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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 4:39 pm 
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Hi there,
I am new to the low whistle again after many years of not playing the tin whistle as a child, I have a MK Low D and been following video tutorials so it's starting to come back!

I am wondering what to do when you have the chance to play in a non-Irish song which has a 4 chord progression. I have been following video examples where they seem to walk up and down the whistle between notes in songs...so I am wondering if this is what you do in a real life situation for a new song, not just one you've learned.
For example, if a song was C G D E in the verse and you wanted to play more than the single notes, what approach would you take to 'fill' or 'walk' between notes in a new song? Do you literally play whatever is between the notes eg. GABC|DEF#G|ABCD|D__E (and so on for whatever the 4 chords are)?

I understand you could play passing notes (like on the bass) to 'walk in' to a note but even then it feels too bare. How can I approach playing with 4 chords in an interesting way?

I hope that makes sense!

Thank you! Chris


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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 7:40 am 
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Joined: Thu May 17, 2001 6:00 pm
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Location: Montreal
ChrisG wrote:
Hi there,
For example, if a song was C G D E in the verse and you wanted to play more than the single notes, what approach would you take to 'fill' or 'walk' between notes in a new song? Do you literally play whatever is between the notes eg. GABC|DEF#G|ABCD|D__E (and so on for whatever the 4 chords are)?


Is "C G D E" a chord progression? All major chords?

It's useful to know the notes of the major and minor triads of all the chords you are likely to come across. This allows you to noodle instantly :) For example, knowing that CEG are the notes of the C major triad means that playing any of these notes when the accompanists are playing a C major chord will not jar.

However that's only a start and possibly not even the best start. You need to use your ears and your musical instincts to create fills and harmony lines that will work. Lots of gifted players can do this using their ears and knowing nothing about triads. Just jump in and experiment as much as possible - but not on stage, not just yet anyway. :D


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 6:12 pm 
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That's something I've had to do quite a bit of, but on the uilleann pipes.

A composer/songwriter will have a song that they want uilleann pipes in.

Sometimes they compose a part and write it out. Then our job is easy: show up and sightread the thing.

Other times they don't have a part written out, and hand you a Lead Sheet.

If you haven't used them, Lead Sheets have the melody (that the singer sings) written out with the chords above.

It's all trained musicians need to perform a song: the singer sings the melody line, the guitarist and/or keyboard player plays the chords written, the bass player improvises the bass part based on the chord progression, harmony players have a context from which to improvise their harmony parts.

Here's an excellent explanation of Lead Sheets and how learning to play from them builds your musicianship

https://www.musical-u.com/learn/musical ... ead-sheet/

In the sort of gigs I've often done they only want the pipes in the mix for "texture" (as they often say) so my job is to improvise a rather simple part that follows the chords but isn't too busy.

It's not rocket science. The chord symbol tells you which 3 notes you may choose from, the melody note tells you which note you should avoid (because the pipes can clash with the vocals, you don't want to step on their part). So you're usually only choosing between two notes!

So say the chord in one bar is D (D Major is implied) which contains the notes D F# and A.

If the singer is singing A, I might play F# underneath, a nice 3rd.

But if the singer is singing F# I might play D, likewise underneath and a 3rd.

If the singer is singing D I might play F# above, or A or F# below.

There's a "rule" about not playing parallel 5ths with the melody, and parallel 4ths can sound odd too. It's why 3rds are usually safer.

Yes you can move up or down scalewise at times, that for sure gives a smooth sound that doesn't bring attention to itself.

I don't think there's any one-size-fits-all thing. You have to make up your part to fit that particular song. Even if two songs have the same chord progressings the melody will be different so your part will be different.

BTW this stuff is Music stuff and applies equally whether the song is Irish or non-Irish.

_________________
Richard Cook
1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 11:31 am 
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Yes I use lead sheets constantly doing jazz gigs on bass and guitar. If the part is improvised the chords give you a starting point, a set of note or scale choices. If you are stuck you can just play chord tones, e.g play C, E, G, B in some order on a Cmaj7; G, D, Bb, F on a Gm7, etc. Many a soloist takes a breather by running an arpeggio or two


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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 10:59 pm 
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Hi PB&J.

You should probably be aware that in ITM, it's important to honor the melody line.

I know in Bluegrass the style is to vamp on the chords, but that doesn't quite do it for Irish music.

I've heard some excellent guitar accompanists, and I really enjoy the harpist at one of our local sessions - she is a very accomplished musician. The whistle has a tendency to be strong or dominant on the melody. Bass voicing works better for chords, perhaps.


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