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Author Topic: Theme of the Month for February 2010 - Tunes from Turlough Carolan  (Read 11987 times)

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Clive Williams

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Ladies and Gentlemen, following our Christmas Carol frenzy in December, back by 'popular demand' comes Theme of the Month (ThOTM?), and this month, we'll be doing...

Tunes from Turlough Carolan.

Who's he? An Irish harper who lived from 1670 to 1738, and wrote many, many, tunes that have dropped into the tradition, and many of which you'll very likely hear at music sessions to this day. There's a good chance that you know at least a couple of his tunes even if you didn't know he wrote them. More information on him, including an astonishingly useful list of his compositions, can be found here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turlough_Carolan.

Good luck, and looking forward to seeing what comes out!

Cheers,

Clive

GbH

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Re: Theme of the Month for February 2010 - Tunes from Turlough Carolan
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2010, 11:23:37 PM »

OK, to start this month's theme off, I've just had a go at recording an O'Carolan tune called Mrs Harwood...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fbz1tpmOz_s


I confess to knowing little about the composer or the music, so resorted to choosing something from the title list at random and then just going for it.  As it turned out, I know a real Mrs Harwood, so that one stood out from the others and I decided upon it before even seeing the dots!  The tune itself seems a bit odd and is not really what I'm used to.  So far, I've still not found a recorded version, so have no idea at all about how it was intended to be played, beyond the assumption that it was most probably intended as a harp tune.  So sorry, Irish music fans, if I've done a bad thing...
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forrest

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Re: Theme of the Month for February 2010 - Tunes from Turlough Carolan
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2010, 11:52:22 PM »

I confess to knowing little about the composer or the music, so resorted to choosing something from the title list at random and then just going for it.  As it turned out, I know a real Mrs Harwood, so that one stood out from the others and I decided upon it before even seeing the dots!  The tune itself seems a bit odd and is not really what I'm used to.  So far, I've still not found a recorded version, so have no idea at all about how it was intended to be played, beyond the assumption that it was most probably intended as a harp tune.  So sorry, Irish music fans, if I've done a bad thing...

 For anyone in this predicament, here is a helpful link to the compositions of O'Carolan. Many are presented in midi format, so an idea of the tune can be grasped. One of the interesting things about his compositions is that many were passed down by the aural tradition, and many others were transcribed only as one-line melodies, which gives the modern day performer lots of creative room for interpretation. Many were taken down verbatim from 18th century harpers in the Bunting Collection. This might be a good springboard for anyone interested in these tunes.........

                                             http://www.contemplator.com/carolan/
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Chris Ryall

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Re: Theme of the Month for February 2010 - Tunes from Turlough Carolan
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2010, 11:55:42 PM »

For anyone in this predicament, here is a helpful link to the compositions of O'Carolan. Many are presented in midi format, so an idea of the tune can be grasped. One of the interesting things about his compositions is that many were passed down by the aural tradition, and many others were transcribed only as one-line melodies, which gives the modern day performer lots of creative room for interpretation. Many were taken down verbatim from 18th century harpers in the Bunting Collection. This might be a good springboard for anyone interested in these tunes......... mel2

http://www.contemplator.com/carolan/

Seems a bit bugged with the same tune playing whatever name I click. And I found the constant playing of MIDI music over the index pages really unhelpful in trying to explore the man's music. But it's a resource of sorts.
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GbH

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Re: Theme of the Month for February 2010 - Tunes from Turlough Carolan
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2010, 05:33:38 PM »

For anyone in this predicament, here is a helpful link to the compositions of O'Carolan. Many are presented in midi format, so an idea of the tune can be grasped. One of the interesting things about his compositions is that many were passed down by the aural tradition, and many others were transcribed only as one-line melodies, which gives the modern day performer lots of creative room for interpretation. Many were taken down verbatim from 18th century harpers in the Bunting Collection. This might be a good springboard for anyone interested in these tunes.........

