This year, in honour of St. Patrick’s Day, I got together for a Zoom call with the amazing American harpist Tiffany Schaefer from the Harp and Song Youtube channel (linked below). We came up with a wee duet of a tune called the Castle Jig and discussed different approaches to backing Irish tunes. There are loads of interesting ideas for guitarists to learn from harpists and hopefully lots of good tips for Celtic harp players here too, so enjoy the video and don’t forget to like and subscribe!
A few months ago I released a book of fingerstyle arrangements and soon after I ran a competition, in which I encouraged viewers to submit their own. One of the entries was from Jordan Lively, and it was so good that I thought it would be interesting for other Folk Friend viewers to hear him talk about how he writes his Irish fingerstyle arrangements and some of the playing techniques he uses.
Jordan has very kindly provided a free tab for the arrangement of Whelan’s Old Sow: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1q5cyVQYUwurUGJAv_ceX-SGBXmGxir1Y?usp=sharing
If you want to find more of Jordan’s music, then check out his Facebook page: https://facebook.com/jordanlivelymusic
Here you can watch Jordan’s duet with the fantastic harpist Catherine Magee: https://www.facebook.com/167930823860401/posts/600620417258104/?sfnsn=scwspmo&extid=OQP7fmPS0mStOQTn
Jordan has lessons with Tony McManus- I’ve linked some of his recordings below along with Michelle Mulcahy, the harpist whose tunes we talk about later in the clip.
Tony Mc Manus’ album The Makers Mark: https://amzn.to/34Lg7ua 0
Suaimhneas album, by Michelle Mulcahy (source for the two tunes mentioned later in the clip): https://amzn.to/2YEFqdL
In other news, I recently finished writing a complete Beginner’s Guide To Celtic DADGAD Accompaniment! You can find it here.
Last week I had the pleasure of talking to Duncan Cameron, a Canadian singer, multi-instrumentalist and Youtuber from Ontario, Canada. We had a long chat about such wide-ranging subjects as tunings used for Irish and Celtic backing guitar, the styles of classic guitarists like John Doyle, Paul Brady and even Django Reinhardt, the differences between the various styles of folk music prevalent in Canada, how to accompany Irish songs and loads loads more!
Here are some links to Duncan Cameron’s social media and music:
Here are Amazon links where you can buy all of the music we mentioned in this video. These are affiliate links- if you buy through any of them I receive a small commission which enables me to continue to run this channel. Please make sure that you click the correct one for your country otherwise I won’t receive any commission- thank you in advance for supporting Folk Friend!
La Bottine Souriante
Tony Mc Manus
Martin Hayes and Denis Cahill
Paul Brady and Andy Irvine:
Ewan McColl and Peggy Seeger (only available in UK)
Liz Carroll and John Doyle
Finally, here is a clip from the work of Dr Aindrias Hirt which gives further information on his theory on the “natural scale”.
Dr Aindrias Hirt: https://otago.academia.edu/AindriasHirt
(Extract from “The European Folk MUsic Scale- A New Theory”, paper by Dr. A Hirt available at the link above):
“What I found is the following. If a trained art musician hears a natural trumpet playing in the lower range (see Figure 15: G3, C4, E4, G4, A4, C5), that musician will classify the tune as tetratonic (four notes per octave; that is, four notes ascending including and starting on C4, and then the octave, C5). If the tune happens to rise to D5, the diatonically trained musician will then assume that D4 is in existence (a note an octave lower)25 and declare that the tune is pentatonic (missing F4 and B4, but having five notes per octave; that is, five notes starting at C4 and then the octave, C5); this implies that the pitches present are G3, C4, D4, E4, G4, A4, C5, D5, when in fact D4 does not appear in the tune at all. A similar erroneous assumption may occur again on a different note (F5) as a shepherd’s trumpet ascends in pitch. A tune that would be classified as pentatonic (missing all Fs and Bs), is declared to be hexatonic once F5 is found; this is because the trained art musician will assume that the lower octave F4 is in existence. To explain this last point in more detail, examine a tune which scholars have classified as pentatonic (having C4, (D4), E4, G4, A4, C5, D5, E5) until the tune ascends to an existing F5/F♯5. Once the tune includes F5/F♯5, scholars will assume that the lower octave F4 exists, and the tune is then declared to be hexatonic (missing B4, but not F4), resulting in a scale of: C4, (D4), E4, (F4), G4, A4, C5, D5, E5, F5, etc. This classification occurs even though both D4 and F4 do not exist. Simply put, because diatonically trained musicians think in terms of seven notes per octave and “octave equivalency,” it has never occurred to them that they were dealing with a system that was not octave-based.”