Slowplayers.org is a site for learning to play traditional music from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, Galicia (Spain), Brittany (France), Cape Breton (Nova Scotia) and beyond. Though often called “Irish Traditional Music” or just “ITM” it includes a wide range of types of tunes and styles. The idea of “Slowplayers” is not new. It refers to the fact that in order to learn these tunes you have to begin to play them slowly in a group setting. That’s where the real fun comes in!
There are dedicated people from all over the world who are learning to play traditional tunes from this site right this minute! In Kansas City, Missouri, we teach a learning session using this website. This is community music, music played in a group setting. Over many generations it evolved from social dance music into what’s called session music played at a house or in a pub with or without dancers. To get the most out of the tunes you learn you’ll need to find a group of people to play with. That’s where the sense of the music comes alive.
Playing the tunes slowly in a group is called “a slow session” or “a learning session.” I designed this website to facilitate the learning sessions I run in Kansas City, and also to help anyone anywhere to get started, or to develop a wider repertoire of session tunes. What I present here are some of the most commonly played session tunes. The recordings are at a slower tempo than you’d find at a full-on session, of course. So, this is a place to pick up some new tunes, and hear how to play them. Afterward, go out and play these tunes with others, and if they don’t know them, then teach the tunes to them or send them here so they can play them the next time you get together. Call it a “learning session” or a “slow session” and it’ll still be a whole lot of fun!
Support this Project:
Please consider supporting this website with a paypal contribution — using the button in the upper-right side of the page. Thank You!
And Support Your Community:
If you love this music (even a little) please take the time to support it in your community. Play the music whenever you can, and go see those who play it well!
The Kansas City Learning Sessions:
The learning session in Kansas City was my inspiration for revamping Michael Duffy’s original slowplayers.org website. For more information about what the KC Learning Session, click here. For the current learning session schedule, click here. For more information about The Kansas City School of Irish Music click here. For a brief history of the website Slowplayers.org click here.
I highly recommend that you learn from the MP3s provided, and NOT from the sheet music or ABCs – and I may just not put up the midi, as that would be learning from a robot . . . a not-very-talented robot. Sheet music, ABC, and MIDI files are only good for bare notes, but you will not get close to anything like the real feel of Irish music fromo them. You will need to do a considerable amount of listening to players ensconced in the tradition, and you’ll sometime hear the same tune played in different settings.
Remember, despite the priority some people give to dots on paper, there’s no such thing as a definitive setting! As Zina Lee has written, “The different settings are a large part of what keeps Irish traditional music so interesting and alive.”
This web page was created for the sole purpose of passing on the playing of traditional Irish music free to everyone.
The information on this site is under copyright protection. I own all intellectual property rights in and to this site & its complete content. Any redistribution of this material for profit is illegal, strictly prohibited, and seriously frowned upon.
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