Tin Whistle Challenge: Denis Delaney – the results

Hmm… this is the recording of my second Tin Whistle challenge: Denis Delaney.

Denis Delaney Chris Throup Tin Whistle Challenge "Denis Delaney"

Personally, I think I can do better, but the rules (which I made!) say I have to record each week, so I’m not going to let myself off too easily. I have made a number of mistakes and it’s just a bit slow.

I played this on my Oak D whistle, which is the first one I bought and still one of my favourites; please don’t blame the whistle for my playing faults! 🙂

I may revisit this tune in the future, when I have had a bit more practice. But, for now, I will turn my attention to the next challenge coming soon…

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Typesetting Tin Whistle music in GNU Lilypond

I use GNU Lulypond for typesetting music; it is a free and open source application which produces very nicely formatted sheet music. It is available for Linux, Windows and Mac OSX; I run it on openSUSE Linux.

Recently, I have been using it to typeset a lot of tunes for tin whistle; as I collect the tunes from different sources, I like to add them to my collection in a standard format. Although most musical notation is pretty much standard, one aspect which varies from source to source is how to notate tin whistle ornamentation (eg cuts, strikes, etc). I like the notation proposed by Grey Larsen (in his book: The Essential Guide to Irish Flute and Tin Whistle) which is documented on his website: A Guide to Grey Larsen’s Notation System for Irish Ornamentation [PDF] (GreyLarsen.com).

Grey’s notation does not exist within Lilypond so, in order to make use of it, I have to use a little cunning. By using existing available notation, it is possible to generate something which approximates the notation I am after:

My sample was created with the following Lilypond code:

cut       = ^\markup{\magnify #1.5 {"⎖"}}
strike    = ^\markup{\magnify #2 {"˅"}}
roll      = ^\markup{\rotate #180 \magnify #2 {"˘"}}
crann     = ^\markup{\rotate #270 \magnify #2 {"˘"}}

\header {
  title = "Tin Whistle Markup"

\new Staff {
    \new Voice = "Tune" {
      \relative c'' {
	\partial 4
	a\cut a\strike a\roll a\crann
    \context Lyrics \lyricsto "Tune" \lyricmode {
      " " " cut " " strike " " roll " " crann "

To make use of the notation in your own music, just include the four highlighted lines at the top of your Lilypond code. You can then write, for example, c\cut in your melody to indicate a cut on C, or f\roll to indicate a roll on F.

A font, containing Grey’s original symbols, is available for free from his website. I would like to integrate this font into Lilypond, but that is a bigger job than I can face today. I will post details here when I pursue it further.

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Tin Whistle Challenge: The Sporting Pitchfork – the results (finally!)

Now I am back home, I have been able to record my first Tin Whistle Challenge: The Sporting Pitchfork.

The Sporting Pitchfork Chris Throup Tin Whistle Challenge "The Sporting Pitchfork"

I have played this on my new Clarke Meg in D. I have made a few fumbles, and I think I need some more practise holding the notes in the higher octave, but I don’t this is too bad for my first challenge.

Now I am off to continue practising my second challenge: Denis Delaney (or I could do some work!).

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Tin Whistle Challenge: Denis Delaney

My second tin whistle challenge: Denis Delaney.

This is an double jig, which I have adapted from the setting in “O’Neill’s Music of Ireland” (number 703).

Denis Delaney (MIDI)

Denis Delaney (PDF)

Despite the fact I haven’t recorded my first challenge yet (see previous post) I will practise this tune and aim to upload a recording at the end of the week, recording equipment permitting.

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Tin Whistle Challenge: The Sporting Pitchfork – the results?

Here we go, then.

My first Tin Whistle Challenge was The Sporting Pitchfork. I have been practising through the week, when work and family have allowed (“you’re not playing that tune again?!”), so here is the result:

…erm, or not, as the case may be.

It’s not a fantastic start to my challenge, but I’m not going to be able to post my recording till later in the week.

I have been practising, but I am currently staying away from home, for work, and I had planned to make my recording whilst staying in the hotel. After lots of wandering round trying to find a good spot to record in, I have discovered that the microphone on my phone – whilst suitable for basic phone calls – is not up to this task.

Sounds like a poor excuse? Maybe. But I won’t be able to make a proper recording till later in the week when I’m home.

So, to try to establish a habit of recording and publishing each week, I am posting this excuse. 🙂

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Tin Whistle Challenge: The Sporting Pitchfork

My first tin whistle challenge: The Sporting Pitchfork.

This is an Irish folk tune, which I have found in Grey Larsen’s book: The Essential Guide to Irish Flute and Tin Whistle. Grey includes numerous variations of the tune, so I have picked a version I like and transcribed it here. I have used Grey’s own notation for rolls and cuts.

The Sporting Pitchfork (MIDI)

The Sporting Pitchfork (PDF)

I will do my best to learn the tune and upload a recording at the end of the week.

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The tin whistle challenge

As I am trying to improve my tin whistle playing (starting from a very low baseline!), I have decided to set myself a challenge: learn a new tune each week and record the results.

Why am I doing this?
To give me some focus, mainly. Up till now I have been picking out tunes from my head, or making idle squarking noises. As I am playing for fun and relaxation, I have developed a small repertoire of tunes I can play (to varying standards) and now I rarely stray from them.

What are the rules?
Every good challenge has rules 🙂
I will choose a new tune every Monday and post the sheet music here. During the week I will practice the tune and post an audio recording here at the end of the week.

I may not stick rigidly to the rules, as work and other life events may get in the way, but I will do my best.

Wish me luck.

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