In this beginner Irish fiddle tutorial I take you slowly through the Irish jig Out on the Ocean, so that you can learn to play it by ear.
This in-depth tutorial is meant for those who are just starting to learn fiddle tunes by ear. Maybe this is the first tune you’ve learned this way! So I take it very slowly, bar by bar (or ‘measure by measure’) giving you plenty of time to practice each phrase before moving on. It is best watched with fiddle in hand, so that you can play along.
Out on the Ocean is a well known double jig (meaning it has an A and B part, each repeated). It is frequently played for Irish (and Scottish) sessions and ceilidhs. It may be related to a Lowland Scots tune “Rock and a Wee Pickle Tow,” once a women’s spinning song. But it is now well established in the Irish repertoire, and has been a commonly played tune since at least as far back as 1903 when Francis O’Neill collected it and included it in his seminal collection of Irish tunes, Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies.
(If you are already more experienced at playing tunes by ear, you may find this beginner Irish fiddle tutorial a little slow. If so, I recommend some of my other fiddle tutorial videos for intermediate players, which will go through tunes a little more quickly).
Below you’ll find sheet music for Out on the Ocean, if you would like to read along as you follow the tutorial. There are two versions here – the top one is just the melody as I would normally play it. Other players will have slight variations on this. The second version (bottom half of the page) includes some suggestions for bowing and ornamentation that you could use when playing this tune.
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