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Author Topic: Ceilidh playing  (Read 431 times)

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RogerT

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Ceilidh playing
« on: October 08, 2017, 10:17:30 AM »

Played with a celiidh band last night and much of the material alternates between DG and A. It's good discipline to get to grips with A (this was mostly sight reading from the Red and Blue band books). But the Standard DG melodeon doesn't have a high G# so most tunes I fudged around that problem (by not playing G. The two obvious answers are 1) play a box with more accidentals, like my Pariselle box or 2) use a 3 row ADG. 
Just wondered if anyone has any other ideas (apart from avoiding tunes in A).
I find the DG melodeon quite irritating with its limitations, esp when one needs to pay in DMinor or Gminor or C or A or F, all common keys.

Lester

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Re: Ceilidh playing
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2017, 10:31:56 AM »

In my opinion, from which others may vary, the further away from D and G you play on a D/G box the less it is suited to playing for dancing as it also moves you away from the instruments natural bouncy/dancey sound.
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Theo

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Re: Ceilidh playing
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2017, 10:44:06 AM »

Roger, if possible choose A tunes that don’t have a high G#, eg Athol Highlanders, and many other Scottish pipe tunes in A.  Highland pipe chanters have a flattened 7th, so a chanter in A has G not G#.  (And yes I know that traditionally GHB are in Bb,  but their notation is conventionally written in A).
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george garside

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Re: Ceilidh playing
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2017, 11:02:04 AM »

In my opinion, from which others may vary, the further away from D and G you play on a D/G box the less it is suited to playing for dancing as it also moves you away from the instruments natural bouncy/dancey sound.

Definitely agree!  There are stacks of tunes that can be played in D & G  whatever key they are written in ( which may or may  not be the key they were originally composed in)

For band work I always stick to  well known tunes and where possible ones that the punters can identify with  eg  for a Virginia reel coming round the mountains, red river valley, yellow rose of texas etc etc.  I sometimes chuck in the happy wanderer for a circassian circle  and always use 'singy' waltz tunes.   

Arty farty tunes  are best avoided as  the job of a ceilidh band is simply to provide rhythm and lift for the dancers   and tunes they know (ish) help to make the dancers , the band, and those sitting out 'as one'

For  a typical 'english' ceilidh I always use a simple 2 row DG box  as there is nothing like it that is light enough to play all evening and with bass that   makes superb  slightly tuned percussion!!

george
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Re: Ceilidh playing
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2017, 12:06:23 PM »

As Roger has already discovered, in a band situation it is helpful to be adaptable and a team player. Its surprising just how many tunes in 'non-standard' keys you can get away with using just a 2 row D/G box with accidentals on the chin end. When you've got other instruments playing the missing notes most punters wouldn't notice if the D/G player fudges things by holding a long note from the same chord while the melody continues. As the proverb goes: "necessity is the mother of invention"... and if all else fails, get the spare C/F box out of your car.

BTW I haven't heard of the "Red and Blue band books" so it would be interesting to see a list of those challenging tunes you were faced with.
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RogerT

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Re: Ceilidh playing
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2017, 12:25:52 PM »

I wasn't very clear about the books. Sorry...I meant the Pete Mac books... Band Swing (blue) and Band Time (red). We had several callers one after the other, saying they need, say, 7 x 32 reel, or whatever, and the boss (it's his band (:)) finding appropriate tunes, mostly from one or the other of these books, which has pages of sets. There are two fiddle players, guitar, double bass and pipe (mostly recorder). As you guys suggest...fudge the high G#, which isn't too difficult and which is what I was doing, reasoning that I had *most* of the notes and who would notice if one or two were missing. A lot of the time I put in rhythmic RH chords. But in the heat of the moment  when everyone else is rattling along it's quite ..er..interesting, esp as I was sight reading pretty much all of the stuff in A.
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