Hi all, here is the last tune of the term, the Irish slide Star Above the Garter. Since we’ve played some tunes from Kerry over the last few weeks, in our warm ups and as a main tune, it seemed appropriate to stay in that general area! There’ll be a bit of a break now until mid-April during which I’ll experiment with different formats, structures, subscriptions and technologies since it’s currently looking like we won’t be able to meet in person for some time. Please assume that online content will replace meetings until further notice.
Again these videos are supposed to be a substitute for our group sessions, so if you’re not a yearly subscriber and have enjoyed this post, please consider making a small donation via Paypal (you don’t need a Paypal account to donate). Enjoy, and I’ll be in touch soon!
The PDF of the basic tune is available here, but I would really recommend relying on your memory and relearning the tune from the video as and when you forget it – each subsequent time you learn the tune from the video, you will pick it up faster and will be a little more likely to retain it over time. If you rely on the sheet music then you’re not practising remembering the tune!
Next, here’s a video with bowings and ornaments, with a PDF (including a harmony and bass line) available here.
Last but not least we have a video of the tune, harmony, chords and bass line together – the harmony part is high in the mix, but I’m since I’ve not recorded it anywhere else I’ve decided to leave it as is!
After a last minute decision to cancel Monday’s class in line with government advice, I’ve had a go at putting the planned session online! I’ve created a Paypal donation button below for those of you who aren’t yearly subscribers; I want to keep these posts free to access, but if you enjoy this site and can afford to make a small donation I’d really appreciate it as, being self-employed, I’ve lost a huge amount of work due to Corona virus precautions.
I’m sure I’ll get better at these videos the more I do – the format, the sound quality (which is a little ropey in places), the camera angle and lighting etc can and will be improved! I’m planning on doing another video next week, which takes us to the end of term – we’ll see what happens after that, depending on how useful people find this format and how the current situation unfolds.
Here are three videos; the first breaks down the tune into short phrases and describes the scales and shapes of the melody, the second is a slow version and fast version of the tune like the ones I normally post. The third video talks about bowing and ornamentation.
Video One – Tune breakdown
Click here for a PDF of the warm up scales.
Scale warm up 0:00 – 2:55, A section 2:58 – 7:43, B section 7:45 – end.
Video Two – Slower Version and Faster Version
Video Three: Bowing and Ornamentation
Click here for a PDF of the tune with the suggested bowing and ornamentation.
Here is another Welsh tune, Polca Cefn-Coed, which we played after last week’s tune Ffidl Ffadl to turn it into a set – click here for a PDF of the tunes together. I got this version from the Calan tune book, it’s quite different from other versions of the tune available through resources such as The Session or Folk Tune Finder websites.
Here are the dots with a PDF here for download:
Belated happy St David’s day! Here is a Welsh tune, Ffidl Ffadl to celebrate the occasion, with huge thanks to Geraint for tracking down the title. I knew this tune partly through a student violin book I use frequently, and partly from the Solomon album by Calan, where it’s in a set called Ryan Jigs. Ffidl Ffadl (pronounced Fiddle Faddle in English) means nonsense (noun), or to mess around (verb).
Here are the dots, with a PDF available here:
Here is a fantastic polka from West Kerry in Ireland – I’ve only heard it called ‘West Kerry polka’, and though it’s similar to John Cronin’s No.1 the B parts are quite different. We tried pushing the chords in the B part, anticipating the changes and making them early by one quaver. This tune went well with Tralee Gaol from July 7th 2019.
Here are the dots with a PDF available here:
This is one of my favourite slipjigs, the fabulously named Trip to Marrowbones, also known as Four Bare Legs Together and as The Raking Quality. It comes from the 1770 Northumbrian manuscript from William Vickers. This is the F major version, there is another where most of the Fs become F sharps, taking the tune into G minor. We recorded this G minor version for the Stepling album as part of our ‘Saucy Set’, this can be found here at 1:35. For clarity I’ll not post the dots for that version just yet, I think we need to let the major version settle first! I had thought that I had learned this from an Eliza Carthy and Nancy Kerr album, but this doesn’t seem to be the case – goodness knows where it came from!
Here are the dots, with filled-out chords, PDF can be found here:
Another Scottish tune for Burn’s night, and a strathspey this time: this is Stumpie. It seems to be related to the tune Buttered Peas, with versions played in Northumbria and the east coast of Canada, specifically Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island.
Here are the dots, with a PDF available here:
With Burns night approaching, it seemed appropriate to learn a Scottish tune; this tune dates back to at least the early 1700s, remaining popular for quite some time as it was used in several ballad operas in the 18th century as well as being used as a retreat march by the British military, specifically by the 37th Regiment. It was printed in many books across Scotland as well as making its way into a few English books too.
The PDF can be found here. We used two basic accompanying rhythms for the drums and guitars:
Monday 6th January was our first week back and we covered a range of tunes, starting with the Plane Tree jig and its possibly original 4/4 counterpart Schottishe a Bethanie (video link to the fabulous Mel Biggs of Morai and ‘Pick Up and Play’ fame). We used this tune as inspiration and the second half of the night was taken up with Kit White’s no.2, which we recapped and then collectively turned from a polka into a jig.
I’ve roughly notated the various stage we went through to reach the end product; at stage one we played even quavers in 6/8 to fill out the bars, at stage two we simplified the rhythm and at stage three we replaced key patterns with ‘hill’, ‘ditch’, ‘zig zag’ or scale shapes. Each replacement was selected from two or three options presented by me and voted on by the group – the title refers to the idea that a camel is a horse designed by committee!
Dots in PDF form can be found here.
Here is the tune from Monday 4th November, Lancashire. This tune is from the 1838 William Irwin manuscript, a collection from Cumbria. I learend it from fiddler and clog dancer extraodinaire Toby Bennett. Here is the video:
And here are the dots, with a PDF version here.