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Swallowtail Jig / melodic minor scale

AlaskaJamie 14 Sep 09 - 04:10 PM
Jack Campin 14 Sep 09 - 04:43 PM
Stewart 14 Sep 09 - 05:28 PM
s&r 14 Sep 09 - 05:40 PM
AlaskaJamie 14 Sep 09 - 11:47 PM
Jack Campin 15 Sep 09 - 03:54 AM
AlaskaJamie 15 Sep 09 - 04:55 AM
Barbara 15 Sep 09 - 12:33 PM
Jack Campin 15 Sep 09 - 02:40 PM
Lox 15 Sep 09 - 02:51 PM
Jack Campin 15 Sep 09 - 03:01 PM
Lox 15 Sep 09 - 04:42 PM
Jack Campin 15 Sep 09 - 05:40 PM
Barbara 15 Sep 09 - 06:18 PM
Sorcha 15 Sep 09 - 06:39 PM
Lox 15 Sep 09 - 06:40 PM
Jack Campin 15 Sep 09 - 07:07 PM
Lox 15 Sep 09 - 07:48 PM
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Subject: Swallowtail Jig / melodic minor scale
From: AlaskaJamie
Date: 14 Sep 09 - 04:10 PM

The way I learned to play Swallowtail Jig, many years ago, was an example of the melodic minor scale. In this scale the ascending notes differ from the descending notes in that both up and down use the flatted 3rd but neither the 6th nor 7th are flatted going up but are on the way down.

In the B part of Swallowtail this means one plays B, C#, D#, E at the beginning, going up, but use the D natural coming down. In searching now, I can find no evidence of this playing. Its seems everyone uses the D natural both up and down. (I'm sure whistle players like it better).

Is anyone else familiar with this version? I don't think I imagined it all, but now I wonder.

-Jamie


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Subject: RE: Swallowtail Jig / melodic minor scale
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Sep 09 - 04:43 PM

I'm pretty sure I've heard it that way, and have probably done it like that myself sometimes (on a recorder both are equally easy, and the sharp D has a certain something).

I just looked it up in O'Neill's 1001 and it's not there. Weird. It can't be a recent tune, surely?


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Subject: RE: Swallowtail Jig / melodic minor scale
From: Stewart
Date: 14 Sep 09 - 05:28 PM

Another way of saying that is
while the tune is in Edorian (3rd and 7th flatted)
the 1st measure (ascending) of the B part
is in Emaj and
the 2nd measure (descending)
is in Edorian
I think that's the way
it's usually written in the books

In Edorian only the 3rd and 7th notes are flatted.

It's technically not quite a "melodic minor"
(same as a "harmonic minor")
In a melodic (harmonic) minor
the 7th note is not flatted
but the 6th is flatted since it is a minor key.
But this is not Emin but rather Edorian (6th is not flatted).

Got that? Some arcane music theory! Sorry

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Swallowtail Jig / melodic minor scale
From: s&r
Date: 14 Sep 09 - 05:40 PM

This is a good illustration of the melodic minor scale. Not the same as the harmonic which is the same in both directions

Stu


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Subject: RE: Swallowtail Jig / melodic minor scale
From: AlaskaJamie
Date: 14 Sep 09 - 11:47 PM

Jack - Thanks for the reassurance. It can't be that new of a tune - I learned it some 35 years ago or more. My sister tells me I should search your database, I found a web page but I'm not sure where to start?

Stewart & Stu - my (limited) research showed 3 types of minor scales:
Natural - with a flatted 3rd, 6th & 7th
Harmonic - with a flatted 3rd and 6th but not the 7th
Melodic - when ascending only a flatted 3rd and when descending a flatted 3rd, 6th and 7th.

In my example the Em tune uses the natural 7th (D#) when ascending and the flatted 7th (D) when descending. Maybe we are saying the same thing? If the tune used the 6th on descent, I would expect it to be a flatted 6th.

Still trying to find a written source for this version of Swallowtail. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Swallowtail Jig / melodic minor scale
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 03:54 AM

My sister tells me I should search your database, I found a web page but I'm not sure where to start?

It won't be there - I mainly focus on Scottish music and there are very few Irish tunes on my site (I'm guessing this one is Irish though I can't prove it). My site badly needs an index, but meanwhile the ABC index on abcnotation.com, folktunefinder and John Chambers's Tunefinder should index everything I have.

FOUND IT! It's in Ryan's Mammoth Collection with the D sharps. That's probably the first publication of the tune.


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Subject: RE: Swallowtail Jig / melodic minor scale
From: AlaskaJamie
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 04:55 AM

Wonderful. Thanks for your efforts!


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Subject: RE: Swallowtail Jig / melodic minor scale
From: Barbara
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 12:33 PM

Ah, I see in my memory I combined Jack Campin and John Chambers, having used both of your tune sites in the past. Sorry, Jack, good on, Jamie, that you found the tune source. Don't teach it to my daughter before I learn the chords! (Still working on Road to Lisdoonvarna).
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Swallowtail Jig / melodic minor scale
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 02:40 PM

There's no such thing as "the" chords, but this should do if you really want to make a point of those D sharps...

