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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:16 pm 
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Thanks, yes, I've been venting with keys and the info in your post looks helpful. I've pretty much got the flute in tune now.

I wonder if anyone will say something about the uses of the two new keys. I know I can play the bottom Csharp and C, and that I have now a bottom octave C major scale. But I think people may be using these keys for more and if you are please tell me about it. Thanks again to all.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:08 am 
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Besides using them in tunes that need them.

If your low C is strong you can crann on that note or the C # though I can’t think of a context where the low C # would want to be.

You can scoop up to D from low C# or break up Ds with C sharp low gracenote.

Use as an alternate sound for the middle C/C#
Crann the middle c or C# as you would middle d .

Mainly find nice tunes that use them.
Here is an Ed Reavy time that starts on a low C sharp:
X: 13
T:The Gypsy Girl
M:2/2
L:1/8
C:Ed Reavy
S:The Collected Compositions of Ed Reavy
R:Reel
N:Like Sarah Casey, Synge's "beauty of Ballinacree,"
N:the gypsy girl represents those strange
N:beauties of the road who have
N:such devilish wild appeal, unlike any
N:others we know. And you'll never
N:see the likes of them in any other setting
N:however far you venture.
Z:Joe Reavy
K:A
ED|CEAc fedc|(3gfe fg aece|(3dcB BA GBEG|Bdgf edcB|
cAED CEAc|dcBc defg|aece dbfg|afec A2:||cd|eaag aece
|dBgB aBgB|Aaag aece|dcBd cAcd|eaag aece|(3dcB Bc defg|
aece dbfg|afec A2:||

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:58 am 
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Are we aiming for equal temperament on flutes in Irish Music? [I didn't think so...]


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:53 am 
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dunnp, thanks! Just the sort of thing i was after.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:31 pm 
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Andro wrote:
Are we aiming for equal temperament on flutes in Irish Music? [I didn't think so...]

That's an interesting question. There will be some melody instruments in a session like mandolin or a well-tuned concertina or box that will be in 12TET (or at least close). Others are a hair off in places, like the open G,D, and E strings on a fiddle when the player is tuning them in perfect 5ths after setting the A string to A=440 Hz. Then you've got pipers and whistlers who might be cross-fingering a Cnat and being a hair sharp (the "Piper's C" or "C Supernatural").

So considering all that, I try to get my flute intonation as close as I can to 12TET. It makes for a better overall session sound, when that's the "center of gravity" we're all orbiting for intonation. Even if we're all in slightly different orbits. :)

I might have developed different ideas about "idiomatic" intonation if I played alone, and wasn't looking to blend in with other instruments.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 3:10 am 
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My box player friend and I have been working on the notion of a temperament for Irish trad. He has ordered some new reeds for a box he's been rebuilding, and plans to try out the temperament idea on that. We're making the assumption that the box should play as sweetly as possible in G & D and the modes that use those scales. Clearly if you go with the more modern view of Irish music that any key is valid (C, F, Dminor, A, etc), the notion of a temperament goes out the window.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 7:05 am 
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How "modern", Terry? Plenty of tunes in 1 or 2 flats and 3 sharps in O'Neill's!

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:31 am 
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Yes, but did "normal people" play them in those keys do you think, or were they taken from celebrity stage or recording performers?

I'm reminded of Breandan Breathnach referring to "good Christian keys", by which he meant D & G. In his preface to Ceol Rince, he mentions:

"There are a very few tunes which the traditional fiddlers play in A Major; some more are to be heard in C Major or A minor, but generally traditional players, as already said, use only one or two sharps."

Raises this interesting question. If you transcribe the playing of somebody with a flat set of pipes, do you transcribe it as heard or as fingered? Ditto a player fingering D but playing a C whistle?

You'd also have to confirm that they are not say hexatonic or pentatonic tunes where the flattened notes are missing, but are assumed to be there because of the "note of repose".*

So many potential complications. Who would a musicologist be?

* Now, who was it that used to talk about the "note of repose"? That's the problem with being infinitely old - you remember all these things, but not always who said them!


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 3:29 am 
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Quote:
Yes, but did "normal people" play them in those keys do you think,


Why wouldn't they? They do it now, they did it in previous generations. There really is no reason to assume they didn't in O'Neill's time. I knew a man, Martin Rochford, who learned tunes off a man, Johnny Allen, who gave tunes to O'Neill. Martin liked the 'darkness' of the flat keys and put a lot of his tunes there. Many of Allen's tunes were in those keys as well. They would have been more difficult for pipers and, perhaps, flute and whistle players but even there are examples of whistleplayers quite deliberately placing airs in Dm rather than the easier Em for the tonal effect. But fiddleplayers would surely have used those keys. And concertinaplayers didn't shy away from keys like C, F or Dm either, listen to Kitty Hayes or John Naughton, among others.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:00 am 
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Why wouldn't they? Because of the diminished return for effort.

Why might they? Some players might go the extra distance to fit in with other local players. If you hung out with Ed Reavy or Paddy Fahy, you might be inclined to wander into less comfortable areas of your instrument.

Interesting to look at the keys of tunes in the Session tunes search. Just looking at the major keys, we get:
D - 39%
G - 40%
A - 13%
C - 4.9%
F - 3.3%

(Eb, E, F#, G#, Bb, B, C# major aren't listed, so presumably nobody has got that far....)

So, about 80% are in G or D, even now, when younger players are better educated and more adventurous. Seems to bear out what Breathnach was saying. It would be interesting (but rather a lot of work if you want to pull out the modes using the same key signature) to go through O'Neills and Ceol Rince and see if the proportion is changing over time. Anyone looking for a PhD topic?


Last edited by Terry McGee on Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:05 am 
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There'sa convention of writing tunes in D and G. I wrote a tune down yesterday from the playing of Nicky and Ann McAuliffe yesterday, Papa's Pet, and I wrote it in Am (or Ador if you like) despite them playing it in Gm. So where should I place that in the statistics?

But your original question was about 'normal' people playing the keys O'Neill used for some tunes. And the answer to thatis clear that they did. It's well documented.

I don't think there are 'diminishing returns for the effort' Martin Rochford, Paddy Fahey, Junior Crehan and the likes of them would probably not have agreed.

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Last edited by Mr.Gumby on Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:18 am 
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Heh heh, perhaps you're best placed to answer the question. Why did you write it in A(minor/dor) rather than Gminor?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:23 am 
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to what extent is the idea of a particular tune being in a particular key a result of modern group playing traditions (sessions and ceili bands)? if you regularly have people playing well-known tunes together, then it makes sense to agree that the tunes are in a particular key, or that more generally most tunes are in, say, D. but in the past, was this less important? if you go back 100 or even 200 years, would solo pipers and fiddlers all play the tunes in the same key, or would they choose whichever key they thought sounded best?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:25 am 
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Clearly a matter of the instrument I intend playing it on, pipes or whistle. Had I intended it for the fiddle I would have taken their original key.

And as an illustration of the 'diminishing returns taking the tune in Am on whistle, I feel it looses quite a bit of its attraction from the Gm flute/fiddle version I took it from from so perhaps the return for the effort increases rather than diminishes with the choice of a less usual key?

[crossposted, I responded to TMcG]

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:50 am 
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Now, we need to keep in mind that shifting it from Gm to Am (assuming Equal Temperament) is only a matter of transposition, so if you played it on a C whistle or a flat set in C you'd be back in the same pitch as they were. But would that get around your dissatisfaction, or is it that you are looking for some darkness that say cross-fingering or half-holing can lend? We are strange creatures (some more than others!), and these questions are worth pondering.


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