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VICKI SWAN & JONNY DYER - Easy Folk: Fiddle, Flute, Guitar, Recorder, Ukulele

VICKI SWAN & JONNY DYER - Easy Folk: Fiddle, Flute, Guitar, Recorder, Ukulele
Schott Music Ltd ISBN: 978184761 3929/3936/3950/4025/3957

This is a set of six books priced at £12.99 each, five of which are reviewed here (accordion is the sixth). Each contains the same 29 pieces which are described as being suitable for players at grades 1-3. The tunes have been arranged specifically for each instrument and this means that the keys vary between books. There is good variety in the tunes: they have been selected from 16 countries and the Sephardic and Klezmer traditions. Each book contains a CD on which the tunes are played beautifully and, with the exception of ukulele, unaccompanied in a manner appropriate for practice. The introductory text invites players to make the tunes their own as they get to know them. Chords are given so the tunes could be played with a suitable accompanying instrument.

The simple arrangements, without ornamentation, are suitable for players starting to explore traditional music but it was felt that the books were a little above Grade 1 standard and the description ‘easy’ might be misleading for beginners. The inclusion of a number of tunes in compound time, in particular one in 9/8, may be a step too far for ‘easy’ even at Grade 3. Overall they would prove useful to players with some experience seeking to try some folk tunes or for teachers wishing to expand the horizons of their pupils.

Perhaps there is a need for a suite of easy folk tune books, all in the same key, that could be a resource for beginners wanting to play with each other and in their local sessions.

Heulwen Thomas, Iain Campbell, Lucy Whitfield

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This album was reviewed in Issue 119 of The Living Tradition magazine.