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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 6:43 pm 
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I started a while ago with a Clarke Celtic C. Wanted to hear a Walton D, so I bought one. I enjoy the different voices. Looking at the Timothy J Potter, the Freeman Blackbird, and the Dixon Trad D. I like slow airs, since my fingers seemed to get tangled up when I play quickly. Any recommendations?


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:08 am 
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I have Generations in both brass & nickel, a Feadog brass, a Tony Dixon ABS, a Waltons aluminium, & an alto G Tony Dixon Trad brass. :)

I've found the Generations good value for the money, (mine are a complete set of nickels, G, F, Eb, D, C, Bb & a D, C, & Bb brass).

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Last edited by fatmac on Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:17 am 
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Thing is, you can have ten Clarkes and you might hear ten different sounds.

Ditto Generations, or any other mass-produced low-cost whistle with plastic moulded top.

The several parts of the mould that come together to form the head will be in a slightly different alignment each time.

So a dozen new Generations all made at the same time from the same mould will each play differently.

It's why general statements like "Generations play like this, Waltons play like that" don't carry much weight.

Even Dixons and Freemans vary.

I was at Tony Dixon's booth at the NAMM show a number of years ago and played around a dozen of his plastic moulded head with alloy body High D whistles, and each was a bit different.

But the great thing about whistles is that they're extremely inexpensive as traditional Irish instruments go.

$15,000 for a set of uilleann pipes, $3,000 for a keyed Irish flute. For that you can buy hundreds of whistles!

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:41 am 
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What pancelticpiper said. I have a silly number of D whistles, from Clarke, Feadog, Oak, Waltons, Generation. Multiple versions from some makers. A couple "tweaked" whistles, one from jerry Freeman and one from Cillian O'Briain They all sound and play differently. it's fun and interesting and relatively inexpensive. There are some that sit in a drawer because they're just not much fun to play. There are others that I play on and off, because they have some quality I like.

The ones I keep turning to all the time are from Killarney whistles--they just behave more consistently and easily. I'm not sure why. It might be because they're heavier, and maybe there's a dampening effect, or maybe it's just psychological, they feel more solid.

I'm not an expert by any means but I found that the Killarneys made practicing easier and more fun and that made the other whistles easier to play as well, probably just because I pracited more.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:06 pm 
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I have three Clare whistles in D. One is my favorite. It’s old, the whistle head is differently molded than the new ones now. The new is still good, just different. I took a file to the sides of the window to file off these little tabs thingies, and put poster putty in the mouthpiece. Two is the same as one, but I’ve not tweaked it, and don’t plan to. Three is new, the mouthpiece is different that one and two. It’s also a two piece whistle which breaks down to a 6.5 and 5.75 inch sections. They are very easy to tweak, the whistle heads are not glued on. I like the two piece Clare a lot, it fits in an oversized glasses case.

While they all sounded very similar before any tweaking, I’m sure I could tell you which one was being played if I was blindedfolded and someone else played them. Not just say whether it’s a different whistle or the same one played twice, but tell specifically which one. Similar, but not the same.

As has been pointed out, collecting whistles, at least the mass produced one isn’t going to break the bank. I have a whistles by different manufacturers, and they all have some quality I enjoy about them. There isn’t one I regret buying, at least not yet!

My favorite Clare, Janis, is very much in tune. The lower octave is rock solid, a nice full tone, as the other two Clare’s, but stronger. The upper, more airy than my Feadog or Mellow D, not so bird-like, which is the Clare, old fashioned sound. She’s sweet, but a bit rough around the edges. But I connect with her the best, and really enjoy playing her, and obviously, practice a lot more.

I have a lot of musical instruments, clarinets, saxophones, Native American flutes, recorders, whistles. I play the whistles by far the most, because of the ability to play many songs I know by heart. They’re portable, don’t require reeds, and I feel free to improvise on the whistles, recorders and NA flutes, something I never could get myself to do very well on orchestra instruments. I feel like I should have a musical score in front of me. Not so with the keyless wind instruments. I can play anything on a clarinet by ear, but I don’t know, it’s just not as fun for some reason.

I love to listen to Irish traditional music, but don’t know any songs, yet. But I know plenty of other stuff, church hymns, Elvis, show tunes, tv show theme songs, and it’s just plain fun to play that stuff. I don’t get discouraged. I was busy, embellishing away, practicing grace notes and rolls, and my husband yelled from the other room... that sounds like a fancy version of The Brady Bunch song! I figure I was doing it right, since he could still tell what song I was playing :thumbsup:

I too, prefer to play slow airs, and listen to them, too. I am working on a few very simple ones right now, reading music. when I get frustrated, I go back to improvising the show tunes. My biggest problem is having played clarinet for many years. When I read music, I keep reverting back to Bb clarinet fingering and tangling myself up. To me, three fingers down is a C (plus a thumb if there was a thumb hole) I do better playing by ear right now, until I can retrain my brain.

The saying goes you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince (Or Princess) I only partially agree, because I don’t think any of my whistles are frogs. They all have something to offer, but for sure, I do have favorites.

But here’s the kicker, the Clare is the first whistle I bought. It took me a while to totally make friends with her, but even before I tweaked her, once I played all these other whistles I had collected, I realized I kept going back to her the most. Go figure. But that isn’t stopping me in the least from buying more whistles!


Lisa


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:16 am 
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Squeakie wrote:

I too, prefer to play slow airs, and listen to them, too. I am working on a few very simple ones right now, reading music. When I get frustrated, I go back to improvising the show tunes.


I think you should put away the sheet music and approach Irish airs the way you approach the other music, playing by ear and having the freedom to improvise. I think improvisation is a fundamental aspect of Irish traditional music.

