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Music Discuss specific tunes, the writing of tunes, other questions, concerns, etc. related specifically to the music or music books.

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Old 12-06-2018, 04:11 PM   #31
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Irish Funeral

I have a different perspective, having played uilleann pipes for 40 years.

I've done dozens, maybe hundreds, of "Irish" funerals (Americans of Irish heritage, and people born and raised in Ireland).

I try to steer the people towards the uilleann pipes, but I will play the big pipes if the family insists.

Seems to me that here in the USA there are three distinct repertoires of "Irish" songs:

1) the Tin Pan Alley songs, written in New York. These are the ones Americans think of as being "Irish songs" (Danny Boy, Irish Eyes, and so forth.)

2) Irish Folk Music. These are the songs one hears sung in pubs and such. (Fields of Athenry etc.)

3) Songs in Irish from the sean nos tradition.

So when I'm playing at an "Irish" funeral or wedding I tend to cycle through these three repertoires to sort of please everybody. (I've never met an Irish priest who didn't love Fields of Athenry.)


My typical "playlist" would include

Fields of Athenry
Ar Eirinn ni Neosfainn Ce Hi
Danny Boy
Spancil Hill
My Laggan Love
Irish Eyes are Smiling
Carrickfergus


and on and on...

Some of these are playable on the big pipes.

What I never never NEVER play are the tunes Highland pipers always trot out because they think of them as being "Irish" but which aren't part of the uilleann piping tradition (as far as I know- in 40 years I've never heard any Irish musicians play them).

About Danny Boy, my approach to tunes with too big a range for the Highland pipes is to play all the right notes but switch octaves when needed.

So I play Danny Boy in the key of D not the key of A which is horrid. Ditto Irish Eyes which is hopeless in the key of A. (All the right notes can be played in the key of D.)
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Last edited by pancelticpiper; 12-06-2018 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 12-08-2018, 03:08 AM   #32
Paddypipes
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Default Re: Irish Funeral

I play at quite a lot of Irish funerals and my approach is to discuss with the family what they want to have played and when. To help them I direct them to my soundcloud page were there are a number of tunes for them to listen to and help them decide. They are a mix of scottish, irish and general tunes and sometimes of variable quality as my dog tends to howl when I play. One day I will update those tunes

Danny Boy is one of those tunes and played with the dropped notes. It is by far one of the most popular tunes requested, along with Fields of Athenry, Cliffs of Dooneen and Amazing Grace. Other less requested tunes are Green Fields of France, Oft in the Stilly Night and Galway Bay

The feedback has always been very positive and in my opinion, the only people who tell you that the tune was "wrong" are other pipers. The people you are playing for have, in many cases, chosen the tune and usually too caught up with the reason they are there to critic how a tune is played.
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Old 12-08-2018, 07:26 AM   #33
magsevenband
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Default Re: Irish Funeral

I play this very simple arrangement of Danny Boy...it's not a competition level tune..truth is if you do funerals here in the USA, you will be asked to play it...I'd say at least 50% percent of families request it along with Amazing Grace...that's just the way it is...I don't make judgments on their musical tastes...it's their time of bereavement and my job is to help in that regard.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWdxVO7o7Gg
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Last edited by magsevenband; 12-08-2018 at 07:29 AM.
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Old 07-21-2019, 06:33 AM   #34
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Default Re: Irish Funeral

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick McLaurin View Post
Danny Boy cannot be played correctly on highland bagpipes. Please don’t.
Truer words have never been spoken!
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Old 07-21-2019, 09:32 AM   #35
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Default Re: Irish Funeral

A couple of late additions to the list:
The Bantry Girl's Lament
Tha Dawning of The Day.
Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore
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Old 07-22-2019, 11:33 AM   #36
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Default Re: Irish Funeral



Ah, well... Yet another... Resurrection...

And...

Some will... Some won't...
Some do... Some don't...

