Artist: Sarah McUmber-House
Book: Nemofotmad Chord Book, Vol. 1: Chords for More than 200 Tunes in the Celtic & Old-Time Traditions
Year produced: 2008
A couple months ago, I received an email from Sarah McUmber-House asking if I would like to review her new book “Nemofotmad Chord Book, Vol. 1: Chords for More than 200 Tunes in the Celtic & Old-Time Traditions”. Seeing as how I play the autoharp, a primarily chordal instrument, I was mesmerized by concept and highly skeptical, but my fascination was such that I had to see it.
Let’s jump right to it. The book is exactly as it is says. It is a chord book. There are no dots on lines like in sheet music. Instead, you have square blocks with a letter, representing the chord, in it. It looks kinda weird. It looks exceedingly simple. Almost boringly simple. At the top is the tune names in alphabetical order and a chord and the style of tune: Reel, Jig, Rag, Polka, Set Dance, Hornpipe, etc..
After receiving it, I lost interest and looked for someone else to review the book. Then the day of reckoning came. I had a show and brought in a fiddler to play with. We needed a tune at the end of a song. He picked “Soldier’s Joy”. On a whim, I thought, “I wonder if it’s in the book.” I opened it up. There was the song. There were the chords. I had no trouble playing along to the tune. It was exactly as the the title named it, and it turns out it was PERFECT for what I needed, a quick easy reference for playing chords to Irish tunes.
Included in the book is an easy Key/Chord Transposition Chart for those instrumentalists who want to play in different keys, a nice description of the different types of tunes and how to recognize them, and some blank pages at the end to annotate your own tunes.
All in all, if you are a chord player and need a quick and easy guide, this is the book for you. I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to play Irish tunes, and I can’t wait Volume 2 to appear. What a great idea! Thanks Sarah!
by Marc Gunn Marc Gunn is an acoustic Celtic folk musician, called “The Godfather of Celtic music online” for his steadfast support of indie Celtic music, free Celtic music downloads, and his award-winning Celtic Podcasts. He has helped 1000s of Celts around the world connect with their culture through the Irish Celtic Music Podcast, one of the most-popular music podcasts online. Download free Celtic MP3s at www.marcgunn.com! Embrace independent Celtic music!