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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:12 pm 
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first off let me say I recognize this is potentially a tall order and I know little enough about the culture and history of irish traditional music aside from I like the sound

i know that there are a lot of people who recommend only learning by ear, and while i appreciate that method i like having the options to learn at my own pace also

could you recommend the most comprehensive book of these types of songs


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:48 pm 
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O'Neill's Music of Ireland


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:15 pm 
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Folks signal their in-the-know status when it comes to trad music by referring to dance music - jigs and reels; music without words - as tunes rather than songs.

But Mike's right: O'Neill's is the landmark achievement in ITM tune collections, and for generations of musicians, it's been known simply as "the book". It's value as an encyclopedia is somewhat diminished by the fact that everything in it, and a great deal more, is now readily available on line in .abc format at sites The Session or Mike Chambers' Tunefinder. Some folks learn to read .abc straight, but there are also sites and software that'll convert it into standard notation, or play it as midi, or whatever.

.abc is a method of conveying musical notation as ascii, that is, text, which makes it a lot easier to transmit on the internets.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:33 pm 
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I like O'Neils. I'm also a big fan of the Fiddler's Fakebook.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:02 am 
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It really depends on what your aim is, what you already know and that sort of thing.

If you want a few generic tunes to learn quickly and play at sessions, with no prior knowledge of this type of music, O'Neill's collections may prove a disappointment even though they are, as mentioned, a great achievement, alongside Breathnach's five volumes (taken from the between 15000 and 20000 tunes he collected during his life) and other major collections.

At this point there's more available than ever before, tailored to all sorts of needs, styles and levels. Printed or online. Generic and for different instruments. So YMMV and the question for 'the most comprehensive book' becomes tricky to answer satisfactory.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:25 am 
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thanks for the responses. i will look into them.


it just occurred to me that i might benefit from understanding also the history of the irish music tradition, and what influenced it over the years. are there some recommended books for that?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:42 pm 
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westonm wrote:
it just occurred to me that i might benefit from understanding also the history of the irish music tradition, and what influenced it over the years. are there some recommended books for that?


Brendan Breathnach, Folk Music and Dances of Ireland

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:43 pm 
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thanks!


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:12 pm 
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Mike Brennan wrote:
O'Neill's Music of Ireland

s1m0n wrote:
Mike's right: O'Neill's is the landmark achievement in ITM tune collections, and for generations of musicians, it's been known simply as "the book".

Sorry if this seems picky, but I always thought that it was the "1001 Gems" that was thought of as "the book". O'Neill's Music of Ireland (known as "The 1850" because it contains 1,850 tunes) is a great collection, right enough, but it's always seemed to me to be more of academic use than what strikes me as the more practical and, for a long time, more well known, The Dance Music of Ireland (subtitled 1001 Gems), also by O'Neill.

Maybe I'm wrong about which "the book" is. Anyway ... get both! :)

Unless Mike meant "O'Neill's Music of Ireland" by Miles Krassen, in which case, personally, I wouldn't bother. It's too fussy for me, and the settings are not based on the same original source material as O'Neill himself used - they're from more modern musicians, and it was, as I understand it, an academic exercise to show all of the possible variations put into a tune in one setting ... or something like that. For me, I've never found it particularly usable, so I'd recommend sticking with one or other of the facsimile editions of O'Neills or, as I've said above, with both of the two I've mentioned.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:12 pm 
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Ben,
Interestingly enough, I've always thought of 1850 as "the book", and 1001 gems as the sequel. I had all three including the Miles Krassen book at one time. My favorite was 1001 gems, but I loaned it out and never got it back. 1850 is just as good, and I agree with you about the Miles Krassen book. So I will also say "get both"! (Not the Krassen book)