X:1
T:Swallow-Tail - Jig
S:Ryan's Mammoth Collection
M:6/8
L:1/8
Q:3/8=120
K:EDor
E/F/|"Em"GEE    BEE|    GEE BAG|"D "FDD    ADD|"G "dcd "D"AGF|
    "Em"GEE    BEE|    GEE B2c|"D "dcd    AGF|"Em"GEE    E2:|
B   |"B7"Bc^d "E"e2f|"Em"e2f edB|"B7"Bc^d "E"e2f|"A7"edB "D"d3 |
    "B7"Bc^d "E"e2f|"Em"e2f edB|"D "dcd    AGF|"Em"GEE    E2:|


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Subject: RE: Swallowtail Jig / melodic minor scale
From: Lox
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 02:51 PM

The confusion may be as a result of the fact that The melodic Minor means different things in different tradiations.

In Classical music, the melodic minor is considered to have an ascending part and a descending part.

The Ascending part is the same as the major scale but has a flattened 3rd.

The descending part has a flattened 3rd but also has a flattened 6th and a flatttened 7th.

The descending part is therefore the same as the Aeolian mode, potherwise known as the natural minor.

-------

Confusion often arises out of the fact that in Jazz the melodic minor is the same in ascent as it is in descent, i.i, it is the same as a major scale with a flat 3rd going up and down the scale.

Jazz distinguishes the melodic minor as a seperate resource to the natural minor/aeolian mode.

--------

I don't know the tune, but I suspect that it is probably meant to be in the Dorian mode as that and the myolydian were generally the resources from which melodies were derived in western folk music.

The Dorian mode is the same as the major scale with a flat 3 and a flat 7.


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Subject: RE: Swallowtail Jig / melodic minor scale
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 03:01 PM

it is probably meant to be in the Dorian mode as that and the myolydian were generally the resources from which melodies were derived in western folk music

That has never been true at any time, and certainly wasn't true in Ireland or Irish America in the middle of the 19th century.

This is a rather more normal chording for the tune:


X:1
T:Swallow-Tail - Jig
S:Ryan's Mammoth Collection
M:6/8
L:1/8
Q:3/8=120
K:EDor
E/F/|"Em"GEE      BEE|GEE BAG|"D "FDD      ADD|"G "dcd "D"AGF|
    "Em"GEE      BEE|GEE B2c|"D "dcd      AGF|"Em"GEE    E2:|
B   |"B7"Bc^d "Em"e2f|e2f edB|"B7"Bc^d "Em"e2f|"Em"edB "D"d3 |
    "B7"Bc^d "Em"e2f|e2f edB|"D "dcd      AGF|"Em"GEE    E2:|


Confusion often arises out of the fact that in Jazz...

So, avoid jazz theory and avoid getting confused.


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Subject: RE: Swallowtail Jig / melodic minor scale
From: Lox
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 04:42 PM

"That has never been true at any time"

And yet the Original Poster seems to have found that the swallowtail Jig tends to be played in the Dorian mode, with a major 6th and a Minor 7th.

I started playing Trad in Ireland and carried on for years playing it in England.

I know many tunes in the Dorian and Mixolydian mode, from the recruiting sergeant, morrisons Jig and the lonesome boatman to she moved through the fair.

There iis a certain wistful sound that one finds in Irish folk that often derives from the Dorian and Mixolydian.


"So, avoid jazz theory and avoid getting confused."

Sometimes people get confused about what the melodic minor is because they hhear conflicting views from people of different traditions.


Explaining a possible reason for that confusion is helpful.


The fact that you seem to be getting your knickers in a twist on tis and on the "how to find chords" thread helps to explain a lot more about you than it does about the subject at hand.


And as neither I nor anyone else has requested enlightenment in that regard I suggest you limit your contribution to something helpful.


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Subject: RE: Swallowtail Jig / melodic minor scale
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 05:40 PM

it is probably meant to be in the Dorian mode as that and the myolydian were generally the resources from which melodies were derived in western folk music
That has never been true at any time, and certainly wasn't true in Ireland or Irish America in the middle of the 19th century
And yet the Original Poster seems to have found that the swallowtail Jig tends to be played in the Dorian mode

So what? Your generalization is still wrong.

On the two-page spread in Ryan's that has that tune, the keys/modes of the tunes are:

A dorian/minor hexatonic with pien F#s
E melodic minor (and the editor says "E MINOR" in case you might get it wrong)
G major
A minor
F lydian/major hexatonic
D major
G lydian/major hexatonic
G major
D major
G major
G dorian
E melodic minor
E minor
E minor&dorian both.

Not that unusual a mixture, then or now. (Some tunebooks of the time sorted tunes by mode. Ryan didn't, except insofar as he put tunes of the same rhythmic type together - hornpipes have less modal variety than other tunes).

