When I started playing Irish music on the flute here in Canberra, Australia, in the 1970s, we couldn't even get records of Irish instrumental music! Fortunately, the picture has now changed utterly. A world full of resources are now at your fingertips, many right here on the 'net.
Probably one of the most exciting developments in recent years is the ABC format for writing out, sending, reading, playing and printing out tunes. Special software for achieving this is available as shareware for both Mac & PC, with basic versions free to download. Thousands of tunes have been transcribed into this format and again are available free off the 'net. Find out about this fabulous resource at the ABC webpage http://www.execpc.com/~jimvint/index.html
Check out Richard Moon's TUNEdb - the largest source of tunes on the 'Net. http://tunedb.nipltd.net/tunedb/
Slowing Down Tunes
Tunebooks or the ABC program above will provide you with the notes to play but nothing else. Listening to great players is fundamentally important in absorbing the nuances which make the difference between playing a string of notes and great Irish music. But great players tend to play a lot of notes rather quickly, giving you no time to analyse what's going on. In the old days, we used to use a two speed tape recorder to reduce the tunes to half speed, which conveniently left them at the same pitch but one octave down. These days there are better tricks. Digital Audio Editing programs like Cool Edit (demo version downloadable off the 'net) can slow down tunes without changing pitch! And you can even record straight to Cool Edit from a CD in your CD Rom drive. You need a soundcard in your computer.
The Discussion Group "rec.music.celtic" is the first stop off place for people wanting to discuss or find out about Celtic music in general. Access it through your Web Browser's Discussion Group section.
The Irish Traditional Mailing List (IRTRAD-L) is a more
serious forum which will bring you into contact with over 500
people around the world whose enthusiasms include Irish music.
Earlyflute attracts those with an interest in baroque instruments, but has become a hangout for those with an interest in flutemaking in general. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/earlyflute/
Woodenflute has been set up for discussions relating to playing wooden flutes in general and Irish flutes in particular. http://www.woodenflute.com.
Flutemakers is a list where flutemakers and wannabe flutemakers
discuss the nitty gritty of our art. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/flutemakers
A Guide to the Irish Flute
written and maintained by Brad Hurley. This site contains information
for players of traditional Irish music on the flute, including advice on
choosing an instrument, resources for learning to play the flute, an extensive
directory of wooden flute makers, interviews with leading flute players, and
Tuner Software and Metronome
Tatsuaki Kuroda has designed a tuner for PC or Mac with facilities far outstripping the usual hardware devices. At our request, the program has been modified to permit a wider range of reference frequencies, making it an ideal tool for analysing 19th century originals. You need a soundcard and a microphone. If you don't have a microphone, just plug your earphones or an un-powered loudspeaker into the microphone input. You'll find a metronome on the same site. http://www1.ocn.ne.jp/~tuner/tuner_e.html.
Personal HygieneRoger Holman Enterprises is the source for Flute and Piccolo Flag brand swabs. These swabs are a new approach to drying the bore of your instrument in the least possible amount of time. Moisture is captured even at the face of the head joint cork. Several varieties are currently available.
If all else fails ...
If I can be any help, feel free to contact me.