There seems to be a theme developing this term as all of the whistle and flute classes are working on tunes associated with islands. And from discussions we have been having, there may be more to come.
All music resources for the classes can be found on The Flow.
The SMG whistle class began looking at The Arran Boat Song to follow on from The Skye Boat Song and will consolidate this next week. We have also been working on I See Mull and will return to it over the coming weeks.
The FluteFling beginners class last week also looked at I See Mull and will also be moving on to The Arran Boat Song.
Flute Fling Improvers looked at the Irish slide Scattery Island to follow on from Micho Russell’s. This is the second of a set of tunes from County Clare and we will be looking at the third, next time.
This class also had a quick look at I See Mull and the harmonies. I mentioned that it probably isn’t a boat song, but much more likely to be a retreat march, such as Lochanside (the tune whose title I couldn’t remember). This led to the thought that we might like to learn Angus G MacLeod, which I learned form Edinburgh sessions 20 years ago or so and has seldom been published or recorded. I know next to nothing about it, but a slightly different version has been recorded by The Tannahill Weavers, whose fiddler John Martin was present at many of those sessions. Incidentally, their lineup features Phil Smillie, one of the first and few fluters playing Scottish music. You can hear a sample of the tune on this Amazon link.
We also had a listen to some music by Paddy Carty and Conor Tully and you can find some of their music on YouTube. Here they are playing the reels Molly Bán and The Boys of Ballysodare. The first of these was the first reel we listened to. Paddy Carty plays a Radcliff system flute and has a legato style associated with east Galway, which I discuss in more detail in an article on The Flow.
Finally, I was reminded of the fact that not everyone is aware of the wonders of ABC notation and that many would find it useful. Developed and supported as an open source and community-based music notation language, it leads directly to being able to access many free tune resources on the internet.
The first place to look is at the ABC notation home page, run by Chris Walshaw. It contains tutorials and links to free/shareware software and tune collections. It’s the gateway to a new world, but remember to be wary of tune versions that you come across online. On The Session, for example, always check for any associated discussion. As anyone can publish, not all checks are made beforehand and it is good to compare with other sources.
Photo: Curragh near Scattery Island Round Tower by John B. Glynn, some rights reserved.