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Paul De Grae: Biography and Class Description



Full class description


The class will deal mainly with guitar accompaniment of traditional Irish dance tunes; some melody playing will also be taught. The emphasis will be on ear-training, rhythm and mental attitude; guitar technique is secondary to these. Any tuning may be used, but at least an intermediate level of playing ability is necessary. There will be no handouts of printed material, but you are welcome to use tape recorders or mini-discs. The rhythms of the various tune types will be examined, and also we will look in detail at how to construct an accompaniment, using such techniques as chord substitution, counter-melodies, etc. A melody player will be in attendance for demonstration purposes and also for you to accompany. When you have learned a couple of simple dance tunes, you will accompany each other’s playing in guitar duets. Also I will try to set the music in its social context, and show how much fun you can have with it.


Paul de Grae is a Dublin-born guitarist (and occasional singer), living in Kerry for many years. He has recorded with Jackie Daly and Matt Cranitch, The Smoky Chimney, Eoin Duignan, Paudie O’Connor and others. In 1989 he published “Traditional Irish Guitar”, the first such tutor, re-issued by Ossian in 1996 with a companion CD. He contributed several articles, including most of the entry on “guitar”, to The Companion to Irish Traditional Music, edited by Fintan Vallely. He has a particular interest in the music of Sliabh Luachra, plays regularly at sessions, concerts and festivals throughout Ireland (particularly in Kerry, Cork and Clare) and has taught guitar workshops in Ireland, the USA and France. He is engaged in an ongoing research project on the music collector Francis O’Neill, and has written and lectured on the subject. He is a founder member of the North Kerry Traditional Music Archive.