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Irish tuning

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jozz

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what would be the best tuning / registering to "sound" Irish?

This is for an upcoming FLogging Molly tribute, thinking about using my Concerto and as it needs a tuning anyway, might as well tweak the sound. For now it's still standard German(?) 8 cents tremolo. I have a feeling I could sound more Irish

any thoughts appreciated
 

george garside

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At one time Irish boxes were generally tuned very 'wet' but less so in more ;recent years. A very good example of a top hole Irish piano box exponent is to look/listen at the many youtube vids of MIck Foster.

If it is for a 'one off' job you could probably juggle the couplers to get a reasonably 'Irish'' sound eg mmm or maybe even just mm or Lmm if you have it.


HOwever it is worth keeping in mind that the effect you are after is proabably as much down to the way the tunes are played as it is to the tuning of the box. i.e. attention to rhythm, dynamics and phrasing and also not playing too fast .

Listen to a veriety of Irish stuff on youtube and facebook for ideas.

george
 

TomBR

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As George said, but the more recent trend is pretty dry. If nothing else comes to hand octave unisons would do pretty well.

For an old-fashioned sound, which might be more evocative, all the reeds youve got!
Like Danny OMahony on this great old box :D

Tom
 

debra

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jozz post_id=63099 time=1537696095 user_id=2600 said:
what would be the best tuning / registering to sound Irish?

This is for an upcoming FLogging Molly tribute, thinking about using my Concerto and as it needs a tuning anyway, might as well tweak the sound. For now its still standard German(?) 8 cents tremolo. I have a feeling I could sound more Irish

any thoughts appreciated

I dont know why your Concerto has 8 cents tremolo which is very low. Standard German tuning is 14 cents. (Standard Italian is 16 cents.) I dont know how many cents Irish tuning is.
 
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maugein96

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debra post_id=63104 time=1537703553 user_id=605 said:
I dont know why your Concerto has 8 cents tremolo which is very low. Standard German tuning is 14 cents. (Standard Italian is 16 cents.) I dont know how many cents Irish tuning is.

Irish tuning was once described as 27 cents, or whenever the Guinness tumblers started to crack, whichever happened first.

Ive not kept up to date with it, but it seems most modern players now go for swing tuning, at maybe around 5 cents.

When we listened to it as kids on the old gramophone it was probably on a par with your favourite Amsterdam tuning, but a bit rougher. I remember that quite a lot of the old guys hammered out the tunes on PA, and occasionally on CBAs, sometimes imported from France. Fintan Stanley and one or two others began to tame the Irish musette a bit with the introduction of LMM French boxes, but I dont know if that was the full story. Most of the material you hear these days is on swing tuning, however it happened.
 

jozz

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debra post_id=63104 time=1537703553 user_id=605 said:
I dont know why your Concerto has 8 cents tremolo which is very low. Standard German tuning is 14 cents. (Standard Italian is 16 cents.) I dont know how many cents Irish tuning is.

its not, my tuner marked it -8 +8 so I guess 16, I cant reminder the last time we talked about this but it sounds just like my Bugari MM so it must be italian tuning instead of German then

maugein96 post_id=63109 time=1537715192 user_id=607 said:
Modern swing tuning sounds like this, and theres even a lesson thrown in.


Might help you to sound Irish. If you want somebody to turn up who looks Irish my fees are reasonable!

yes this sounds like a good start so that would be like 7 cents total?
 
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maugein96

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jozz post_id=63118 time=1537729922 user_id=2600 said:
Might help you to sound Irish. If you want somebody to turn up who looks Irish my fees are reasonable!

yes this sounds like a good start so that would be like 7 cents total?

Hi jozz,

Yes, that would be about right. Id have to give you discount because I have a Scottish accent. I can do my grandfathers Strabane accent if you made it maybe 4 cents.
 

jozz

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Hi

do you have a picture so I can use this for promotionals and create some buzz :?:

there is a good chance a lot of people here won't notice the difference...
 
M

maugein96

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jozz post_id=63129 time=1537771745 user_id=2600 said:
Hi

do you have a picture so I can use this for promotionals and create some buzz :?:

there is a good chance a lot of people here wont notice the difference...


Jozz,

Think Ill pass on that one. Just received an e-mail from my friendly UK tax man, as Ive just started drawing my old age pension. The took great delight in telling me that as I live in Scotland I have to pay more tax than I would if I lived in England, 15 miles away.

I dont want the tax man to know what I look like after their building gets torched, imminently.

As a consolation, here is what an Irish left hand looks like. If you only have two MM reeds this is probably the best option for Irish tuning. Mind you these same clips on You Tube are credited to about 7 or 8 different accordion bands, with suitably Irish sounding names. That left hand could be just about anybodys, Irish or not, and the playing is not the best Ive heard, but it isnt too bad.


If you have 3 MMM reeds, this is the old fashioned tuning

 

Valde002

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That last video is great, sounds like my mussette tuning, 18 cents I think. Do they vary the shifts? Which other shifts do people use for the jigs and reels?
 
