Lament for MacGregor of Rora

I learned this beautiful lament — the Lament for MacGregor of Rora — from the fiddle playing of Lauren MacColl. Her version is of the melody is simpler than many other versions you will find out there. I love this lower key too. It is much more common to hear this played in the mode … Read more

Riding on a Bale of Hay (polka)

Here’s a really fun Irish polka, called Riding on a Bale of Hay. Sometimes also called ‘Riding on a Load of Hay’, this is a West Kerry polka. The renowned West Kerry fiddler Denis Murphy (1910-1974) was known to play it. Dennis Murphy was born in Lisheen, Gneeveguilla, County Kerry. Both he and his sister … Read more

Learn tunes from Foinn Seisiun

I often find that fiddle players looking for tunes to learn turn to the Foinn Seisiun recordings. These are really useful resources for finding recordings of well know Irish session tunes. But for a fiddle player starting out with playing in sessions, they may also have their limitations, which I’ll discuss below. I hope that … Read more

Learn The Banshee reel

In this fiddle lesson I will teach you the Banshee reel on the Irish fiddle. It is a really well known Irish session tune. It is in the key of G major. The Banshee was composed by the flute player James McMahon, from Fermanagh in Ulster, probably in the 1950s. McMahon was known for playing … Read more

A very low fiddle tune!

Something a little different here. This isn’t a fiddle lesson as such, but I want to show you the possibilities of using a very (very) low fiddle tuning. In the video below I am playing using Octave strings on an old fiddle to play Irish fiddle. Octave strings allow us to play very low fiddle … Read more

What is a fiddle?

On a site called Learn to Play the Fiddle, the question ‘What is a fiddle?’ may seem a little odd! But it is important to know something about the history of the fiddle, how it is different from a violin, and how it ended up with such an important role in Irish music. Fiddle vs … Read more