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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: The Glen of Aherlow (Irish reel)

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NCnotes - Posted - 09/01/2022:  08:41:13

Playing Glen of Aherlow (reel) this morning... written by fiddler Sean Ryan (I think?)

I lopped off the second and third repeat because they sound pretty much the same. I haven't learned to create interesting variations yet! Also, I clonked my bow loudly on the edge of the desk in the second repeat laugh

But anyway, posting my progress because finally getting a few little "ornaments" in there without copying somebody else's playing...and I think they don't sound weirdly out of place (which is how it used to go, ha).

backing track: Online Academy of Irish Music (

Edited by - NCnotes on 09/01/2022 10:44:57

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 09/01/2022:  09:17:01

Wow...that sounds beautiful, NC! Way to go. Sounds like you are a pro Celtic fiddler to my ear.

Frankly, I'm not a huge fan of Celtic because so much of it gets on my like Bluegrass...but once in a while I hear some Celtic fiddling that really sounds good and nice to me...and this is an example of that. I really like it. Beautiful and free.

NCnotes - Posted - 09/01/2022:  10:44:27

Aw, thank you Peggy!

Yep everybody has their own musical taste...I could listen to Irish Trad for hours LOL. But I know it's not everybody's Cup of Tea (to quote a famous reel) :-)

Edited by - NCnotes on 09/01/2022 10:45:09

crunchie812 - Posted - 09/01/2022:  18:19:11

Sounding good! Nice job on the bowed triplets, too. Mine are kind of in progress.

NCnotes - Posted - 09/02/2022:  07:34:31

Thanks Greg! My triplets are kind of hit and miss too (sometimes they become doubles, ha ha)...but it's sure fun to play 'em. :-)

Flat_the_3rd_n7th - Posted - 09/02/2022:  18:21:29

Thoroughly enjoyed it. Regarding ornamentation, I noticed the nice use of "cuts", I think that's what you call it, where you play a grace note on the same bow as the following melody note? Difficult bow stroke, like consecutive martele'

Well done!--I love Celtic, though nobody to play it with around here. I'd have to train my buddy, a bluegrass guitar picker.

Is there a story behind this tune? There often is with Irish/Celtic--Glens of this and that--maybe Aherlow is the realm of a castle?

NCnotes - Posted - 09/03/2022:  20:49:25

Aw, thanks Scott. I have always loved listening to the "Celtic" stuff...ranging from the jigs/reels which can border on rock-n-roll, to the slow airs sung in Gaelic which sound otherworldly...:-). In my area, there are many OT and bluegrass players, and Irish Trad players (they dislike the word Celtic, but I won't open THAT can of worms!) are few, but fanatical. Not easy to find, but once you find 'em, it's the same set of people you'll encounter over and over again...small world!

re "Cuts" - I am only passing on what I learned from a Kevin Burke online workshop, but they are basically a rhythmic emphasis or interruption of a note. So you are playing the note and then you lightly touch your finger down and "break" the sound at the right time, to give it a bit of a rhythmic oomph. Cuts are often used to separate two of the same notes in a row (like if you play D-D twice in a row in the tune, you can add a "cut" between the two Ds and if you're in a hurry, you don't even have to change your bow to play the 2 notes then!). A "roll" is just a fancier version of a cut and takes up a bit more time, better used with longer notes/spaces. But what I learned is that you're not playing anything, you're just adding a little rhythmic "break" to the least that's what Kevin Burke said! :-)

Hmm, I haven't found any story about Glen of Aherlow except that it's also known as "Lafferty's" (who knows where these names come from) and was composed by Sean Ryan, who is one of my favorite fiddlers of yore. I do like to imagine a big ancient stone castle sitting in a green valley...:-)

Edited by - NCnotes on 09/03/2022 21:02:41

ChickenMan - Posted - 09/05/2022:  15:16:43

Sounds Irish to me smiley


About the terms being used here. Cuts and taps are single note articulations/interruptions, either using a note above or below the melody note.

Edited by - ChickenMan on 09/05/2022 15:17:57

NCnotes - Posted - 09/06/2022:  06:56:56

Thanks Ron and Billy! smiley

Yea, I think "articulation" and "interruption" are perfect words to describe it...

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