Does anybody know if there is a book for fiddlers that has irish tunes and a "play along "cd for practice?

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I’m not sure if this is a wind up or not….

No reason why it should be except that some members don’t agree with sheet music etc or the "play along" method and believe you should always learn tunes in the cut and thrust of an actual session….at speed. :-)

However, I don’t necessarily subscribe to that view and one of the better books is by Matt Cranitch

You should be ableto get it from various sources.

Fiddle fodder ~

The Cranitch book is a decent recommendation, a good ‘introduction’. For further support there’s ~
"Seamus Creagh: Tunes For Practice"
But if you are at all serious ~ chase up some face-to-face. Support the act of ‘tradition’ by learning from others directly, classes or workshops and guidance from local musicians, such as those that attend sessions in your area or play for dance. If you’re lucky enough to have such resources on hand you’d be foolish not to take advantage of that…

It seems we were of similar mind Joe… ;-)

Fiddle fodder

If you go for the Cranitch book and CD there are also the other recordings to accompany that ~

The accompanying recording to start ~
"Matt Cranitch: The Art Of Traditional Fiddle Playing"

"Matt Cranitch: Take A Bow"

"Matt Cranitch: Give It Shtick"

& his recording of airs ~
"Matt Cranitch: Eistigh Seal"

Re: question

thanks a lot….
i do agree with you that face-to-face is the best way of learning but since i am in greece, i’d try these books as well… irish tradition is a bit hard to find at this part of the world but we are doing our best!!!! :)

all my best wishes!

Re: question

You would do well to develop "ear" learning, as it really is the best way. It was hard for me at first, but perseverance will get you there, even if it takes as long as it is taking me. :)

Check out this thread from one of my queries a while back. Some great input from the fine folks lead me to some great recordings for practice that helped me a bit.

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Face to face session learning only works once you’ve learned to play an instrument. Ignore the boobs that tell you otherwise. It’s just elitist sh*te. Everything will come in time. There’s nothing wrong with dots or ABC or slow-down software when you are starting out. If you have cds you already enjoy, rip a few tunes to your hard drive and use Quicktime to slow em down so you can play along.
Download ABC Explorer(it’s free) and use the ABC files on this site to get some dots to follow.

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Fishmonger, no one suggested learning AT the session. You’d do well to read the posts before calling people elitist boobs, unless you enjoy coming across as a dim boob….

Posted .

Kale nixta (lacking a Greek alphabet here)

I’m glad to see the your title has been reduced to basics, bless Jeremy, our webmaster.

Greece! ~ I’m also very fond of the wide variety of music, dance and food in your neck of the woods. I’ve been trying to chase up recordings of a certain Greek/Turkish button box player for ages ~ Papatzis-Tsakiris, who plays, amongst other things the Syrtos…

We’ve had the fortune of friends that were excellent Greek musicians ~ clarinet, sandouri (a favourite!), lyritsa, etc… While the music and many other things are different, the spirit is very much similar, from our experiences…

For a laugh, an old tale I’ve told at least once here, I used to earn a free meal and ouzo once a week in Dublin doing Greek dance in a Greek restaurant there ~ or trying to do Greek dance. The visiting Greeks were always amazing, as I understand that back then Greek dance was an integral part of the education system there.

If you need any help coming to terms with ABC notation you can ask just about any of us and we’ll help, and if you’re in the neighbourhood, almost anywhere, folks here are generally welcoming… I did check under ‘Sessions’ to see if there was anything in Greece, alas no, but there is in Italy, including some members here, and just North of you, or used to be, in Croatia ~ check it out… 8-)

Best of luck…

‘Face-to-Face’ on a manner of speaking :-D

Video fiddle lessons, etc. ~

"Dale Russ: Basic Irish Fiddle" ~ a lovely fiddler
Lark in the Morning, Inc., 2004

"Kevin Burke: Learn to Play Irish Fiddle 1 & 2"
"Kevin Burke: Twenty Irish Fiddle Tunes"
Homespun Tapes

