The Essential Guide to Irish Flute and Tin Whistle-Mel Bay


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The Essential Guide to Irish Flute and Tin Whistle

The Essential Guide to Irish Flute and Tin Whistle-Mel Bay (Book and 2 cds)


“For the beginner to the highly advanced player of Irish flute, tin whistle, or Boehm-system flute. Features a simple and penetrating new approach to understanding and notating ornamentation that goes beyond any previous method, exploring ornamentation techniques never described in print before.
Also includes adaptations for Boehm-system flute players, guidance on breathing and phrasing, 49 ornamentation exercises, history and theory of traditional Irish flute and whistle music, and 27 meticulous transcriptions of recordings by these important Irish flute and tin whistle players: John McKenna, Tom Morrison, William Cummins, Séamus Ennis, Willie Clancy, Paddy Taylor, Paddy Carty, Grey Larsen, Josie McDermott, Matt Molloy, Cathal McConnell, Mary Bergin, Donncha Ó Briain (Denis O’Brien), Desi Wilkinson, Breda Smyth, Seán Ryan, Conal Ó Gráda, Micho Russel, Joanie Madden, Kevin Crawford, Catherine McEvoy, and Seamus Egan.
For those who don’t read music, almost all the exercises, examples and tunes appear on the two companion CDs.”Grey has, through his research, patience, and diligence, completed a work on Irish flute and tin whistle that I feel is essential reading for anybody interested in getting it right.” – Matt Molloy, Irish Flute player with the Chieftains.”


  • Dedication
  • Epigraph
  • Foreword by Gearoid O hAllmhurain, Ph. D.
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements and Credits
  • Introduction
  • SECTION 1: First Matters
  • CHAPTER 1: Orientation to Traditional Irish Music on the Flute and Tin Whistle
  • CHAPTER 2: The Language Analogy
  • SECTION 2: The Instruments
  • CHAPTER 3: The Irish or Simple System-Flute and the Modern Flute
  • CHAPTER 4: The Tin Whistle
  • CHAPTER 5: Holding and Blowing the Tin Whistle
  • CHAPTER 6: Holding and Blowing the Flute
  • SECTION 3: Ornamentation
  • Introduction to Ornamentation
  • Preface to Single-Note Ornaments
  • CHAPTER 7: Cuts
  • CHAPTER 8: Strikes
  • CHAPTER 9: Slides
  • Preface to Multi-Note Ornaments
  • CHAPTER 10: Long Rolls
  • CHAPTER 11: Short Rolls
  • CHAPTER 12: Condensed Long Rolls
  • CHAPTER 13: Condensed Short Rolls
  • CHAPTER 14: Rolls in Tunes with Overly Uneven Subdivisions of the Beat
  • CHAPTER 15: Double-Cut Rolls
  • CHAPTER 16: Cranns
  • CHAPTER 17: Charts of the Rolls and Cranns and their Symbols
  • CHAPTER 18: Other Mulit-Note Ornaments
  • CHAPTER 19: Ornamentation through Melodic Variation
  • SECTION 4: Phrasing, Articulation, and Use of the Breath
  • CHAPTER 20: Tonguing, Multiple Tonguing, and Throating
  • CHAPTER 21: Musical Breathing
  • SECTION 5: Final Matters
  • CHAPTER 22: On Playing Slow Airs
  • CHAPTER 23: The Language Analogy Revisited
  • CHAPTER 24: On Practice and “Muscle Memory”
  • SECTION 6: Forty-Nine Studies for Ornamentation Practice
  • SECTION 7: Complete Versions of Excerpted Tunes
  • SECTION 8: Great Performances Transcribed (Transcriptions of Commercial Recordings from Twenty-Two Important Flute
  • and Tin Whistle Players, 1925-2001)
  • Appendix A: Contents of the Companion CDs
  • Appendix B: Adaptations for the Boehm-System Flute
  • Appendix C: Fingering Charts
  • Appendix D: Key to the Front Cover Photograph
  • Bibliography
  • Discography
  • Index of Tune Titles
  • General Index
  • About the Author
  • Also by Grey Larsen

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