"Easy" fiddle tunes??

"Easy" fiddle tunes??

Hi there,

I’ve picked up the fiddle recently, and I wondered what tunes you’d recommend… sort of easy ones that won’t lead to broken fingers. I’ve started playing "Breetches (Britches) full of stitches" and "Maggie in the woods", but I need a bit of variation in my practice schedule 😉 (Btw, don’t pay too much attention to my tunebook… it’s bursting at the seams because of my I-want-it-all attitude)

Ideas, anyone? I’d really appreciate!

Re: "Easy" fiddle tunes??

Try these, Jim Ward’s, Rambling Pitchfork, Kerfuntan, Tone Rose’s.

Some jigs to start off with.

Re: "Easy" fiddle tunes??

Billy’s Jig
The Rose in the Heather
Out in the Ocean
The Kilfenora aka The Old Favourite aka The West Clare
The Old Man
The Kerfunten

All reall lovely jigs, and all very straight forward with plenty of room to practice ornamentation. These were some of the first tunes I learned on the fiddle and I still love playing all of them.

Re: "Easy" fiddle tunes??

Try the "Kilfenora set" of jigs as regularly played by this great North Clare céilí band (they’re also on Garry Shannon’s latest CD - Punctured). The set is:-
Kilfenora (https://thesession.org/tunes/2292), Club Céilí (also known as Old Favourite) and jim Wards.

Re: "Easy" fiddle tunes??

jigs: connaughtman rambles, saddle the pony, the old favourite
hornpipes: harvest home, boys of bluehill
slide: danny ab’s slide (kerry slide nr.2)
reel: anything for john joe, moutain road
and many polkas are nice to start out with.
good luck

Re: "Easy" fiddle tunes??

pipe on the hob - my favourite

Re: "Easy" fiddle tunes??

In addition to the stuff already posted, a lot of polkas are easy to learn and play, but cab be a lot of fun to play:

Dennis Murphy’s
Maggie in the Woods
John Ryan’s
The Britches Full of Stitches (really easy!)
Bill Sullivan’s
Ger the Rigger
The Ballydesmond (I think there’s 3 different ones, all good)

Hornpipes are generally easier to play, too … especially as they still sound nice if you play them fairly slowly with a lot of "swing":

Harvest Home
The Galway
Off to California
Boys of Blue Hill
Staten Island

Re: "Easy" fiddle tunes??

Thanks guys, I’ll have a look at all of these 🙂

rzaikoski: The Galway?!? That’s not quite… um… easy to play as a beginer, is it? *fingers going berzerk*

Maggie in the woods and the Britches full of stitches, yes, I’m doing those two, and enjoying them. The fingering is manageable, even in higher speed.

Re: "Easy" fiddle tunes??

add an n there… suppposed to be "beginner". Dratted keyboard.

Re: "Easy" fiddle tunes??

phew… just took me ages to search for and save all these to my computer (w/ slowest connection on earth).
I guess those’ll keep me busy for a while, but I’ll go check on my thread again later, just in case anyone has some more to offer 🙂

Thanks a million everyone!!!
I’ll go practise now… 😉

Re: "Easy" fiddle tunes??

Lilting Banshee is a great jig for newcomers to fiddle.

Posted .

Re: "Easy" fiddle tunes??

O’Keefe’s Slide. Played slowly, it has a nice, haunting sort of feel to it.

Re: "Easy" fiddle tunes??

redhead: The Galway?!? That’s not quite… um… easy to play as a beginer, is it? *fingers going berzerk*

Hmmm, it’s one of the first one’s in Pete Cooper’s "Complete Irish Fiddle Player" … I don’t think it’s too hard. It’s one of the first ones I ever learned how to play, right after Off to California….

I do mean the Galway Hornpipe, not the Galway Reel (which I don’t know)….

Re: "Easy" fiddle tunes??

Galway Hornpipe… see, I thought you meant the one a.k.a. "Tam Lin", and as far as I can tell, that is a hard one indeed. But the Hornpipe I don’t know yet. I’ll get the gifs for the rest of them tomorrow, and then I’ll give it a go.
Thanks to you all, and I think no more need to be added for my sake… I’ll be busy with these for a while 😉

Ta-ta!

Re: "Easy" fiddle tunes??

I just listened to the midis and some of them strike me as very good to start with - e.g. Dennis Murphy’s, Anything for John Joe and some more. Others are, I guess, too difficult yet (I’ve been only playing for like 5 or 6 weeks), but I’ll definitely save those for later.

As for Bill Sullivan’s, at the session we always play it in a set, after Maggie in the woods, so I’ll have to learn it anyway 😉

Btw, thanks to you I finally found out that the thing I’m constantly noodling at home is called "Ger the Rigger"! Nobody I asked knew the title, so wohoo!!!

Re: "Easy" fiddle tunes??

Hi Everyone,
RH, it seems to me like you are doing very well. Five or six weeks and you can play tunes. I’ve been trying for quite a bit longer and I’m still very poor, but getting better (some days). I cannot play anything at speed, a few things at maybe half-speed.
Anyhow, to some extent, we are in the same boat, and this is what I would consider easy: a tune that can be played on only the D and A strings. The G string is harder for me, although I find the middle finger, B, not bad. The E string can sound less than rewarding, getting progressively worse the higher I go. My little finger says to me, "I’m 65 now, you’ve never asked me to do this before, and you expect me to do it now?" So, e, f,g, a only please. Something else I find hard is holding down 2 strings with one finger; I can manage this with the first finger, say EB, but cannot with the second or third fingers. So, when I’m looking for tunes, I eliminate those that have the features described. Another thing I try is to transpose to a lower key (this eliminates the high notes on the E-string that I cannot reach). Having said all that, I think there is a lot to be said for learning a really good tune or one you really like, as your motivation is much higher (even if it is a bit harder). A tune I like that hasn’t been mentioned is George White’s Favourite. I heard my father play that many times, so it’s in my head, which is a start.

The reason I started playing the fiddle is that my father left it to me. He was as gifted a player as myself and the other 8 in his family were ungifted or lacking musical talent. He composed reels also, so my goal is one day to be able to play his reels. I have two of them posted here and they are not too hard. Mixed Blooms is the easier of the two I would say, and the other one is The Cottage on the Hill. MB as he wrote it is fairly simple, so if you look at the sheetmusic, don’t be put off by the length. Most of that is a transcription by Will Harmon from a recording of my Dad’s playing. There is a link too to my Dad’s playing of that tune.

Anyway, good luck with your playing.
Mairtin