Category Archives: Irish Tune

Crabs in the Skillet–Trad Irish Tune

Crabs in the Skillet in Tab

As someone who has the zodiac sign of Cancer the Crab, I should feel uncomfortable about the title of this tune. But, I don’t.

I didn’t even feel uncomfortable when playing this tune at an old time contest cost me placement in the top five. Too bad. It’s a great tune. You can hear Liz Carroll play it on the Lost in the Loop album.

This tune goes way back. You’ll find it in O’Neill’s Music of Ireland for deep traditional “cred.” Also, check Mel Bay’s Irish Session Tune Book for contemporary validation. It’s all good with this one.

Crabs_in_the_Skillet

As always, I like to include a pdf file for best printing: get your Crabs here

On the Boulevard–a Jig by Liz Carroll

Play a Liz Carroll Fiddle Tune from Tab Notation

When I first heard On the Boulevard from the Liz Carroll album, Lost in the Loop, It seemed repetitious. The similarity between the A part and the B part seemed a little redundant. It was as if the B part was a replay of the A part an octave higher.

Then, I started playing the tune. When I got involved I found that the contrast between the tow parts was subtle but interesting. Now I’ve gotten to like the jig very much and have included it in the 2nd Sunday Session we have in Palm Harbor.

Maybe  you’ve heard the insensitive comment that all these Irish tunes sound alike. (Or, all these old timer tunes sound alike. Or, all these fiddle tunes sound alike. You get the idea.) Let’s not be that person. Let’s be open minded that we may not appreciate a tune when we hear it, but we know that some people may like it alot.

I got this tune from Liz Carroll’s book, Collected. It has 185 of her original tunes. When I play it as tabbed, I include a little tweak in the A part that organizes playing the first phrase four times for me. Otherwise, it is mostly as published in music notation.

On the Boulevard--Liz Carroll

For good results in printing, here is On the Boulevard as a pdf file.

The Earl’s Chair

The Earl’s Chair–an Irish Reel Session Favorite

When I play The Earl’s Chair, sometimes I think: The Duke of Earl’s Chair. That would be a slightly Americanized version of this great Irish fiddle reel.

I first tuned in to The Earl’s Chair when I heard the Liz Carroll album, Lost in the Loop. It’s preceded by an incendiary Silver Spear, and followed by a lively Musical Priest. There’s a cool riff she does that I imitate to some extent in this tab chart.

Originally I made a music notation version of what I was teaching. That went out to the Second Sunday Session that will be meeting tomorrow.

Since then I’ve tweaked it a bit. What appears below is close to how I play it now.
Fiddle tab of The Earl's Chair

Here is what The Earl’s Chair sounds like.

This is a moderately difficult tune even at the intermediate pace of the sound file. Below is a YouTube video I made right after recording the above.

At the Second Sunday Session we play the Earl’s Chair after Silver Spear, just like Liz Carroll. Well, our Chair is more of a Lazy Boy Recliner by comparison.

Lannigan’s Ball

A Good Time at Lannigan’s Ball

A few years ago, I went to the Clearwater Library to sit in on a concert presented by the Bay Area Fiddlers. I had been out of the group for a few years. So it was that I met Anson and Pat Young for the first time.

I learned before long that they were very active in promoting the group and making sure things happened that needed to happen.

I know most of the tunes we played that day. One was new to me: Lannigan’s Ball, a sprightly jig in E minor. I faked along as well as I could and resolved to really learn the tune, because I liked it.

Now I teach it to my students, using this tab chart.

an Irish jig in fiddle tab version of Lannigan's Ball
Lannigan’s Ball, an Irish jig in fiddle tab

Here is the tune played at a moderate tempo.

For printing, and sharing with others, here is a pdf chart. Now that I look at it again, as I put it online, I wish I had put in a grace note from the 3rd finger to the first finger in the second bar, and the fifth bar which has the same figure of notes. Feel free to add that ornament to Lannigan’s Ball and have fun at the ball!

This audio file features me playing Lannigan’s Ball as you see in the chart, then a second time with a little more ornamentation.

Jackie Tar Hornpipe in Fiddle Tab

Pardon me if you have heard this from me before: I like hornpipes to have a swing rhythm. Many fiddlers play some hornpipes with a swing feel, and others they play like a reel or hoedown.

Consider Sailor’s Hornpipe. I hear no one playing it as a swing rhythm hornpipe. Same with Fisher’s Hornpipe. Most fiddlers just blast it out as a fast reel. Well, I’m not comfortable with that.

