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Irish flute resources in print

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This page contains a list of published material I have found to be either useful or interesting and is not meant to be comprehensive. All are currently in print as far as I am aware, unless marked with a [*]

I expect this list to grow and welcome any recommendations, corrections or updates.

The contents of this page are:

    Traditional flute books
    General flute books
    General traditional music books
    Traditional tune books

Traditional flute books

The Irish Flute Player's Handbook SC Hamilton (2009), Breac Publications, ISBN not available.
Probably the best technical book written on the flute within Irish traditional music, with a useful section on repairs and construction. This revised second edition is available from various outlets, including from Hammy Hamilton himself. his web site (external link).

Timber: The Irish Flute Tutor Fintan Vallely (1986), Long Note Publications ISBN 095115690
The original Irish flute tutor. A personal approach with some good technical information and hints on different playing styles. An accompanying tape is available.

The Essential Guide to Irish Flute and Tin Whistle Grey Larson (2003), Mel Bay Publications, ISBN not available.
Grey Larson is a respected US-based flute player who records, teaches and lectures on Irish flute playing. Although I haven't personally seen this book, it comes recommended by none other than Matt Molloy. At 500 pages, plus an accompanying double CD, it features details on techniques and transciptions of reknowned players. His web site (external link) has further details, plus online purchasing facilities.

Fliúit June McCormack (2006), Published by June McCormack, ISBN 095534560X.
Fliúit 2 June McCormack (2009), Published by June McCormack, ISBN not available.
June pays with Draoicht and is sought after as a teacher as well as a musician. This comes with two CDs and is suitable for any advancing flute or tin whistle player and beginners alike. "This book explains and details various techniques used by flute players in traditional Irish music. It includes arrangements of 64 Irish tunes, as I play and teach them. I have chosen many of the tunes because I find them particularly suited to the flute. This book focuses on ornamentation and repertoire development." The follow-up volume Fliúit 2 aims to further develop repertoire, ornamentation and breathing and includes some tunes that require using Bb and F keys and will appeal to more advanced players. Her web site (external link) has further details, plus online purchasing facilities.

The Turoe Stone Vincent Broderick (unknown date), Waltons, Dublin, ISBN not available.
An excellent collection of tunes by the East Galway flute player. Many of these tunes are already session standards. Broderick writes tunes for their melody rather than for their technical interest, which in my view is a plus. I think a new edition may have another title, but is essentially the same book.

Trip to Sligo Bernard Flaherty (1990), Purcell Print, Boyle, ISBN 0 9516407 0 4
A labour of love by another flute player. Profiles of 20 local musicians, 9 of whom are flute players, featuring tune selections from their repertoires; many of the tunes are rarely in print. Also contains a useful introduction to the music and the Sligo style.

300 Tunes from Mike Rafferty Lesl Harker (2006), No ISBN
A Second Wind Lesl Harker (2009), No ISBN
Excellent award-winning meticulous transcriptions of the celebrated East Galway flute player Mike Rafferty by one of his students. Over 300 tunes in two volumes with comprehensive notes and index. See review and web site for further details.

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General flute books

A Dictionary for the Modern Flutist Susan Maclagan (2009), Scarecrow Press, Lanham, Maryland ISBN 0810867117
Susan Maclagan is a Canadian flute player, teacher and journalist. While written for the Boehm flute player, Susan regularly contributes to Woodenflute-L and is aware of the perspective of Irish flute players. Indeed, "Irish flute" is one of over 1500 entries that will appeal to anyone who wishes to add to their library of flute text books. For further information and links to reviews, the book has a Facebook Fan Page.

*The Flute Phillip Bates (details unavailable)
Considered by many to be the most important book on the history of the flute. A lucid, well-written account, with a useful section on flute makers and their reputations.

The Flute (Shire Album 252) Jeremy Montagu (1990), Shire Publications, Risborough, Buckinghamshire ISBN 0 7478 0085 5
A useful introduction to the history of the flute. A straightforward, handy little book with good illustrations.

*Treatise on the Flute Rockstro
An important 19th Century account of the flute and flute playing at a time when the Böhm system was gaining popularity. Extremely useful for his knowledge of contemporary makers, most of whom he knew personally. Highly opinionated. I understand this may be available through specialist dealers.

