Session II Class – Spring 2016

Week 4

Greetings from the left coast. In my mad rush to get projects finished before leaving the house, I forgot that I hadn’t recorded Doyle’s Castle, but remembered literally 20 minutes before walking out the door to catch my plane. So here is me playing it (I believe) pretty much as written with the music I passed out last class.

Doyle’s Castle (2 part jig in G major or Ionian mode)

For those of you on whistle and/or flute, here are two alternatives for the A part where it goes below D. The first one is fairly simple, just play it an octave higher in the first phrase and then switch for the second phrase. The second alternative is to harmonize on several notes in the first phrase (basically playing the 3rd above the melody note). Try out both and see which you prefer.

Doyle’s Castle (1st Alternative for A phrase)
Doyle’s Castle (2nd Alternative for A phrase)

Remember to also practice the G scale exercises! A little trickier than the first set, but also a little more interesting to play!

I’m not sure we’ll have time to do the next tune, but here’s the one I’m considering – Have a Drink with Me. Another G jig. I think it is also known as the first of the Harry Potter Jigs from one of the movies. The version below is part of a set with several other common jigs that would make sense to learn if you don’t yet know them as they are played locally fairly often.

Extra credit – if you search the youtube videos, you may find Joe Basconi who used to live in Charlottesville playing the full “Harry Potter Set”. You’ll note his version is slightly different from what I posted. Actually, if you listen to several of the videos of the tune, you’ll find quite a few variations on how to play it. The way I’ve heard it is more similar to the first set, but good to listen to all the versions! Folk music, not set in stone!

Week 3

We seem to have a revolving student list – which keeps things interesting! So, over this weekend work on the following:

  • Practice Cup of Tea – Play it before and after some of your favorite reels and work on smooth transitions.
  • Learn Virginia Reel – We’ll focus on this one next week and perhaps I won’t get it confused with the tune that shall not be named!
  • Work on the D scale exercise I passed out in class. Keep it smooth and when you feel confident, increase the speed by 10% or so. Repeat, but always make sure you are confident in your playing. When it starts to break down, take note of where and perhaps practice that part a bit more. Try playing the same exercise in a D mixolydian scale if you are feeling really confident!
  • As I mentioned in class, next up will be a jig in G major (ionian). I was lucky enough to see Sheila and Elaine in Ennis last November at their CD release of Shores of Lough Breda. Loved their playing as well. As it turned out, almost all the tunes were written by Paddy O’Donoghue from Tulla in East Clare and Sheila and Elaine have made it their mission to spread these tunes “all over the world”. I promised to do my part and teach one of the tunes in my next session class. So here it is – Doyle’s Castle. Flutes and whistles will need to play one of the phrases in the A part high (or, perhaps create a nice 3rd note harmony with the melody). Anyway, for now, just listen and get the tune in your head (stage 1 of learning a tune!!).

    Hope to see some of you at tonight’s Dervish / Kevin Burke concert. How lucky can we be??

    P.S. For extra credit, see if you can figure out the root / tonic and the mode / modes for the 2nd tune in the set.

    Week 2

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Great to play with everyone this week. Fun to have some new faces and thanks to Augie for sitting in and offering some flutish hints (like how to play Bb on the flute!)

    So, our tune for next week will be the Virginia Reel. Here’s a group playing it – how can one resist a group named “Ferrets of the Mall”. Anyway, some very nice guitar chords and a little old timey, especially with the clawhammer banjo, but a nice rendition and enjoyable to listen to in order to get the tune in your head.

    Here’s me playing the Virginia Reel more slowly. It’s not quite the same as the notation in the, but closer to how I’ve heard it played in our group over the years.

    Virginia Reel (2 part reel in D major or Ionian mode)

    Speaking of modes, here is a recording of the D Scale in the 4 modes used in Irish music (Ionian, Mixolydian, Dorian, and Aeolian). For now, practice the two major scales – Ionian and Mixolydian, but understand how the 4 scales are created for a key (major scale, then drop the 7th for Mixolydian, then drop the 3rd for Dorian, then drop the 6th for Aeolian). We’ll keep building on this theory stuff each week so you’ll be confused at a higher level by the end of 6 weeks!

    D Scales – 4 Modes

    Week 1

    We had a small, but dedicated, group last night and I look forward to working with all of you for these 6 weeks. We’ll continue to learn new tunes in Session II, but we’ll also explore some additional topics each week.

    Top Tunes (and count) from the Tuesday Tin Whistle Session in Charlottesville
    Top 200 Session Tunes from as of March 2016

    New tune for next week – Cup of Tea (not to be confused with Ladies Cup of Tea which is a completely different tune). Here are a few recordings to listen to. First one is me. Second one (youtube video) is quite a bit zippier. I’ve added in a few triplets that you may use or ignore as you wish.

    Cup of Tea (3 part reel in Em/D)

    Just for fun reading

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