am Scot, so I can call on another whole set of tunes, many of which share their origins with the Irish tunes and have also migrated successfully to the other side of the Atlantic. I remember gigging just outside Larne in County Antrim last summer and playing along with some local Irish musicians, one of whom introduced Gary Owen by saying in his characteristic Ulster manner that here was a tune claimed by us Scots, really belonging to the Irish, and then hijacked by "Your man General Custer and his Seventh Cavalry!"
    A good thread you've started here!

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    Registered User Sandy Beckler's Avatar
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    Default Re: One Celtic (Irish) Tune....

    I appreciate your candor....John and Jill, I was trying to identify a certain special tune that you always comeback to, if you will.
    I would welcome more thoughts.

    Sandy

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    Horton River NWT Rob Gerety's Avatar
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    Default Re: One Celtic (Irish) Tune....

    Are we certain that St. Anne's reel is Irish?
    Rob G.
    Vermont

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    Registered User Sandy Beckler's Avatar
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    Default Re: One Celtic (Irish) Tune....

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Gerety View Post
    Are we certain that St. Anne's reel is Irish?
    Have you some inside information?

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    Registered User Mike Snyder's Avatar
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    Default Re: One Celtic (Irish) Tune....

    Drowsy Maggie?
    Mike Snyder

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    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: One Celtic (Irish) Tune....

    Again, the tunes I always come back to tend to be replaced by a new tune that I always come back to! For example, for ages the first tune I'd play whenever I picked up my mandolin/tenor banjo (or a mandolin at the local music shop) was "Sonny Brogan's Jig", then that was eventually replaced by the Sean Ryan jig "Dancing Eyes", which was later replaced by "The Humours of Carrigaholt", and that replaced by "The Sligo Maid", which has now been replaced by "The Tarbolton".

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    Registered User Sandy Beckler's Avatar
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    Default Re: One Celtic (Irish) Tune....

    Rob G......I was just looking at Nigel Gatherer's site and he feels it (Saint Anne's Reel) may be French-Canadian. Go figure...
    Never the less....My intention would be your favourite "Celtic (Irish) tune
    Exactly....Mike

    Sandy

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    Notary Sojac Paul Kotapish's Avatar
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    Default Re: One Celtic (Irish) Tune....

    The Rose and the Heather (Jig)
    Just one guy's opinion
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    Registered User abuteague's Avatar
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    Default Re: One Celtic (Irish) Tune....

    This question is easy to answer, but if you ask me the same question in 5 minutes I'll have a different answer. It is kind of like New England weather. Don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes.

    Fox Hunters (slipjig in D) http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/r2music/folk/sessions/

    Oops, I think it has been 5 minutes. What about Kid on the Mountain?

    If you want the one quintesential tune and you learn it, you will be cursed to find that no one else you encounter has heard of it. So you have to keep learning tunes. One doesn't do it.

  12. #12
    Au fol la marotte
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    Default Re: One Celtic (Irish) Tune....

    Well, i have never been a great man for tunes, but, i do like certain tunes... St Anne"s i like, and i like to play it really slow as i do adore the melody and i think it can stand a slow demeanor, though i dont think its Irish, i"d hedge towards France if i had to take bet on it, i also do like The Showmans Fancy and Haste to the Wedding... the Blackthorn Stick is also a nice tune... and Never on a Sunday/Children of Pireaus, i like, though technically its not a tune but its fun to play... oh, and, "Lament for Limerick" thats a cracker if you can do it justice.

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: One Celtic (Irish) Tune....

    the B part to Planxty Maggie Brown. Cannot get enough of it. Makes me smile every time.
    Indulge responsibly!

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    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: One Celtic (Irish) Tune....

    If you had to choose one cup full out of the Atlantic ocean, where would you take it from?
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

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    Default Re: One Celtic (Irish) Tune....

    Pick whichever one you like, they all sound the same.


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    Default Re: One Celtic (Irish) Tune....

    Lark in the Morning or Tuttle's Reel (at the moment...)

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    Dave Keswick Ravenwood's Avatar
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    Default Re: One Celtic (Irish) Tune....

    Quote Originally Posted by Sandy Beckler View Post
    Rob G......I was just looking at Nigel Gatherer's site and he feels it (Saint Anne's Reel) may be French-Canadian. Go figure...
    Never the less....My intention would be your favourite "Celtic (Irish) tune
    Exactly....Mike

    Sandy
    In the town I grew up in - St. Anne-de-Madawaska New Brunswick - there is a legend that suggests it originated there. I do recall having heard it commonly as a kid in the 1950's but I don't think there's any truth to the legend. There are a number of places in Quebec and New Brunswick where the tune is thought to have originated, but there is no evidence to support any claim. In general, I think the tune is most often considered to be of Canadian origin, but has since become popular in both Ireland and the UK.

    For favourite tune I fall in with Jill on this one. My favourite always seems to be the one I most recently learned.

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    Default Re: One Celtic (Irish) Tune....

    You really can't distill this stuff down that far. The enjoyment of playing this music for me is cumulative. It's much more a process than a result. I will confess however to be really enjoying my most recent aquisitions; the hornpipes Peacock's Feather and Chief O'Neil's and the 4 part jig Humors of Ballyloughlin.
    Steve

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    Default Re: One Celtic (Irish) Tune....