                                             http://www.contemplator.com/carolan/

Yes, I did eventually find that one, but could find no version of my chosen tune.  I did find a Mrs Harwood MIDI file somewhere else, but that was just the basic melody line and it just sounded like a string of random notes when played, so wasn't really of much help.
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Pete Dunk

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Re: Theme of the Month for February 2010 - Tunes from Turlough Carolan
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2010, 06:40:28 PM »

I had a quick look around on youtube for a few well know O'Carolan tunes and came up with these:

Planxty Irwin
Planxty Fanny Power (+The South Wind which isn't O'Carolan but I often play these two as a set).
Blind Mary & Sheebeg and Sheemore, ignore the first few seconds but the rest is great and there's a bit of melodeon too.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2010, 06:56:54 PM by tallship »
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Bill Young

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Re: Theme of the Month for February 2010 - Tunes from Turlough Carolan
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2010, 06:50:59 PM »

I'm no expert on O'Carolan (or Carolan) tunes, but our group plays two or three of them on occasions. For someone looking for an introduction to O'Carolan, I'd recommend Planxty Fanny Power as a pleasant tune. Here's the arrangement we use:

forrest

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Re: Theme of the Month for February 2010 - Tunes from Turlough Carolan
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2010, 07:55:46 PM »

Seems a bit bugged with the same tune playing whatever name I click. And I found the constant playing of MIDI music over the index pages really unhelpful in trying to explore the man's music. But it's a resource of sorts.

I agree Chris, and I keep a quick hand near the volume control!


Yes, I did eventually find that one, but could find no version of my chosen tune.  I did find a Mrs Harwood MIDI file somewhere else, but that was just the basic melody line and it just sounded like a string of random notes when played, so wasn't really of much help.


My apologies for the scantiness of this resource. Here is a wesite which has sound samples of various artists. This link should get you a snippet of Mrs. Harwood by Garry O'Briain, this music is also available on iTunes.

http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/window/media/page/0,,370667-1619174,00.html
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Re: Theme of the Month for February 2010 - Tunes from Turlough Carolan
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2010, 10:13:17 PM »

My apologies for the scantiness of this resource. Here is a wesite which has sound samples of various artists. This link should get you a snippet of Mrs. Harwood by Garry O'Briain, this music is also available on iTunes.

http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/window/media/page/0,,370667-1619174,00.html

I'm not sure I'd describe it as 'scantiness' - the MIDI files that were there were better than those I'd found elsewhere.  It just didn't have what I was looking for. 

The artistdirect link, though, is interesting and appreciated.  Now I have a better idea about where I got it wrong.
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Re: Theme of the Month for February 2010 - Tunes from Turlough Carolan
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2010, 03:34:46 AM »

Here's a nice one for someone to attempt - Mr O'Connor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htolggwtluE

Cunningly played in B/C Em fingering on a D/D# box so that it comes out in Gm, the key in which it appears in Donal O'Sullivan's collection, Carolan: The Life and Times of an Irish Harper.

This BTW was republished a few years ago in a single volume by Ossian publications. I heartily recommend it to anyone interested in Carolan's music: it contains all Carolan's known compositions and a wealth of very carefully researched historical and biographical material.

Edited to add: the music transposed to a more friendly key setting can be found at http://www.thesession.org/tunes/display/400

Transcribed and transposed by me from the Ossian reissue of O'Sullivan.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2010, 04:04:50 AM by Steve Jones »
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LJC

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Re: Theme of the Month for February 2010 - Tunes from Turlough Carolan
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2010, 10:03:55 AM »

O'Neils Irish collection (the newest printed version) has all of the Carolan tunes in the back of it too.
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Ziachmusi/Louise

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Re: Theme of the Month for February 2010 - Tunes from Turlough Carolan
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2010, 06:22:02 AM »

I was wondering how to do the bass for Planxty Irwin. I sounds more of a waltz/air to me but the notes I have are 6/8 So how do you play a slow Jig? :M

Louise
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SteveC

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Re: Theme of the Month for February 2010 - Tunes from Turlough Carolan
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2010, 07:13:12 PM »

I've also found this complete collection of Carolan if it's any help.

