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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2002 8:22 am 
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Please place the examination booklet in front of you and remove all objects, except a pen, from you desk. Do not open the bookelet before you instructed to do so. You will have one hour.

Discuss in 500 words or less:

What are the principles guiding your selection of tunes for a set (also called a medley) and how are they applied?

Support your answer with examples, both good and bad.

If you have to use the bath room during the examination, raise your hand and an usher will collect your examination booklet.

Good luck!

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2002 8:33 am 
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Whim.

Then of course there is the limitation of my tune-vocabulary, which is perhaps the most powerful factor in tune selection for me. I mean, I'd like to play Green Groves of Erin into Flowers of Red Hill (Tommy Peoples/B-Band, iirc), but I can't play the Flowers... yet.

Speaking of Green Groves of Erin, though. That has always struck me as the quintessential Donegal reel. Maybe because I hear T P play it first. Does regional association of a tune matter: put Green Groves only with Northern tunes, put Earl's Chair only into Clare sets (and play them slower :wink: )?

I try not to put tunes of the same key together, but I like subtle variations. More important is melodic build, though. One set I like (we play it a lot at my session) is Father Kelly's (on the quiet, flowing side), into Sligo Maid (upward drive in the A part, wants to go fast), into Star of Munster (driving, with an exhilarating B-part to finish off the set).

Sometimes I like little plays with the names of tunes, like Saddle The Pony into Scatter the Mud (nice one that, I think).

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2002 1:21 pm 
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On 2002-08-15 10:33, Bloomfield wrote:
Whim.


Speaking of Green Groves of Erin, though. That has always struck me as the quintessential Donegal reel. Maybe because I hear T P play it first. Does regional association of a tune matter: put Green Groves only with Northern tunes, put Earl's Chair only into Clare sets (and play them slower :wink: )?


I don't think regional associations come into it. The Gree nGroves of Erin is considered a Clare tune around here [Junior Crehan and 'the band' couples it to the Knotted Cord], but I guess it must have been widely popular for a long time [it is also associated with the piping of Johnny Doran, which could explain how it got around].

The Earl's Chair is a not too old tune, from East Galway [the said chair is a clump of rock in the middle of the Slievw Aughties]. It percolated into East Clare and went ahead from there.

In the same way I recently learned Launching the Boat off the PJ Crotty/James Cullinan CD, a wonderful flowing reel that sits in well with any other tune, still a Donegal tune [and in general I don't fancy Donegal music that much at all].


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2002 4:54 pm 
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There is a web site out there (if I stumble across it again, I'll tell you) that lays out elaborate formulas for 'ascending' keys, combining keys that work well together, etc, etc. I don't pay attention to keys, myself; I just get the tune onto a D whistle and go. I put my own sets together based upon what sounds good. I suspect that my choices would coincide with the rules laid out; I just don't know the rules. If two tunes in the same key sound good together, I'd use them. Try them out together and see how it sits with you. I like Cup of Tea followed by Cooley's Reel, Trip to Kilaval/Morrison's Jig, Wise Maid/Down the Broom/Wild Irishman, Battle of Aughrim/Lord Mayo. Tell me if there's a pattern there; I just made those up. Try them!

Better yet, figure out the keys that good sets on cd's are in and look for patterns. Of course, there are other combinations that are based upon melodic similarities/variances that complement each other as well.
Tony

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2002 5:18 pm 
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my favorite set right now is "Get up old woman and shake yourself" into "Tripping up the stairs" don't know why other than they just feel right together to me


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2002 5:26 pm 
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Staying in the 'what sounds good' vein, I experiment with the order tunes can be played together. They are often not interchangeable. Some sequences work, while switching what's played first, doesn't. It just doesn't sound right.
Tony

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2002 9:00 pm 
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I've had years of coming up with sets to be played in dance and other types bands and I have a good idea of what works, various key changes that are generally good, for example.

But maybe because of all those years I am slightly allergic to "set sets" in sessions. I hate the predictability of people who play their pet set sets of common tunes every week for years together - sheer laziness and lack of imagination and it gets sooo boring. Unless they are really really good players, and then I forgive them. :wink:

What I like to do these days is make up transient sets, pretty much on the spur of the moment, of tunes that I am really enjoying at the time. As I say, I know what sorts of key changes nearly always work. And I like to do what I saw Jackie Daly doing at a session many years ago - play a couple of bars of each tune in the set so people know what to expect, or get a consensus, and then we're off! I much prefer that to getting to the end of the second tune and finding that three people all have their own idea of what should come next and the loudest or most persistent one wins.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2002 7:27 am 
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Tony, I'll try some of the those sets: Cup o' Tay into Cooley's sounds intriguing. Killavil /Morrison's I can't really imagine, but I'll have to try it.

Get Up Old Woman And Shake Yourself is a great little tune that I love because it is one of the few jigs that you can sing with the title, it's like the melody puts the words on your tongue. Tripping up the Stairs is a tune that I like as the first or second tune in a set, but it always makes me want to go into something high and brilliant afterwards, like the Cliffs of Moher.

Steve: I know what you are saying about set sets, I prefer different and improvised, too. At one of the sessions I go to (not much recently, unfortunately), the old crack players, who get paid I think), will set the sets among themselves, playing a few bars to remind each other. They'll tell you if you ask, "what are we doing?" but it's not like they look around the circle, announce the set and wait for you to put your pint down.

With on the fly sets in the other sessions there seems to be an unwritten rule that whoever starts the first tune starts the next tune in the set, too. I like it when sets grow longer and longer, and the next tune is "called out" by someone during the last B-part. "Ryan's!"

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2002 7:05 pm 
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On 2002-08-15 23:00, StevieJ wrote:
I've had years of coming up with sets to be played in dance and other types bands and I have a good idea of what works, various key changes that are generally good, for example.


Hi Steve, can you expand on "the various key changes that are generally good" part? I'm interested in the keys/modes that normally sound good when placed back to back and how you derive these patterns.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Eldarion on 2002-08-16 21:07 ]</font>


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