English, Welsh, Scottish & Irish Fiddle Tunes

English, Welsh, Scottish & Irish Fiddle Tunes, by Robin Williamson

I played violin in middle school, and was signed up for lessons with a classical violinist who taught many fine orchestral violin players. She was clearly scandalized when I brought her this book and told her I wanted to learn Irish fiddle tunes, but to her credit, she did mix some in to my lessons. (Amazon has this book being published in 1992, but since I was learning to play the violin circa 1986, they must be wrong. And, aha, the copyright page of the book says it was published in 1976.)

I no longer have a copy of this book, but I’m thinking about buying one. It came with a flexible square that could be played on a record player; I assume it comes with a CD these days. I remember it being broken down by region, and further broken down into easier and harder tunes.

One reviewer at Amazon has this to say:

This is not a book that will help you to play in celtic music sessions, as the tunes are mostly obscure, and if they are common, Robin always has to throw in some wild variation, or change the tune slightly. His choice of chords is better than anything I’ve seen in more conventional celtic fiddle books. He teaches the basic ornamentation, and each tune has a paragraph written about it.

Another says:

I can honestly recommend this book as an excellent value for any newcomer to the subject.

Those both match my recollection of the book from ~25 years ago. I remember learning a fair bit about stylistic ornamentation that I have since forgotten, so if nothing else I’d like to pick up a new copy to see what it has to say about that.

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