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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 2:40 pm 
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I've been on a Paddy Fahey binge and have been working on one of the Jigs, in G minor. This one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWPMKWU38EE. I'm hewing closer to the Martin Hayes version

I've gotten where I can play the first part pretty well with a Bb half holed and a kind of slur into the F. With practice I ought to be able to play it reasonably well. Yes I know some recording of Fahey show him playing less "minor."

It would be easier with a keyed flute--I have a no-name ebay old keyed flute that is in bad shape, A440-wise. but I could pay attention to getting it in better shape, or bite the bullet and buy a keyed flute. But the expressiveness of the half holing is very appealing and I kind of like the ambiguous pitch, sometimes. Sometimes it sounds terrible. I can envision getting better at it. But it's hard to imagine getting it very crisp and without a lot of sliding in and out of pitch

Is there a sense of how a tune like this would be approached on flute?


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 3:46 pm 
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Yes, you can half-hole it. You can do just about anything with slow methodical practice. At some point keys become a blessing.

Another option is to play the jig starting, not on the low d, as on the video I think, but on the e, one note up. I think it's in e minor. e, a, b, c nat is how it starts. No need to half hole anything, good key for the tune.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 4:24 pm 
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I think with half-holing and cross-fingering you can just about play anything but there is one note that is almost impossible to half-hole and that is the Eb in the first octave.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 5:09 pm 
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jim stone wrote:
Yes, you can half-hole it. You can do just about anything with slow methodical practice. At some point keys become a blessing.

Another option is to play the jig starting, not on the low d, as on the video I think, but on the e, one note up. I think it's in e minor. e, a, b, c nat is how it starts. No need to half hole anything, good key for the tune.



Yes, that will work a trick! But it feels like cheating!

I guess I'm interested in the relative aesthetics of keys vs half holing. I have a decent Boehm flute and could play it on that, it feel very different


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 5:26 pm 
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I've known a couple of great keyless players who seem to play everything with ease at speed. So yes, it is possible, (except for that Eb) but hard.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 6:05 pm 
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Yes the Eb seems pretty unreachable


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 6:11 pm 
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This is the kind of tune that helped me decide to get a keyed flute. I know that isn't much help. :wink:

I started on a keyless flute, but eventually hit a wall where I could half-hole up to a certain tempo, but no faster. Which was fine for the slower tunes, but it prevented me from playing some of the quicker tunes that I loved. Including some session standards like Julia Delaney, which requires rapid half-holing if you're playing it up to full tempo. I was also completely locked out of a tiny number of other tunes I loved that needed an Eb, which I could never half-hole at any tempo. Not tunes played in local sessions, just ones I loved that I could already play on mandolin, and that was frustrating.

Maybe if I had stayed with the keyless flute I would have been able to play the fast stuff, but at my age I don't have that kind of time. I bought a keyed flute and now I have no excuses.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 8:24 pm 
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ditto to Conical Bore.

I'm a mere intermediate player, but I learned F-nat and Bb on my keyed flute in order to play the G-minor and D-minor tunes I really love. The Bb key wasn't easy at first, but it ends up being a little easier than F-nat because your thumb is more nimble than little finger. Playing at speed is another matter; still working on that. One reason to appreciate Martin Hayes playing on PD&J's suggested jig.

I play it on keyed flute with little trouble. While I could half-hole fairly well on whistle, I'm not able to do that on flute. I think small-holed flutes can do well with cross-fingered accidentals.

One of my favorite Paddy Fahey tunes is this reel in D-minor which is pretty straightforward on keyed flute; folding the low A doesn't hurt the melody at all.
https://thesession.org/tunes/463


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2020 2:59 am 
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Yes, that will work a trick! But it feels like cheating!


But of course it isn't (cheating). Tunes move through keys to suit instruments, or tonal colours/moods, better. Their keys are not set in stone.

I was just listening to a recording I made of the tune in the home of one of the old fiddlers who's sound Martin Hayes built a career on. First of all it has all the jig rhythms that the playing in the video you linked lacked, it's music that's alive. But the man in question played another jig, The Mist covered mountain. He played it in the key Junior originally set it Gm. Just about everybody just plays it a tone up. It suited other instruments better. Were they cheating? I wonder, even Junior ended up playing it mostly a tone up from his original setting.

Come to think of it, the same holds true for The Cliffs of Moher, there are a load of different versions of it going round but more importantly, the more or less standard version is played anywhere from Gm to G to Am and there's no cheating between them.

Caisleán an Óir sees the same type of choices made.

Tunes are fluent like that. Junior set his Luchradán in in D, dipping into the fiddle's low string. That's a bit awkward, although perfectly doable, folded on the pipes flute or whistle. Junior never had a problem playing it in G when those instruments were in the mix and it never felt like cheating.

One thing I learned from those men is that you set your tune where it suits both the tune and your instrument best, keys are about colour and mood but also about being practical and doing what suits.

There's ofcourse this as well as a take on Paddy Fahy's.

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