Online tutorials

These videos based on our regular workshop format were made in the spring and summer of 2020 in order to make up for the necessary cancellation of group sessions.

Each week a new piece of music is introduced, drawing traditional material from across Europe and around the world. We break the tune down a little bit, give some hints on how to find your way around it and some background to the piece, including any dance steps there may be. Notation is available on request, and the videos can also be found on our Youtube channel.

If you would like to make a donation towards Tunelink for the time spent putting these videos together then you can do so via this link

So please scroll down, take a look and a listen, with your instruments of course, and hopefully you can learn some new music with us even at a remove, and do email us with any questions you may have.

The videos

WEEK 6: Week six comes to you from our back garden, filmed in between bouts of weeding, watering and planting. This week’s piece is a Slängpolska from Blekinge, a dance tune from the South East of Sweden which also works nicely as a listening piece when slowed down a little from dance pace. It is easiest to think of the structure of the tune as AABBA, though the final part (or coda) is actually one note different from the opening A parts.

WEEK 5: This week we have chosen a hop-jig called The Boys of Ballisodare. Hop -jigs are 9/8 dance tunes from the Irish tradition, and we looked at them a couple of years ago in our term time evening classes. Our regular participants might remember Lus Na mBanríon (The Dusty Miller) and the Promenade, as well as Cuckanandy, which we’ve included here to make a set. We focus on the new tune in the video, but dots are available for both.

We originally learnt this tune from a beautiful recording by fiddle and banjo player John Carty on his album Yeh, That’s All It Is. That CD is where Louis first heard a tenor guitar, and the reason he then bought the one he’s playing here. Interestingly we’ve recently realised that you can dance a six step Ridée (see Week 3) to a hop-jig melody.

WEEK 4: For the fourth instalment of this series we bring you a piece by the celebrated Irish harper and composer Turlough O’Carolan (1670-1738).

There are over two hundred of O’Carolan’s tunes extant, most of them composed for his patrons and friends. Less well known than some of his other pieces (Si Bheag Si Mhór, Fanny Power, The Princess Royal), Grace Nugent was written for the youngest daughter of the family who lived at Castle Nugent, Co. Westmeath. For more about O’Carolan see Máire Ní Chathasaigh & Chris Newman’s excellent recording The Carolan Albums (Old Bridge Music, 1994).

WEEK 3: In this week’s tutorial we are looking at a traditional dance tune from Brittany, the Ridée Six Temps (six time), a popular six step circle or serpent dance in the Breton Fest Noz repertoire. Louis demonstrates the steps towards the end of the video.

WEEK 2: This week we are looking at a Jota from the playing of a Galician piper called Manuel López López, taken from a tune book and CD of field recordings which Louis picked up whilst travelling in Galicia a couple of years back.

Jotas (or Xotas) are a tune form found in many traditions across Spain, from Galicia to Asturias to Barcelona. Some have words and some are purely instrumental, and there are many different dances, but we’re just playing this as an instrumental listening piece. We hope you enjoy it, dots are available on request of course, and as always please drop us a message with any questions.

WEEK 1: For our first instalment of this new series we bring you a tune that is played for Chukanoto, a popular dance across the Balkans. Gris demonstrates the steps towards the end of the video.

This particular tune is traditionally played on the Kaba Gaida, the traditional bagpipes of the Rodhopa mountains in Bulgaria, the region where this tune originates. We learnt it from our friend Filip Arillon, of the Balkan Music Centre, Macedonia. The BMC is run by some excellent musicians and teachers, and are well worth getting in touch with if you have an interest in Balkan music.

In this video Louis is playing a Tambura, variants of which are found across the Balkans. His is the Bulgarian style, with four courses of strings, and was built in the Pirin Mountains.

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