Fiddle and Alternative Strings Forum

General Strings => ABC, MIDI, Scores and Backing Tracks => Topic started by: tigerpup00 on Jan 14, 2005, 05:32:17 AM

Title: A question for those who play Celtic fiddle
Post by: tigerpup00 on Jan 14, 2005, 05:32:17 AM
I'm interested to learn how to play Celtic fiddle and was just wondering how long it takes to learn it. My "long" term gaol is to be able to play fast, but I just want to know how long it should take to learn to play it at a slow to medium pace....
:)                            ???                          :)
Title: Re: A question for those who play Celtic fiddle
Post by: swarbrules on Jan 14, 2005, 07:27:23 AM
Don't learn to play it fast. Don't learn to play it slow. Learn to play it at the right speed.

I am learning Welsh tunes (which have some Celtic roots) some I can play faster than others. But, I fell into a trap cunningly set for the unwary. The B part of the tune Y Delyn Newydd is considerably easier to play at a decent lick than the A and they got quite out of kilter and I had to almost start again.

Don't worry too much about speed. Get the tunes right and the speed will come with practice.
Title: Re: A question for those who play Celtic fiddle
Post by: Martin on Jan 14, 2005, 11:43:19 AM
By Celtic, do you mean Irish? If so, try to avoid the word Celtic, it's frowned on.

How long have you been playing, and what are you currently playing?

What sort of Irish (Celtic ugh) stuff are you listening to now?

Do you have a particular fiddler in mind whose playing you would like to emulate.

What is your background in Irish (celtic ugh) fiddling? Can you get to local sessions to listen and maybe play?

Do you have a teacher, and can you get to a fiddle teacher or class?

Do you intend to learn through copying what you hear on CDs, or do you have any books of tunes? Do the tunes have bowing patterns marked, or just the plain dots?
Title: Re: A question for those who play Celtic fiddle
Post by: tigerpup00 on Jan 14, 2005, 01:40:34 PM
Didn't know that about Celtic. Why is that? Is it just where you're from or worldwide?

Anyways,  you could say that I'm playing "beginners" b/c it's been a while since I've played, but I'm catching on fast.

I've been listening to downloads from the internet. One site i went to is and they had 3 "modern" songs I thought were pretty cool. I do listen to some trad stuff, but I'm more interested in more modern tunes. No, I don't have anyone in particular in mind. Probably b/c i haven't found exactly what I'm looking for...well, a person who plays it anyway. It can be Irish or Scottish.

I haven't been able to find anyone local or even in the same state that plays what I'm wanting to learn, unless i just I'm not looking in the right place.

I'm not currently taking lessons due to finances. But i hope to get going on that soon.

I'm trying very hard to find free downloads and sheet music. Anyways, I hope I answered you ok. lol.
Title: Re: A question for those who play Celtic fiddle
Post by: Martin on Jan 14, 2005, 02:43:27 PM
Hi Tigerpup00,

I guess that narrows it down a bit. Celtic as a musical category summons up images of Enya. OK in itself of course, but not really traditional fiddle music. As far as I know, we all feel that way (apart from Enya and her fans).

If you post this question in the European Forum, there are several people ther who can advise you on what and who to listen to. A large part of learning fiddle music is listening.

It sounds like you are a returnee to the instrument. I am too, I played classical stuff, badly, for several years as a boy, and only discovered fiddling in the past two years.

I would say that, if you have know your way around the instrument, and practise and listen to the music daily, you could start to get a handle on it in six months to two years.

Title: Re: A question for those who play Celtic fiddle
Post by: Jackson on Jan 14, 2005, 03:19:56 PM
My suggestion would be to be patient, and learn the tunes as slow as it takes you to play them well (right), then work on gradually getting them up to speed. If you practice them fast and sloppy, with lots of mistakes, you'll learn your mistakes...slow is the faster path.
Title: Re: A question for those who play Celtic fiddle
Post by: simon on Jan 14, 2005, 03:44:16 PM
There's an old thread about the "C" word here if you're interested:,2623.0.html

You seem pretty vague about what you want to play - I'd suggest the most important thing you can do is find out. Listen to as much Irish or Scottish music as you can get your hands on. Identify the stuff that really turns you on, then spend at least as much time listening as you do playing. If and when you find a favourite fiddler or two, find out who their favourite musicians are and listen to them too. Don't be shy about imitating the players you like - it takes time to begin to develop your own style, but it'll happen. The more you listen, the clearer your ideas become about the sound you want to make yourself.

As for playing fast, you'll probably find when you get there that your long term goal changes to playing slow. :) In the mean time, concentrate on good rhythm at whatever speed you find comfortable. Speed will come naturally, as swarbrules said. If you try to force it, your playing will sound forced - not good.
Title: Re: A question for those who play Celtic fiddle
Post by: Tize on Jan 14, 2005, 03:48:38 PM
I'd say take it as it feels right - no-one can say how long it 'should' take you to be able to play to a certain standard. I'd also say don't try and focus on one particular fiddler's style - listen to as much stuff as you can, and pick out what aspects you like best from each player, then you can decide what regional style you want to play, (if you do want to stick to a regional style!) and it also gives you the opportunity to develop your own style. Also don't think that if you don't take any lessons you won't get anywhere - I've never taken lessons and I've achieved all my playing goals and more in just over two years, simply by listening to as much stuff as I can and learning by trying to immitate what I hear on CDs, and what I see players do at gigs. Playing along with recordings is a great way to learn because it teaches you about staying in time and keeping a steady rhythm too. That's not to say lessons aren't valuable help of course, but it really just is down to your personal taste, and as much as anything, how much time you're prepared to, and can put into practising.

The thing that's most important to me is that I don't practise because I feel I have to, I practise because I want to - that way I end up playing for about 1 - 2 hours at least every day, just for the sheer enjoyment of playing, which then allows me to develop my style further and try new things - whenever I feel I 'have' to practise, I just end up playing for half an hour and not really getting anywhere.

Cheers, Tize.
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