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Irish music

Discussion in 'Tablature and Notation [BG]' started by Havoc, Jan 5, 2006.

  1. Well, me and some friends are trying to get a sort of Irish folk rock band toghter :bassist: (we all LOVE Irish folk music, and are really inn to Flogging Molly). The problem is, I am having HUGE trouble making a bassline to the music. Got this realy fast fiddle part that I'm trying to make a bassline to :meh: (its a reel called "The pidgeon on the gate"). Any tips would be very nice!
  2. Listen to the Horslips. That is all.
  3. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    Check out a band called Kila their about the only trad band that actually uses a bass. If you look at a lot of irish music there's usually some guy playing along with guitar which if there's a guitar in the music try figure out the chords and work from there.

    I dont know much about the genre but I'd imagine keep it simple at first. Find the roots to the chord changes. Once you have those down expand from their.
  4. The Horslips are Irish folk/rock fusion with an unreal bass player. His lines sound so perfect for the music/band.
  5. Tired_Thumb

    Tired_Thumb Guest

    I grew up in an Ierish family, so I'm somewhat familiar with the music. The only real advice I'd give is keep it simple, and try to avoid playing your E string like the plague at first. Often times, I find myself playing like a melody guitar with Irish folk music. A fretless acoustic tenor bass for my own personal style would rock out for Irish music (already my listed bass works fantastic), no pun intended, but like anything, developing your own voice to it is more important than anything. Hopefully though that'll shed another light on the crime scene.
  6. No guitar on this one, just a fiddle. Our fiddle player is bringing his "Irish fiddle" book to school tomorrow, so I can take a look at the notes, and find the roots. It's in E Dorian. Found that on the internett.
    Other than that, thanks for the help guys!
  7. Well, I used to play this music quite a lot in the '90s, but I don't think I can give you any specific hints, other than listen to some other bands, and play what you feel. The thing I found most helpful was to become familiar with the *melodies* of the tunes, rather than just trying to figure out the chords. It's really the melodies that drive that music, more than the changes; many tunes can be harmonized in more than one way. I found that even with two tunes that were harmonically similar, the different melodies would suggest different approaches and thus inspire different bass lines.

    It's true that many trad bands don't use bass, but some do. I'm not too up on the scene these days, but you could listen to Sharon Shannon, Eileen Ivers, John Whelan, and others. A little farther afield, you could check out Wolfestone (Scottish), Black 47 (New York Irish rock), Ashley McIsaac (Cape Breton), and Natalie McMaster (also Cape Breton). And if I can blow my own horn a little, my band did two records in the '90s, which might be available. The band was Kips Bay (aka Kips Bay Ceili Band), and the CDs were called "Digging In" and "Into the Light." We were always better live, but the records are OK.
  8. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat
    That's how I tackled this with Celtic bands I play in. The others in the band didn't really care what I played as long as it sounded good. Avoid mimicing the guitar(think Yngvie's bass lines, weird reference I realize) and dancing around the melody and/or key.

    Hope this helps and makes sense,

  9. I play and have played in irish/celtic rock/punk bands that are doing fairly well... the rule for this style of music, or at least how I approach it, is when in doubt play quarter note lines and keep things solid. There's a LOT going on melodically usually with the other band members (6-7 piece band, usually 2-3 rhythm players), and not much rhythmically. I try to stay away from the melody, that's what fiddles, pipes, mandolins, whistles, accordians, etc are for in this genre. IMO, the key to making this music highly danceable for a pub crowd is a steady driving kick-drum + bass.

    It can be boring at times, but a simple quarter note I-V type line usually works perfectly. Arpeggios, appropriate passing tones, walks all work really well usually.

    EDIT: I'm surprised no one has mentionned them yet, but the Pogues set out a pretty good blueprint for this style if you want to give them a listen... there's some good internet radio stations for this stuff too like ****enonions.com and paddy rock radio.
  10. Bullet-Bob


    Aug 20, 2005
    I will probably get killed for mentioning it, but you could also pick up some good bluegrass music to listen to as well. It is similar to Irish Folk to the extent that there is a LOT of melody coming from the mandolin, guitar/banjo etc, and they use the bass strongly for rhythm.

    In fact, there is a real good album put out by the Chieftans where they are playing a mixture of bluegrass with some Bluegrass players from the Nashville area. It is called "Down the Old Plank road".

    You could listen to the bass line in the bluegrass, and kind of get an idea of the rhytm style maybe.
  11. vates


    Nov 15, 2007
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    up from the deeps...

    I'm going to visit local ITM sessions in the nearest future. Is there any "how-to" with typical basslines for irish (and celtic in general) trad music? Like those "Blues Bass" or "Bass in Reggae" books sort of things?
    Or could somebody describe it right here?

    Many thanks in advance!