Take a single air, a sean nos air, which are played rubato and can't very well be boxed in by bar-lines and written note-values.

Find a good recording of a traditional player playing it (solo and with no accompaniment) and listen to it over and over. Let the arch of the tune seep in, get a feel of the phrasing. Many/most people say that with the sean nos you should learn from a recording of someone singing it (accapela of course) and I'm sure they're right. (But I play the pipes and I usually learn from a recording of a good piper.)

I go phrase by phrase when learning a new sean nos air. To me it's all about the phrasing. Once you have a phrase it's yours and there's considerable freedom with the playing of it.

Maybe a good place to start, a tune with well-defined phrases, is Roisin Dubh.

Here's it being sung. Perhaps just listen a number of times, and hum along to get a feel for it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGelrimeD7c

For picking up a tune it's easier to watch somebody's fingers while listening.

If you have a D whistle (high or low) here it is being played on Low D. Grab a D whistle a toot along!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mbbksl0OA2w

Now he's playing it in the key of D there, above, on Low D whistle.

Here, below, it's on uilleann pipes but pushed up a 4th into the key of G. Pipers really like the singing high notes.

On the whistle you can play it in both keys and find out which you prefer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drusjW7Zm9Y

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:09 am 
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Reading this post, I was reminded of how I memorized tunes over the years. Generally, tunes played in the major keys are easier for me to memorize than the minor keys. Is this the case with other people as well?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:14 am 
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I've got a book and CD set coming in the mail,
Tomas O'Canainn
Traditional Slow Airs of Ireland
I'm hoping to play along with the songs on the cd, while reading along with the music. There's 118 songs, so I'm bound to find some simpler ones I can work on, getting the basic melody down, then improvising as I like to do.

YouTube is an incredible resource for solo music, I do searches all the time for trad music.

I love the sound of minor songs, but also find them more difficult to work my way through.
Lisa


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:28 pm 
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I say get a quiet head Milligan and you’ll never want another D whistle. ;)


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:37 am 
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Squeakie wrote:
I've got a book and CD set coming in the mail,
Tomas O'Canainn
Traditional Slow Airs of Ireland
I'm hoping to play along with the songs on the cd, while reading along with the music.

It's a great book for sure.

But as I said those tune really defy being put into bars and mathematical note-values.

So if you want to learn how to play sean nos airs don't look at the sheet music, find nice YouTube videos of somebody playing the air on whistle, flute, or pipes, and using the same-key whistle play along and pick up the tune that way.

A little story will demonstrate the difference between learning an air the proper way, and learning from the sheet music:

I play in a trio, myself on uilleann pipes and two friends on fiddle and guitar.

I had learned A Spailpin, a Ruin out of the Traditional Slow Airs of Ireland book you have coming, and our trio has been playing it for years that way, the book way, the sheet music way. It's lovely.

Well we were at a party and we played it. An Irish fellow there listened to us, complimented our version, said we had a Baroque sound to the tune. Turns out he's a fine sean nos style singer! And he sung it. His version was beautiful and a completely different thing than our sheet-music thing, miles better than our version of course.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:35 am 
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The thing about airs is: they are not, generally speaking, technically difficult. To get them right though, that's a different story.

You can take different approaches to them ofcourse, play the tune and adlib as you see fit or take a sean nós tune and treat it like a singer would, just to name two. Taking the singer's approach involves would involve getting knowledge of the idiom and the song itself, getting the tune and words to fit, get your ornamentation in at appropriate spots and all that.

I remember sitting somewhere with Seán 'ac Donncha. A friend was playing Bean Dubh and Gleanna on the pipes. The piping was beautiful but as soon as he finished Seán said 'I think you left out a few words there and put in a few where there weren't any'. It's tricky stuff, getting it right.

But it's really about what you want, if you just want to make nice sounds on your instrument, there's a world open to you. If you want to get stuff right, in a way that people who know this stuff intimately can appreciate, there's a world of work to be done. Listening to the airs being sung is a good start, I believe.

And you don't even need to go into the deep dark heart of Connemara to start off : An Raibh Tú Ar An gCarraig? - Breandán Ó Beaglaoich, for example,will give you a good way in to playing that air.

Or a simple one Mo Ghile Mear - Cor Cuil Aodha and the rest of it here

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2018 6:34 am 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
I remember sitting somewhere with Seán 'ac Donncha. A friend was playing Bean Dubh an Gleanna on the pipes. The piping was beautiful but as soon as he finished Seán said 'I think you left out a few words there and put in a few where there weren't any'.


Just wanted to mention that that's not only an Irish sean nos issue, it comes up all the time when Highland pipers play Hymn tunes.

Few of them can resist putting in ornaments and extra notes, always in places where they don't make any sense, where they don't fit the words, as Sean said putting in words where there aren't any.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:01 am 
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Quote:
The thing about airs is: they are not, generally speaking, technically difficult. To get them right though, that's a different story.


Or a simple one Mo Ghile Mear - Cor Cuil Aodha and the rest of it here


Thank you for the song. I'm working on the song as a tune on whistle after a local workshop here with a friend from Co. Mayo. We have pipers here who have used NPU site for tune help:
http://pipers.ie/source/media/?galleryI ... diaId=4001

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:19 am 
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Thank you for the song.


You're welcome. Over the years I have grown very fond of the men of Cor Cuil Aodha singing that, perhaps having been to too many funerals of musicians. They always sing it at the end of the final concert of the Willie week, generating that strange mix of lonesomeness, the week over and everybody going away again, and elation. As they did in the video.

As usual, I was on snapping duties on the other end of the stage when that video was taken. It was lovely how the crowd erupted when Danny Maidhci o Suilleabhain stepped forward to sing his verse, even though the video doesn't quite pick up on that.

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