by Alfredo De Pietra
The Celtic Cafe
is grateful to Keltika Magazine of Italy for sharing some of the work of
Alfredo De Pietra, its Music Column Editor, translated into English.
Click here for Alfredo's bio
page at the Celtic Cafe, with links to his other features available here at CelticCafe.com.
The Essential Guide To Irish Flute And Tin Whistle
Grey Larsen - Mel Bay Publications, Inc. (firstname.lastname@example.org) - ISBN
Just to be clear from the beginning: every lover of
Irish music should consider buying this Essential Guide, and even more
so if he or she is a flute or tin whistle player. It was published only a few
months ago, but already I had been struck by the comments of readers who spoke
of it as a reference book of unusual dimensions, completeness and accuracy.
when Grey Larsen, the book's (very kind!) author, had the publisher (Mel Bay)
send a copy of the book directly to me, and when I could leaf through the book's
pages myself, I easily understood the reasons for so much praise. Sure, there
are other instruction books about Irish flute and tin whistle, but have you ever
seen one with nearly 500 (!) A4 pages? And with two audio CDs included, containing
dozens of audio examples? Here is why the great Matt Molloy (Chieftains) writes
about this book: "Grey has, through his research, patience, and diligence,
completed a work on Irish flute and tin whistle that I feel is essential reading
for anybody interested in getting it right."
And by the way, Grey Larsen
is the right person to write such a comprehensive book: a flute player and tin
whistler since the beginning of the '70s, he has learned the music from many great
Irish-born musicians, both in Ireland and in his own country (he is from the Midwest,
U.S.A.) where so many immigrants from the Emerald Isle have settled.
is most striking about the Essential Guide is the overall scope of the project
and the general design, which is perfect both for a beginner and for an advanced
musician. The book can be divided into three main parts: the first thirty pages
explore these instruments' places in the evolution of Irish traditional music.
The second section, entitled "The Instruments" (70 pages), is dedicated
to the history and technical development of the flute and whistle themselves,
and to various techniques of holding and sounding the instruments.
in the following 300 pages that you reach the heart of the matter, with sections
called "Ornamentation", "Phrasing, Articulation and Use of the
Breath", and final chapters about the playing of slow airs and on the building
of one's own musical memory. Everywhere the pages are replete with examples, drawings,
schemes and photos. Even for someone who - like me - is not a flute player, the
richness of detail and completeness of the treatment are absolutely evident.
to conclude, there are also transcriptions of some of the most important recordings
in the musical history of these two instruments, plus a detailed, dedicated discography
and bibliography. This is a book for musicians of course, but it is also useful,
even precious in my opinion, for those interested in the history of Irish music,
for it fills a gap of knowledge that has existed in these areas. This is a perfect
work to become the gold standard, a reference point for whistlers and Irish flute
"The Essential Guide To Irish Flute And Tin Whistle"
can be purchased online from Mel Bay Publications, but also directly through the
official web site of the author: GreyLarsen.com.
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