Scottish Tunes for fiddle?

Scottish Tunes for fiddle?

I am having great fun learning Irish fiddle (relative beginner) and in the sessions that I go to we regularly play both Irish and Scottish tunes. I am working from recordings, books, DVD’s, sessions, workshops etc. I plan to visit Scotland later this year to hopefully listen, learn and play even more Scottish tunes. This got me thinking, what are the most popular Scottish tunes that people play in their sessions and what Scottish tunes should any aspiring fiddle player have in his/her repertoire?

Re: Scottish Tunes for fiddle?

Anything by James Scott Skinner…

The Book Ceol na Fidhle from Taigh ne Teud Publishers is also very good - it is actually a series of books. And they have CDs so you can make a start on getting the tunes into your ear. (Before the “Eeek sheet music!” brigade get onto me.)

But, I guess the simple answer to your quesion, is: whatever they play at your local sessions…

Re: Scottish Tunes for fiddle?

I forgot to mention, my two Scott Skinner favourites at the moment on flute are Duke of Fife’s welcome to Deeside and Tullochgorum with variations.

Re: Scottish Tunes for fiddle?

Ceol na Fidhle is a good recommendation, but you won’t hear many Scott Skinner tunes in a session, with the possible exception of “Miss Shepherd”.
Somebody recently came up with a list of 15 of the most common session tunes in Scotland, and they were listed in “The Living Tradition” magazine. I’ll hunt out that list for you. If you’re coming anywhere near Aberdeen, please feel free to get in touch.

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Re: Scottish Tunes for fiddle?

Many of the popular Scottish session tunes are already here on this site within the tune section.

Don’t tell anyone else here though, as they all think of it as ITM. 🙂

There are also a lot of good tunes to be found here

http://www.nigelgatherer.com/tunes/abc.html

and many in the Taigh Na Teud Books especially

http://www.scotlandsmusic.com/session.htm.

However, the chances are that those Scottish tunes you play already will feature in most Scottish sessions.

You’ll find that the repertoire will vary from place to place. In the cities, you’ll probably also get a lot more Irish and a mixture of newer and/or trendier tunes and so on whereas in rural areas the tunes might be more traditional..even staid sometimes. Also, there’s the various piping and fiddle traditions depending on the locality. Also, places like Angus are “rife” with piano accordions. 😉

However, I’m just generalising here. Come back to us nearer the time and I’m sure plenty of us here who can advise you more fully on specific sessions.

Re: Scottish Tunes for fiddle?

See, as I was typing my post…loads of people have already rushed to help you. 🙂

Re: Scottish Tunes for fiddle?

Try the High Reel, Jenny Nettles or the Flowers of Edinburgh - tunes which are also popular in Ireland. And leave the Scott Skinner tunes till later.

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Re: Scottish Tunes for fiddle?

Ok, leave the Scott Skinner tunes, but… I _still_ like them!

Re: Scottish Tunes for fiddle?

There are quite a few Scott Skinner tunes which will crop up in sessions but you can safely leave them out as they won’t be that regular.

The Laird of Drumblair is well known(The Bothy Band used to play it) but don’t try it out in Sandy Bells on a Tuesday night. 🙂

The “Spey in Spate” is a cracking S.S. tune but “Miss Shepherd” is a bit overplayed..all the young fiddlers seem to pick it for competitions too ;-(

Re: Scottish Tunes for fiddle?

Jack Campin has also compiled on his website

“A collection of 40 Scottish session tunes, intended as a resource for musicians visiting Scotland who already play an instrument but are new to Scottish music. Start any of these a in pub session and somebody will join in with you. “

http://www.purr.demon.co.uk/jack/Music/ScottishSessionTunes.abc

Who knows, you might meet Jack at a session near you! 🙂

Re: Scottish Tunes for fiddle?

Thanks guys for all your replies so far ( I am sure there will be additional replies later). Some of the suggested tunes I already know and other tune suggestions I will search out and look at. Thanks again.

Re: Scottish Tunes for fiddle?

Natalie MacMaster has some great tunes from the Scottish tradition via Cape Breton - just ordered two more of her cds as I’ve played the compilation cd to death. I’ve ben learning Spey in Spate which she does brilliantly. “Iron Man” is another great Scott Skinner tune. Also just been trying to get to grips with “the Cape Breton Fiddler’s welcome to Shetland” which is by Willie Hunter. A useful source of Scottish tunes is the Paul Cranford Cape Breton website http://www.cranfordpub.com/tunes/abcs/abc_tunes.htm

Re: Scottish Tunes for fiddle?

Jon, if you don’t mind a little personal indulgence, I’m going to point you in the direction of a couple of friends/acquaintances of mine who are doing some pretty exciting things with Scottish-style fiddle:

-Laura Risk [http://laurarisk.com]
-Hanneke Cassel [http://www.hannekecassel.com, http://www.myspace.com/hannekecassel]
-The McKassons [http://www.themckassons.com, http://www.myspace.com/themckassons]
-Laura Cortese [http://lauracortese.com, http://www.myspace.com/lauracortese]
-Mia and Ari Friedman [http://www.ladyandthepants.com]

Laura C. has actually branched out into her own song compositions, but her album “Hush” has a lot of Scots material, old and new.
Mia and Ari mix in a bit of Irish and even old-timey with their Scottish repertoire.

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Re: Scottish Tunes for fiddle?

“A Fiddler’s Book of Scottish Jigs From The 18th & 19th Century Printed Collections”, compiled by Charles Gore, and published in 1997 by The Hardie Press, 17 Harrison Gardens, Edinburgh EH11 1SE. ISBN 0 946868 212. I bought a copy recently from Hobgoblin. There are 68 tunes in the book and chord symbols have been added for the benefit of accompanists (including the cello) because all the original music had a bass part and was written on treble and bass clefs.

Another publication from The Hardie Press is “The Scottish Music Fiddle Index” (which I don’t have). According to the advertisement in the Scottish Jig Book above, its 500+ pages contain the first systematic list of traditional Scottish dance music and song-air titles ever published. It contains no music, but tells you where you can find an original copy of every tune listed, not just in bookshops today (about 3-4000 tunes), but all the music published in the 18th and 19th century - over 12000 pieces. Much of this music is of the highest quality and a lot of it has not been generally available for 150 years or more.

“The Scottish Music Fiddle Index” also includes, in addition to the A-Z listings of tune titles, a complete bibliography of the composers, publishers and collectors (with full library references), and a Theme Code Index, a system for locating music when the tune but not the title is known.

Re: Scottish Tunes for fiddle?

I have today submitted a Niel Gow fiddle tune “Wha can help it” (tune #6791) which I discovered as part of a collage on the back cover of “A Fiddler’s Book of Scottish Jigs” that I discussed here yesterday.