The Boehm Flute in Irish Traditional Music - A New Book and CD by Tom Greene

Tom Greene is a flute player from Co. Longford and has been playing traditional music since the 1950’s.  He has just published book called The Boehm Flute in Irish Traditional Music. He states that “many of those who play the Boehm flute have an interest in either playing some traditional Irish music or at least enquiring into the possibilities offered by the genre”. This book offers such a possibility of developing this interest from a few perspectives.

“Firstly, a textual part dealing with the tradition and practice of playing and ornamenting traditional Irish music on the Boehm flute is given. In addition, by way of appendix, Tom Greene’s own traditional background is used to explore briefly how playing on the modern instrument developed out of such a setting in the Irish Midlands of the 1950s.

In the third instance, the use of many techniques learned within a classical-teaching environment can be used to assist in the playing of the traditional repertoire. This helps to bridge the gap between classical and traditional genres by focusing on common areas.

There is a section of written music - jigs, reels, hornpipes and slow airs - including ornamentation and some phrasing suggestions together with brief interpretive ideas for each tune. Players should find this of assistance in establishing some repertoire. In addition, this section provides music written over a range of seven different keys, including tunes in the popular ones of D and G, thereby covering a good range of the possibilities provided by the Boehm-system instrument.

Generally, the book is aimed at those who, in classical terms, would have attained the higher-grade standards - VI or above - of such examining bodies as the Royal Irish Academy of Music or the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, or those who would have a similar degree of competence. A traditional player who could read music should also find much useful in the material presented.

Finally, by way of further assistance, a short CD of tunes demonstrates samples of playing. The material on the accompanying CD aims to provide a sample of the traditional repertoire which can be played on the Boehm flute. The style of playing is referenced to the pioneering flute playing work of the late Paddy Carty (Radcliff system) from Co Galway In addition, advice from local traditional players who lived in the Edgeworthstown/Ballinalee area provides further background. These were mainly fiddle players such Michael Reilly and Joe Callaghan, all now deceased.

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