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Irish music sets

Valde002

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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.
 
M

maugein96

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Valde002 pid=69899 dateline=1581369296 said:
Hi, I am going to try to play some Irish music out to the public this St. Pattys 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 havent been active now for some time. 
 
Best advice I can give you is try to listen to the tunes on You Tube, and youll 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. 

Dont 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 youll 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 mothers family come from the same area in County Tyrone as George Cunningham, the guy in this clip. Its easy once you get the hang of it:-

[font=Tahoma,Verdana,Arial,Sans-Serif] (apologies to those on the forum who have heard it before)[/font]

Please note that in Ulster we always pronounce th the same as other English speakers, and dont 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 Theres nothing wrong with the way I speak, youre just not listening quick enough!

Im sure it will be alright on the day, and good luck!
 

TomBR

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If youre playing on your own, you can do whatever you like and it doesnt matter what tunes you play!
In general tunes types arent 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.)

Whats the situation youll 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 OBrien 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, Paddys Night etc, but never heard St Patty.
All the best
Tom
 
M

maugein96

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TomBR pid=69924 dateline=1581441123 said:
If youre playing on your own, you can do whatever you like and it doesnt matter what tunes you play!
In general tunes types arent 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.)

Whats the situation youll 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 OBrien 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, Paddys Night etc, but never heard St Patty.
All the best
Tom

Tom,


Being a Scotch-Irishman, as our transatlantic cousins would probably describe me, Id never heard of St Pattys day either, although I know it comes before St Geordies and St Andys, but after St Taffys. 

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!

Im sure Valde will enjoy himself whatever happens.
 

JEBrown

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Valde002 said:
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.

A bit late replying but hopefully i can be of help. I play almost exclusively Scottish and Irish dances for ceilidhs. We normally play between 4 and 8 tunes per set, but that’s because we need to do enough bars to fit all the dancing in.

When putting a set together I go with tunes which provide a bit of contrast in form, e.g. mix major and minor tunes, mix up the keys (more later on that) and different styles e.g. some tunes with octave leaps, others with more runs.  But yes always all reels or all jigs.

I like to plan the key changes. Usually I’ll go in 4ths as that means you can end one tune on a 7th chord and lead easily into the next one. But then at some point I’ll thrown in a shift up by one full tone, allowing me to end up back on the starting key. I like to end on the tune that I started with as well. So for instance I might choose keys D - G - A - D. 

But as others have said, there are no real rules for this kind of music, so find what you think goes well and go for it!
 

craptiger

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I'd agree with the comments above...if you're playing by yourself you can pretty much do what you like. I play in a lot of pub sessions (at least I did before this Coronavirus came along) and sometimes people play just one tune, other times they might string up to 10 together. Really doesn't matter, just do what makes you happy :)
 

Valde002

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Corinto pid=70083 dateline=1582456747 said:
Sets tunebooks, look here

Paddy OBriens Sets = http://www.braccio.me/session/PaddyOBrienSets.pdf

Paul Hardys Sets Tunebook = https://pghardy.net/concertina/tunebooks/pgh_sets_tunebook.pdf


Another link here = www.braccio.me/virtsession.html

BBC Virtual Session with several sets available both as pdf and mp3.



Thanks for these links!! They are immensely helpful.


craptiger pid=70686 dateline=1584965391 said:
Id agree with the comments above...if youre playing by yourself you can pretty much do what you like.  I play in a lot of pub sessions (at least I did before this Coronavirus came along) and sometimes people play just one tune, other times they might string up to 10 together.  Really doesnt matter, just do what makes you happy :)

One day I will get to play. Because of the CV it cancelled my going out and playing. But will continue to learn and be ready.
 

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