Keys of Irish songs

Anything apart from the two mainstream default harmonicas (Solo-tuned fully-valved chromatic, and un-valved Richter 10-hole diatonic). Alternate tunings, different construction, new functionality, interesting old designs, wishful-thinking... whatever!
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IaNerd
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Keys of Irish songs

Post by IaNerd » Mon Oct 18, 2021 6:16 pm

DISCLAIMER: Most users of this forum know waaaay more about Irish music than I do. So I am not claiming any expertise here.

That being said, many times on this forum I read that a particular tuning is well-suited for Irish music. I would expect that a principle concern here would be the tuning's combination of Key and Mode. I found this website: https://www.irishtune.info/public/playlist/alanng/ which lists nearly 700 Irish songs, along with key/mode and other information. I used Excel to count them up, and this is what I found:

D Major 202
G Major 190
A Dorian 69
E Dorian 62
D Mixolydian 61
A Major 23
A Mixolydian 22
E Minor 13
B Minor 8
D Dorian 8
G Mixolydian 8
F Major 4
B Dorian 3
C Major 3
G Dorian 3
F# Minor 2
D Aeolian 1
D Minor 1
E Major 1
F Mixolydian 1
F Mixolydian 1
G Minor 1

NOTE: I do understand that the word "Major" as used above should probably be stated as "Ionian"; also, "Minor" should be stated as "Aeolian". I am simply adhering to the terminology used in the source website.
Last edited by IaNerd on Mon Oct 18, 2021 10:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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IaNerd
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Re: Keys of Irish songs

Post by IaNerd » Mon Oct 18, 2021 6:59 pm

And now a breakdown by scales:

D Major 202
E Dorian 62
A Mixolydian 22
B Minor 8
total = 294
-------- --------
G Major 190
A Dorian 69
D Mixolydian 61
E Minor 13
total = 333
-------- --------
A Major 23
B Dorian 3
F# Minor 2
total = 28
-------- --------
F Major 4
G Dorian 3
D Minor 1
D Aeolian 1
total = 9
-------- --------
C Major 3
D Dorian 8
G Mixolydian 8
total = 19
-------- --------
E Major 1
-------- --------
F Mixolydian 1
-------- --------
G Minor 1

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triona
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Re: Keys of Irish songs

Post by triona » Tue Oct 19, 2021 2:56 am

Thank you for the link and for the exact numeric evaluation.

And what can we learn from this?
2 harmonicas in D and G are way enough, for the biginning anyway, for future in most cases. And this will cover most of the related modes as well.
Take a Richter or a Paddy or a Solo / Solo Orchestra - choose just which you like best.
Do-It / Easy Third is very nice for Dorian as well.
Chromatics do very fine as well, best one in G or D. But a standard Chrom in C will do as well.

And buy Brendan's books "Play Irish music on the Blues Harp" and / or "Play Irish music on the Chromatic Harmonica". They come with a CD or an audio download each.


dear greetings
triona
Aw, Thou beloved, do hearken to the Banshee's lonely croon!
sinn féin - ça ira !
Cad é sin do'n té sin nach mbaineann sin dó


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1yI3H ... 9ktgzTR2qg

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triona
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Re: Keys of Irish songs

Post by triona » Tue Oct 19, 2021 3:05 am

Circle of Fifths containing all modal scales:

Image

double click for opening the picture
pay attention: the names of the notes follow the German usage,
i.e. h > B, b > Bb, *is > #/sharp, *es,s > b/flat
Last edited by triona on Wed Oct 20, 2021 12:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Aw, Thou beloved, do hearken to the Banshee's lonely croon!
sinn féin - ça ira !
Cad é sin do'n té sin nach mbaineann sin dó


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1yI3H ... 9ktgzTR2qg

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Brendan
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Re: Keys of Irish songs

Post by Brendan » Wed Oct 20, 2021 9:36 am

With a name like Pat Byrne, you must surely have an affinity for diddly diddly music in your genes!

But my best advice for Irish music is: forget the analysing, just listen hard and play a lot!

A great way to learn the tunes with good rhythm and technique is to pick a player you really admire, on whatever instrument, and slow them down to 0.5x speed. It's easy to do this on YouTube; you can even go down to 0.25x.

I'm currently doing this with Mary Bergin on the tin whistle. She is such a beautiful, precise player, with glorious use of decorations. But they're coming at you so fast, a blizzard of notes! Slowing her down is the only way to work out what's going on in detail, and it teaches you a lot. Such a useful learning tool, for any kind of music.

I'm attracted to flute and whistle players because much of their ornamentation can be duplicated on the Slide-Diatonic, which is what I mostly use for my Irish playing. Especially the cut, a short note above the main note, which Mary and other Irish player use constantly!

The 5 or 4 note Roll is not possible on standard harmonicas, so I substitute a Triplet instead. But I'm able to get it on the DM48, which is adding a whole new dimension to playing the tunes. (See other thread on this topic).

Just jump in and start playing, Pat. Playing Irish tunes is great for your harmonica technique, for all styles.

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triona
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Re: Keys of Irish songs

Post by triona » Wed Oct 20, 2021 12:48 pm

That is true. It is an useful practical addition to my theoretical answer to Patric's theoretical question. In fact the dominant use nearly only the keys of D and G and their respective related modes makes that the theoretical question is answered very simple. Follow Brendan's advice and listen and play.


dear greetings
triona
Aw, Thou beloved, do hearken to the Banshee's lonely croon!
sinn féin - ça ira !
Cad é sin do'n té sin nach mbaineann sin dó


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1yI3H ... 9ktgzTR2qg

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triona
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Re: Keys of Irish songs

Post by triona » Wed Oct 20, 2021 1:19 pm

And for American fiddle tunes played on a Paddy Richter harmonica I can recommend this book / e-book by Cary Moskovitz:
https://carymosk.com/old-time-fiddle-tu ... harmonica/

It can be ordered directly from Cary (follow link above) or from Seydel as well:
https://www.seydel1847.de/epages/Seydel ... TaxModel=0


dear greetings
triona
Aw, Thou beloved, do hearken to the Banshee's lonely croon!
sinn féin - ça ira !
Cad é sin do'n té sin nach mbaineann sin dó


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1yI3H ... 9ktgzTR2qg

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IaNerd
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Re: Keys of Irish songs

Post by IaNerd » Wed Oct 20, 2021 2:03 pm

My background is science. With humor and with the utmost respect for everyone who helps make music happen, I offer this:
https://youtu.be/IET9VX_Ufrc

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triona
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Re: Keys of Irish songs

Post by triona » Wed Oct 20, 2021 8:01 pm

And what is your job? Theorist or experimentalist?
If I conclude from the harmonica, I guess ...
... Guess what I guess. :D
Aw, Thou beloved, do hearken to the Banshee's lonely croon!
sinn féin - ça ira !
Cad é sin do'n té sin nach mbaineann sin dó


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1yI3H ... 9ktgzTR2qg

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IaNerd
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Re: Keys of Irish songs

Post by IaNerd » Wed Oct 20, 2021 8:36 pm

In his act the very talented Michael Davis would explain,
A comic says funny things,
but a comedian says things funny,
which makes me ...
a juggler.
;)

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