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Flatpicking Guitar Magazine - The Flatpicker's Guide to Irish Music


Current Edition

Tim May and Dan Miller's book and audio CD "The Flatpicker's Guide to Irish Music" (116 pages) introduces the flatpicking guitar player to ten common Irish tunes and the theory and technique of Irish rhythm. The first part of the book discusses the theory and technique of Irish guitar rhythm, to include right hand technique, chord substitutions, and bass movement within chords. In a typical Irish session, the lead instruments will all play the melody simultaneously and the rhythm guitar player will improvise the chord changes behind the melody. In the second part of the book each of the ten tunes presented include a study the melody of the tune, variations on the melody, standard chords for the tune, and chord substitution variations. The tunes presented cover 3/4, 4/4, 6/8, and 9/8 time signatures and a variety of typical embellishments that are common to Irish music. The concept of modes is also addressed as the tunes that are presented include tunes played in the Ionian, Aeolian, and Dorian modes. Additional rhythm ideas that include harmonized scale rhythm, Drop D rhythm, and DADGAD chords are also presented.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
  • The Irish Session
  • Irish Rhythm Guitar
  • Melody and Harmony: “Rickett’s Hornpipe”
  • Diatonic Chords and Chord Progressions
  • Chord Movement and Chord Progressions
  • Chord Inversions, Chord Voicings, and Slash Chords
  • Circle of Fifths Substituions
  • Right Hand Rhythm Technique and Bass Line Movement
  • Experimenting with Chord Changes
  • Modes
  • Revisiting “Rickett’s Hornpipe”
  • Triplets
  • Irish Tunes :
    • 1) Julia Delaney
    • 2) Maid Behind the Bar
    • 3) Old Grey Cat
    • 4) Rickett’s Hornpipe
    • 5) Silver Spear
      • Harmonized Scale Rhythm
      • Drop D Rhythm
      • DADGAD Chords
    • 6) Star of the County Down
    • 7) Star of Munster
    • 8) Swallow Tail Jig
    • 9) The Butterfly
    • 10) Killavil Reel
  • Irish Music For Flatpickers -Conclusion