A sheet music collection of 34 original contra-dances and other pieces for solo piano. In the traditional Irish classical music style. For beginner to intermediate players.
To find out more about the composer and his work: please visit Jerald's Website.
(from the First Edition)
The completion of this work has been one of constant delays, revisions, editing and difficult decisions. It was originally composed as a tune book for fiddle players in 1985. By 1995, I discovered that I had scribbled many tunes down and was at a loss at what to do with them, so they traveled along with me without much thought. After a few years of remaining hidden away and neglected, I selected a number of the tunes and added harmony to them, those being the ones I felt were the most interesting and challenging. In 1999, I finally acquired a computer and the proper musical software and went to work editing.
In preparing this work for publication, I had a difficult time deciding the overall scope and format of the book. After considering the options, I experimented with a few of the tunes, and came to a decision to present the music with rhythmic bass line accompaniments. The wonderful advent of modern technology made my work much easier and efficient, and allowed me to edit the tunes for playability. Thus, the idea to expand the melodies won out, and it evolved into the work you now have in your hands.
The idea of the first, single melody fiddle-tune book was intended for educational purposes as it pertained to fiddle players alone. In its present edition it is intended for keyboards, but also any “C” instrument may use it by simply reading the treble line as the accompanist provides simple chords, etc. The tunes range from easy to moderately difficult in regards to technique and execution. I have purposely omitted certain markings of musical expressions in the music, such as slurs, bowing and fingering indications and specific metronome markings that would normally be present in performance-ready material. The music is left open to the performer to interpret. Some musicians will undoubtedly recognize the baroque flavoring of some of the pieces. The upper melody line (as well as a few of the bass lines) may be improvised upon, as is common practice among musicians of Traditional Dance Music. The music serves a three-fold purpose; firstly, the performers of Traditional Music may freely arrange the tunes to fit their tastes. The art of improvisation should be stressed as to the placement of trills, rhythm alterations, etc. Secondly, teachers of a variety of musical instruments may utilize the music to instruct students in the rudiments of their instrument, phrasing and composition. The teacher, student or performer, giving the music a “personal” quality may complete the unmarked musical notation. Thirdly, students are more likely to practice if they have some input into the music. The variety of styles may also aid students of music to broaden their interests in other areas of music history. I believe that studies in Baroque and Classical Music usually produce better interpreters of the Traditional music of Ireland and Scotland. I should hope that speaks for itself through the medium of the performers’ own creative process and musical interpretation and that they will enjoy them as much as I did writing them.