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Essential Guide to Irish Flute and Tin Whistle [Paperback]

Grey Larsen
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
RRP: 27.00
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Book Description

3 Dec 2003
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.

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Essential Guide to Irish Flute and Tin Whistle + Tony Dixon Flute in D + Dixon Traditional D Whistle
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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Mel Bay Publications; Pap/Com edition (3 Dec 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786649429
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786649426
  • Product Dimensions: 29.5 x 22.1 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 281,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
As you embark upon the path of learning Irish music, you should realize that you are preparing to become a participant in a story that has been unfolding for centuries. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, Incredibly Comprehensive 1 Jun 2004
As a classically trained flute and recorder player, I've dabbled with irish music and the odd 'penny' whistle. But somehow it never quite sounded right. Now I know why! This book is outstanding, and should have been called 'The Complete Comprehensive Guide'. It covers all aspects of practicing and playing irish music on the flute and whistle, as well as a history of the music and comprehensive notes and transcriptions of tunes from the masters like Matt Molloy.
The section on ornamentation (the 'twiddly bits') covers 160 pages and is frankly astonishing. Every possible type of musical embellishment is detailed with examples, careful description and exercises, all accompanied by demonstrations on the accompanying CD. The CDs are a good example of the thought and attention to detail - some tracks contain a metronome to help you maintain the 'pulse'. This has been recorded on one stero channel whilst the flute plays in the other so you can adjust the balance between the two as you wish when practicing!
I paid 35 for this book in a London folk music shop and it was worth every penny. I have hardly put down my whistle since buying it. I can not recommend it highly enough for anyone serious about playing irish flute of whistle music.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb and definitive 31 Jan 2009
I took up playing Irish folk music on the tin whistle about five years ago and have been playing in a local pub session ever since. This book has been a constant companion over all of that time, and I still refer to it regularly. It is one of very few books I own that I can't imagine being without.

The author has gone out of his way to think carefully about every aspect of playing both the tin whistle and the flute for Irish folk music, from the absolute beginner to at the very least 'advanced intermediate'.

To give an example at the beginner end of the spectrum; after playing only the tin whistle until very recently, I decided to try playing the flute. The books devotes two full pages on how to hold the irish flute properly and, trust me, it's well worth reading.

At the advanced end of the spectrum, the book has a whole chapter on each of the 'ornaments' that make irish whistle and flute music so compelling.

In summary, this book really does cover from the true beginner to the advanced player. It certainly is not a 'quick read' - but for anyone interested in adopting either flute or whistle as a passtime, this book is a must have.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the book 20 Feb 2011
By cerrig
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's the book. Now it's entirely true that anyone starting will do best to get some instruction from experienced players, watch them, listen to them live or on CD. Mr L does his best to explain exactly how to hold a flute, but it's a lot easier if someone shows you. So yes, maybe it isn't the ideal book for an absolute beginner.But since Matt Molloy is a busy man, Cathal McConnel otherwise engaged and Jeannie Madden lives in the States, and for all I know none of them give lessons, this is The Book. Because Mr L goes into alternatives, analyses apparently simple matters eg of embrouchure, dynamics and playing in tune - and then most creatively asks "what is "in tune" anyway?" It's also true that anyone who isn't a beginner will do best to watch, listen and listen some more; but great players are not necessarily best able, nor wish to, analyse how they do what they do. And there's always the risk of learning bad habits from mediocre players (e.g. me.) Mr L takes you through all the "ornamentation" (he's right, it's a lousy term)in huge detail. He writes most perceptively about timing and swing. He gives you piles of interesting stuff about players and styles, and the book with it accompanying CDs is also a storehouse of tunes, with recommendations for recordings of pieces he then transcribes and analyses for you. he goes on to -

Oh. I see. You're not that bothered anyway, just wanted a little tootle? No, it's not the book for you. But actually, it may not be the style of music for you either, because even if you've got grades on the flute,it takes a lot of dedicated practice, and it's a hell of a lot harder than it sounds. Or is that just me?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A phenomenal and complex resource 25 Mar 2010
By Steve Mansfield VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I first became aware of Grey Larsen through the 'Wooden Flute Obsession' CD of a few years back, and then discovered his 'tune packets' (a set of linked documents comprising a tune, some suggested variations and ornamentation, some history and a bit of discourse). The breadth and depth of knowledge he displays in the tune packets is present in abundance throughout this book.

This book really is an encyclopedia of information about the whistle and flute in the Irish tradition. Larsen's meticulous and analytical approach breaks down the individual components of playing the instruments and the music, giving the material for hours, days, years of study, practice and playing.

However he rarely if ever loses sight of the overall picture of the music - the detail is part of the whole, not an object for minute scrutiny for it's own sake.

The sheer weight of detail might, at first glance, appear overwhelming, but this really is an essential book for anyone who really cares about the whistle and / or flute and wants to learn more. My playing will definately improve as a result of studying this book, and you can't ask for more than that in a tutor.
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