Beginning Irish Mandolin: The Silver Spear
by Michael B. Gregory
As promised, here’s another great reel you can play after (or before) George White’s from our last issue:
This one is another very common session tune called The Silver Spear. Alan Ng’s wonderful database of Traditional Irish Music lists more than 20 recordings of it as well as a dozen or more books that contain printed music for the tune. The dates of these recordings span a period of more than 50 years.
It also happens that The Silver Spear appears in a very recent (February 2009) Mel Bay publication, authored by Joe Carr and myself.
The book is filled with more than two dozen common Irish session tunes, a few in both basic as well as ornamented versions. The Silver Spear is one those that appears in this dual format and the music/tab provided is exactly as it appears in the book. An audio cd accompanies the book, and on it you can hear every printed note from the book played at a reasonably slow pace. Two of the attached mp3’s come directly from that cd.
If you have been following these articles in the webzine for a while and you believe they have improved your playing, then I strongly recommend the book to you. We believe the price is completely reasonable.
Have fun with The Silver Spear. After you feel comfortable with it and George White’s reel, you might try playing one after the other, as might be done in an Irish music session.
Next month, I have a big surprise for you. In the meantime, it’s encouraging to hear from readers who have suggestions, requests, criticisms or simply words of thanks. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org