[Harp-L] Irish Music as SPAH

Aongus Mac Cana amaccana@xxxxx
Sun Jun 25 02:25:27 EDT 2017

Hi Rex,

Thanks for your note.

You are right that the Irish Trad “establishment” does incline to favour the Tremolo. In fact competitions usually just have a tremolo class with the Chromatic for instance placed in the category of “other instruments”. This does not suit me as I am not crazy about the Tremolo myself, although the top exponents of the instrument such as Noel Battle and the Murphy brothers are very good at what they do and render the tunes accurately and with flair. I had the privilege of playing a duet with multiple All Ireland Champion Noel Battle at a Music School/Festival in Kerry last year. 

The Irish traditional music establishment can be slow to adapt to new instruments. The two row button accordion which is now a mainstay of the Irish Trad scene used to be frowned on years ago as not being “quite traditional”. Even now the Piano accordion is not exactly “flavour of the month”.

If you are interested in learning to play Irish music I would recommend that you look up the “Dusty Banjos” web site. They have great teaching aids particularly a tutor book and accompanying CDs where tunes are played at a very slow pace and then at normal speed. Working your way through that book would give you fifty or so regular tunes that would enable you to partake in any session.

Just last night at an event in Gort County Galway I picked up a certificate for playing in a Guinness Book of Records event last year, where 406 musicians on a variety of instruments played an Irish Music set. The previous record was 300.




From: rex [mailto:rexg4 at xxxxx] 
Sent: 24 June 2017 01:50
To: harp-l
Cc: harp-l at xxxxx; amaccana at xxxxx
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Irish Music as SPAH


I have never been to Ireland but do enjoy the music. I have read from online sources such as this one


that in Ireland they prefer tremolo harps, which they call mouth organs. However it seems that here in the States the diatonic and chromatic are the top choices for playing Irish music. In the provided link it says at a gathering of 50 Irish players 47 were playing tremolo. Noel Battle and Henry Creaney are both tremolo players. I do enjoy Brendan Powers music and have no doubt that Richard will do a fine job. I was fortunate to sit in on a SPAH Teach In hosted by James Conway. He had a variety of harps that included some tremolo harps. 

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