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Reaching for the Draíocht: Sharing Irish Traditional Music

Course Overview

Draíocht is a Gaelic word meaning 'spiritual power' or 'soul.' This class will give valuable insight into the essence of Irish music. Students will learn to develop listening skills, and recognize melodic structures within stylistic interpretations and embellishments. They will learn to recognize regional styles such as those of West Clare, East Galway, Kerry, and Donegal. Paddy will discuss how different methods of transmission, and even the instruments they are played on, influence the character of a tune. Students will be encouraged to recognize their own unique styles and preferences, and bring their instruments to the workshop, along with a recording device of choice to make notes and annotations of the tunes shared. An older generation of musicians, including piper Willie Clancy, accordionist Joe Cooley, whistle player Micho Russell, and fiddlers Michael Coleman and John Doherty, had a profound influence on the character of Irish traditional music. Paddy will talk about the legacy of these legendary musicians, some of whom he learned from firsthand. He will discuss some brilliant individualists, such as fiddlers Tommy Potts, Paddy Canny, and Paddy Fahey. Increasing commercial influences in Irish music have tended to emphasize speed and technical ability at the expense of expressive feeling, phrasing, and melodic creativity. Paddy will suggest some alternative sources to commercial recordings for learning tunes.

Course Details

Length: 2 Hours

Currently Scheduled Sessions