"Cathal Hayden: Fiddle CD ROM tutorial"
Mad for Trad

For things with a Scottish connection:

"Sarah Naylor: Play Scottish Fiddle, Beginners"
Taigh na teud / Scotlands Music, 2007

"Natalie MacMaster: A Fiddle Lesson" (Intermediate level)

Yes, I know, a volatile combination ~ Turkish/Greek ~ or another place I’ve had the pleasure of traditions-wise ~ Macedonia… ;-)

Re: question

Lonelyhearts, read the second post. The concept of learning at a session at speed is just what many here try to promote. And it’s nonsense. You have to crawl before you walk, and walk before you run. And to continue with the metaphors, you have to have bones in order for the muscles to work. Dots or ABC and "slow-downer" software can provide that.

Have a great day.

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That second post is utter tripe. Who recommends beginners do that? Wow, holy comprehension FAIL, Batman.

I’d still rather have you play me the tune slowly, phrase by phrase, and I’ve been kidnapped and drugged by the little people at least ten times now.

Quote ~ :-/

Back for a while:

"~ some members ~ believe you should always learn tunes in the cut and thrust of an actual session….at speed."

Chris, I’d ask them to provide some direct connections and quotes supporting this statement… I can’t remember any place where anyone has suggesed the ‘crash and burn’ method for acquiring an understanding of this music, have you? It was so outrageous I’d passed quickly over it, and I suspect Will might have to. I think MLH was thinking you were responding to something I’d said previously? I’d also wondered that myself.

I’m pretty sure no one contributing here so far fits BFAW’s sweeping generalization…

SWFL ~ we’re again on the same frequency… :-D

Re: question

Um, Fishmonger, if you actually *read* the second post, Back for a While is paraphrasing what s/he thinks other’s here have recommended (learning in sessions) in other threads, and then saying that s/he doesn’t agree with that approach.

It’s not hard to understand what Back for a While posted….

No one here has recommended learning in sessions. And I don’t recall anyone in 8 years here ever telling a beginner to go learn their instrument at a session. In fact, most everyone argues against exactly that.

Which is different than telling an experienced player that it’s okay to learn tunes at a session, if that session accepts it, and to let technique and ideas osmose in while playing at a session.

I’ll take your "have a good day" and raise you to a "great day," but don’t get all het up about the "boobs" here until you pay more attention to what’s actually being posted.

Posted .

Re: question

Pffft! Umm… There’s a recent thread here with over 150 posts in it which seems to endorse exactly that practice by a great many regulars here. It’s rubbish, annoying and at times offensive… depending on who is posting.
This isn’t rocket science. It’s traditional folk music often played in "the people’s key of D" as a guitar teacher(a blues guy) I once had put it. He thought of the key of D in much the same way some folks here think of the Kesh Jig. He’d play it but would rather not.
There is no right way or wrong way. There’s my way, your way and the other guys way. And to say otherwise is elitist tripe from boobs. I do like the statement about using it all. I’d give both my family jewels to live near a session. Yet try as I might, it’s the one thing I haven’t been able to pull off for years.

Thank you and I’ll see your great day and raise you to an utterly stupendous day!

Re: question

Hi all,

My post has obviously misled a few people. I wasn’t suggesting that members here advocated learning to play their instruments in a session or even "the music" itself.

However, many would argue(and have done so frequently) that the live session environment is the best place for picking up new tunes and, if you are an experienced player, you should be able to do this with ease. Note, this would apply to "experienced" players.

"That second post is utter tripe. Who recommends beginners do that?"

Well, I thought it would be fairly obvious that my post was a little "tongue in cheek" and made with the "anti dot" brigade in mind.

Also, Ekostelo didn’t say anything about being a beginner. He/she was enquiring about a book and CD. In my opinion, it’s not an unreasonable way to learn new tunes if there isn’t a session in your area or "face to face" transmission isn’t possible. Experienced players also choose to learn this way on occasion.

