Traditional Irish Fiddle | Beginner 1
Master the basics of fiddle playing, with professional performer Doireann Ní Ghlacáin, in this free online course.Publisher: World Music Project (Alison)
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This free online Irish fiddle course is designed to help the beginner develop those skills needed to play one of Irish traditional music’s most popular instruments. The fiddle is a difficult instrument to master without expert tuition. In this course, professional performer Doireann Ní Ghlacáin covers the basics that any beginner fiddle player needs to know, including holding the instrument correctly, which is fundamental to becoming a proficient player, as well as tuning the strings and becoming familiar with the notes. Through a series of short, easy-to-follow videos, she will introduce you to the basic techniques needed to play the notes clearly and tunefully and to move the bow across the strings for a fuller sound.
Having learned a nursery rhyme to practise bowing across the strings, you will soon have the opportunity to learn your first Irish tune, 'The Kerry Polka'. Doireann breaks the tune down into small sections for ease of learning. While the notes are provided in a downloadable PDF from the resource section of the course, she encourages learners to play by ear. Once that milestone first tune has been mastered, the fiddle lessons proceed to another popular polka, 'The Britches Full of Stitches'. Again, Doireann breaks the tune down into segments and in learning the second part, you will be introduced to playing in the higher octave, on the E string. In most Irish music, the first part of the song is played on the lower notes while the second part is on the higher octave and Doireann devotes a lesson to mastering the E string finger positions. The final tune you will learn in this Beginners’ course is 'Shoe The Donkey', which is associated with the mazurka style of dance, a favourite in the north-west of Ireland and specifically, County Donegal.
If you’ve always wanted to learn to play an iconic Irish instrument, this free online fiddle guide provides the perfect foundation. You will be learning from a professional musician based in Clare and Galway, the cultural hub of the vibrant west of Ireland. A recording artist and performer who has toured internationally, Doireann Ní Ghlacáin also presents live coverage of Irish music programmes for the national Irish language TV station TG4. Not only is she an accomplished musician in her own right but Doireann also comes from a famously musical family, with a long line of fiddle players on her paternal side. On her maternal side, her grandfather was the composer Seán Ó Riada who is widely hailed as instigating the revival of the traditional Irish music scene of the 20th century which continues today. By completing this course, you can learn those all-important techniques that are fundamental to developing as a fiddle player. You can also gain certification by passing the end-of-course assessment. You may wish to progress to the next course in this series, Traditional Irish Fiddle, Beginner 2, where you will learn new tunes and some of the secrets of ornamentation. The series concludes with Traditional Irish Fiddle, Intermediate Level, for those who have mastered the basics. Throughout the three courses, you will be learning tunes that are widely played at 'seisiúns' (music sessions) and dances across Ireland and anywhere the vast Irish diaspora gathers. Begin the course, practise what you’ve learned, and who knows where your new-found skills may take you!Start Course Now
Learn to Play Easy Irish Fiddle Tunes
Learn to Play Easy Irish Fiddle Tunes - Learning Outcomes
From First Steps to Playing the D String on the Fiddle
Playing the 'A' String and 'Twinkle Twinkle' on the Fiddle
Learning your First Polka, 'The Britches Full of Stitches'
Playing the 'E' string and 'The Kerry Polka'
Learn to Play 'Shoe the Donkey'
Learn to Play Easy Irish Fiddle Tunes - Lesson Summary
By the end of this course, you should be able to:
- Describe the different parts of the fiddle
- Identify how to tune the fiddle and adjust the bow
- Recall how to bow across the strings to create a clear sound
- Distinguish between the finger positions on the D string and identify whether a note sounds sharp, flat, or just right
- Define the correct finger positions on the A string
- Recognise how to play 'Twinkle Twinkle' on the fiddle
- Indicate how to play the polka 'Britches Full of Stitches' on the D and A strings
- Distinguish between the finger positions on the E string for playing in the upper octave
- Recognise how to play 'The Kerry Polka' on the D, A and E strings
- Recall how to play the mazurka, 'Shoe The Donkey', including the correct finger placement on the E string
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