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Archive for the 'Hornpipes' Category

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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!

Regards,

H.

 

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O’Dwyer’s (Hornpipe)

The hornpiping will continue until morale improves!

This is another one from the Lomax archive of Seamus Ennis tracks that is linked to above.

It's a bit of a show piece (or a test piece in my case) for the tight-ish triplets around the notes B and A. These are quite a feature of Ennis's playing style.

I love the unexpected second part that hops up to the high C natural out of nowhere. For me that saves the tune from being standard hornpipe fare.

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The Groves (Hornpipe).

The inspiration is hoppin' off me.

I went back to look at this canonical Ennis hornpipe after being reminded of THIS cluster of recordings made of Ennis by Alan Lomax.

The tune presents a few wee challenges in negotiating the C natural fingering from high F sharp, especially in the last part. If you're Seamus Ennis you do it brilliantly and then throw in a few extra variations to put manners on it. If you're me then you do what you can.

Ennis' understated use of tonal variation in the playing of this is really something else. It gives the thing a life of its own. He plays in glorious Technicolour and 3-D.

Regards,

Harry.

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This extravagant little number came from the playing of Séamus Ennis.

I haven't much to say about it other than I'm grateful to have a nicely responsive reed that brings me way up to that third octave D with relative ease (this high note is achieved on the chanter using a combination of cross-fingering, votive offering and prayer).

It's good fun to play, but please be mindful of pets when playing this at anything above moderate levels of volume (the last note in particular is a bit of a window rattler).

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This is a nice hornpipe that comes from Willie Clancy. It's in Mitchell's Dance Music of Willie Clancy (no. 114).

Nice to play on the pipes what with the big C naturals and opportunity for tight articulations. Jimmy O'Brien-Moran plays a fine rendition of it on his excellent piping CD of some years ago (pictured above).

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The Standing Abbey (Hornpipe)

This is one of my favourites from Séamus Ennis' repertory of hornpipes.

Nothing much to say about it other than it's nice to play on the chanter, and the back D cut on the keyed high C natural on the repeat of the second part is fun (depending on yer reed, that is).

Ennis played it on the old LP 'The Pure Drop' which has been reissued along with 'The Fox Chase' as a double CD collection called 'The Best of Irish Piping' (Tara Music Co). Nice old tune.

Regards,

Harry.

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O’Callaghan’s (Hornpipe)

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The O'Callaghan in question is Cal O’Callaghan the uncle of the legendary Kerry fiddler Pádraig O’Keeffe.

I first heard this tune from a recording of Séamus Ennis (who likely picked it up on his visits to The Kingdom), and later from the highly eccentric and entertaining piping of Andy Conroy (pictured above). Andy used to go large on the condensed triplets; he played what he termed 'octuplets', 'nanotuplets' and 'decatuplets' etc with great dexterity. Not easy listening by any means, but of great interest to the piper and very original.

Andy was a prolific, unconventional, and highly remarkable man by any standards. He is a patron of Na Píobairí Uilleann, and you can read more about him HERE (excerpt below).

I leave you with the following text from Dave Hegarty’s submission of Andy in the “Irish Life Pensioner of the Year Award” in 1992, for which Andy received a commendation.

Andy Conroy, Master piper, composer, former flute and whistle player, bricklayer (retired), musical, local and social historian, commentator, wrestler, boxer, weight lifter and Karate practitioner, is unquestionably an outstanding contributor to the social and cultural life of this country.

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Poll Ha’penny (Hornpipe)

This is an oldie. It's also played as an air and a set dance. I have Clancy and Touhy in my ear when I think of it, and the transcription in Ceol an Phíobaire that brought it to mind is based on Touhey's recording.

I've recorded this on the new recording gear; so I'm still getting used to it, as you can probably hear. You might have noticed the nice, new header up there too (thanks to Édain for that!) Upgrading my account with Podbean allows me to make these little improvements. More to follow.

This will likely be my last entry for a while as I have to go off touring for a month soon. I hope to be back in action here around the middle of next month.

Regards,

Harry.

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Higgins’ Hornpipe.

This is the second hornpipe of the set that goes with the tune below (as played by Tommy Reck). The track, as mentioned, was unceremoniously pilfered by an unscrupulous record executive.

It's associated with the celebrated Northumbrian composer of hornpipes James Hill (see The High Level, below). Reck's setting is a little different to what I've seen in written collections and takes advantage of some characteristics of the chanter and Tommy's tight approach.

My regs need some tuning, so there's even less going on there as usual. C'est la vie.

Regards,

Harry.

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