John Irwin

November 23, 2014 10:56 AM

My version of Turlough O'Carolan's tune John Irwin, for fingerstyle guitar.

Robin Bullock taught a great class last summer in arranging the music of O'Carolan for acoustic guitar. Months later (!) this is the first one I've worked up. A few hesitations in this version, but it turned out okay overall.

posted by gorbichov (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

there's a video too, of a slightly different (MORE HESITANT!) version . . .
posted by gorbichov at 11:17 AM on November 23, 2014

More contemplative than other versions. Well done. In the video, each time you drop your hand for that open string strum I imagine you thinking, "Bugger, this piece is fookin' hard."
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:55 PM on November 23, 2014

heh, I guess it's pretty obvious there are parts I still struggle with, which is ironic considering I wrote the stupid arrangement! thanks for your comments Johnny!
posted by gorbichov at 7:52 AM on November 24, 2014

Oh man, I wrote a fairly simple arrangement years ago for O Canada and I'm still struggling with it. I think the problem is I can't find a video of someone doing it properly ;)
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:57 AM on November 24, 2014

Yeah, arranging/composing is one of those interesting things where it's actually I think harder to write to precisely your execution level than it is to over-reach a little. I remember putting together a piece on piano for a theory class in college and I wrote the thing a half a measure at a time making moves that I wasn't really up to pulling off in real-time once it was down on paper.

But, yeah, this is really lovely, and a nice recording. The hesitation feels very live; it may not be a concert recital but it's good music.
posted by cortex at 9:37 AM on December 2, 2014

aww man, thanks cortex, that means a lot. there are a few spots in this arrangement where I have to do things that are unnatural to me - playing "harp-style" melodies, where a lower note is actually played on a higher string, or spots where the fingering is nothing I would ever do based on muscle memory alone - but all that being said, I can actually play this one better now. I think I was just pleased with having a mostly passable version and posted it in my enthusiasm. :) Thanks for including in the podcast too!
posted by gorbichov at 10:53 AM on December 4, 2014

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