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 — tuning the strings to a full octave lower than standard tuning! The sound is quite different to a normal fiddle. The pitch is much lower, so sounds much closer to that of a cello.
If you look at the picture of the my fiddle below, you can see how much thicker the strings are to allow us to tune them down to a very low tuning.
The fiddle itself is possibly 250 years old. I haven’t been able to identify its maker, but it seems likely it was made in England (or possibly Germany) between 1780 and 1800. It has been damaged (possibly repeatedly) over that time, but carefully repaired. It’s a lovely instrument, with a real story to tell. I’d love to be able to find out more.
It has always sounded good in its low range, and it is now sounding very nice tuned right down.
You can hear me playing using the octave strings, and this low fiddle tuning, in the video below. I am playing a wonderful reel The Morning Thrush by the great piper James Ennis, father of the renowned piper Seamus Ennis.