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Compiled & arranged by Alan Craig

Review by Don Nichols


This consists of four handy-sized books of tunes commonly (for the most part) played at Celtic music sessions around Australia and elsewhere.
These consist of:

Book 1: Essential Jigs

Book 2: Essential Reels

Book 3: Essential Polkas & Ceilidh Tunes

Book 4: Essential Hornpipes, Marches, Strathspeys & Airs

The books are A5 size, which can easily fit into a fiddle case, and are well laid-out and produced. When purchased as a packaged set, a companion data CD is supplied which includes advanced MP3 and MIDI arrangements for every tune. This CD also includes some playable sets of tunes with printable PDFs.

I was surprised when asked to write a review of this set, as I am not a very capable melody player, and a pretty average accompanist, I would suggest! However from the viewpoint of players such as myself, I feel these booklets serve a laudable purpose.

I have played along to all the tunes I know, and numerous ones I don’t, and find the chording to be generally both accurate and agreeable. Sometimes, perhaps the approach of less is more could be employed, but as noted in the booklets, most tunes can be chorded in several different ways, and the accompanist will follow their own feelings in this regard.

The notes on the music in the back of each booklet are informative and helpful, as evidence of Alan Craig’s many years of experience in this and other styles of music.

There are plenty of old favourites, and also some lovely newish tunes - ample opportunity to dip into a variety of material, learn by the dots if you will, or from the CD tracks which are paced at an easy, amenable speed.

All in all, I recommend this set to anyone, ear players or otherwise, as it’s always handy to see the dots, and the suggested accompaniment.

Obtainable from www.rantan.com.au/sessiontunebook.html or Alan Craig, 11 Margary St., Mt Gravatt Q 4122.
Phones: (07) 3343 2423, mobile: 61419 550 550 or