    Ditto what everyone else says - there are too many to pick out a single tune, and if there is one, it changes from month to month, week to week, half-hour to half-hour.

    But I find that the tunes I keep coming back to are often the ones that annoy the h311 out of me, because they stop me retrieving the rarer tunes from the darkest recesses of my memory.

  20. #20

    Default Re: One Celtic (Irish) Tune....

    Sandy...

    Sorry to come across as a curmudgeon, but I think that anyone who has more than a fleeting interest in "the music" would find it impossible to answer your question. Although tunes can (in some cases just about) be captured as "standalones" in the dots or in playing, the fact is that all of this music is intertwined and inter-related.

    So, in elements of their structure, The Lark On The Strand (The Primrose Vale) is a relative of The Kesh; Munster Buttermilk (the one which sounds a bit like The Frost Is All Over (or Kitty Lie Over), i.e. not the Behind The Haystack tune) is a relative of - you guessed it - The Frost Is All Over (Kitty Lie Over). By the same token, St Anne's Reel (which you mention as your favourite) is closely related to the truly Irish tune The Skylark.

    As you get deeper into the music, you also start to realise that while the tunes are important, sets are equally important. The pairing of this tune with that one... Does the set start to "lift"? Does the next tune suddenly drain the set of its energy? Was it a mistake to pair two very similar tunes (such as, for example, The Wind That Shakes The Barley/Rolling In The Ryegrass or, in keeping with the original post St Anne's/The Skylark)? Or do the subtle differences bring a big smile to the players' faces?

    And then there are other levels of relatedness. I like to play a set which "An Luathradain" followed by "The Mist Covered Mountain". Makes for a lovely, quite intricate, jig set. Many people know both tunes, but they're rarely played together. For me, one of the joys of this set - above and beyond its sheer tunefulness - is the fact that both tunes were composed by (or attributed to - much the same thing, at the end of the day), Junior Crehan - a truly delightful character and fine fiddle player from Clare.

    And then there's the approach to the tunes... Now, one of my favoured (as opposed to favourite) tunes is The Duke Of Leinster's Wife (The Ladies' Pantalettes). At any lull in the proceedings, I'll kick this one off and then go into a G reel known as "Tommy Peoples'" (but Tommy insists its a traditional reel rather than one of his own compositions). A few nights ago, a fiddler who wasn't part of our normal session showed up to the pub and proceeded to lash into The Duke's Missus at absolute light speed. I was gobsmacked. As far as I was concerned, the speed at which he played (which meant that in order to comply with the laws of physic, he had to dispense with any attempt at ornamentation, not to mention about a quarter of the notes!) rendered down the tune from just that - a tune - into a simple series of hard-on-each-others'-heels notes. So, although The Duke Of Leinster's Wife would usually be in my very long list of tunes I love (and love to play), on that particular occasion it got the big thumbs-down.

    I really like Bertram's comment above - it sums up for me the impossibility of singling out any one tune as a favourite. I like to think of the music as a journey - a long journey - without any particular destination. But the fun is in the travelling and each tune is a landmark along the way...

    Aidan

  21. #21
    Registered User Bruce Evans's Avatar
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    Default Re: One Celtic (Irish) Tune....

    Quote Originally Posted by Sandy Beckler View Post
    Have you some inside information?
    St. Anne's Reel is typically credited as being Canadian in origin.

  22. #22
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: One Celtic (Irish) Tune....

    For me, I'm a fan of hornpipes and anything in a minor key, so my favorites (to duplicate Jill) tend to change as I learn a new whatever (jig, reel, slip, slide, polka, waltz, set dance) in Am or Em. White Petticoats, Cliffs of Moher, Ships in Full Sail are pieces I play when I'm noodling, f'rinstance. When I test out a new instrument or new strings, I'll skip straight to hornpipes: Alexander's, or Peacock's Feather or Kitty's Wedding/Plains of Boyle.
    If you're looking for a tune that sums up Celtic music to me (i think that was part of the OP?), that also would depend on my mood. I've always felt hornpipes were very traditional, but a slow air on a whistle or on pipes now -- ah! That just seems to evoke images of Celtic landscapes.
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: One Celtic (Irish) Tune....

    Quote Originally Posted by M.Marmot View Post
    ... oh, and, "Lament for Limerick" thats a cracker if you can do it justice.
    If that is the same as the tune I know as Limerick's Lament, then yes, wow, great tune. Often played way way too fast. I have a recording of Liam O'Flynn playing that on the pipes. It can bring you to your knees.
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  24. #24
    Au fol la marotte
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    Default Re: One Celtic (Irish) Tune....

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    If that is the same as the tune I know as Limerick's Lament, then yes, wow, great tune. Often played way way too fast. I have a recording of Liam O'Flynn playing that on the pipes. It can bring you to your knees.
    Quite probably the one and the same, i think its called 'Lochabar No More' or something like that in Scotland, it was used as the main theme for the Coen Brothers movie 'Millers Crossing'.

    Youre right its a real slow piece,and given the space to sound there are moments of absolute beauty in it... i'll have to see if i can find a pipe version of it, i know it more as a harp piece... i'll make sure to bubkle on some knee pads before i listen though

  25. #25

    Default Re: One Celtic (Irish) Tune....

    Kid on the Mountain...Chief O'Neil's Favorite (HP)...Houmours of Whiskey (SJ).....there's never one...

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