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Jim Besser

Theme Of The Month, August 2015: The Music Of Turlough O'carolan

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Very interesting and lovely dulcimer playing Daria! I'm not that familiar with these instruments but your style sounds a bit like listening to a cimbalom of Hungarian provenance to my ears... (very full and rich, thereby creating a wall of decay). Really like the sort of alienating effect on this kind of music... (or maybe I have it completely wrong, and this approach isn't uncommon at all?)!

 

Anyways, did I say that I like it a lot? :)

 

Best wishes - Wolf

 

Hi Wolf,

 

Being a Dulcimer player myself, I love that spelling mistake, when you describe the Dulcimer effect as ~ "creating a wall of decay"! :D ... or perhaps that's what you meant. ;)

 

Anyway, it's especially amusing as it's not exactly the most popular instrument, when introduced to an Irish Session over here.

 

Cheers,

Dick

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Hi Dick, as to a possible spelling mistake (with "decay", I guess) I seem to be at a loss - however, what I in fact didn't want to imply was a meaning of mould or rot... :D

 

I was not sure about the right word here from the beginning, maybe "resonance" would be more approriate...

 

Great to hear all these dulcimer sounds, including from your side...

 

Best wishes - Wolf

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That's funny, I loved the image of the "wall of decay" - meaning the background of sound decaying toward silence that is the signature sound of a hammered dulcimer or similar instruments, and had not associated it with any kind of rot.

 

But I was wondering instead what you meant by an "alienating effect" ?

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Hi Dick, as to a possible spelling mistake (with "decay", I guess) I seem to be at a loss - however, what I in fact didn't want to imply was a meaning of mould or rot... :D

I was not sure about the right word here from the beginning, maybe "resonance" would be more approriate...

Great to hear all these dulcimer sounds, including from your side...

Best wishes - Wolf

 

I could be wrong, but I think the word you're lookiong for is 'sustain.' As in 'hammered dulcimers sure have a lot of sustain.'

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Here's Young Catherine. I'd like to say it's a solo on English or duet concertina but it's actually a duet played on two Englishes. I've found it played as a lament and very briskly. My copy says moderate. We take it pretty steadily.

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One last O'Carolan tune (from me) to see August out. Here's "Mervyn Pratt" [sic], which I'd never come across until this month:

 

http://youtu.be/RvVUzrT_LtQ

 

It's been a pleasure revisiting some old favorites and learning a few unfamiliar ones.

 

Bob Michel

Near Philly

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Thought I'd throw another one in. :)

 

Here's Mr O'Connor on English Concertina, Hammered Dulcimer & Sobell Mandolin.

 

Mr O'Connor

 

Not the easiest of his tunes to learn, especially by ear, with all those twists & turns & extra phrases to keep you on your toes.

 

Cheers,

Dick

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Thought I'd throw another one in. :)

 

Here's Mr O'Connor on English Concertina, Hammered Dulcimer & Sobell Mandolin.

 

Mr O'Connor

 

Not the easiest of his tunes to learn, especially by ear, with all those twists & turns & extra phrases to keep you on your toes.

 

Cheers,

Dick

 

Very nice, and yes,not an easy tune!

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Never thought the concertina being played six inches from one's ear would lull one to sleep, but it worked like a charm for Molly.

Blind Mary
GD Anglo Morse

 

https://youtu.be/iVC547tLvtw

Edited by Daria

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Never thought the concertina being played six inches from one's ear would lull one to sleep, but it worked like a charm for Molly.

Blind Mary

Well done! The harmonies are quite lovely.

 

Must be those lush low reeds on the G/D that produce the soporific effect.

 

Bob Michel

Near Philly

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Never thought the concertina being played six inches from one's ear would lull one to sleep, but it worked like a charm for Molly.

 

Blind Mary

GD Anglo Morse

 

https://youtu.be/iVC547tLvtw

 

Very nice. That's a grandkid who will grow up appreciating free reed music!

