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 Post subject: Cobbler's Polka
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:46 pm 
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Hi Pipey People...

On the Mustard board, somebody brought up the tune The Cobbler's Polka. I would love to glue it to the back of Din Terrane's and saw
that the abc puts in in Bm. I have a BEAST of a time trying to pop low to high b octaves (even slowly) and was wondering if anyone else plays this tune.
If so, what is the common session key? I know I can substitute an f# for the high b but it really loses something. Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Cobbler's Polka
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 3:10 pm 
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This thread I assume. I happened to be at the concert last Wednesday where that video was taken, the key didn't strike me as an unusual one but I had switched off a bit at that stage. Although in fairness, when they let accordionist Mark Burke loose for some Kerry music it was probably the best part of the whole thing.

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You're talking about this one aren't you?:

T: The Cobbler's
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Bmin
dB bB | de f>e | dB bB | c/B/A/c/ e>c |
dB bB | de f>e | de f/e/d | B2 :|
f2 ba | fe f>e | dB bB | c/B/A/c/ e2 |
f2 ba | fe f>e | de f/e/d | B2 :|
GE BE | GA B>A | GE BE | F/E/D/F/ A>F |
GE BE | GA B>A | GA B/A/G | E2 :|
B2 ed | BA B>A | GE BE | F/E/D/F/ A2 |
B2 ed | BA B>A | GA B/A/G | E2 :|
|: fB bB | de f>e | dB bB | c/B/A/c/ e/g/f/e/ |
fB bB | de f2 | ff f/e/d | B2 B2 :|
|:ff/f/ ba | fe fe | dB bB | c/B/A/c/ e/g/f/e/ |
|ff/f/ ba | fe fe | ff f/e/d | B2 B2 :|

It does sit better on the accordion or the fiddle in that key but it's not undoable on the pipes.

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 Post subject: Re: Cobbler's Polka
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:31 pm 
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That's the one. I love the old DeDanaan recording, but its fun to do those 16th runs on pipes. I think
I'll learn it in Bm, substitute the f# and keep practicing until I can pop a b now and then. If nothing else
its a good exercise for that octave. Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Cobbler's Polka
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 2:17 am 
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Yes, Mr Daly played it with some regularity when we played for the sunday night dances each week, years ago. Depending on who was there on the night, Dannan sets were channeled sometimes. It can be a fun, occasionally.

You can ofcourse do a piper's thing and ignore the high b, there's really no need for it to be there at all, and put a short roll or a triplet on it every now and again.A BcB one for example : bB {3.B.c.B , there are several was to tackle that, you can also do a take on using the f and do another triplet : dB {3.g.f.B).

Reminds me of someone writing once about going to a Pablo Casals concert. In the piece on the program there were a few very tricky high notes and the writer was keen to see how Casals would tackle them. To his astonishment Casals didn't bat an eye and just left them out: the art of interpretation.

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 Post subject: Re: Cobbler's Polka
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:55 am 
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It's a easier in Am on the pipes, which is where I usually play it - I think it's pretty evenly common in either key, to be honest, at least in my experience.

Bm is very doable, though, just work on getting a popped high B perfectly on its own before putting it in the tune. One approach (how I would do it mostly) is to start with a closed chanter, then vent a high G (single fingered should get you the second octave every time) and slide into the B. If you do it fast enough, all that sounds is the B.

By the way, I disagree that leaving it out, or substituting for an F# is a good approach - to me this figure is what makes the tune.


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 Post subject: Re: Cobbler's Polka
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:40 am 
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Quote:
By the way, I disagree that leaving it out, or substituting for an F# is a good approach - to me this figure is what makes the tune.




While I don't disagree with you on that, I think sometimes we have to be pragmatic and adapt tunes to suit the instrument. One thing I learned when I started, listening to Ennis and Reck, was that they, especially Ennis, had a knack of reconfiguring tunes to suit the chanter. I feel they did this to either avoid undue anxiety about a melodic element or just to make it sound more fitting on the chanter. As someone told me early on: when learning a tune, learn to think like a piper and play it that way. Playing tunes like Miss Johnson, The Hunter's house, the Chicago, pipers work around things that sprung from the mind of fiddlers and accordion players all the time.

I was playing around with the tune in question just now (I never played it on the pipes before) and found the dB {3gfB figure a satisfactory solution. I wouldn't go for replacing the b with an f. It's a nice crunchy bit (almost as pitchless as a Tommy Peoples scratchy bit) that lifts the phrase, makes it sound like a piper's take on it and it comes free of anxiety about failing. Works for me.

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 Post subject: Re: Cobbler's Polka
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:27 am 
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I agree with you on all of that :) But I still prefer the octave jump - it harder, but also quite fun when you get it. That said, for the OP I'd recommend sticking to Am for this tune, it's less difficult to keep the octave jumps in it - popping the A should be straightforward, whereas some chanters are much more reluctant to sound a B this way.


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