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Archive for September 2014


This is the second hornpipe appearing on the duet between Eddie Meehan and John McKenna on track 3.

It's a lovely tune anyway, and the two men make a further meal of it by 'going large' on the use of triplets in the second part. Their articulation of the rhythm (as in the first tune, demonstrated in the previous clip) remains solid but relaxed and gives great definition to the triplets: good articulation can 'ground' such finger work and stop it from sounding flighty.

Frank Fallon is on top form on piano on this track. Really enjoy his accompaniment here.



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This hornpipe appears as the first tune on track 3 of first disk of the newly re-released McKenna tracks.

It's one of the duets with Eddie Meehan, a fantastic fluter whom McKenna was obviously very comfortable playing with. Their other duet, 'Bridie Morley's Reels', the last track of the re-release disks, is simply the best flute playing for rhythm and style that I have ever heard

This hornpipe is more commonly known by the name 'Alexander's' and is quite the piping tune having been recorded by Tommy Reck and Séamus Ennis. There are a few notable differences between this version and the piping versions, particularly the run down in the third bar of the first part, the fourth bar of the second part, and little things like the use of triplets to nice effect here and there.

I note the lovely phrasing that the lads match each other with, particularly in the first part, where they stick to a nice two bar phrasing. Also their rhythm is jaunty without being too spiky or clipped with articulation - very relaxed and comfortable... they are understating the technique brilliantly while avoiding the sort of stilted and stuffy rhythmic emphasis that hornpipes are sometimes made to suffer.

After I play the tune in this clip, I try to estimate the sort of pattern of breath emphasis that was employed to both achieve that nice rhythm and articulate every note... would be easier done if I had McKenna or Meehan to hop off!




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