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Never thought the concertina being played six inches from one's ear would lull one to sleep, but it worked like a charm for Molly.

 

Blind Mary

GD Anglo Morse

 

https://youtu.be/iVC547tLvtw

 

Lovely tune Daria.

 

I had to have a go myself, although I'm used to hearing it as a slow air on the Uilleann Pipes, so I play it more as an Air.

 

Blind Mary

 

On Hammered Dulcimer, English Concertina, Fiddle & Tin Whistle.

 

Cheers,

Dick

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While browsing Carolan tunes as a result of this theme, I came across one which seems just to be known as "O'Carolan's Fourth Untitled Piece", and as it has been going round in my head for a week, I thought I would let it out as a last contribution for this month. So here is "Carolan's Fourth Untitled". Total time from playing it for the first time to this recording was a couple of hours with dinner in the middle, so I'm sure it will improve with future plays!

 

It's played on a work in progress - George Case English concertina 2760 which I bought from eBay as a restoration project with split bellows, but turns out to be a rather nice Amboyna-ended instrument with double reedpans. I've just retuned it to concert pitch - it was a mess as it had originally been in old pitch and someone previously had retuned (partially) just the notes needed for keys of G and D!

 

Next task is to replace the rest of the pads, and probably most of the leather valves - you can hear in the recording that some of them are very reluctant and noisy.

 

Regards,

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Finally .....

https://soundcloud.com/chris-jordan-45/pmb

Planxty Maggie Brown as learnt by ear from a local session. (I don't think anyone's put this tune up yet.)

Some friends sometimes play this as a VERY fast jig!

 

I've just crept in under the end of the month barrier after a serious fight with getting the tunes onto the computer. I've always recorded on my old minidisc player to get decent quality. But having done the recordings, I just discovered that doing anything with them was impossible with Win8. Sony no longer support these old player/recorders :-(. I finally spent many hours searching and found some linux software which eventaully compiled and ran (!!!) in a linux install in Virtual Box (I always a have a few virtual machines lying around for testing work stuff). And can report that qhimdtransfer gives asimple basic and WORKING interface to drag PCM/WAV files off the recorder - big smiley!!

Edited by spindizzy

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So many good Carolan tunes, and I haven't even dug into the "authoritative" sources. My primary source is O'Neill's Music of Ireland (1850 melodies, published 1903), which has a section of tunes attributed to O'Carolan, collected from the playing of traditional musicians, mostly fiddlers. It's interesting to note that most of them are marked with words such as "spirited", "animated", and "lively"; a few are marked "moderate"; and very few as "slow", with Blind Mary noted as "very slow".

Here are two more that I like. Though I've been playing with tossing in the occasional harmony or chord, my fingers haven't yet learned to do any of that reliably while recording, so here are the bare melodies. Twice through each tune.

Planxty Madam Maxwell

Planxty Nancy McDermott

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I'm presumptuously stretching a point here, as this next contribution isn't a tune composed by O'Carolan, but one inspired by his works and his instrument. Joakim Friis Holm is a fine player of the Irish harp, both solo and in the group Ash Plant. He's also co-proprietor of Cafe Bartof, the last pub/café in Copenhagen to host folk music performances. Back in 1996, after an evening when Joakim did some lovely stuff on his harp, including a couple of O'Carolan tunes, I was inspired to attempt a composition in imitation of O'Craolan's style and dedicate it to Joakim, his harp, and his "home" café. This is the result, once through.

Planxty Bartof

I didn't (and don't) have a harp, but I do have a Bulgarian tambura (country cousin of the bouzouki), so I did my composing on that, to get at least a bit closer to the sound of the harp. But I'm fairly incompetent on the tambura, and I think the tune also fits well on the concertina (my English concertina, at least), so that's how I've recorded it here... for concertina.net, after all. :)

Edited by JimLucas

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