Does anyone have a recommendation on any collections of Turlough O'Carolan arrangements? (several listed within)

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Jason Kulas
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Does anyone have a recommendation on any collections of Turlough O'Carolan arrangements? (several listed within)

Post by Jason Kulas » Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:47 pm

I'm looking at some books of O'Carolan arrangements, trying to figure-out which ones to buy. I'm buying online, so I can't look through the books first. I'm wondering if anyone owns any of these and can comment about them, to help me decide what to buy.

Or do you know of other good books?

How well-done are the arrangements? What difficulty level are the pieces within? How much do you enjoy the selection of pieces chosen? etc.

I'm a beginner, but looking for music I love, to strive for.

1) Turlough O'Carolan's Compositions, Bournet, http://www.pascalbournet.info/editions/ ... anguage=en

2) Deluxe Anthology of O'Carolan Music for Fingerstyle Guitar, Grossman, published by Mel Bay

3) O'Carolan Guitar Arrangements, Stevens, published by Mel Bay

4) O'Carolan Favorites for Classical Guitar, Boger, published by Mel Bay

5) Turlough O'Carolan Irish Harp Pieces for Classical Guitar, Boger, published by Mel Bay

6) O’Carolan’s Ramble: The Music of Turlough O’Carolan For Fingerstyle Guitar, Wood, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/435 ... n-s-ramble

7) O'Carolan for Everyone, Hinchliffe, https://www.keithhinchliffe.com/carolanforeveryone.html (suggested in thread)

8 ) Carolan's Dream, Hinchliffe

9) Celtic Harp Music Of Carolan And Others For Solo Guitar, Glenn Weiser (suggested in thread)
Last edited by Jason Kulas on Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:19 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Frank Nordberg
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Re: Does anyone have a recommendation on any collections of Turlough O'Carolan arrangements? (several listed within)

Post by Frank Nordberg » Fri Feb 01, 2019 3:22 pm

Aww, I was just about to publish my own Carolan arrangements, I didn't know anybody already had done something like that already. But I shuoldn't be surprised. Many of Carolan's tuns are very suitable for the guitar.

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Re: Does anyone have a recommendation on any collections of Turlough O'Carolan arrangements? (several listed within)

Post by Jason Kulas » Fri Feb 01, 2019 4:19 pm

Frank Nordberg wrote:
Fri Feb 01, 2019 3:22 pm
Aww, I was just about to publish my own Carolan arrangements
Now you can make sure yours are better than the competition! :wink:
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Re: Does anyone have a recommendation on any collections of Turlough O'Carolan arrangements? (several listed within)

Post by pogmoor » Fri Feb 01, 2019 4:40 pm

I think Pascal Bournet's arrangements of O'Carolan are particularly good. I think they are around grade 5 level.
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Re: Does anyone have a recommendation on any collections of Turlough O'Carolan arrangements? (several listed within)

Post by Frank Nordberg » Fri Feb 01, 2019 6:18 pm

Jason Kulas wrote:
Fri Feb 01, 2019 4:19 pm
Now you can make sure yours are better than the competition! :wink:
By being a better guitarist and composer than... than... ummm... errr.. Grossman is on that list. Is that Stefan Grossman? Some of Carolan's catchier tunes would actually work great in his 'merican folk fingerpicking style.

Seriously, I don't think it's about quality, As I said, I don't really know the other versions but although I'm sure some of them are rather crude and crappy, I'm also sure some of them are really, really good. As always when you transcribe music originally wirtten for another instrument, it's about how you approach it.

One part of my original plan was to do a complete set - all the works in O'Sullivan's book plus alternative versions and unconfirmed attributions from O'Neill and some other sources. I probably have to give up on that idea. It's not all Great Music and even the good pieces aren't always very suitable for guitar. At least I won't do them all in one go. Who knows what the future will bring.

What remains of the plan however are:
  • Keep it as simple as possible without compromising the music.
  • Make matching second guitar and other ensemble parts so people can play with their friends.
  • Work with Carolan's dual style - baroque(-ish) style for his modern (from his perspective) pieces, more medieval for his old style music.
  • Try to find a good balance between "classical" and "folk". Carolan is usually regarded as folk music these days but that's not where he came from. He was Irish upper class and wrote and played music for the Irish upper class. He was quite familiar with and influenced by continental music of his time and was especially a big fan of Vivaldi. It's quite a paradox that he is seen as a folk musician today whilst other far more folky old masters such van Eyck have been piegonholed as "classical". I want to retain that original aspect of the music without letting go of the folk credibility it has gained later because I think both are important and valuable. Of course, this is more up to the performer than the arranger but at least I'll have to make sure it's possible for the player to take the music either way.

