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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2001 6:52 pm 
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This is my first post to the board . . . be gentle.

I wanted to know the general opinion of learning and playing airs. I purchased Walton's 110 airs book and CD but I'm a bit unsure on how I should approach the songs. I know my goal isn't to copy the noted music exactly . . . but should I be trying to copy the CD? Or, should I take the music as a guide and lenthen/shorten notes as I see fit? There are a few songs in this collection that are marches or that have a definate beat . . . and those are easy to play.
How do you play airs?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2001 8:18 pm 
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Your off on the right foot. I'd listen and try to imitate the cd to begin with. When you get a feel for the music, give it your own interpretation. Whether that's in the traditional style or not depends on your awareness of what makes up the style. That comes from listening to a lot of music. I'd recommend Green Linnett's Celtophile series, compilation cd's, very inexpensive. One of them is a slow airs cd. It's really nice. Different instruments, performers on each track. Another is a harp compilation that has a lot of slow airs on it. I found them thru amazon.com by searching under Celtophile.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2001 9:00 pm 
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I agree with Tony.

One bit of advice that I might share is airs are instrumental versions of songs (tunes with words sung). There is always a difference between what the human voice can do, to what an instrument can do. The trick is to try to play your instrument like the human voice would sound, and then work away from your instruments weaknesses and towards its strenghts (for whistle focus on glissando (slurring notes), an accordian on the other hand would change volume with variation of breath pressure). Mary Bergin's advice was to listen to at least two versions of a Sean Nos (Gaelic for "old style" for songs sung in the Irish native tongue) song. I thought "I can't afford to by a bunch of Sean Nos CD's that I don't like to listen to that much. Lately I have found Ceolnet to be a great resource. You can listen to a half dozen versions of Sean nos songs and play what you like. One of my best airs is one I learned by ear from the singing of Joe Heaney (a sean nos master). I haven't wanted to learn many airs from the instrumental sources since Ceolnet has come around (For Ceolnet, see the message thread about Irish Music on the Net) or http://www.rte.ie/radio/ceolnet.htm


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