Category Archives: BRIMS Intermediate Fiddle

BRIMS Classes: Alex Fiddle II Spring 2012

This term, all the tunes for particular classes will be organized under one heading and will be updated when instructors send new tunes. Hopefully this will make more sense for all involved! As always, feedback most appreciated.

New Year’s Eve (reel)  Listen  View Notation  (key of G)
Tarbolton (reel)  Listen  View Notation  (key of Em)
The Longford Collector (reel)  Listen  View Notation  (key of G)

Polka Johnny & Polka Nellie

Decided we might as well keep Johnny and Nellie together. They seemed like a good couple 🙂

Polka Johnny   Listen   (key of D)
Polka Nellie   Listen  

A couple of other quick notes. Had a delightful time at the Andy Irvine show at C’ville Coffee last night. What a great ambassador of the folk / Irish tradition. Also have to say it was nice to have great music in a local, intimate setting again. Couldn’t help but think of the Prism last night and how I’ve missed it.

Second quick note. Aaron Olwell is offering a new class on Tuesday nights for the remainder of the BRIMS Fall term alternating with our session class (and is a really nice complement to it for the session melody students). It’s called, “Learning to Play by Ear”. Here’s the description from Aaron:

What aspiring musician wouldn’t want to be able to pick up melodies on the spot after only hearing them a few times? I believe this is one of the most useful and pertinent skills in any kind of music, and it’s practically the foundation that Irish and many other folk musics are based on. Musicians with little or no theoretical understanding of music (often not even knowing a single note by name) have for centuries relied only on their ears to learn hundreds of tunes!

In this class, which will be open to all instruments and ages, we will surprise ourselves with latent talent and accomplish feats of “learning on the fly” that we previously thought were beyond us. Skill level is not important, although the class will be geared towards students who are already somewhat familiar with their instrument. So, if you have been playing for years but still feel like you struggle with this aspect of music, this class is for you. If you are comfortable as long as you have a page in front of you, but get anxious as soon as it’s taken away, this class is for you. If you are musically illiterate and maybe never even touched an instrument until some time within the last year, then you guessed it; this class is for you.

Bobby Casey’s

Here’s this week’s tune. I believe this is tune is also on Kevin Burke’s CD, “If the Cap Fits”, another great tune source CD. Actually, just a great CD, period. If you’re an Irish fiddler, it should be in your collection.

But in going with a recent theme, Bobby Casey’s is also apparently known as the Humours of Tellycrine, and perhaps Caisleán An Óir (Golden Castle?) as well. But, around these parts, I guess it will be known as Bobby Casey’s!

Bobby Casey’s (hornpipe)  Listen   View Notation  (key of Am)

Pipe on the Hob

This week, Alex taught Patrick Ourseau’s version of Pipe on the Hob which is a completely different tune than the one I know. You might know this version from the Live at Mona’s CD which, not surprisingly, features Patrick on Fiddle and is a also great “source for tunes” CD!

Pipe on the Hob (reel)  Listen   View Notation

Now, since this is going on the internet, it seems only right to put up the other version that I was familiar with so that folks are aware of both versions. The 3 part version below has notation on and in the Fiddler’s Fakebook. Here’s that version, as the first tune in a sweet set.

Pipe on the Hob (Alternate version) Watch  View Notation

So, who knows how we ended up with different versions out there? The question came up in session class as well with regard to different notation, or that the same tune is known by different names. The answer, of course, has to do with how the tunes have been passed down over the years. Maybe we shouldn’t worry so much about the names and just play the tunes! All part of my new mantra – “Delicious Ambiguity” – embrace it!

Banish Misfortune

Here’s yesterday’s tune for Alex’s class and lo and behold, it is also one of the tunes for our Session Workshop jig set. Great tune also! Session Workshop folks, this will have to hold you for a day or so as I compile the new tune lists.

Banish Misfortune (Jig)  Listen   View Notation  Key of D mix

Also, thanks to John B. from Session Class, here’s a pretty cool version of it. Click here for a banjo treat.

Sue (and any others having trouble playing the recordings), if you have a version of Foxfire 5 or above, it will have a built-in mp3 player (also better security and built-in pdf viewer). You can download the latest version here. Please let me know if this works!


‘Tis good to be back at BRIMS and in Alex’s class. In addition to learning Dinky’s Reel tonight, I learned three other important things. 1) Not playing fiddle for 4 months wreaks havoc with your intonation and confidence, 2) my replacement recorder uses mp3 format, making my life a step easier when it comes to posting tunes, and 3) not a smart idea to run 9 miles right before class. The old brain was a little fuzzy tonight. So, without further ado, here’s Dinky!

Dinky’s (Reel)  Listen
Dinky’s (Reel)  Listen (Slow)   View Notation  Key of Am (thanks John!)

Session class begins next week – looks like an excellent crew. Discovered 5 more people who are signing up tonight. Looking forward to that! Now I just have to compile the tunes…