The hornpipe you find here is usually played with a swing feel to it. In other words, it’s treated as a fiddle hornpipe. I often include it in a medley with Drunken Sailor. Now that I put these words to print, I’m thinking of including Sailor’s in the same line up. Let’s just keep it very nautical!

Jackie Tar hornpipe in fiddle tab
Fiddle tab of Jackie Tar Hornpipe

And here is a good printable pdf of Jackie Tar.

A video of Jackie Tar as a hornpipe with a swing feel.

Swallowtail Jig Revised

This morning I was with a student who was struggling with the B part of Swallowtail Jig. If you have my book, 43 Fiddle Tunes in Tab, you can see how it’s tricky at that spot.

For her, I changed two things to simplify the part. I changed the D# to a D natural. Most people play it that way. And I eliminated the cut getting into B part, substituting a quick bow move instead.

Some of the jigs I’ve posted here, Out on the Ocean, for example, are intermediate to advanced. This version of the Swallowtail Jig is intermediate. It’s more approachable for a relative beginner.

Fiddle tab chart of Swallowtail Jig
Swallowtail Jig in Fiddle Tab

The pdf of Swallowtail Jig makes a better copy.

Dancing Tables by Liz Carroll

Dancing Tables, a jig by Liz Carroll, first showed up in a collection of Irish fiddle tunes. It was in Mel Bay’s Irish Session Tune Book.

I’ve used that often to see standard versions of popular tunes. The book includes favored variations, too. It has proven itself to be a good starting place for tunes.

Recently, Liz Carroll published her own Collected Original Irish Tunes. The way the tune is published there is a bit different from Mel Bay’s.

If you like her tunes it’s a great resource. The one I’ve been learning the past week or so is Fremont Center.

Getting back to Dancing Tables, here is the tab chart.

Fiddle tab chart of Dancing TablesAnd here is a pdf of Dancing Tables.

When I went to Amazon to get a link to the Mel Bay book, I saw the reviews were a little rough. And unfairly so, in my opinion. So I added my two cents worth. Below should be the link.

A Fiddler’s Quick Fix in the Morning

One morning not long ago I woke up with a head ache. Maybe it was from staring at those little dots of music at orchestra rehearsal. Or peering at the little screen on my lap top.

I took some ibuprofen, (my drug of choice), and made coffee. As I waited for the coffee to brew I was trying to remember a Liz Carroll tune. There was something about it that haunted me. But, I wasn’t remembering exactly how the tune went or what album it was on.

As I continued trying to focus through my achy head and morning bleariness, suddenly a new tune popped into my head. I’m saying it was an instant download from the Grassapelli influence. It was just there.

I got out my fiddle and Edirol. By that time the coffee was ready, so I poured a cup. By the time I had played through the tune two times and recorded it, my headache was gone. Hence. Quick Fix.

Elan Chalford original fiddle tune, Quick Fix, in fiddle tab

And here is the fiddle tab chart in pdf.

Out on the Ocean

Out on the Ocean is an Irish jig I noticed when I got the Patrick Mangan album, Farewell to Ireland.  I liked the sound of it. I found it in one of my books and had it on the music stand for a while.

But, I didn’t really make it mine. There was one part I wasn’t satisfied with. I let the tune slide by, unfinished.

Then, I found a neglected CD in a pile of clutter. (Sorting through my clutter is a major hobby.) It was the live album by Martin Hayes,  Live in Seattle.

Aside from marveling what a great performance he turned in for that album, I heard that jig again. Now I had to learn it. It was close to being learned already.

The one part got straightened out to my taste and now I play it often. The tab version published here is my take on the tune.

Fiddle tab chart for Out on the Ocean, an Irish jigHere is the pdf of Out on the Ocean.

I’ve heard this jig at Irish sessions. One of the most popular is Swallowtail Jig.

Indian Point by Rick Mohr

Indian Point is a jig written by Rick Mohr. It has become a popular session tune. Mr. Mohr has used a musical device in this tune that is very effective. Maybe he did not set out to do this composer’s trick, but it is a neat one.

The contour of the melody and chord progression in the A part is speeded up to twice as fast in the B part. That doesn’t mean that notes go faster. It’s the change of chords, and the arc of melody that moves faster. I hope that makes sense.

I find this jig absolutely magnetic. I love to play it.

In the first chart you find the basic tune in fiddle tab as it is published elsewhere in music notation. The second chart has some ornaments I like to use when I play the tune. Look for the pdf file for printing and the mp3 file for listening. They are below each graphic image.

Indian Point in fiddle tablature

Here is the Indian Point in pdf. This is the Indian Point MP3 file.

Indian Point in fiddle tab

Indian Point with ornaments in pdf; and the with ornaments MP3 file.