Fiddle Teaching

Matt Cranitch is very highly rated and widely experienced as a teacher of Irish traditional fiddle-playing, and presents masterclasses and workshops in many places throughout the world. He also gives tuition on a one-to-one basis. In each of these contrasting learning environments, his teaching methodology is based very much on the overall approach adopted in The Irish Fiddle Book. He pays special attention to bowing, particularly in the context of the appropriate rhythmic articulation for the different tune-types. Other important aspects of the music, such as ornamentation and melodic variation, as well as repertoire development, are also covered in depth.

To arrange classes with Matt, please contact him for details through the website contact form.

The Irish Fiddle Book explains and shows in detail the various techniques used by fiddle-players in creating a traditional style of playing. All the information is presented in the context of the music itself, with numerous transcribed and recorded examples. It is aimed not only at beginners, but also fiddle-players (and indeed violinists) with some knowledge and experience who wish to learn more. For those unable to read music, a chapter on notation is included. Particular emphasis is given to bowing and ornamentation, with individual chapters being devoted to Introduction, Music Notation, Getting Started, First Tunes, Jigs, Slides and Polkas, Hornpipes, Airs, Reels and Putting it all Together. In addition, the more general features of the various Irish fiddle-playing styles are outlined. The book also attempts to convey something of the excitement felt in playing music which has a large degree of improvisation, albeit within certain bounds. The demo CD that accompanies the book features a large selection of the transcribed tunes and ornaments, each performed by Matt. This is an invaluable aid to learning as it allows the listener to hear how the music and ornamentation should sound. Also, a selection of 101 ‘repertoire’ tunes are included in the book, with the various different tune-types being represented. A large number of these tunes, arranged and played in sets as would normally be done by traditional musicians, feature on two specially prepared recordings, Take a Bow and Give it Shtick. Additional instrumentation and accompaniment are provided on various tracks.

Irish Fiddle Tunes is a further collection of 62 tunes, selected and presented in sections corresponding to the various tune-type categories of jigs, slides, slip jigs, polkas, reels, hornpipes, set dances and airs. Guidelines on stylistic interpretation are given for each kind of tune, with full bowing directives as well as some ornamentation being included for a number of the pieces. All the tunes are performed individually by Matt on the accompanying CD, with suggestions being made for combining them in tune-sets. French and German translations of all texts are included.

Irish Session Tunes: The Red Book features 100 tunes from the ‘repertoire’ section of The Irish Fiddle Book, with an accompanying CD of 50 of these tunes. While the pieces in this tune-book have been selected primarily with fiddle-players in mind, they are also suitable for playing on a range of other traditional instruments.

To buy these books and CDs, visit the shop.