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Irish Folk Music and Session Culture

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Irish Folk Music and Session Culture
Irish Folk Music and
Session Culture
Why my interest?
Newfoundland Music
Irish Flute
Social nature of the music
Can play with other people without
performing
History
2000 years ago, Celts arrived in Ireland and
brought music with them.
Earliest instrument is Harp – from Egypt.
Chieftans empolyed harpists until fleeing in
1607
First written collection of Irish music appeared in
1762
Great Famine of the 1840s – many people died
or emigrated, tradition was almost lost
20th Century Revival
First recordings of Irish Music were made by
Diaspora in New York – these were heard
in Ireland and influenced how music was
played there from then onward.
http://youtu.be/39D0J8SzQMA
Last 30-40 years have seen a huge
renaissance, both in Ireland and abroad.
Musical Characteristics
Aural Tradition – music is best learned by
rote (can also use notation or ABC)
http://thesession.org/
Ornamentation and variation
Common repertoire – varies with time and
place, with new Tunes written all the time
Ceili bands – for dancing. Session bands
much of the same music but for listening
Types of Tunes
Jigs (various types) in compound meter. Only
true “Irish” form
Reels – Came from Scotland. Simple duple meter.
Can be slow or fast
Hornpipes – Came from England. Like reels with a
dotted/swung rhythm and a particular type of
cadence.
Slow Airs – free rhythm, heavily ornamented
Polkas and Mazurkas – came from Eastern
Europe
Also Slide, Waltz, Barndance, Strathspey, Rag,
Ballads (sung)
Structure and tonality
Irish music is tonal, with regular phrase structures
and modal melodies.
Modes: Ionian (Major)
Aeolian (Natural Minor)
Dorian (flat 3 and 7)
Mixolydian (flat 7)
Keys that easily fit on pipes, whistle and flute are
popular (G+, D+, C+ and related modes)
Tunes have two or more repeated sections (AABB,
or AABBCC) and are usually repeated in their
entirety, as least twice.
ABC vs standard notation
|:G3 GAB| A3 ABd|edd gdd|edB dBA|
GAG GAB|ABA ABd|edd gdd|BAF G3:|
B2B d2d|ege dBA|B2B dBG|ABA AGA|
BAB d^cd|ege dBd|gfg aga| bgg g3:|
Elements such as
rhythmic feel, and
ornamentation must be
developed by listening
and playing with others!
The Kesh Jig
Instruments
Harp
Uilleann Pipes
Flute/Whistle
Bodhran, Bones
Fiddle
Concertina
Other: Bozouki, Mandolin, Tenor Banjo, Guitar,
Piano, Acordion
http://www.emmedici.com/journeys/eire/cultura/mu
sica/estrumenti.htm
http://www.ceolas.org/instruments/
What is a session?
Tunes, songs, sometimes stories, dancing.
All by memory/ear.
Pub or other public location, private homes
Open/closed, slow/fast
Anyone can join an open session, but be
aware of session etiquette
Where can you go to
hear/play this music?
Irish Pubs and other venues all over the world.
Even Cuba has a Celtic music festival!
In Halifax there are weekly sessions at the Lion’s
Head Tavern (Wednesday night) and the Old
Triangle (Sunday afternoon and Tuesday night)
Wolfville and Kentville – Paddys Pub.
Re-Jigged Festival each October in Dartmouth.
Boxwood Festival in Lunenburg - July
Recording artists
The Chieftans
Bothy Band
Irish Rovers (Canada)
The Dubliners
The Clancy Brothers
Altan
Want to learn more?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of_Ireland
http://thesession.org/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/r2music/folk/sessi
ons/swf/folkmenu.html
http://www.youtube.com/
http://my.liveireland.com/
Fly UP