BTW, Barbara has some decisions to make about Road to Lisdoonvarna, since every possible variation in mode gets played in current practice. The guy I learned it from said he didn't expect to stick to the same mode in two successive run-throughs. I don't think it was meant to be a session tune, it sounds better with that sort of soloistic spontaneity.


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Subject: RE: Swallowtail Jig / melodic minor scale
From: Barbara
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 06:18 PM

The chordal decisions I am making about Road to Lisdoonvarna are based more on providing a solid rhythm and a melody to tune to under a beginning fiddle player than on matching modal variants of the tune. AlaskaJamie, my brother, taught her several tunes when we were together in July, and I found myself fishing for the backup for that one.
We are not talking session or performance quality here [yet]. But thanks for the caution. I was going to check the Fiddle Player's Fakebook for chords. But I can always go to the source. So, Jamie, want to send me the chords for Lisdoonvarna?
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Swallowtail Jig / melodic minor scale
From: Sorcha
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 06:39 PM

I just play the things....and let the guitar folks work out the chords.


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Subject: RE: Swallowtail Jig / melodic minor scale
From: Lox
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 06:40 PM

Jack I take your point about the changeability of tunes, and having read your link on the other thread I now have a better idea where you are coming from.

However, the terms you use to describe the idiosyncracies of scottish music and the comparisons you make on your website and on here, presuppose a grounding in basic western music theory in the reader.

The fact that you take such a dismissive approach seems contrary to apparent desire to share your knowledge.

On the one hand you seem to be saying that an understanding of western chord theory serves only to mislead and confuse, but on the other you expect people to understand explanations of what is unique about scottish music by explaining what is special about it relative to western chord theory.

You chastise me for adding sevenths to chords, but you expect a novice to understand your website and provide a link to it.

You obviously have a lot that is interesting to say, but so do I so back off with the "bollox" etc


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Subject: RE: Swallowtail Jig / melodic minor scale
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 07:07 PM

I don't have a problem with the "understanding" of Western chord theory. I do have a problem with that theory when it starts to dictate the kind of music you play - which, in the case of jazz, happens in a rather subtle way. The chord/scale theory popular in current jazz is a uniform methodology which encourages you to take absolutely any kind of raw material and process it with the same set of techniques. In support of this approach, you get technical exercises in permuting keys, scales and chords in every conceivable combination. It's only a very small step to start seeing that kind of exercise as real music - hey, all you need to do is play it energetically or expressively enough, right? But when you've left the idiosyncratic structure of the raw material so far behind that it doesn't matter if it was Gregorian chant, Gershwin, blues or pibroch, you certainly aren't playing traditional music any more. Whatever the merits of your performance as a jazz piece, you've lost it as a song arranger.

The rather elaborate lists of formally possible chords you produced in that other thread seemed to me to be a step too far in the direction of that sort of Berkleeism. If you're going to respect the expressive values of a traditional idiom, you have to be a lot more selective. Not all those abstract possibilities are acceptable. And knowing what fits means first of all looking at the nitty-gritty details of melodic structure. The framework of "modes of the major scale" oversimplifies.


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Subject: RE: Swallowtail Jig / melodic minor scale
From: Lox
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 07:48 PM

"The chord/scale theory popular in current jazz is a uniform methodology which encourages you to take absolutely any kind of raw material and process it with the same set of techniques."

This is a subjective point.

"Whatever the merits of your performance as a jazz piece, you've lost it as a song arranger."

So is this.

Maybe you have observed it in others, but it is a much shakier "rule" than any of the "rules" of harmony that I have outlined.

"If you're going to respect the expressive values of a traditional idiom"

And what if you're going to answer somebody who asks you about the modes of the major scale and how they relate to chords?

"And knowing what fits means first of all looking at the nitty-gritty details of melodic structure"


You will note that earlier on, my approach to helping people fit good chords onto songs was first and foremos to develop a good ear.

The best way of doing this in my opinion is the way I taught myself to do it as a teenager without any knowledge of theory, which was to play chords and get used to how they sound in relation to each other.

It makes sense to begin with G, C, and D for a novice as they are easy/familiar chords to work with on a guitar and the relationship between I, IV and V is the easiest and most satisfying to learn, anticipate and apply practically.

My ear is excellent for 1 reason. My initiation into music involved taking chords I, IV and V to Irish sessions where I had to sink or swim - what with the evil eye of the other musicians scathingly scrutinizing me.

I explored harmony my own way and learned a lot, but hit a glass ceiling of understanding which was only broken when I took the time to sit down and learn about what breakthroughs past masters had achieved.


I suspect that you are talking about people with no love of a particular type of music, who completely neglect to pick up on the feel and soul of it, yet because they have a musical training think that there is nothing that they can learn from a more "primitive" style.

I too have encountered this.

But that is a point about people and their arrogance and perhaps even their lack of natural talent and musicality despite having a good education. But this should in no way have any bearing on the desire to increase ones knowledge and the furtherance of critical understanding is alwaays a goood thing.

Anyway, I'm sorry to have taken this thread so far off topic, this discussion should probably have happened on the other thread, however it probably wouldn't make coherent sense if it were moved so lets leave it as it is.


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