Fiddle Tunes

Some time around 2000 I borrowed a beginner violin from my friend Ela, who had been playing for a long time, and took a couple beginner classes from a woman named Laura Risk who is a very good fiddler who plays in the Scottish tradition. The classes were at the Passim folk club in Harvard Square. When we moved out to Flagstaff I tinkered around on my own, and played some with an open contradance band, the Just Desserts (eating chocolate seemed to be just as important as playing music) and played a dance or two with them before we moved to New Hampshire. Once we got here, I got wind of a multi-instrument dance music class on Sunday afternoons taught by Vermont accordionist Jeremiah McLane. Some of the folks from that class also started getting together on Thursday nights to practice, over at Pete’s house (the same Pete who featured prominently in our first cidering adventure this year). Recently, our friends Joshua and Kelsey moved back east; he plays guitar and she recently took up clawhammer banjo, so when we get together it’s a great excuse for playing old time music.

Just to have it all written down somewhere, I’m going to attempt to keep up a list of the tunes I’ve learned. Early on I learned entirely by ear, but gradually I’m picking up an ability to read music, slowly -at this point I can almost read waltzes at slow dance tempo, if the tunes are easy and predictable; obviously I’ve got a long way to go. As it is, written music is a great way to add tunes.

Tune list, organized (vaguely) by venue

Sets for Jeremiah’s class; dance scheduled for late January:

  • Father Kelley’s/Drowsy Maggie/Spootiskerry
  • Reel Des Menteries/Brenda Stubberts/Return to Chernobyl
  • Timmy Clifford’s/Gallowglass/Calliope House
  • Coleman’s March/German (unnamed)
  • Rannie McLellan’s/Father John Angus Rankine
  • Trente Sept/Reel du Lievre/Homage a Edmond Parizeau (some controversy about order)
  • Other tunes (some assembly required)
    • Blackberry Blossom

Selected tunes from Thursday Night (“my eating group has a music problem”):

  • Sailor’s Wife/Maison de Glace/Stan Chapman’s
  • Evit Gabriel/Homage to Edmond Parizeau
  • Scollay’s Reel/Quarry Cross
  • Cliffs of Moher/Morrison’s
  • Miss Monaghan’s
  • Road to Kerrigouach
  • Temperance
  • Roddy McCorley
  • Battle of Waterloo
  • Scarce o Tatties
  • Seamus Conoly’s
  • The Puppeteer
  • Special K
  • The Gramsay
  • Waltzes
    • Amelia
    • Emily’s
    • Neil Gow’s lament
    • Lovers’ waltz
    • Penobscot Memory
    • Ashokan Farewell
    • Cape Breton home
    • Sheebeg Shemore
    • Ukpik
    • l’Isle d’Etoile

Old-timey stuff, played with Kelsey and Joshua:

  • Red-Haired Boy
  • Julia Delaney
  • Booth Shot Lincoln/Pig’s Foot
  • Liberty
  • Spotted Pony
  • Whiskey Before Breakfast
  • West Fork Gals
  • Angeline
  • Frosty Morning
  • Julianne Johnson

One Response to “Fiddle Tunes”

  1. Carl Ellis Says:

    So, when & where does the Thursday eating & music group meet? One of these days I’ll get over your way and would love to sit in or just listen. I see about a 2/3 overlap with your Jeremiah class/Thursday group/Kelsey-&c. repertoire with the average central VT one, if there is such a thing.

    I live on the upper reaches of the White River, so I know Strafford, I have an ex-sister-in-law who lives just about next door to the Poverty Lane Orchards & Lebanon Airport, and I recognize your part of the world from camping trips over at the (now deceased) Seguin campground. Still a small world in New England.

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