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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Celtic tunes

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link:

Lewey8705 - Posted - 01/19/2007:  16:06:27

Hi everybody,
I am a beginner/intermediate player, and was wondering if there was any cool celtic tunes at that experience level, preferably some that are on the hangout tab archive. Thanks a lot!

Keep on Pickin'!
( )===`===~

bindle stiff jim - Posted - 01/19/2007:  16:17:47

tons of them here.

follow the link on the left labeled "tunes"

dave - banjo pickin' backpacker
midlothian, va

Edited by - bindle stiff jim on 01/19/2007 16:18:32

Clawhammer Clint - Posted - 01/20/2007:  21:47:01

Well that's interesting! I have lived in Pittsburgh PA for 27 years. where the local traditional music umbrella organization is called "Caliope House." I didn't know until I looked on the link Dave supplied above that this was the name of a song.

Emiel - Posted - 01/21/2007:  09:28:36

A caliope is a steam organ


Scarecrow - Posted - 01/27/2007:  10:02:12

Thanks for the link, Dave. Nice one.


"Music is...a gesture of friendship..." - Malcolm Arnold.

Tom Hanway - Posted - 01/31/2007:  21:57:36

Originally posted by Lewey8705

Hi everybody,
I am a beginner/intermediate player, and was wondering if there was any cool celtic tunes at that experience level, preferably some that are on the hangout tab archive. Thanks a lot!

Keep on Pickin'!
( )===`===~

Your wish is my command, and I hope this tune suits. It's a real vintage Celtic tune -- it's Welsh and is still played on the traditional Welsh Triple Harp, which goes back to the ancients (an unbroken harping tradition). It works just fine on banjo. It requires both single-string and melodic work, at least the way I have transcribed it. There are other ways to finger it, but this is the easiest for me -- just my style.

I put this up well over a year ago, then got busy with projects and stopped posting, so here it is again. I'll get around to putting up a few tunes on the tab archive, but this one's for here, gratis, from the Complete Book of Irish & Celtic 5-String Banjo (thanks to Mel Bay, who published my nearly identical - though more legible - arrangement). Pardon the primitive format. It's a cut-and-paste job -- not engraving software being used here.

Nyth Y Gog
(“The Cuckoo’s Nest” - Welsh)

Tuning: gDGBD – no capo
Key of E Aeolian (natural minor)
Suggested picking-hand fingerings (optional)

A Section:


_________________ ________________
1................|2...............|B Section:


.................________________ ________________
................ 1...............|2...............|C Section:



*Variation using a “turn” or “roll”:


*This “turn” or “roll” is borrowed from the Irish fiddle – which is an intermediate technique for 5-string (with practice) - probably a new technique for most folks (being foreign to bluegrass). It is a five-note ornament consisting of a principal note (G), followed by a note above (A), then the principal note (G), then a note below (F#), and back to the principal note. Technically this is a “long roll” – comprising 5 notes lasting 1 1/2 beats, in the space of a dotted quarter note, or three eight notes. For banjo purposes we strike with the thumb, then do a relaxed hammer-pull combination for the next three notes, then play index, thumb, distributing all the notes evenly over a beat and a-half.

This is not a bluegrass “roll” at all, which means something quite different. I play this tune very straight - no bounce.

Some Welsh hornpipes bounce; others don't. This one is straight-ahead and it drives like bluegrass, something like "Leather Britches" (if played without bounce, also in the book, which is actually derived from a Gaelic tune, "Lord MacDonald's"). Welsh tunes aren't heard very often at Irish sessions, so that's why they're even more fun to play. This one almost sounds Irish, and some Irish players at sessions have mistaken it for a very old Irish tune. The Welsh and the Irish traditions are similar in some respects.


| = quarter note

^ = tied notes

---5-- = “turn” or “long roll”

Arrangement ©2005 Thomas E. Hanway


Have fun. Go slowly at first and make every note clean and even. Hope you dig.


Edited by - Tom Hanway on 01/31/2007 22:23:59

bugtussle - Posted - 02/17/2007:  12:27:36

Is The Hangmans Reel an Irish tune or American adaptation? I love playing it. I got it from the mandolin break on Bryon Suttons guitar album. Four totally different parts that, if you listen close and use your imagination, paint the whole hanging day senario. Another tune that seems to have an Irish feel is Bright and Early from Let 'er Go. Probably because it has three parts. Is this an Irish thing? Their medleys seem to come in threes. American medlys seem to be in pairs. bugtussle

molloy - Posted - 02/20/2007:  05:28:22

is it for a five string or tenor?

i just picked up a couple of nice easy jigs for the tenor that go well together, "farewell to gurteen "and "john joe gardiner's" , you'll find the abc for both on the session web site, angelina carberry plays them on her latest cd.

Feo - Posted - 02/20/2007:  07:43:58

My Gaspe friends would say that the Hangman's Reel is a Quebec fiddle tune .... and that the Americans don't quite play it correctly ... the Americans seem to be playing a spin-off version of the tune that they perhaps got off of a recording.

bugtussle - Posted - 02/20/2007:  12:28:41

feo, are you aware of a recording that would include a Gaspe treatment? I play three-finger style but prefer the fiddle line on this one. thanks

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