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E Minor Tunes


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Hi all, quick question here: I'm fairly new to all this and I am learning from books mostly and find I am frequently caught out on E minor tunes; to name a few - Drowsy Maggie and Morrison's jig. Any hints on how to approach these tunes? I am a 'along the rows player' and I make B) frequent use of the middle row, playing of course Irish tunes. Thanks, Alan.

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Yes, that's all very well saying it's the same notes as for a G tune but a problem arises when playing a B note immediately after an E note as occurs in both the tunes I mentioned (if my memory serves me well) for then you have two push notes on the middle finger left hand with the E in the 'C' row and the B in the 'G' row directly below it - very hard to play at speed. Does anyone play the tunes I mentioned or other E minor tunes, and how do they deal with this? I have tried picking up the B as a draw note on the 'C' row right hand but get a very dislocated effect. Thanks for any advise, Alan.

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E minor uses the same notes as G Major...

Actually, that's not really true. E minor Irish tunes are generally (always??) actually in E dorian, with a C#, thus using the same notes as D major.

 

The dorian scale is just like the minor scale but the 6th note is raised. A minor tunes with F# are also dorian.

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Actually, that's not really true. E minor Irish tunes are generally (always??) actually in E dorian, with a C#, thus using the same notes as D major.

There are actually quite a number of E Minor (as opposed to E Dorian) Irish tunes out there. There are also a fair number of hexatonic tunes in which the sixth scale degree (the C or C#) doesn't appear at all.

 

One of the reasons I like the G/D so much is the majority of the tunes are in G, D, and related keys.

 

I'm really looking forward to the instrument Bob Tedrow is building for me, which has bellows reverses handy for the bulk of the range (by changing the D row to down a fourth, rather than up a fifth).

 

--Dave

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Most Irish tunes considered as Em indeed use the scale of D, that is 2 sharps, F# and C#. There are some that don't but a very small minority (Rights of Man, Kid on the Mountain are 2 that come to mind). Regardless, Drowsie Maggie is most definitely a 2 sharp tune and cannot be played only on the G row. In fact the second part of Drowsie Maggie is clearly in D major.

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how do you deal with the E and B note problem

 

I use two different fingers. It's not as comfortable as some other button combinations, but it can be done.

Sorry for that being so terse. Was in a hurry.

 

Two fingers. On tunes like those you mention it would be middle finger on the E, ring finger on the B. With your hand in that position, I think the notes of the pull D chord fall naturally under your ring (C-row D), little (G-row F#), and index (C-row A) fingers.

 

In other tunes -- or parts of tunes -- I might use the index finger on the E and the middle finger on the B. All depends on the notes surrounding them in the tune and on the keys.

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A quick search on The Session found 209 E minor tunes, compared with 217 in E dorian. The database there is usually pretty good about getting the key right.

 

--Dave

Dave,

 

Is the session an internet site? Is "the session" the name of the site or whatever you call the address?

Thanks,

Helen

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A quick search on The Session found 209 E minor tunes, compared with 217 in E dorian. The database there is usually pretty good about getting the key right.

 

--Dave

Dave,

 

Is the session an internet site? Is "the session" the name of the site or whatever you call the address?

Thanks,

Helen

Helen

It's a website at http://www.thesession.org/index.php. More clever people than me would make that a clickable link for you ... or maybe I have? :huh:

Samantha

Added later ... Hey, I have!

Edited by Samantha
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A quick search on The Session found 209 E minor tunes, compared with 217 in E dorian. The database there is usually pretty good about getting the key right.

I'd be willing to bet you several pints that most of the tunes listed as E minor at theSession.org are played with 2 sharps, making them E dorian and impossible to play on just the G row.

 

TheSession.org is a very good website but I certainly would never trust the database of tunes as a definitive source.

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Even if it were 1 in 2, that would still leave 100+ E Minor tunes.

Click this handy URL here for a breakdown of Henrik Norbeck's large and lovingly maintained tune archives.

 

Unlike other sources, Mr. Norbeck is very careful about modal designations---he doesn't use "minor" at all, I believe, just "dorian" and "aeolian," the latter being the usual minor outside of trad music. This is why I used his archive for the analysis.

 

Anyway, I get the dorian mode outnumbering the "minor" minor by a factor of four, a figure I'd consider in keeping with personal experience. Even the mixolydian tunes outnumber the aeolian ones.

 

Caj

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