Author Topic: Tunes  (Read 4010 times)


  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 1
« on: December 30, 2013, 11:39:33 AM »
Hello all,
This will be my first Irish week experience and I have a question about tunes and tune swap. Are the tunes posted here just a sampling of tunes that might be played or are they must learn or feel left out tunes? Seems like there are a lot of common tunes that haven't been posted, Swallowtail jig, Kesh jig, Seamus Cooley, Skye boat song, etc. I am not an advanced player, yet wish to play as much as possible and am trying to spend my time learning lots of tunes. However, there are many tunes and a finite amount of time. Any suggestions?


  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: Tunes
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2014, 10:44:35 PM »
Hi, Dierdre, and welcome!--
   No worries: the tunes showing up here are simply those that were taught at LAST year's Tune Swap, and there's no expectation that anyone (newcomer or old-timer) must learn them. They are there so that you can have a look, see if any of them appeal to you, and learn them if you wish. The Tune Swap takes place every morning throughout the week, and it is the one thing each day that nearly everybody attends...perhaps because it gives us all an incentive to get up and rolling after the often-very-late sessions of the night before! You're absolutely right about not seeing the more 'commonly-known' session tunes posted here; but that certainly doesn't mean that they aren't known or played. On the contrary, you'll hear and can play tunes such as those you have mentioned throughout the week; they are the 'meat and potatoes' of the sessions, and I guess you could say that the Tune Swap tunes are more like the appetizers or the dessert.
    The request for a tune list comes up every year; but because there are literally thousands of tunes in the 'standard' Irish repertoire and because we all come to the week with varying degrees of experience, it is almost impossible to come up with anything that is 'definitive'. Any basic collection of session tunes works as a starting point; but it's also true that the more tunes you learn, the more you'll find you don't know. The majority of those who come to Roche Harbor each year have a pretty well established repertoire of session tunes already; and there will be some musicians there who can easily play in three or four consecutive all-night sessions without ever repeating the same tune. Don't be intimidated by that; there will still be plenty of chance to play. Someone usually takes responsibility each evening for leading/guiding a session for those who are newer to the music and/or their particular instrument; but even in the general sessions, the pace tends to be fairly relaxed and tunes you are familiar with will be played.
    Bottom line: no expectations or requirements. We're not competing with each other; we're all coming because we love this music and want to share it with each other. Play what you know, and listen to and/or record what you don' can take those tunes away with you and learn them later if you want to. The week as a whole is an immersion experience, and we come to concentrate on the tunes themselves and on the Irish (as opposed to 'Celtic') tradition. Folks tend to find where they are most comfortable based on what they are after: some come primarily to learn tunes, others to work on ornamentation and technique, some are content simply to play what they know, meet new friends and reconnect with old ones, and enjoy time in a spectacular setting. Over the course of the week we ALL end up doing at least as much listening and talking about the music as we do playing it, and we all get out of the week pretty much exactly what we are able to put in. Relax; you'll be fine.