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maugein96

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Valde002 said:
That last video is great, sounds like my mussette tuning, 18 cents I think. Do they vary the shifts? Which other shifts do people use for the jigs and reels?

Hi Valde 002,

Most of my family originate from Ulster in the very north of Ireland, although I am not an expert on Irish music or tunings, and have never followed the scene to any great degree (my main interest is French musette).


In recent years just about everything in Ireland seems to be played in swing tuning, maybe 6 cents or so, and no they don't tend to vary the registers much at all. Almost every tune is played in the same two voice MM register, especially on the traditional two row Irish diatonic "button" accordion. 

The traditional Irish tuning on LMMM accordions was often 25 cents (sometimes more). I'm not sure how many players still use that tuning these days. I think it all depends on the preference of the player, and the type of audience.

In my own limited experience of a small pub environment, a big LMMM box with traditional Irish tuning is OK for a soloist, but for a small band where people are trying to play tin whistles and bouzoukis, then they might as well throw them on the fire. A fiddle and a bodhran might be OK, but not much else.


In an outdoor situation with dancers, where a big LMMM would appear to be the natural choice, you are just as likely to hear a little 2 row with swing tuning being played through the PA.


There are a few Irish pro players on the forum, and maybe they could keep us all right on the matter. 

Main thing is to play what you want how you want, and don't worry about doing everything right. Unless you are regularly playing alongside native Irish players, and able to hear the subtleties of what they are doing, you're never going to get that "genuine" Irish sound. Good thing is 99.9% of people wouldn't know the difference.   


My playing might sound French here in the UK, but a Frenchman would always detect otherwise. There's always a give away, however slight.
 

Valde002

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maugein96 pid=60677 dateline=1537781923 said:
jozz said:
Hi

do you have a picture so I can use this for promotionals and create some buzz  :?:

there is a good chance a lot of people here wont notice the difference...


Jozz,

Think Ill pass on that one. Just received an e-mail from my friendly UK tax man, as Ive just started drawing my old age pension. The took great delight in telling me that as I live in Scotland I have to pay more tax than I would if I lived in England, 15 miles away.

I dont want the tax man to know what I look like after their building gets torched, imminently.

As a consolation, here is what an Irish left hand looks like. If you only have two MM reeds this is probably the best option for Irish tuning. Mind you these same clips on You Tube are credited to about 7 or 8 different accordion bands, with suitably Irish sounding names. That left hand could be just about anybodys, Irish or not, and the playing is not the best Ive heard, but it isnt too bad.


If you have 3 MMM reeds, this is the old fashioned tuning


maugein96 pid=69809 dateline=1581068303 said:
Valde002 pid=69803 dateline=1581028157 said:
That last video is great, sounds like my mussette tuning, 18 cents I think. Do they vary the shifts? Which other shifts do people use for the jigs and reels?

Hi Valde 002,

Most of my family originate from Ulster in the very north of Ireland, although I am not an expert on Irish music or tunings, and have never followed the scene to any great degree (my main interest is French musette).


In recent years just about everything in Ireland seems to be played in swing tuning, maybe 6 cents or so, and no they dont tend to vary the registers much at all. Almost every tune is played in the same two voice MM register, especially on the traditional two row Irish diatonic button accordion. 

The traditional Irish tuning on LMMM accordions was often 25 cents (sometimes more). Im not sure how many players still use that tuning these days. I think it all depends on the preference of the player, and the type of audience.

In my own limited experience of a small pub environment, a big LMMM box with traditional Irish tuning is OK for a soloist, but for a small band where people are trying to play tin whistles and bouzoukis, then they might as well throw them on the fire. A fiddle and a bodhran might be OK, but not much else.


In an outdoor situation with dancers, where a big LMMM would appear to be the natural choice, you are just as likely to hear a little 2 row with swing tuning being played through the PA.


There are a few Irish pro players on the forum, and maybe they could keep us all right on the matter. 

Main thing is to play what you want how you want, and dont worry about doing everything right. Unless you are regularly playing alongside native Irish players, and able to hear the subtleties of what they are doing, youre never going to get that genuine Irish sound. Good thing is 99.9% of people wouldnt know the difference.   


My playing might sound French here in the UK, but a Frenchman would always detect otherwise. Theres always a give away, however slight.

Hi thanks for your reply!

I am just a novice who plays PA in a basement in South Carolina. Here I would have to go solo, given the sparse Irish musicians around. Was thinking of playing out, maybe busking with Irish music on St. Pattys day in March. Have about 40 songs that I am preparing. I am also a traditionalist by nature, and dont mind breaking with todays convention if there is a true artistic or intentional reason. And I love wet tuning; so be it! My accordions are ~ 18 cents and some songs speak to me on Organ shift (Sean Ryans Jig, Tamlin), and some on Musette (Tar Road to Sligo). On my bucket list is the chance to travel to Ireland and play in a group, even though a PA, I would tone it down Im sure.

