Tunes a new fiddler should know

Tunes a new fiddler should know

Hi all!
As a fairly new fiddler it’s quite humbling to imagine playing in front of others, let alone with musicians who know what the heck they’re doing! Are there any basic tunes that pretty much every fiddler should know? I LOVE playing with others but usually just sit there ‘cause I don’t know the songs and don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb.
: ) Beck

Re: Tunes a new fiddler should know

Hi Beck and welcome to the board!

I feel your pain, but learning to play fiddle is a long process of sticking out like a sore thumb all the time. After a while, you get used to the ugly faces and comments people make, and then you quit noticing them altogether. That’s when you know you’ve mastered the instrument. :o)

(Pssst…just between you and me, we play mostly *tunes.* "Songs" are those endless, arrhythmical tunes that someone moans words to.)

Zina (Queen of the archives) can point you to past threads that listed common session tunes. Or do a search yourself for "sommon session tunes," or "popular tunes."

Brusies be damned - Go for it!

Posted .

Re: Tunes a new fiddler should know

On a related note…I noticed that the reels "Sally Gardens", "St. Ann’s", "Silver Spear" are often considered beginners tunes. The reason for this is perhaps the simpler phrasing. Is there a sequence of tunes that seems to be standard when learning. I’ve often heard that Jenny’s Chickens can be quite difficult and not one that a beginner would want to take on. What also brings this issue to mind is that a banjo playing friend of mine often listens in on another beginning banjo player before lessons and has noted that this other player gets stuck on difficult tunes for weeks with little or no progression.

Thanks for the info.

Posted by .

Re: Tunes a new fiddler should know

I’m inclined to think that "Sally Gardens" and "Saint Anne’s" are not really tunes for a beginner, certainly for sesion playing. They both need a level of technical control which is not likely to be in the beginner’s grasp for a while - and when that happens the beginner is no longer a beginner :)
Trevor

Re: Tunes a new fiddler should know

Both are actually good beginner Irish flute tunes. They flow smoothly on the flute. Both Sally Gardens and St Anne’s were the first two reels I ever learned. A very nice flute player taught them at a learning session.Unfortunately, they still sound like my first reels….anyone else waiting patiently for the 5:00 work bell?…*sigh*…….

Posted by .

Re: Tunes a new fiddler should know

Keep in mind that the "Old Time setting" of St. Anne’s is considerably simpler (thus easier) than the "Irish setting" of St. Anne’s, at least as I’ve sort of tended to delineate the two ways of playing them…

Will, pretty good considering that was YOUR list of tunes. *grin*

Re: Tunes a new fiddler should know

Hello, Beck. Here’s my two bits on how to choose from among the thousands and thousands of tunes you might hear at a session: Find your local beginner’s session and go. It doesn’t matter if you already know the tunes or not. You can just sit there all night with your fiddle on your lap and listen. Talk to some people - if you hear a tune you like ask the name of it and look it up here, or record the session and learn a few tunes every week in the privacy of your living room. This way you will build up a repertoire that you can be certain your fellow session players know, as well as a friendly relationship with the people you are going to be playing with when you feel more confident.

Re: Tunes a new fiddler should know

Hey guys! Thanks for the feedback!
The only exposure I get to other musicians is my community orchestra and my church bluegrass group so I’ve really come to love this site and all the advice flying about!

Fiddler on Vermouth - Thanks for the link, it’ll give me something to chew on for a while!

Ever grateful!
: ) Beck

Re: Tunes a new fiddler should know

I like Kerri’s (fiddler on vermouth) advice—learn the tunes they play locally. If you have to, start up your own beginner’s session—people will gravitate toward easier tunes when they’re starting out, so you can suggest tunes to each other.

Some "easy" but interesting tunes on fiddle that I often start people out with are (all of these are in the tune data base here):

Lilting Banshee (jig)
My Darling Asleep (jig)
Inisheer (air)
Burning of the Piper’s Hut (air or march, in Em)
Wind that Shakes the Barley (reel)
Chief O’Neill’s Favorite (hornpipe)
Whinny Hills of Leitrim (slip jig)

Posted .

Re: Tunes a new fiddler should know

Those tunes that Will suggested are great tunes also try Harvest Home (hornpipe) it is a really good tune that I loooove to play.

Re: Tunes a new fiddler should know

Beck, I snuck a peek at your profile - at three years you are probably suffering from what we (must have been Will) once referred to as a "drab plateau". At that stage I felt like I could manage to struggle through a tune in public if necessary, but I also knew enough to realize how enormous the gap was between my abilities and those of the more experienced players I saw all around me. It was a little embarassing playing in front of these people at first, but I found they were very tolerant of my crapulent and terrified performances and also extremely helpful when approached for pointers (or spied upon during sessions to analyze what it was they were doing that I was not). Constantly embarassing myself in front of more experienced players has become second nature to me now and has become my main source of tunes, training, and motivation to improve my abilities. You may never get over the butterflies, but the rewards of humiliating yourself in front of virtuosos are well worth the pain.

Re: Tunes a new fiddler should know

Hmmm. I thought that was *you*, Kerri — you wrote the slip jig, didn’t you?

