Category Archives: Musical Instruments

The Clareman’s Trumpet

In March 2014, Martin Doyle was visited at his home in the County Clare by Robert Harris and Finola Finlay, who is a childhood friend of Martin’s. Robert had just taken part in a concertina school with the renowned Clare musician Noel Hill in Ballyvaughan, and subsequently wrote an article about the concertina (an instrument that is colloquially known as ‘the Clareman’s Trumpet’), and the musicians and instrument makers that are sprinkled liberally throughout Clare. Robert’s article can be viewed here: The Clare Trumpet »

Martin Doyle and Finola Finlay

Martin Doyle with his childhood friend Finola Finlay at his workshop in the County Clare

Here is a video clip of Noel Hill playing two reels on the concertina (starts at about 0.55).

Eimear McGeown Comments On MDF Headjoint

Martin Doyle is always grateful to receive feedback on his work as a flute maker and he was thrilled to read a post on the Facebook page of Irish flautist Eimear McGeown recently with regards to a wooden headjoint that he made for Eimear’s concert flute. It runs thus:

“Really enjoying my new Martin Doyle Flutes wooden headjoint for my classical flute!!! Have lots of really exciting new music to learn on it for the Budapest recital [Eimear is offering a recital and masterclass at the Budapest Flute Academy in Hungary, March 10—13, 2016], including two new pieces written for me by Alicia Hart and Philip Hammond!”

Eimear McGeown's Headjoint

Eimear McGeown’s Martin Doyle Flutes Wooden Headjoint (photo credit: Eirmear McGeown’s Facebook page)

We look forward to hearing more from Eimear in the near futue and wish her well in Budapest.

For more information, kindly visit: Wooden Headjoints for Concert Flutes »

The Pipes, The Pipes Are Calling

Here’s a couple of lovely video clips featuring two renowned Irish musicians playing the Uillean pipes. The first is a duet featuring our good friend Ronan Browne performing with Jimmy O’Brien Moran at the Morpeth Chantery Bagpipe Museum in Northumberland, England.
The second features Ronan Browne performing solo on his James Kenna pipes that date back to the 1780s. This clip was recorded in the Chapter House of St Mary’s Cathedral in Kilkenny, Ireland, and includes some explanation about the Kenna set in the context of the evolution of Uillean pipes. Hope you enjoy these wee treats …

Finding Your Instrument

We recently received a message from our Kiwi friend Shardul that ran thus:

“Hi Martin,
The attached article was posted on a blog that has now gone the way of the dinosaurs, struck by the asteroid of disinterest. It is about my own experience and views on music, the importance of finding an instrument that suits ones nature, needs and abilities, and how I got started playing the flute – which is where you come in to the picture. Anyway, if you feel that it is a story worth telling, perhaps your blog would be a good home for my humble scribblings. I shall leave it in your hands to do with as you wish.
Kind regards,
Shardul.”

And so, we present…

Finding Your Instrument

Instrument bazaar in Morocco

Instrument bazaar in Morocco. Photo: Fez – themazzons

Have you ever noticed that some people seem to be blessed with the wonderful ability to get music out of just about any musical instrument they lay their hands on? (I have a friend who I swear could wring a tune from a damp sponge if he wanted to!) Then there are those of us who, though devoted music lovers, struggle to express ourselves even on one instrument. The later is my category – or so I thought.

“Music; the greatest good that mortals know, and all of heaven we have below.”
    – Joseph Addison.

For those who are left in awe of the musically gifted creed, we may be doing them and ourselves something of a disservice. First of all, we have not witnessed the many hours of practice that these ‘fortunate maestros’ have put into their music training. Some survive on raw talent but most have to work hard at it. Secondly it is a fatal mistake to compare oneself to others – probably the numero uno inspiration killer – because we develop the ‘Oh, I could never ever be like that’ syndrome! We are all unique and carry within us the quintessential seeds of creativity. Thirdly, for those of us whose creativity-seeds are still in the early stages of germination, there is the thought that we may not yet have found our instrument – that divine implement that was made ‘just for me’, perfectly suits our personality and allows the creative outlet that we have always yearned for. There is truth in this – I know it for a fact because it took me some four and a half decades to find the instrument that I did not even know I was looking for!

So I write with the intension of encouraging kindred-souls who are still holding to the hope that they may yet get a chance to play the music that they hear and feel inside their hearts and minds. Here is my story …

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Martin Doyle’s Role In Becoming Jane

If you read the previous post, you will be aware that Martin Doyle spent a couple of weeks visiting friends (and making more) in Christchurch, New Zealand, over the 2014 Christmas period. On arrival Martin was quite ill with a heavy cold that he had caught in Clare the day before he left, which incubated very nicely during the 36 hours of air travel he had to endure to reach the far side of the world.

It is a matter of fact that bugs also like to travel and so it came to pass that Martin’s Kiwi friend and host Shardul caught a downgraded, second-hand, left-over version of the vicious and virulent virus. Life went on like this for a few short (and sometimes long) days and while the two were in convalescence mode one night, it was decided that a good movie would help clear the head-fog. The conversation revolving around which movie to watch went something like this…

Shardul: “Hey Martin, can you recommend a movie? I think we need to zone out for an hour or two.”

Martin: “Have a look at Becoming Jane.”

S: “Never heard of it. Is it any good?”

M: “Of course it’s good – I’m in it!

S: “You’re in a movie?!?

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In Praise of Wooden Flutes – by Biddy Jenkinson

Irish poet, Biddy Jenkinson

Irish poet, Biddy Jenkinson

A rare, witty, revealing and instructive poem by the Irish poet and writer Biddy Jenkinson (pictured right) has just been added to Martin Doyle’s website.

We boast ‘rare’ because this poem is penned in English and Biddy does most of her writing in the Irish language.

Biddy’s ode to the humble wooden flute can be viewed here: In Praise of Wooden Flutes »

Irish Music On A Summers Day In Japan

This sweet reel, The Two William Davises, is being performed by a group of friends on a fine summers day in Japan. The flute player is Yumi Takahashi who, when the video clip was recorded, had been playing her new Martin Doyle flute for just over two weeks. Yumi also plays tin whistle. Enjoy the music…