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I've decided to make an attempt at Irish Trad fiddle- Part Two

Posted by fiddlepogo on Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Well, it's like this... I've been listening to Irish music for years on the side, off and on.  And occasionally I would try to play it... but Old Time seemed so much more familiar, easier... and I was more competent at it... I'm very right handed... and Old Time puts more emphasis on the bowing arm.

Anyway, I recognize all these Irish tunes, and with sheet music, the familiarity makes them relatively easy to play... EXCEPT the sheet music is never exactly like what I remember from recordings.  I'm beginning to realize that my memory for Irish tunes is actually pretty good.  In some cases I'm cobbling together versions... partly sheet music, partly what I remember.  Often what I remember is more complicated than the sheet music!

Today I've been practicing the best tunes from the old printed out abc files of Irish tunes.  I'm already having glimmers of light from the end of the tunnel... it seems like Irish is a whole lot easier to tackle when my Old Time fiddling is in good shape- the fingering and bowing agility is very much needed for even intermediate Irish tunes.  Anyway, it's sounding better more quickly than I'd hoped... but I know it's not solid yet... it'll sound good, and then the next day it's awful for a few minutes.  The stuff I do on St. Paddy's Day is gonna have to be a whole lot firmer than that.  Also, to my surprise, my wife says that she finds the Irish fiddling a lot easier to listen to.  It may be partly because I use the mellower Eastman VL100 for the Irish tunes and the brasher Knilling for the Old Time tunes... but it also may be the smoother bowing style.

One problem... I started getting a cramp in my forearm from playing so much... and it may also that I have to hold the arm a bit stiffer to maintain the more controlled sound and keep things from sounding Old Timey!!!

  This evening, I been going to and, looking up tunes, and trying to find which one is closer to what I remember, then printing them out for my tune book.  Part of the problem is that the tune titles are familiar... and the tunes themselves are familiar, but in most cases, since I haven't actually played them enough to memorize them, I've never associated tune title with tune!!!  And Irish has it's naming problems similar to Old Time... different tunes with the same name, same tunes with different names.  Why, just today I figured out on my own that Delahunty's Hornpipe is a LOT like Wicklow Hornpipe... but STILL there's a difference- but it's pretty small.  And I learned that Ten-Penny Bit is another name for Cock of the North, which I learned under that name for a Scottish gig a couple of years ago.

Another thing I'm noticing... I'm mostly just interested in learning the Irish tunes I'm already familar with, that have already become part of my brain... and there's plenty of those.

4 comments on “I've decided to make an attempt at Irish Trad fiddle- Part Two”

bj Says:
Wednesday, February 9, 2011 @6:44:08 AM

double post?

mudbug Says:
Wednesday, February 9, 2011 @4:03:14 PM

If you're learning Irish, shouldn't the post have been triplets? :-)

ChickenMan Says:
Friday, February 11, 2011 @5:05:12 PM

I swear there was a part one....

fiddlepogo Says:
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @11:06:32 AM

There was a part one.
And if it seems repetitive, it's because I'm OLD enough to start repeating myself! ;^D

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