Category Archives: Irish Tune

Let Me Out

This is one of my original tunes with an Irish fiddle flavor. I have it in the Canine medley, which includes Little Begger Dog and Old Gray Fox.

One of my challenges is to find the happy medium between the way I play the tune with maximum ornamentation, and an accessible way for intermediate fiddlers.

Since I increase ornamentation the longer I play a tune, it is a matter of going back in time. How did I play the tune when I first put it on paper or recorded it?

I put a version or two of this on YouTube.com/grassapelli a while back. I’m not sure if it matches the tab chart. Tunes mutate when I’m not looking at them.

Of all the tunes I’ve written, this is one I enjoy playing more than most. I don’t know why. It just feels good.

Fiddle tab chart for Let Me Out
Let Me Out in fiddle tab

The better to print version: Let Me Out in pdf.

Connaughtman’s Ramble

I saved space on the pages of my book by using footnotes and tidbits of tab. These one bar or less fragments were meant to be substituted when desired.

In my many years of teaching I found that substituting a fragment, or a bar, was not an easy skill for most students.

Now that I am publishing online, I don’t have to be so frugal with space. I can simply publish two or more variations of a whole tune. No need for note of foot.

Here are two versions of Connaughtman’s Ramble. This is a well known session tune. It was brought to me originally by one of my students who got it at a fiddle workshop in Boston.

Fiddle tab chart for Connaughtman's Ramble-Basic
Basic version of Connaughtman's Ramble

The pdf of Connaughtman’s Ramble-Basic.

The advanced version has rolls and grace notes. These, of course, are not graven in granite. You can use some or all.

Fiddle tab chart for Connaughtman's Ramble-Advanced

The pdf of Connaughtman’s Ramble-Advanced.

Julia Delaney

Apparently I was mistaken about Margaret’s Waltz being an Irish tune. An yet, I’m going way out on a limb here and saying this is an Irish reel. Definitely sounds Irish.

I worked out a harmony part in twin fiddling for this, but you need to go into second position to pull it off. That’s one reason for not producing a tab chart. Maybe someday, in music notation.

Fiddle tab chart for Julia Delaney

Some of the bowing may seem a little odd. I arranged it so that the cross string bowing could be up bow on the E and down bow on the A. The bow technique feels more natural.

Here’s the pdf for Julia Delaney.

Little Beggar Dog

This is one of my own tunes. Using Little Beggar Man as a model for the structure of the tune gave me a chance to slip into the key of F in the B part. I had in mind an Irish reel kind of tune.

(On August 9 I updated the chart. After meeting with members of BAFA and playing through it, I wasn’t satisfied with the version I had posted. This is more difficult, but closer to the way I play the tune.) (I really do know how to spell ‘beggar’.)

Fiddle tab chart for Little Beggar Dog

The pdf for Little Beggar Dog. And here is a link to YouTube for the tune.

Kilfenora’s Jig

The first time I heard Martin Hayes it was a compilation disc of many fiddlers. His playing was totally magnetic. I went right out and found Under the Moon.

First the album, then the collection of tunes. Kilfenora’s Jig was really was irresistible I’ve been playing it long enough now that it has evolved a little.

The version of the tune here is close to how I play it.

fiddle tab chart for Kilfenora's Jig
Kilfenora's Jig in fiddle tab

And the pdf of Kilfenora’s Jig.

Swallowtail Jig

One of the principles of music notation publishing is economy. Publish as much music as possible in the smallest amount of space. This principle was driven by physical constraints of material and human labor. It led to the use of repeat signs, target signs of several types, measure repeat signs, and more.

When I was putting together my book 43 Fiddle Tunes in Tab, I used these concepts to draw maps of tabs that were sometimes hard to follow. It gives me great satisfaction to straighten out some of these twisty pathways on this blog.

One such is the fiddle tab chart I made for Swallowtail Jig. There is one area in the B part that has stumped students repeatedly, (forgive the pun). In the chart below it is rewritten more intuitively.

fiddle tab chart for Swallowtail Jig
Swallowtail Jig in Fiddle Tab

And Swallowtail Jig as pdf for better results when printed.

Irish Washer Woman

About a decade back, I was playing regularly at retirement homes. The only jig ever requested was Irish Washer Woman.

I had noticed that many collections of American fiddle tunes included Haste to the Wedding. That being the only jig in a collection of hoedowns, you would think it a popular tune. No one ever asked for it.

One of my string colleagues reminded me why Irish Washer Woman is popular, especially with people just a little older than me. It was thematic in a John Wayne movie, The Quiet Man.

Playing Irish Washer Woman as often as I do, I got in the habit of abbreviating it I.W.W. This amused me also because the same letters stand for the now defunct workers’ union, International Workers of the World. People used to ridicule the organization saying the letters stood for “I Won’t Work,” or “I Want Whiskey.”

My last comment: I really play the tune in F when I do it with a medley that starts with Scatter the Mud, goes to Kilfenora Jig, then to I.W.W. But the rest of the world plays it in G. That’s what we have here.

The pdf of Irish Washer Woman.

Off She Goes in Tab

Here’s yet another jig with updated endings. That original idea was economical, but confusing. This way is the standard approach in music notation for endings and repeats. Let’s go with it!

And Off She Goes pdf.

In the present edition of 43 Fiddle Tunes in Tab, I have ornaments as inserted alternatives to certain bars. When I get that sorted out, I’ll post it.

Road to Lisdoonvarna

Last year at this time, I was doing a little recording for Ricko Donovan. I have some counterpoint on his My Darling Asleep from the Lucky Sevens album.

He told me that Lisdoonvarna has a meet up once a year that attracts hundreds of single men and women. Going to the big social gathering may be what the writer of this tune had in mind.

Here is the pdf of Road to Lisdonvarna.