Re: question

Fishmonger, yes, you’re free to read whatever you want into the threads here, but that doesn’t mean you’d be right.

Or do you still not see what Back for a While posted? Or what that other thread was actually about?

So who exactly is in this "anti dot brigade?" It can’t include me—I’ve made my use of the dots extremely clear. As has ceolachan, SWFL, and even llig.

People might understand more if they paused from being so defensive for a minute or two.

Posted .

Re: question

My old fiddle teacher, Pete Cooper, has a book like you asked for:
It comes with a CD and everything.

He also has similar books on English and Eastern European fiddle tunes, in case you’re interested…

Re: question


My "anti dot brigade" comment was also meant to be tongue in cheek. What’s happened to all the good humour that used to be around here? Just as well that I’m only "Back for a While".

I do realise that you are not against the use of sheet music and other aids per se but you naturally would wish to encourage players to learn by ear in a real live session environment or from other musicians face to face. Generally, I would agree with that view. Of course, this shouldn’t apply if you are a beginner or, if by learning tunes this way, one causes a nuisance or disrupts the flow of the proceedings.

However, you and others have often stated that it is possible to learn tunes "on the fly" at session speed if you are an experienced player. I don’t disagree although in most cases, I’d suggest that this involves much listening and probably "sitting many tunes out" a few times first. Only when they start to sound familiar or are obviously very easy would I try this myself.
Others here, I know, have argued that this shouldn’t be attempted at all and that…somehow… they should be mastered before you arrive. Obviously, this will involve referring to either sheet music, some form of recording(From a session itself, perhaps) , another aid of some kind, or face to face tuition. However, you still have to adapt what you have learned when you enter a session situation.

Anyway, must dash. I have to practice for a fiddle concert in Inverness next week…from "the dots" :-)
Unfortunately, it’s the only way it can be done as I don’t have the luxury of rehearsing with the others. However, I do try to search out recordings of the tunes wherever possible and I find that this gives me a better feel for how they should sound.

The ears have it ~

Back for a while: "~ this involves much listening and probably "sitting many tunes out" a few times first."

~ Yes, reasonable, and I didn’t take your quote as your own, but a paraphrase of what you thought others might think, if unsubstantiated… ;-)

Learning the fiddle ~ book/CD

As the Pete Cooper book has been mentioned, here’s another one ~

"Fidil ~ Kathleen Nisbitt: Irish Fiddle Tutorial"
ISBN: 0-954302-0-5

We’re all beginners. It’s when we forget this that the trouble with self delusion begins to take over…

Learning the fiddle - book/CD

"A Complete Guide to Learning The Irish Fiddle
Paul McNevin
Waltons Publishing, 1998
ISBN: 978-1-85720-203-8

Of the lot, I’d have to say, for support material, including the several CDs, my favourites would be the Matt Cranitch set, the double CD by Seamus Creagh, ear dependant, and the DVD by Dale Russ…

Best of luck…

Fresh Eire ~ the smog cleared for a spell ;-)

Now that some rather sour comment has been deleted ~

For a little clarification where others have stirred up and muddied the waters ~ I, and I’d guess I could also safely say ‘we’, also use ‘dots’ and ABC notation in teaching. The only emphasis I/we give that I/we feel is important to ‘tradition’ is that the ears are paramount, much more valuable than scraps of paper or books of transcriptions, or this site, or ourselves personally. The music is more important than those who misread and distort what others have said, in particular things said by those of us who promote the importance of hearing, while not trashing other resources.

I’d like to add ‘reason’ as another concern, which includes consideration for others. I think it best use of time and energy for us to at least try to be constructive, making useful comment and avoiding the defamatory and inflamatory. Attacking members here does nothing positive for our main reasons for coming together here ~ to promote tradition. Such unreasonable behaviour is a dead end to discussion… It is an accepted symptom of someone who does not listen to others and rashly reacts before even attempting to understand what exactly has been said. The prudent thing would be to ask for clarification rather than to pounce out of ignorance…

Sorry ekostelo that you have had to experience us at our worst. Thanks to Jeremy that sourness has been removed…

Re: question

My apologies Back for a While, I did not mean that your post was tripe, but rather the misconception of learning by ear ‘on the fly’ was the real shame of the matter.

