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Foreword

Welcome to this guide to the accompaniment of Irish dance music on guitar.

It is designed for those who have a basic grasp of some chords and some strumming ability on the guitar. I don’t assume that you know much about the structure of Irish music and so this book will also be of use if you are a competent guitarist in other styles.

The accompaniment of Irish dance music has come a long way since the first attempts in the 1920s and today there is a rich diversity of styles. Use of the guitar for accompaniment has rapidly increased since the ’70s, when people like Míchéal Ó Domhnaill and Paul Brady introduced new ways of playing. However, very little has been written about this developing art and so I decided that it was time to present this book, an introduction to a handful of popular styles.

This book and companion recording give an insight into some of the many guitar styles that have been developed to accompany Irish music. By the word style, I refer to a combination of the choice of tuning, chords, right hand strumming & picking pattern, tone, etc. Several styles of accompaniment are introduced and explained in a way that is designed to help improve the developing players’ analytical skills,

making further exploration easier. I introduce four different tunings and several different ways of playing in each tuning. I couldn’t hope to present an exhaustive range of styles and I have not attempted to create a complete directory. However, by analysing the styles I have presented, I cover all of the elements that go into making any style, thereby leaving you better equipped to both develop your own style and figure out the subtleties of any other style you may come across. For example, the factors that make up a particular strumming style are the plectrum gauge, the way the plectrum is held, whether the movement is from the wrist or the elbow—or a combination of both—the level of attack, the angle of the plectrum to the strings, the striking position along the strings—near the soundhole or the bridge—and so on. By

being aware of these variables, we can take a more pro-active learning approach and the process becomes less of a hit-and-miss affair.

The recording is presented as an essential companion to the book because of the difficulty in trying to convey all of the elements of any (rhythm) guitar style solely in written form. I felt that the recording would transmit such elements as the exact accenting of some rhythms in a more comprehensible way than any amount of dots, lines and numbers would do. Also, hearing the accompaniment in place with some excellent melody players will give you a clear picture of what it is supposed to sound like. Each track appears both with and without accompaniment so you can have a go yourself when you feel ready. To help you find your way around the CD, the track numbers appear within a CD symbol where appropriate.

In your endeavours, bear in mind that it’s good to be able to put technique aside when it comes to playing music (as opposed to practising). The more comfortable you are in your ability, the more you will be able to do this and put heart and soul into your playing. Whether you’re playing in an informal acoustic session or performing on stage to a listening audience, as your technique becomes second nature to you, you will be better able to concentrate on everything else. It’s good to take your playing seriously but when it comes to having fun with what you’ve learned, the less you need to worry about technique, the better. So, in the course of learning to play or improving your playing, don’t forget that whatever you’re learning, you’re learning it so that you can forget about it when the time comes to have some fun. Good luck!

Frank Kilkelly

Accompanying Irish Music on Guitar - Frank Kilkelly THE CD

The recording is presented as an essential companion to the book because of the difficulty in trying to convey all of the elements of any (rhythm) guitar style solely in written form. I felt that the recording would transmit such elements as the exact accenting of some rhythms in a more comprehensible way than any amount of dots, lines and numbers would do. Also, hearing the accompaniment in place with some excellent melody players will give you a clear picture of what it is supposed to sound like. Each track appears both with and without accompaniment so you can have a go yourself when you feel ready. To help you find your way around the CD, the track numbers appear within a CD symbol where appropriate.

 

Contents

 

1.0 The developing art of accompaniment

1.1 The emergence of the guitar in the accompaniment of Irish music

1.2 Profiles of leading players

1.3 Accompanying tunes effectively

2.0 Getting started

2.1 Guide to choosing equipment

2.2 Developing a practice routine

2.3 Notation used in this book

3.0 Guide to tunings and accompaniment styles

3.1 The structure of Irish tunes

3.2 Strumming and picking patterns

3.3 Tunings

3.4 Tunes accompanied in standard tuning

John Brady’s & Hexham races

Pretty Peg & The baker

Flogging reel & The whistling postman

Pigeon on the gate & The Shaskeen reel

3.5 Tunes accompanied in dropped D: DADGBE

Fred Finn’s & Music in the glen

Julia Delaney & My love is in America

Cooley’s hornpipe & The home ruler

3.6 Tunes accompanied in double dropped D: DADGBD

Eddie Kelly’s jig & Jerry’s beaver hat

Pigtown fling & Roly-poly

3.7 Accompanying tunes in DADGAD

3.8 Tunes accompanied in DADGAD

Mist-covered mountain & The rakes of Kildare

Doctor O’Neill & The mug of brown ale

The trip to Athlone & The rambling pitchfork

My darling asleep & Boys of the town

Shoemaker’s daughter & Dinkie’s reel

4.0 Appendix

4.1 Theory

Chord construction

Fretboard diagrams

Chord inversions & voicings, modal chords & modes,

barré chords, slash chords, relative minors

4.2 Full listing of all chords used in the book

4.3 Transposition chart

4.4 Running order of the accompanying CD

4.5 Discography for recommended listening

Accompanying Irish Music on Guitar Book - Frank Kilkelly

SKU: AT105
£11.95Price
  • Frank Kilkelly has designed this book for guitarists who want to understand how to accompany Irish music. Frank assumes an understanding of the guitar but no knowledge of Irish music. He delves into DADGAD, dropped D and double dropped D tunings.