The Pure Drop is a traditional Irish tune. This arrangement is by Pierre Bensusan.
Tab for this piece is available from Pierre Bensusan.
In Irish traditional music, as in most world music, tunes belong to a fixed number of tune types, each related to a specific dance style. The most common tune types are jigs, reels, slides and polkas.
The combination of melody and accompaniment is quite a recent development. Prior to the 20th century, Irish music was almost devoid of harmony. Songs and tunes were performed unaccompanied — by soloists, or sometimes by groups of players or singers in unison. The emphasis was always on the tune. The ‘interest’ in the music came from ornamentation, improvisation and a mysterious quality the Irish call lift, best translated as feel – a complex push and pull in the rhythmic structure.
As music moved out of the kitchens and living rooms into the concert hall and onto the radio, audience expectations have changed and we have become used to listening to a soloist with some sort of accompaniment. To many ears, music no longer sounds ‘complete’ unless it has a full band arrangement. It’s not surprising that Irish music has moved with the times, and during the 20th century an Irish band culture emerged.
Céilidh bands, in the 1940s, imitated the line-up of jazz bands of the time with pianos, drum kits, saxophones, and stand-up bass as well as the more obvious flutes, accordions and fiddles. The musical accompaniment was usually a very simple oom-pah style along with fairly obvious major and minor chords. This provided good loud music for dancing, but also fought against many of the strong melodic and rhythmic subtleties of the traditional tunes.
In the late 1960s, a new generation of musicians started experimenting with a different way of performing Irish music. Bands such as Planxty (who have recently reformed) and The Bothy Band drew inspiration from pop, rock and American folk music and, significantly, from the traditional music of Eastern Europe, which already had a strong folk band tradition.
Irish folk bands during this period developed a more rhythmically complex accompaniment style using strummed instruments including the guitar and a variation of the Greek bouzouki, which soon became known as the Irish bouzouki. And the musicians left behind simple major and minor chord structures to use drones, modal chords (neither major nor minor, using only the root and fifth without the third) and more complex suspended and augmented harmonies. By avoiding major or minor chords, this style of accompaniment was more sympathetic to traditional Irish melodies, which often drifted between the two. Guitars and bouzouki were often given alternate tunings that facilitated these types of chords like DADGAD.
If you like this video, then you might also want to look at these videos:-