This tune is a lovely “G” reel and like a good red wine it goes well with almost anything.
Tony learned this tune from the playing of John G. Walsh from near the town of Clifden, in the west of Connemara.
You'll gather from the notes in the accompanying booklet that Tony is a huge fan of John G's music, and of the town of Clifden.
The Baltimore in this tune probably refers to the town on the southern coast of Ireland, south west of Skibereen, Co. Cork. In Irish it is called Dún na Séad (Fort of Jewels).
The first part of the tune can be played entirely in open position.
For the first five bars in the second part of the tune Tony plays notes on the third fret with his first finger, notes on the fourth fret with his second finger, notes on the fifth fret with his third finger , and the high B on the seventh fret with his fourth finger.
There are four A notes on the second fret of the third string in these first five bars of Part B, and these can be fingered with the first finger as they are preceded and followed by notes occurring on open strings. These open string notes will give you enough time to move your fingers to the next sequence of notes. The last three bars of the tune can be played in open position.
Knowing your fretting before you being to play will improve your fluidity.
Tony reminds us in this lesson that accuracy is more important than speed. Be accurate; speed can come later.
The chord progression is identical in both the first and second parts. In the booklet we’ve included a separate accompaniment chart.
Accompaniment for tunes needs to be studied in the same way that the melody is, even though backing up a tune is less complicated.
The accompaniment is fairly standard. Note that in the 4th and 12th bars a D chord occurs with an F# as a bass note – that is, the second fret of the sixth string.
As a music teacher of some credibility, it would be grossly improper for Tony to tell you to use your thumb to fret this note, as he does. So use your discretion.
The F# in a D Major chord as a bass note can be quite effective. Piano players do it all the time. Note the E minor chord in bars 6 and 14, added in just for a bit of melancholic flavour. Also at the very end of each section there’s a crotchet chord followed by a crotchet rest, just to break the rhythm a touch.
The chords in this tune are G, C, Am, D, and Em.
Many thanks to John G Walsh for permission to use his recording of this tune from his CD “Magpie's Nest”.