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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
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: WV to the OC
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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

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.)
proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; Son of the Revolution and Civil War; first European settlers on the Guyandotte

Last edited by pancelticpiper; 12-06-2018 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 12-08-2018, 03:08 AM   #32
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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
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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.

"...I think that I will take two small bottles of Dubonnet and gin with me this morning, in case it is needed..."
Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother

Last edited by magsevenband; 12-08-2018 at 07:29 AM.
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Old Today, 06:33 AM   #34
Kevin Griffin
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Default Re: Irish Funeral

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!
Éireóch tú tuirseach de'n cheol is binne ar bith má chluin tú ró-mhinic é.
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