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The Fiddle Player's Companion: Bring Irish Reels, Jigs, Polkas and Hornpipes to Life, with Bowing; Variations; Increasing playing speed and Traditional Music Theory

This book is for fiddle players who already play and read a bit, but who are stuck.

  • Maybe the tunes you know are lacking life – they need livening up or to be made more foot-tapping.

  • Maybe you’d like to know a bit more about the theory of the music – about keys and changing tunes from one key to another (transposing).

  • Maybe you feel held back in terms of speed and would like to play faster.

  • Maybe you’ve learned tunes from books that contain little information for fiddle players, so they just don’t sound right when you play them.

If any of these descriptions fit, then you’ll find something the contents of this book very useful.

Over the last 40 years or so - as a fiddle player, teacher and author of instructional books and compiler of tune books, I’ve been asked some questions more than others. Certain subjects come up again and again with fellow musicians and students. For instance:

  • How can I play faster?

  • How do I achieve that infectious rhythm in my playing?

  • How do I make a tune from written music sound good?

  • What key is this tune?

  • How do I breathe new life into a tune that sounds lifeless?

These questions are answered in The Fiddler Player's Companion.

This book is divided into two sections:

Part 1 deals with some practical sides of Irish fiddle playing – things like bowing, variations, making written tunes sound good. Examples are taken from traditional Irish tunes and new ideas are introduced gradually with full explanations.

Part 2 takes a look at the theoretical side of the music, covering the keys of tunes and how to transpose tunes into different keys. This, in turn, bringing up new ideas for variations.

The chapters of this book are based on articles that originally appeared in the excellent Fiddler Magazine between about 2011 and 2015 – along with a lot of extra information and musical examples.

Phil Berthoud has been a musician for over 40 years - as a performer, teacher, composer, author of fiddle/mandolin and guitar instruction books, compiler/arranger of collections of traditional music and session musician

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