Brendan Power is one of the most important harmonica players on the Irish music scene, with some folks crediting him for pretty much single-handedly bringing the instrument into its own in both traditional and modern Irish music in the last decade. Brendan has allowed us to share with you a short excerpt from his new book and CD instructional guide, Play Irish Music on the Blues Harp here at the festival. Below is one of the tunes he uses to illustrate his style. You can read his full article with many more charts and audio examples on his web site: www.brendan-power.com.
The Irish Harmonica
THE MAIDS OF MITCHELSTOWN (G Harp)
I was taught this reel by Dublin harmonica player Mick Kinsella, and it’s become one of my favourite Irish tunes; I could play it for ages without getting
bored. Note that smooth fill triplet being used again, and the variation of jaw flick ornamentation with tongue triplets etc. Keep varying your decoration to
keep it interesting for you and the listener.
To me The Maids sounds sweetest at an easy tempo, as it allows one to get extra soul out of the notes – especially that 6 draw note in the A part. However, you’ll often hear it played at breakneck speed in sessions.
There are no hard and fast rules on the tempos of the tunes. Obviously if you’re in a pub session and someone strikes up a set of reels you know, it’s important to have the chops to keep up if you want to join in the crack. But if you’re playing on your own or in your own performance, just play them as
they feel and sound best to you.
Click on the image to see a larger version of the chart
You can read his full article with many more charts and audio examples on his web site: www.brendan-power.com
Music and text ©2001 Brendan Power, used by permission
All contents © 2001 the artists and RootsWorld
No reproduction or use of these files may be made in whole or in part without written permission