Celtic music shows an exceptional and happy combination of strong melodies and interesting rhythms. No wonder that this type of music has inspired many wonderful modern compositions and music groups.
A few years ago I reached back to the roots of Celtic music. In 1873, P.W. Joyce published a precious set of 100 melodies collected from Irish harp players and other local musicians, to be followed in 1909 by second collection of 842 melodies. Harmonics to these tunes were provided by Professor Glover according to known Irish patterns.
Most of these melodies have been widely forgotten. This seems a good place to revive some of those melodies in a modern interpretation. The melodies presented here have been "modernized" with various modifications, comments, extensions and/or new basslines.
These tunes were all created with virtual instruments in our own unique recording setup. These recordings are set in the public domain.
A great deal more information about these and more melody collections by PW Joyce is available on the PW Joyce Irish Music Microsite.
P.W. Joyce. 1873. Ancient Irish Music: One Hundred Airs Hitherto Unpublished, Many of the Old Popular Songs, and Several New Songs. Edited and collected. Dublin. McGlashan and Gill.
P.W. Joyce. 1909. Music And Songs. A Collection of 842 Irish Airs and Songs Hitherto Unpublished. Longmans, Green, and Co.
On more about Celtic music in general, see
Current complete collection
Ace and Deuce - P.W.Joyce Collection 1873 no 14
P.W.Joyce Collection 1873: "The words 'Ace and deuce' (or one and two) mean here the highest pitch of excellence; and as the name indicates, the tune was considered the perfection of music when well played on the bag-pipes, and its correct performance was believed to be a sufficient test of the instrumental skill of a piper." (Tempo: original 74, here 120).
Do You Remember - piano - P.W.Joyce Collection 1873 nos 21-24
Do You Remember - flutes - P.W.Joyce Collection 1873 nos 21-24
Slan Beo. Farewell - P.W.Joyce Collection 1873 no 4
The distinction between original composition and original interpretation is clarified here.
These compositions were all created with virtual instruments in unique recording setups. They are subject to copyright, but they are free to use in private listening.
Current complete collection
As I listen to music from my huge MIDI collection, it seems to me that some pieces should rise again from semi-oblivion and should merit a new presentation.
Sound Quality. What do we need to resuscitate a few choice oldies from the good ole days of the MIDI collection?
We require at least MP3s at 48 kHz - 320 kbps.
Is this good enough? I've listened to many loss-less reproductions, and I don't really need much more. The need for additional bandwidth and storage, plus the risk of gapping for users on slower connections, is rarely worth the extra gain in audio quality in our type of music. So I stay with the very efficient 48kHz 320 kbps two-channel MP3 standard, for all our recordings.
My contribution. When I find something that I like, I go through it with a fine-tooth comb. MIDIs merit a new orchestration and various adjustments, or even some minor adaptations. That's what I want to do: round out the edges -- to a reasonable extent.
Then the piece goes through my high-fidelity setup. I select the instruments, adjust the volume settings, add some compression, plus some delay and reverb, and I place the instruments into a virtual room. As you know, all my recordings are made with virtual instruments. At the end, we have resuscitated a presentable end product.
What music? What do I select? In short, I like music that is pleasant and memorable. It encompasses a much wider range of music than what I study in my regular course of music composition (here and here).
This is not necessarily great or sophisticated music, nor is it free of all imperfections. It's simply what I stumble upon and happen to like, as I make my wide-ranging trails through the vast jungle plastered with boredom and disharmony. Unpretentious, but hopefully welcome.
These days there are few commercial incentives for this type of effort, so this may fill a musical need. It might also provide the incentive for some new commercial initiatives.
Public domain, and for you personally. These recordings are destined for private listening and enjoyment. It is assumed at the outset that all selected re-creations are in the public domain -- which is often difficult to ascertain in the case of MIDI recordings. I shall gladly remove any recording in case of conflicting rights.
Image: A summer evening (Pixabay)
Current complete collection
Chariots on Fire
El Cóndor Pasa, version 1
El Cóndor Pasa, version 2
Hold Onto Your Dreams
Music Box Dancer
Sounds of Silence
Here are recordings that were recreated for analysis, modification and/or correction on the present website.
They were all created with virtual instruments in our own unique recording setup. These recordings are set in the public domain.
Complete classical collection, set 1 - 9, 1hr03
1 Bach J.S. English Suite No. 2 in A minor BWV 807, harpsichord
2 Bach J.S. Partita in B-flat major BWV 825, harpsichord
3 Bach J.S. Toccata and Fugue in D minor, on Friesach organ
4 Dandrieu, F. Les folies amusantes, Conceptual schema, detail here
5 Vivaldi A. La Follia Bis - RV63 modified, detail here
6 Vivaldi A. Sonata in Fmaj RV52, Aria di Giga amplified, detail here
7 Vivaldi A. Trio Sonata RV67, first movement redone, detail here
8 Vivaldi A. Oboe Concerto RV463, 3rd mov. completed, detail here
9 Vivaldi A. Concerto RV107, all voices in harpsichord at 432 Hz