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Re: Does anyone have a recommendation on any collections of Turlough O'Carolan arrangements? (several listed within)

Post by Jason Kulas » Fri Feb 01, 2019 6:58 pm

Frank Nordberg wrote:
Fri Feb 01, 2019 3:22 pm
I was just about to publish my own Carolan arrangements, I didn't know anybody already had done something like that already.
There's also a lot of free O'Carolan arrangements available online. I have no idea of their quality, I'm not competent to judge.
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Re: Does anyone have a recommendation on any collections of Turlough O'Carolan arrangements? (several listed within)

Post by simonm » Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:00 am

Keith Hinchliffe has some pretty good arrangements.

For pretty much all of O'Carolan's work, look at this http://www.docsworkshop.force9.co.uk/carolanindex.htm

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Re: Does anyone have a recommendation on any collections of Turlough O'Carolan arrangements? (several listed within)

Post by Jason Kulas » Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:36 pm

simonm wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:00 am
Keith Hinchliffe has some pretty good arrangements.
I see his ebook with TAB + notation. Wish it were available without the space-wasting TAB. EDIT: Oh wait, I see one of his books may offer some notation-only O'Carolan.
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Re: Does anyone have a recommendation on any collections of Turlough O'Carolan arrangements? (several listed within)

Post by Frank Nordberg » Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:00 pm

simonm wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:00 am
Keith Hinchliffe has some pretty good arrangements.
Wow, I definitely didn't know of that!

Transpose the tune to an easy guitar key, add some simple bass notes, yes, that's the way to go if you want an easy, no-nonsense arrangement and it works very well for most of Carolan's music. No need to spend money on it unless you want something a bit more advanced then.

I do wish Doc could say something about where he got the tunes from though. As far as I know, Sullivan's only incuded 214 Carolan tunes in his book, and Doc includes all 227 of them...

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Re: Does anyone have a recommendation on any collections of Turlough O'Carolan arrangements? (several listed within)

Post by Jason Kulas » Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:40 pm

simonm wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:00 am
Keith Hinchliffe has some pretty good arrangements.
Are you more partial to Keith's "Carolan’s Dream", or his "O’Carolan for Everyone"? Or do you think they're equivalent? It looks like "Dream" is fewer songs, and is [a space-wasting] TAB + notation, while the other is only notation.
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Re: Does anyone have a recommendation on any collections of Turlough O'Carolan arrangements? (several listed within)

Post by Steve Ganz » Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:59 pm

Celtic Harp Music Of Carolan And Others For Solo Guitar, by Glenn Weiser .
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Re: Does anyone have a recommendation on any collections of Turlough O'Carolan arrangements? (several listed within)

Post by simonm » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:48 pm

Steve Ganz wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:59 pm
Celtic Harp Music Of Carolan And Others For Solo Guitar, by Glenn Weiser .
That is one that I didn't like. I bought it and pretty quickly got rid of it on e - b a y. I was very disappointed as it had so many good reviews. Maybe is was too steel string oriented.

On the other hand, Ben Verdery's arrangement of Blind Mary is excellent and for me catch's the "Irish" spirit in a way Weiser's does not.There was a nice rendition here (by David McHarg ) but it seems to be corrupted now and David is no longer a member. Ben has 3 or 4 O'Carolan arrangements in one of his books.

Helen Marshall played a good number of Hinchliffe's O'Carolan arrangements very nicely about 8-10 years ago. Easy to find on youtube. Some on a guitalele.

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Re: Does anyone have a recommendation on any collections of Turlough O'Carolan arrangements? (several listed within)

Post by Jason Kulas » Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:26 pm

BTW, for anyone following this thread, I found a Carolan appreciation Group on Facebook run by guitarist Helen Marshall/dracapelly (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuJTk4 ... vF0PncfGtA). The Group is: https://www.facebook.com/groups/11707498965/ I posted my same question in that Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1170749 ... 484298966/) and I've been getting some responses, so, those interested in reading more should head there.
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Re: Does anyone have a recommendation on any collections of Turlough O'Carolan arrangements? (several listed within)

Post by kervoas » Thu Feb 07, 2019 5:26 pm

For easy to intermediate level I think the Hinchliffe Carolan's Dream is excellent. You'll need a second guitar though, or plenty of spare strings, lot's of different tunings to cope with.
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Re: Does anyone have a recommendation on any collections of Turlough O'Carolan arrangements? (several listed within)

Post by Jason Kulas » Thu Feb 07, 2019 7:31 pm

kervoas wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 5:26 pm
For easy to intermediate level I think the Hinchliffe Carolan's Dream is excellent. You'll need a second guitar though, or plenty of spare strings, lot's of different tunings to cope with.
Have you looked at Hinchliffe's O'Carolan for Everyone? Apparently it uses mostly standard tuning, has more songs, and doesn't waste space on TAB. Based on that, it seems appealing.
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