What a feisty post that was, truly out of character, apologies to all!

Re: question

Actually, Sean Keane put one together that is actually pretty nice. You have the bones of the tunes he’s playing on the CD. And if you are well versed in reading music, the notations are actually very decent (for instance, if you know the symbols and how they equate to Irish music). I’ll probably get shot by the pure drop police for this one.

Re: question

No no no, that’s a horrible misconception.

The problem comes from people reading dots and not trying or not even caring to make it sound like the music should, and that knowledge can only be learned from listening.

That’s why people are shot in the mustard streets by the anti-dot paramilitaries. It’s just too hard to explain that reading dots mechanically without using your ears to properly understand is a massive failure in learning the music. It’s easier just to shoot dots first and ask questions later.

No shootings here, I give GROUP HUGS!

…but then again, I’m more of a Trad Anarcho-Syndicalist than a Trad Fascist Blueshirt, so…you know. Whateva. [shrug]

Re: question

‘That’s why people are shot in the mustard streets by the anti-dot paramilitaries.’

Sorry, Ian, but that is a remarkably insensitive remark to make about Ireland’s music, as is ‘I’ll probably get shot by the pure drop police for this one.’

Posted by .

Re: question

Curious that it seems others have ascribed some identity for an ‘anti-dot military force’, and that paranoia views it as tyrannical. Funny, while I’ve had a few rough brushes with some, and seen the sparks between others, such as with Llig, currently in the ‘brig’, I’ve not yet met these ‘anit-dot militarists’ ~ brown or bue shirts… I suspect it’s all the manufacture of damaged brain cells… Also curious, who is it that usually gets ‘shot down’ anyway? :-P

As said before, too much distillation results in poison. ‘Pure drops’ can kill…

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I hear that the Trilateral Commission and Freemasons support learning from the Dots. All part of their plot to take over the world. I can say that freely only because I have cleverly hidden my identity behind an internet nom de guerre, and they won’t be able to hunt me down in their efforts to squash the truth.

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They have their ways and means… When did you last have your place swept for bugs? :-P

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c, That is why I only communicate over the internet, they can hear everything I say….

Some other sets of dots with CDs ~

With regards to the Seane Keane CD/book, there are also similar sets available by Tommy Peoples, Kevin Burke, Aly Bain, Tom Anderson, Pete Cooper ~ etc., etc., etc… (dot-dot-dot!)

And Matt Cranitch has also had some input here: "Irish Session Tunes"
Books with accompanying CD available ~

"The Green Book"
~ 100 Irish dance tunes and airs selected by Geraldine Cotter
ISBN: 1-900428-56-3

"The Red Book"
~ 100 Irish dance tunes and airs selected by Matt Cranitch
ISBN: 1-900428-61-X

"The Blue Book" & "The Orange Book"
~ Irish session tunes in sets, selected by Brid Cranitch
ISBN: 1-900428-12-1
ISBN: 1-900428-17-2

Ossian Publications Ltd.

There is also the Walton’s Publishing series:
"110 Ireland’s Best" ~ around a dozen books
"Session Tunes" ~ Pat Conway & John Canning ~ volumes 1 & 2
"Tin Whistle Tunes" ~ Claire McKenna & Harry Long ~ volumes 1 & 2
"Fiddle Tunes" ~ Paul McNevin ~ volumes 1 & 2
"Polkas & Slides"
"Slow Airs"
"Carolan Tunes"
Mally’s publications & his online shop ~
Click on ‘Tunebooks by genre’ and choose from the drop-down menu…

Other sources for resources ~

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Oh goodness Floss, idiots acting like morons happens everywhere, let’s not get puritanical.