Principles of the Flute, Recorder and Oboe Jaques Hotteterre Le Romain, trans. by David Lasocki (1968), Barrie and Jenkins, London, ISBN 0 214 65942 9
The 1707 tutor by the influential French flute player and theorist. While primarily of most use to historical players, it also contains some points of relevence to traditional players, such as decorative techniques.

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General traditional music books

Folk Music and Dances of Ireland Breandán Breathnach (1971), The Mercier Press, Cork and Dublin, ISBN 0 85342 509 4
A sound introduction to the history and development of Irish traditional music and dance by the greatest archivist of recent times. All of Breathnach's works are invaluable.

Exploring Irish Music and Dance Dianna Boullier (1998), O'Brien Press, Dublin, ISBN 0 86278 558 8
An introductory book intended for children from this accomplished County Down fiddler. Well-written and illustrated with drawings, photographs and music.

Irish Traditional Music Ciaran Carson (1986), Appletree Press, Belfast, ISBN 0 86281 168 6
Another introductory book, but also good for insights into session etiquette and thoughts on recent developments. A very readable little gem by this Belfast poet and flute player.

Last Night's Fun Ciaran Carson (1997), Pimlico; ISBN: 0712662529 Not an academic book, but more a series of essays exploring and celebrating the experience of playing traditional music today. It includes a detailed description of Belfast flute maker Sam Murray's workshop.

The Living Note Christy McNamara and Peter Woods (1997), O'Brien Press, Dublin, ISBN 0-86278-550-2
Again not an academic book, but a fictionalised account of the passage of Irish traditional music through the 20th Century as seen through the eyes of three generations of musicians. Lovely photographic studies of Clare musicians.

The Blooming Meadows: The world of Irish traditional musicians Fintan Vallely and Charlie Piggott with photography by Nutan (1998), Town House and Country House, Dublin, ISBN 1-86059-067-5
Pen and photographic portraits of some prominant traditional musicians and singers, including whistler Mary Bergin and flute players Vincent Broderick, Gary Hastings, Peter Horan, Peadar O'Loughlin, Micho Russell and Roger Sherlock.

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Traditional tune books

O'Neill's Music of Ireland (1001 Gems)
Edited by Captain O'Neill, first published 1903.

Ceol Rince Na hEireann Vols. 1-5 Breandán Breathnach, An Gum, Dublin (Vol. 5 by Jackie Small)
Arguably second only to O'Neill's, this important and ongoing archive of traditional Irish music is both scholarly and accurate. Conducted on behalf of the Irish Government and started in the 1960s, it incorporates transcripts of field recordings, rare manuscripts and personal collections. Volumes 1 and 3 (the latter dedicated to commercial recordings up to the mid-70s) are generally held by musicians to be the most useful. Origins, histories, sources and alternative titles are meticulously noted in Irish. A complete translation by Paul de Grae for all volumes can be downloaded free from Nigel Gatherer's web site.

Music from Ireland Vols. 1-4 Bulmer and Sharpley, Celtic Music, Louth, Lincolnshire
I believe this series is now out of print. Collections of tunes from Irish musicians primarily from the strong Irish traditional musical scenes of Leeds and Manchester during the 70s, many of which do not appear anywhere else. A list of the contents and alternative titles can be found at Nigel Gatherer's web site.

The Mally Presents Series:
    100 Essential Irish Session Tunes ISBN 1 899512 18 7
    100 Enduring Irish Session Tunes ISBN 1 899512 19 5
    100 Evergreen Irish Session Tunes ISBN 1 899512 20 9
    100 Irish Polkas ISBN 1 899512 21 7
all edited by David Mallinson, David Mallinson Publications, Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire
To my mind these publications and others from this stable are the closest to the Bulmer and Sharpley books available today. For those building up a session repertoire, there are good, reliable versions of tunes here, clearly laid out and well presented. The author also wisely points out the folly of relying solely upon tune books for tune sources. A list of contents can be found at the Mally web site.

Gordon Tyrrall's Irish Choice Gordon Tyrrall (1996), David Mallinson Publications, Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire; ISBN: 1 899512 39 X
This book accompanies two CDs (see discography) and contains popular session tunes from the Leeds, Yorkshire area, long-known as a major centre of Irish traditional music. There are 101 tunes here, with illustrations, notes, discussions and discography.

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Anne Ward, Edinburgh
Anne Ward, Edinburgh.

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