The OP asked for the most comprehensive book, and either O'Neill's books fits that bill. However, for a beginner or someone new to ITM it is a bit much, and one probably wouldn't know where to begin. It might be more help if we knew what the objective was. For example, if you're trying to get into a local open session, a "slow session" for beginners, you might consider contacting the leader. Some of these sessions around me have lists of 50 tunes or so that are commonly played at these sessions. I know one that even has the sheet music for the common tunes written out available for download. If that's not an option then perhaps you get one of the O'Neills' books then come back here for advice on which tunes you might want to start with.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:51 am 
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Mike Brennan wrote:
Ben,
Interestingly enough, I've always thought of 1850 as "the book", and 1001 gems as the sequel. I had all three including the Miles Krassen book at one time. My favorite was 1001 gems, but I loaned it out and never got it back. 1850 is just as good, and I agree with you about the Miles Krassen book. So I will also say "get both"! (Not the Krassen book)

The OP asked for the most comprehensive book, and either O'Neill's books fits that bill. However, for a beginner or someone new to ITM it is a bit much, and one probably wouldn't know where to begin. It might be more help if we knew what the objective was. For example, if you're trying to get into a local open session, a "slow session" for beginners, you might consider contacting the leader. Some of these sessions around me have lists of 50 tunes or so that are commonly played at these sessions. I know one that even has the sheet music for the common tunes written out available for download. If that's not an option then perhaps you get one of the O'Neills' books then come back here for advice on which tunes you might want to start with.

Good thinking. The other benefit of doing the session thing, and learning their tunes is that the settings are, if the session knows what they're doing, more likely to be what's played today, rather than some of the settings in the O'Neill's books, which can sometimes be versions that are no longer played, and therefore potentially confusing to a beginner trying to get into playing with others in a session.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:07 am 
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Just in case the OP is interested in another source of Airs, not so much other tunes, then, there's the Book/2-CD set:

Traditional Slow Airs of Ireland
by TOMÁS Ó CANAINN
More than 100 of the most beautiful Irish Airs.
Suitable for all instruments.

Ossian Publications
distributed by Hal Leonard Corp.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:18 am 
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Quote:
The OP asked for the most comprehensive book, and either O'Neill's books fits that bill.


I don't know, if you consider usefulness to a beginner without much prior knowledge, O'Neill may be counter productive. But I am probably fussy about those things. I wouldn't possibly recommend Breathnach's Folk music and dances (or Tomás Ó Cannain's Traditional music in Ireland) either because it's by now so dated. It was a great book but so much has happened since. On the other hand I wouldn't know what else to recommend (can't bring myself to recommend Ó hAllmhuráin's Pocket history and stuff like that, for various reasons). I am not even sure sitting down with any book without much prior knowledge is a way I'd recommend at all. Learn the tunes you like when you hear them and see where that takes you, is what I always say. There are no shortcuts.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:40 am 
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There are no perfect books, on any subject.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:03 am 
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benhall.1 wrote:
Mike Brennan wrote:
Ben,
Interestingly enough, I've always thought of 1850 as "the book", and 1001 gems as the sequel. I had all three including the Miles Krassen book at one time. My favorite was 1001 gems, but I loaned it out and never got it back. 1850 is just as good, and I agree with you about the Miles Krassen book. So I will also say "get both"! (Not the Krassen book)

The OP asked for the most comprehensive book, and either O'Neill's books fits that bill. However, for a beginner or someone new to ITM it is a bit much, and one probably wouldn't know where to begin. It might be more help if we knew what the objective was. For example, if you're trying to get into a local open session, a "slow session" for beginners, you might consider contacting the leader. Some of these sessions around me have lists of 50 tunes or so that are commonly played at these sessions. I know one that even has the sheet music for the common tunes written out available for download. If that's not an option then perhaps you get one of the O'Neills' books then come back here for advice on which tunes you might want to start with.

Good thinking. The other benefit of doing the session thing, and learning their tunes is that the settings are, if the session knows what they're doing, more likely to be what's played today, rather than some of the settings in the O'Neill's books, which can sometimes be versions that are no longer played, and therefore potentially confusing to a beginner trying to get into playing with others in a session.

I'm early enough in my journey that I really don't know "what I want to do" just yet. So far I've been happy to learn really accessible and recognizable songs like Londonberry Air and Inisheer, and identifying the airs that are the origins for the tune of popular old-time church hymns.


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