Irish music sets
#1
Hi, I am going to try to play some Irish music out to the public this St. Patty's day. Can anyone give me pointers as far as getting prepared for this? I want to be ready...

1. How many songs per set, 2-3?
2. Do I keep jigs with jigs and reels with reels in the same set, or mix and match?
3. How do I choose which songs in each set, by key, or theme, or what?
4. I believe reels are like 120 bpm, jigs slower? Should I vary the tempo or keep them similar in line with traditional pub music? Some hornpipe songs I like played slower, almost like a ballad...
5. I did see some comments about shifts to choose. I will probably vary them accordion to mood and feel of song (ha!)
6. anything else to consider?

I want to keep this light and short. I have like ~ 40 songs but not sure they will all be in polished form by mid March.

Thanks for any insights.
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#2
(10-02-2020, 10:14 PM)Valde002 Wrote: Hi, I am going to try to play some Irish music out to the public this St. Patty's day. Can anyone give me pointers as far as getting prepared for this? I want to be ready...

1. How many songs per set, 2-3?
2. Do I keep jigs with jigs and reels with reels in the same set, or mix and match?
3. How do I choose which songs in each set, by key, or theme, or what?
4. I believe reels are like 120 bpm, jigs slower? Should I vary the tempo or keep them similar in line with traditional pub music? Some hornpipe songs I like played slower, almost like a ballad...
5. I did see some comments about shifts to choose. I will probably vary them accordion to mood and feel of song (ha!)
6. anything else to consider?

I want to keep this light and short. I have like ~ 40 songs but not sure they will all be in polished form by mid March.

Thanks for any insights.

Hello again,

There are a handful of pro and semi-pro Irish members on the forum, but it seems that they haven't been active now for some time. 
 
Best advice I can give you is try to listen to the tunes on You Tube, and you'll probably get some idea of what the players are doing with regard to tempo and phrasing. 

Irish music tends to be pretty spontaneous with little regard for musical "correctness", and if you heard three people play the same instrument I could bet my bottom dollar that no two of them would play a particular tune the same way. Playing by ear is the most common way of learning, so variations will exist with regard to keys and the actual notes played. 

Don't know what your audience will be. If they have lived for any time in Ireland they might take a lot of persuading, but the chances are that if it sounds remotely Irish you'll get away with it. 

A friend of mine was a champion Scottish bagpiper and attended a Scottish themed function in Nova Scotia. At the end of the meal one of the Canadian dignitaries announced that in honour of their Scottish guests they would sing a tune he described as "Shouldaulda" . The Scots present were bewildered but after the first line was sung they realised the tune was "Auld Lang Syne". "Should auld acquaintance be forgot ……." 

The Canadians present were resplendent in tartan kilts, the lot, but none of them had ever been to Scotland and that was their name for one of the most famous Scottish tunes ever!


If the audience get bored just try singing "Dixie" in an Irish accent. 


My mother's family come from the same area in County Tyrone as George Cunningham, the guy in this clip. It's easy once you get the hang of it:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ij_5UGpjUsU (apologies to those on the forum who have heard it before)

Please note that in Ulster we always pronounce "th" the same as other English speakers, and don't abbreviate it to just "t", like they are prone to do in "da sout of Ireland". Fact is that Ulster speech is very similar to the Scottish version of English, but just a little bit faster.

When George was repeatedly asked to slow down so that people could understand what he was saying his reply was "There's nothing wrong with the way I speak, you're just not listening quick enough!"

I'm sure it will be alright on the day, and good luck!
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#3
Check out thesession.org
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#4
If you're playing on your own, you can do whatever you like and it doesn't matter what tunes you play!
In general tunes types aren't mixed in the Irish tradition, so a set of jigs, a set of reels etc. Two to four tunes in a set.
(Songs are only songs when they have words.)

What's the situation you'll be playing in, busking, a pub, a party?

If you want to cut the choice down a bit from the thousands of tunes that are online the Paddy O'Brien Sets book is freely available and a nice collection of well known  tunes, in sets.
http://www.ceolas.org/pub/tunes/tunes.pdf/POB.pdf


No doubt it varies from place to place but as an Englishman with an Irish wife I hear St Patricks, Paddy's Night etc, but never heard St Patty.
All the best
Tom
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#5
(11-02-2020, 06:12 PM)TomBR Wrote: If you're playing on your own, you can do whatever you like and it doesn't matter what tunes you play!
In general tunes types aren't mixed in the Irish tradition, so a set of jigs, a set of reels etc. Two to four tunes in a set.
(Songs are only songs when they have words.)

What's the situation you'll be playing in, busking, a pub, a party?

If you want to cut the choice down a bit from the thousands of tunes that are online the Paddy O'Brien Sets book is freely available and a nice collection of well known  tunes, in sets.
http://www.ceolas.org/pub/tunes/tunes.pdf/POB.pdf


No doubt it varies from place to place but as an Englishman with an Irish wife I hear St Patricks, Paddy's Night etc, but never heard St Patty.
All the best
Tom

Tom,


Being a "Scotch-Irishman", as our transatlantic cousins would probably describe me, I'd never heard of St Patty's day either, although I know it comes before St Geordie's and St Andy's, but after St Taffy's. 

I once confused my cousin in California. She lives in San Jose, and I asked her the quickest way to get from San Jose to San Hose B. She got the joke, after an hour or so!

I'm sure Valde will enjoy himself whatever happens.
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