Pass the popcorn, please!! :)


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Old 07-22-2019, 05:13 PM   #37
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Irish Funeral

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick McLaurin View Post
Danny Boy cannot be played correctly on highland bagpipes. Please don’t.
For sure on the Highland pipes, that tune and many others (including Scotland The Brave, I might point out) can't be played with all the correct notes in their correct octave.

It's why I try to steer clients towards the uilleann pipes for around half the tunes they request.

But when clients insist I'll play my own arrangements of tunes on the big pipes.

Most pipers play Danny Boy by keeping the various parts of the tune that don't fit in the range of the original notes, but playing wrong notes (playing Low G where the tune requires Low F#, playing High A where the tune requires High B, etc). Can you imagine those same pipers playing Amazing Grace with High G's wherever High A's are supposed to be, and thinking it's OK? It's horrid.

What I do is play EVERY note correctly: where the tune requires F# I play F#, where the tune requires B I play B; but I use octave substitutions.

Uilleann pipers do this all the time in ITM, for example many ITM tunes go Bottom D > Low B > Bottom D, and since the uilleann pipes don't have Low B they play B one octave higher, and nobody notices or cares.

So as far as playing the correct notes (B for B, etc) yes Danny Boy can be "played correctly" on the Highland pipes.
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Old 07-23-2019, 05:37 PM   #38
Harley G
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Default Re: Irish Funeral

Most all Irish funerals I have ever attended and Danny Boy is played, people start to sing. If you play on the GHB it just sounds terrible with the A Mixolydian scale and those singing hit the wall at the G.



We usually play this tune on the Uilleann pipes so it sound ok but if I have a gun put to my head and are forced to play this tune on the GHB I use my Danny Boy chanter so I am not vomiting down my blow stick when I hit the dreaded G.



On our funeral GHB chanter we have slotted the high G to get to G# and this at least stops me from vomiting and the singers don't all stop and stare daggers at me for stuffing up a beautiful mournful moment. We can then tape the hole back to G for any GHB A Mixolydian tunes we may also have to play. Just use an old chanter that has no value because those at the funeral cannot tell the difference between your good competition chanter and one from cash converters.



This is not a perfect fix but it is enough to prevent the vomit and allow the moment to be closer to acceptable for the singers and the audience. Mod your chanter or engage an Uilleann piper but don't try and pretend you are doing this tune justice with a standard GHB chanter.



Only a GHB piper is going to claim that Danny Boy sounds ok on an A Mixo scale. This claim would be made mutually exclusive to the singers and listening audience.


My 20cents worth.
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Old 07-24-2019, 10:08 AM   #39
TwitchyFingers
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Default Re: Irish Funeral

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harley G View Post
Only a GHB piper is going to claim that Danny Boy sounds ok on an A Mixo scale. This claim would be made mutually exclusive to the singers and listening audience.


My 20cents worth.
Another good reason to carry a tin whistle. I carry one in place of a sgian dubh.
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Old 07-24-2019, 01:33 PM   #40
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Default Re: Irish Funeral

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harley G View Post
SNIP

We usually play this tune on the Uilleann pipes so it sound ok but if I have a gun put to my head and are forced to play this tune on the GHB I use my Danny Boy chanter so I am not vomiting down my blow stick when I hit the dreaded G.

SNIP

On our funeral GHB chanter we have slotted the high G to get to G# and this at least stops me from vomiting and the singers don't all stop and stare daggers at me for stuffing up a beautiful mournful moment. We can then tape the hole back to G for any GHB A Mixolydian tunes we may also have to play. Just use an old chanter that has no value because those at the funeral cannot tell the difference between your good competition chanter and one from cash converters.

SNIP
My 20cents worth.
I'm confused, Harley. What key do you play "Danny Boy" in? I have no problem cross fingering a high G#, and the low G# can be half-holed, though I prefer not to in general. In A, the tune needs a High C#and to me, that's where it all comes crashing down.
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