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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2020 11:18 am 
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Hi there,

I am new to this forum, from Germany, with some experience playing the soprano recorder and reading notes, and have recently started playing the pennywhistle (Dixon whistle in D). I love slow airs. I mostly play for fun because I love the sound of pennywhistles, but I am also trying to learn from Stephen Ducke's Complete Guide to Playing Irish Traditional Music on the Whistle.

I would really like to buy a book on slow airs (with sheet music) and recently came across these two:

1. Tomas O'Canainn: Traditional Slow Airs Of Ireland
2. 110 Ireland's Best Slow Airs For Melodic Instruments

I was wondering if any of you have one or both of them and would let me know if most (or many) songs in them can be played on the D whistle (without having to transpose any notes or anything of that matter), and whether at least some of the songs can be easily played by beginners.

Thanks in advance and happy whistling!

Penny

P. S. If you know of any other books on slow airs (in either German or English), I'd appreciate you letting me know.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2020 12:25 pm 
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Caveat: I don't play ITM.

From what I understand, ITM is nearly 100% doable on a 'D' whistle, even if it is in 'G', or some in 'A'.

Others will chip in soon, but thought I'd just mention it. :)

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2020 1:13 pm 
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Out of those two Tomas O'Canainn's is the one I'd recommend, perhaps. As far as learning airs from a book goes anyway. The tunes will fit on the D whistle, mostly (there's the odd low note in tunes like Morgan Magan if I remember correctly).

Playing slow airs well is not an easy job. Good luck.

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From what I understand, ITM is nearly 100% doable on a 'D' whistle


Probably best to not make assumptions.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2020 3:34 am 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
Quote:
From what I understand, ITM is nearly 100% doable on a 'D' whistle


Probably best to not make assumptions.


Am I that far out then? If so I retract my 'assumtion'. :D

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2020 4:08 pm 
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There are a lot of slow airs on thesession.org, but you have to know what you're looking for, since there isn't a 'slow air' category on that site (many of them are listed as waltzes, by default).

I have a copy of Tomas O'Canainn's book which I began learning some slow airs from some years ago, but perhaps even more so than dance tunes, slow airs really have to be learned by listening. O'Canainn's book should come with a cd, which is somewhat helpful.

As Mr. Gumby so rightly puts it, it's a challenging endeavor, especially when not in the surroundings of a traditional community, but not impossible in this day and age.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2020 5:01 pm 
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Hi there,

Thank you all for weighing in. I also just read a review on the Tomas O'Canainn book which made me want to buy it just for the CDs. So, I guess I'll give that one a go.

Thank you, stiofan, for mentioning thesession.org. I'll check that out, too.

:thumbsup:

Penny


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2020 6:24 pm 
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fatmac wrote:
ITM is nearly 100% doable on a 'D' whistle


ITM as played on D whistle is 100% doable on D whistle :thumbsup:

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2020 6:38 pm 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
Out of those two Tomas O'Canainn's is the one I'd recommend, perhaps. As far as learning airs from a book goes anyway. The tunes will fit on the D whistle, mostly (there's the odd low note in tunes like Morgan Magan if I remember correctly).

Playing slow airs well is not an easy job.


I have the O Canainn book and as with any written versions of airs the dots don't capture the feel and phrasing, which has to be got from listening.

IMHO airs are much harder to play than the dance music.

I struggled for years with airs until finally having what I consider a break-through, after which they seemed to make far more musical sense.

How difficult airs are for people became most apparent when I was teaching an uilleann workshop and decided to do Roisin Dubh rather than a piece of dance music. Nobody could make much sense of it. Perhaps it's the lack of bars and regular beats to latch on to; I was breaking it down into phrases, which is the only way that makes sense to me.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2020 1:55 am 
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I have both books,some tunes appear-not in quite the same versions,of course- in both books.

Overall I prefer Mr. O'C,'s.

I'd like to mention a reprint publication which doesn't come with any recordings. While there are many airs in it you cannot play on any whistle there are ones you can in The Roche Collection,plus you get many other types of tunes besides. You still need to hear the airs played though,and they didn't provide CD's when the original was published in 3 volumes starting around 1912.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2020 2:48 am 
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Tomas O'Canainn had the knowledge and knew his airs. The notations in his book are arguably simplified but they are sound. And they do indicate the length of the phrases. Bear in mind it's a book aimed at beginners/learners, writing in any more detail would defeat the purpose. The book and CDs are in the €15-18 range on ebay, which is reasonable enough.

I'd caution against learning airs from notation alone, the song airs anyway, if you're goign to be playing tunes like Inis Oir etc you'll be fine but for sean nos airs, the recommended route is through the singers.

Take for example Joe Heaney singing Caoineadh Na Tri Mhuire. The basic tune is simple enough, follow the singer's words and phrases and you're flying. And if you're into that sort of thing, it's the time of year for it.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2020 12:05 pm 
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PennyWhistle wrote:
Thank you, stiofan, for mentioning thesession.org. I'll check that out, too.

I just wanted to mention that not all postings on thesession.org site or YouTube videos are quality postings so be careful. Both sites are wonderful resources if you know what and who to follow.


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