http://www.oldmusicproject.com/occ/tunes.html

I/We are long time fans of Carolan and had Sheebeg and Sheemore played at our wedding. Years later we played the same tune for by best friend's wedding.
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Re: Theme of the Month for February 2010 - Tunes from Turlough Carolan
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2010, 09:10:55 PM »

I was wondering how to do the bass for Planxty Irwin. I sounds more of a waltz/air to me but the notes I have are 6/8 So how do you play a slow Jig? :M

Louise

It's worth bearing in mind that (AFAIK) waltzes hadn't been invented in Carolan's time. I'd avoid an oom-pah-pah accompaniment for Planxty Irwin, Fanny Poer, etc. like the plague (but then I don't like hiphop remixes of old pop songs).

In fact to play tunes like these I think you might want to stay away from any of your usual rhythmic solutions, including jigs, and find something that suits the essentially baroque elegance of these simple but mostly lovely melodies.

 

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Re: Theme of the Month for February 2010 - Tunes from Turlough Carolan
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2010, 10:28:48 PM »

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Re: Theme of the Month for February 2010 - Tunes from Turlough Carolan
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2010, 07:59:05 PM »

heres one I happend to have done last month

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFF5ZThJsPo

A Turlough Carolan tune called Mr OConnor
 
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Re: Theme of the Month for February 2010 - Tunes from Turlough Carolan
« Reply #16 on: February 09, 2010, 12:30:33 AM »

I was wondering how to do the bass for Planxty Irwin. I sounds more of a waltz/air to me but the notes I have are 6/8 So how do you play a slow Jig? :M
Louise
It's worth bearing in mind that (AFAIK) waltzes hadn't been invented in Carolan's time. I'd avoid an oom-pah-pah accompaniment for Planxty Irwin, Fanny Poer, etc. like the plague (but then I don't like hiphop remixes of old pop songs).

In fact to play tunes like these I think you might want to stay away from any of your usual rhythmic solutions, including jigs, and find something that suits the essentially baroque elegance of these simple but mostly lovely melodies.

  I certainly agree with you (in principle) on this Steve, but for the case of TotM, I think a  subdued oom-pah bass could be acceptable, given that our instruments are engineered more to oompahs than to glissandos of the harp. After all, 3/4 or 6/8 time has been around for ages, (there is evidence that people were dancing the valse in some form as early as the 16th century). And even if Johann Strauss hadn't been born yet, there was still a lilt to it....
   Of course, I'm not implying that OC's tunes were composed for dancing, however....... ;)
  
« Last Edit: February 09, 2010, 12:37:13 AM by j.w.forrest »
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Sandy

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Re: Theme of the Month for February 2010 - Tunes from Turlough Carolan
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2010, 11:15:53 PM »

OK, to start this month's theme off, I've just had a go at recording an O'Carolan tune called Mrs Harwood...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fbz1tpmOz_s


The white patterns on your right hand buttons and your bellows seem to match your handlebar !! 
GbH, is this a coincidence ??? 
Should I have spotted this ages ago  ??? doh

Great Stuff  (:)
 (:)

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Re: Theme of the Month for February 2010 - Tunes from Turlough Carolan
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2010, 04:45:26 PM »

OK, to start this month's theme off, I've just had a go at recording an O'Carolan tune called Mrs Harwood...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fbz1tpmOz_s


The white patterns on your right hand buttons and your bellows seem to match your handlebar !! 
GbH, is this a coincidence ??? 
Should I have spotted this ages ago  ??? doh

Great Stuff  (:)
 (:)


No, it's not a coincidence.  When originally ordering the instrument, I was able to specify some parts of the design, so experimented with some ideas and came up with the handlebar theme.  I'm not sure that too many people notice what the patterns really are, but it's still nice to have something that's personal and a little eccentric.

Thanks!
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Re: Theme of the Month for February 2010 - Tunes from Turlough Carolan
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2010, 08:36:11 PM »

Here's my feeble attempt at an O'Carolan tune...Fanny Power.
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