An Fonn Seisiúin is Déanaí–The Latest Session Tune

This past session we learned a tune called The Eel in the Sink–a reel in A mixolydian.  I’ll let you be the judge of whether the tune sounds like it’s title. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. More info about the tune, ABC notation and staff notation can be found at

A couple examples. sessioners–note similarities and differences. In particular, I hear it most often played with a C# in the second bar of the B part, but you may hear different from some players.

Eel is @ 1:16, but it’s worth listening to this whole set. Fantastic musicians!


Anchor Spotlight: Ben Gagliardi

anchor spotlightToday I’m going to start a series called “The Anchor Spotlight.” Today’s Anchor in the Spotlight is Benedict Gagliardi. We know Ben as an upbeat concertina virtuoso with a penchant for interesting tune types such as mazurkas, barn dances and hop jigs. We certainly appreciate what he brings to the session, and we are grateful that he’s willing to drive all the way from Connecticut to join us when he can.

It was brought to my attention that Ben and a friend, Jon Warner, competed in the Comhaltas North American Convention and Regional Fleadh Cheoil in New Jersey back in June of 2014 and that they won first place in the duets category. Go Ben and Jon! I can’t embed a video from the Comhaltas website, but if you click on the picture below you will be taken to the video directly.

Ben and Jon

Jon Warner, left, and Ben Gagliardi.

Ben has also been in various bands–Full Gael and more recently, The Vox Hunters, with Armond Aromin. In addition, he is an instructor at the Connecticut Acadamy of Irish Music, where he teaches concertina and leads the Academy’s slow session. For Ben’s official Bio, go to the “Our Anchors” page.

Matt Cranitch & Jackie Daly in Fairfield, CT

unnamedTwo living legends–Matt Cranitch and Jackie Daly, will be performing live on Tuesday, October 14th at 7:30 pm at the Schine Auditorium at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT. To reserve tickets, go to and fill in the contact form. Tickets are 20 dollars at the door.

This concert has a new venue! Please click the link above for more details!

I first heard of Matt Cranitch through his fiddle tutor book and recording. He is a great proponent of the Sliabh Luachra style, and has recorded two albums with Jackie–“The Living Stream” and most recently,”Rolling On”. Jackie Daly himself came to my attention through my interest in recordings of Séamus Creagh; the late, great Sliabh Luachra fiddler. Their album, recorded in 1995, is simply called “Jackie Daly and Séamus Creagh”. It is one of my all-time favorites.

don’t miss this great concert! I’ll see you there! Here’s a vid so you can see what you’re in for:

An Fonn is Déanaí a d’Fhoghlaim Mé–Timmy Clifford’s Jig

I had a fiddle lesson today (always a pleasure, thanks Amanda!) and learned Timmy Clifford’s jig, in G. It starts right down at the lowest note on the fiddle, so it’s great for getting used to hanging out on that G string. (tee hee!) It’s got plenty of opportunity for rolls, too, if you need to practice those. I was thinking it might be good to follow it with Jerry’s Beaver Hat. Look that one up yourself!

Here are two fine examples of Timmy Clifford’s, gleaned from the Tube of You.


Audacity–a Quick and Dirty Tutorial

Audacity-logo-r_50pct“Audacity® is free, open source, cross-platform software for recording and editing sounds.”

That’s the first thing you read on the website from which Audacity can be downloaded. It’s also a simple, fast and free way to manipulate audio files for music practice.  I have often mentioned Audacity at the session–I’m finally getting around to explaining how to use it. This is going out especially to my session posse! Holla back!

A few things I do with Audacity:

  • Import and edit recordings I have made of our session tunes.
  • Export the session tunes as MP3s to make them easy to up-and download.
  • Speed up and slow down recorded music files–without changing the pitch.
  • Change the pitch of a recorded audio file (transpose to another key).
  • Select a section of recorded audio and play it as a loop.
  • Select, copy and paste a section of recorded audio to create a new file.

What I’ll do today is explain how I do a couple of the most common things I do–selecting audio, slowing it down, and playing it looped (so that it starts over automatically). There are much more extensive step-by-step tutorials on the Audacity website HERE.

Once you have downloaded Audacity and have the program open, you can go to the file menu at the top and select import>audio. Or you can drag and drop the file directly onto the open Audacity window.

Your file will a appear as a “wave form”–a sort of landscape looking thing, like this:

looks like trees reflected in a lake, right?

Typical audio waveform

It’s just a visual representation of the audio you’ve imported. You can press the space bar to play the audio, and watch as the cursor tracks across the waveform. You’ll notice that when the sound is louder, the waveform appears taller. With your cursor, you can click on the waveform, hold the mouse button down and drag the mouse across the waveform and you’ll notice you’re creating a shaded area–this is the part you’re selecting. You can copy, cut and paste this just like you would text, but for now we’re just going to play with it. Don’t click on the waveform again or your selection will disappear!

Now that you’ve managed to select some audio, we can do all sorts of fun things with it. Let’s slow it down, to start with.

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