Love the French musette too! After St. Pattys day, it is on to Lindifference!
 
M

maugein96

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Valde002 pid=69815 dateline=1581084936 said:
maugein96 pid=60677 dateline=1537781923 said:
jozz said:
Hi

do you have a picture so I can use this for promotionals and create some buzz  :?:

there is a good chance a lot of people here wont notice the difference...


Jozz,

Think Ill pass on that one. Just received an e-mail from my friendly UK tax man, as Ive just started drawing my old age pension. The took great delight in telling me that as I live in Scotland I have to pay more tax than I would if I lived in England, 15 miles away.

I dont want the tax man to know what I look like after their building gets torched, imminently.

As a consolation, here is what an Irish left hand looks like. If you only have two MM reeds this is probably the best option for Irish tuning. Mind you these same clips on You Tube are credited to about 7 or 8 different accordion bands, with suitably Irish sounding names. That left hand could be just about anybodys, Irish or not, and the playing is not the best Ive heard, but it isnt too bad.


If you have 3 MMM reeds, this is the old fashioned tuning


maugein96 pid=69809 dateline=1581068303 said:
Valde002 pid=69803 dateline=1581028157 said:
That last video is great, sounds like my mussette tuning, 18 cents I think. Do they vary the shifts? Which other shifts do people use for the jigs and reels?

Hi Valde 002,

Most of my family originate from Ulster in the very north of Ireland, although I am not an expert on Irish music or tunings, and have never followed the scene to any great degree (my main interest is French musette).


In recent years just about everything in Ireland seems to be played in swing tuning, maybe 6 cents or so, and no they dont tend to vary the registers much at all. Almost every tune is played in the same two voice MM register, especially on the traditional two row Irish diatonic button accordion. 

The traditional Irish tuning on LMMM accordions was often 25 cents (sometimes more). Im not sure how many players still use that tuning these days. I think it all depends on the preference of the player, and the type of audience.

In my own limited experience of a small pub environment, a big LMMM box with traditional Irish tuning is OK for a soloist, but for a small band where people are trying to play tin whistles and bouzoukis, then they might as well throw them on the fire. A fiddle and a bodhran might be OK, but not much else.


In an outdoor situation with dancers, where a big LMMM would appear to be the natural choice, you are just as likely to hear a little 2 row with swing tuning being played through the PA.


There are a few Irish pro players on the forum, and maybe they could keep us all right on the matter. 

Main thing is to play what you want how you want, and dont worry about doing everything right. Unless you are regularly playing alongside native Irish players, and able to hear the subtleties of what they are doing, youre never going to get that genuine Irish sound. Good thing is 99.9% of people wouldnt know the difference.   


My playing might sound French here in the UK, but a Frenchman would always detect otherwise. Theres always a give away, however slight.

Hi thanks for your reply!

I am just a novice who plays PA in a basement in South Carolina. Here I would have to go solo, given the sparse Irish musicians around. Was thinking of playing out, maybe busking with Irish music on St. Pattys day in March. Have about 40 songs that I am preparing. I am also a traditionalist by nature, and dont mind breaking with todays convention if there is a true artistic or intentional reason. And I love wet tuning; so be it! My accordions are ~ 18 cents and some songs speak to me on Organ shift (Sean Ryans Jig, Tamlin), and some on Musette (Tar Road to Sligo). On my bucket list is the chance to travel to Ireland and play in a group, even though a PA, I would tone it down Im sure.

Love the French musette too! After St. Pattys day, it is on to Lindifference!

Hi,

Youve obviously been listening to a lot of Irish music and are keen to play it. The tuning of your instrument isnt crucial, and neither are the registers you use. If it sounds OK to you then thats all that matters.

A lot of older French musette sheet music stipulates what register certain passages should be played in, but quite often there is a choice. If it sounds better in a different register to that in the notation then thats what Ill use. I dont play pro and seldom take the instruments out of the house these days. The neighbours usually tell me how Im doing, but most of them couldnt care less, as its not the music of the modern set. 

Check out the Gallowglass Ceili band on YT for some older Irish stuff.

It may come as a surprise that a lot of Irish folk music tends to feature bands with no accordion at all, or in some cases there may be 7 or 8 musicians with just one diatonic player struggling to be heard over the top of them. 


When you are ready to move onto Indifference, listen to this version:-



The player is Edouard Duleu, now long deceased, from Wattrelos, near Roubaix, in the very north of France right on the border with Belgium. He played an unusual Belgian version of CBA accordion which made his style very difficult to imitate.

In addition to that you should hear just a hint of swing to the tune, something that very few others tried to do when playing three voice musette. He was a brilliant player with a unique style, but Im led to believe the traditionalists never liked that omnipresent bounce in his playing. He might have been too different for many, but he sold a lot of records regardless.

Give it stick on St. Paddys Day, and dont worry about the tuning. Nobody in Ireland will be able to hear you anyway!
 

Dingo40

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John,
Thanks for the interesting (and humorous) posts and for the clip: very nice and light! :)
 
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