Coppers and Brass

Here’s another tune I’ve been working on recently called Coppers and Brass. It is a 3 part jig that I learned from Will Rourk of KGB and it caught my attention early on when he and Michael Tuite played it at our Sunday sessions at Fellini’s. It partially caught my ear because of the fun runs and octave skip in the B part and the beautiful cascading arpeggios of the C part. But another reason I might have noticed it is because it changes keys in the B part from the primary key of G to D. We rhythm players have to catch these things, you know, and Will surprised me several times before I recalled it without hesitation.

The name also intrigued me. I did a little sleuthing on the web (Google is fantastic for this kind of research) and saw a couple of explanations. Those of you who know the Bob Dylan song, Copper Kettle, might have gone down that path, as a few of us did. But the more likely explanation, in my view, is that coppers and brass refer to coinage as this very interesting article from the Irish Medical Times points out. Apparently there was a bit of a shortage of money back in the late 1600s and a temporary mint was commissioned in Dublin where, according to the article, “the presses at Capel Street, known as the ‘James’ (named after the king) and ‘Duchess’ (named after the Duchess of Tyrconnell) presses, began churning out coins around the clock with two teams of men working 12-hour shifts night and day. They began with copper and brass sixpences in June 1689.” So that’s the explanation I bought with my coppers and brass… but I’m open to hearing any other ideas you might have. In the meantime, enjoy the tune!

Listen to Coppers and Brass

I should also add that I played this on my new octave mandolin which I’m thoroughly enjoying. It is quickly becoming my instrument of choice as I can play tunes, add rhythm, or accompany songs. Quite a versatile beast!

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