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Irish Folk Music and Session Culture

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Title: Irish Folk Music and Session Culture


1
Irish Folk Music and Session Culture
2
Why my interest?
  • Newfoundland Music
  • Irish Flute
  • Social nature of the music
  • Can play with other people without performing

3
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

4
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.

5
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

6
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)

7
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.

8
ABC vs standard notation
The Kesh Jig
G3 GAB A3 ABdedd gddedB dBA GAG GABABA
ABdedd gddBAF G3 B2B d2dege dBAB2B dBGABA
AGA BAB dcdege dBdgfg aga bgg g3
Elements such as rhythmic feel, and ornamentation
must be developed by listening and playing with
others!
9
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/musi
    ca/estrumenti.htm
  • http//www.ceolas.org/instruments/

10
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

11
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12
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
    Lions 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

13
Recording artists
  • The Chieftans
  • Bothy Band
  • Irish Rovers (Canada)
  • The Dubliners
  • The Clancy Brothers
  • Altan

14
Want to learn more?
  • http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of_Ireland
  • http//thesession.org/
  • http//www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/r2music/folk/sessions/
    swf/folkmenu.html
  • http//www.youtube.com/
  • http//my.liveireland.com/
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