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I usually go search for MIDI files. Rather than let them play directly, I take them into a simple MIDI editor program (I have several - Anvil Studio is freeware) and mute the lead instrument - and snap you got yourself a backing track to improv to - and of course you can change the tempo if you want - and the backing instruments. OK - the general MIDI wavetable synthesizer and teensy weensy laptop speakers may not give the most realistic sound - but - it's something to play along /improv to, and you do end up with a tune unrelated to the original other than the rhythm! For instance - lots of good Irish stuff here -
Some MIDI files are pretty basic, but you can find the occasional ones that are quite superb....
Just an idea....
I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh -
Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)
I'd tend to agree with Barry, that if you just view them as backing that is typical of the genre for a given key and timing, they don't have to be thought of as specific songs.
Oldtimejam is better done than a lot of what you find out on the net.
The "Oldtime" genre isn't specifically Irish or some universal sort of folk, but many of the songs have a strong Celtic influence, since the more than a few of the folks who wrote them came from Ireland or Scotland or descended from those who did. The roots/bones are definitely there.
@BillyG: Well, y'know.. External speakers you can plug into your laptop aren't hard to find these days. I think the little "bookshelf stereos" that were popular some years back actually sound better, though. Doesn't need a lot of muscle, even a few watts is plenty for just practice. Those are cheap at yard sales or thrift shops, or may already be lurking in your closet or a buddy's or relative's closet.
"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman
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