Re: Tunes a new fiddler should know

I thought I was reacting to a clever turn of phrase on Will’s part… such a long time ago… So foggy, so distant…

Re: Tunes a new fiddler should know

No doubt Zina’s now off hunting the threads for the coiner of drab plateau. I think it was Glauber? You might recall that myself’s been stuck on the Dreary Plains of Toil for oh so long.

Posted .

Re: Tunes a new fiddler should know

It was you Kerri: http://www.thesession.org/discussions/112/comments#comment1491

That’s a great thread. Brendan brought up the "plateau blues" and then we all commiserated. Probably some good advice in there for Beck and the rest of us stuck on our plateaus, plains, mesas, and buttes….

Posted .

Re: Tunes a new fiddler should know

"Crapulent" I LOVE it!! That is exactly how I feel alot of the time. I want to sound like the fiddle on my CD and no matter how long or hard I try I can still manage to make my hound dog howl along with me now and then! Also, as an adult student seeing all these little twerps completely blow me away is disheartening.

The crazy thing is, every time I hit a "dreary plain of toil" I get a little excited because I KNOW that in a few days or weeks or (God forbid) months it’s gonna crack all of a sudden and some really cool things suddenly make sense! I don’t know if that happens to others, it’s a frustrating/hopeful thing.

Gosh, I’m rambling. Sorry, long day.
Thanks for all your help!
: ) Beck

Re: Tunes a new fiddler should know

god, it’s funny reading those old, classic threads from "back in the day." I said what? I’m feeling a bit of nostolgia coming on. I remember this site before it’s current incarnation, when Jeremy was posting the tunes himself (this was when the web site was designed with a "lucky charms" green motif and shamrocks floated around. Jeremy’ll deny it, but it is the truth!) ah, how things have changed…and stayed the same…

Kerri, i don’t know when you returned, but i am glad to see you’re around again. I know you were going thru some rough times way back when, all of which i hope are behind you. (Or have you been here all along and i’m just two euros short of the clue phone…)

I’ve arrived at a plateau of sorts lately. but not my playing. i’m am quite delighted with where my playing is at. diddling away in my apt never strikes me as "practice" but just good ole recreation, although i have lost all interest in going to sessions. it’s my bloody life that’s hit the drab plateau. But perhaps i should take my own advice and get going on a another trip to ireland already…

Re: Tunes a new fiddler should know

It’s amazing how social this site is now, in the best sense of the word. I remember tuning in to the "green site" to see what tune of the week Jeremy had posted. Now I check in daily just to keep in touch with so many people all around the world…_and_ see five or six new tunes a day! Remarkable.

Posted .

Re: Tunes a new fiddler should know

"how things have changed…and stayed the same…"
Yes, Will is still an old grouch (see common session tunes thread)
I’m wondering if he has mastered the other 40% of those tunes yet. He’s had 3 years so I reckon he must have…

Re: Tunes a new fiddler should know

See? I knew it was Kerri! *smirk* You know, I really don’t post links THAT often…really, I don’t…you all just think I do…

Re: Tunes a new fiddler should know

The beginner might like to look at mazurkas. There’s not many of them around, but they’re technically not too difficult, and not as quick as polkas. They’re lovely tunes with plenty of scope for rhythm and lilt.

Brian Prior lists two sets in Foinn Seisi

Brendan

Brendan said: "I’ve arrived at a plateau of sorts lately. but not my playing. i’m am quite delighted with where my playing is at. diddling away in my apt never strikes me as "practice" but just good ole recreation, although i have lost all interest in going to sessions. it’s my bloody life that’s hit the drab plateau. But perhaps i should take my own advice and get going on a another trip to ireland already…"

Hello, Brendan, same here, of sorts, except for not having achieved your level of playing yet. Maybe sharing with the newbies in a "slow session" would get the sessioning juices started again? Check my add in Chaffing NIpples
http://chiffboard.mati.ca/viewtopic.php?t=19060
(which Jeremy won’t let me put here!) :-)
I should do this like a Monty Pithon (Life of Brian) thing: "Come to the slow session that was banned in thesession.org!"

I think drab plateau was Will’s invention.

Kerri, the ghosts of thesession past salute you!

g

Re: Tunes a new fiddler should know

This site’s "MOST POPULAR TUNES" section shows the following on the first page. From my short (less than a year) experience these seem as good as any to start:

Drowsy Maggie
The Kesh
The Butterfly
Banish Misfortune
Cooley’s
Morrison’s
The Banshee
The Silver Spear
The Glasgow
The Maid Behind The Bar
The Connaughtman’s Rambles
The Mason’s Apron
The Rights Of Man
The Gravel Walks
The Musical Priest
The Bucks Of Oranmore
The Kid On The Mountain
The Harvest Home
The Blarney Pilgrim
Ashokan Farewell

except "Mason’s Apron" and "Bucks of Oranmore" which are rather advanced.

Posted by .

Re: Tunes a new fiddler should know

I think Angelina Baker is one a beginer should know. Most people know it and it’s very simple.

Re: Tunes a new fiddler should know

Kesh
Soldiers Joy
Jimmy Allen

(Tee Hee)