I've always moved freely between the worlds of classical violin and folk fiddling throughout my entire career as a performer and as a teacher—playing with the symphony one night, playing jigs and reels at the local Irish pub session the next. As I became obsessed with Irish fiddling, my students wanted to learn more about it too, so over the past decade of teaching private lessons and group workshops, I developed my “hybrid” approach to Irish fiddling. The techniques, concepts, and lessons I put together in Learn to Play Irish Trad Fiddle can be a fun way for any player to improve his or her violin or fiddling skills.
Any player of any age, learning any style of music, will benefit from this book. For classical players, it's a fun supplement to introduce new melodies that just happen to have Irish origins. Techniques, fingerings, and bowings will complement those learned in classical study. For any "budding fiddler" who is just discovering or already playing some Irish Traditional music, it introduces new tunes and techniques, which can be learned from the printed music or by ear using the accompanying CD (or a combination of both). And fiddle players who are already playing Bluegrass or old-time music will gain a new genre and repertoire from Irish Traditional music.
A Different Approach From Some Other Irish Fiddle Method Books
There are a number of books available on Irish Traditional fiddling. Some assume that you know nothing about the violin and start from the very beginning. Others are full of Irish Traditional jigs, reels, and hornpipes, but written in very basic, standard notation for any instrument—they have none of the slurs and bowings that help to make Irish Traditional fiddle music sound authentic.
Other books written for fiddle have tunes that immediately include a variety of ornaments, making the tunes too difficult for intermediate players to learn and play with confidence. Additionally, these ornaments can obscure the melody and can make one think that the tune does not exist without all the fancy “extras.”
This book focuses on the "beauty of the basic tunes." It is geared toward intermediate level players of any age who know the basics of reading music and counting. This book is a suitable supplement for any player who has finished the first book in any string method (such as All For Strings, Essential Elements for Strings, String Basics, or the O'Connor String Method).
• 50 classic tunes from the Irish Traditional repertoire (jigs, reels, polkas, waltzes, hornpipes and more), printed in a large, easy-to-read format, introduced in sequential order of difficulty.
• Spiral-bound book stays open on a music stand (or anywhere else).
• The introduction lists many of the concepts a player will be introduced to while playing the tunes in the book.
• A review section includes a fingerboard chart, relevant scales in first position, and a 4-page explanation (with examples) on counting rhythms.
• Most tunes include a Helpful Hints section that introduces or reviews (with examples) the key or mode of the tune, finger placement on each string, tricky counting, accidentals, slurs, and more.
• Many tunes include a Learn More About sidebar, with fascinating historical facts and background info, illustrations, and photographs. Players will develop a greater appreciation for Irish traditional music as they learn how they share the tunes with Civil War soldiers, famous U.S. presidents, and Irish fiddle masters past and present.
• Authentic slurring patterns, rhythms, and simpler ornaments are introduced that allow players to give the tunes a traditional Irish sound and feel.
• The accompanying CD includes every tune in the book, played on solo violin at the exact tempo as indicated in the printed music. As a bonus, several tunes are played through twice, with other instruments including guitar, Celtic harp, and bodhrán as a “backup band” the second time.
• Full-page samples (PDF files):
Page 10 | Page 21 | Page 35