Day 919 – #38 Learn the Sunshine Hornpipe on the fiddle

Why oh why do I put things like this on my list?!  I first heard this tune long before I started to learn the fiddle.  It’s on one of the Dubliners albums and it sounds so lovely – logical and reasonably simple.  How wrong could I be?  When I asked Ruth (my fiddle teacher) to learn this one to teach me she soon put me straight.  It’s difficult.  It’s in A, which is hard work.  It has loads of triplets and they are fast.  And there’s some really tricky, fancy stuff that John Sheahan puts in.  But it’s a great tune.  So we persevered.

So, learning it was one thing.  Trying to record it was another nightmare altogether.  As previously mentioned, I don’t play in front of anyone else.  That includes things recording me!  Mistake after mistake after mistake.  Then the more I mess it up, the more my fingers get all muddled and it just gets worse.  So anyway, here it is.  A bit flat and with several mistakes as the first take turned out to be the best of a bad bunch!

If your ears aren’t bleeding and you want to hear what it *should* sound like you can check out the master himself


Day 838 – #4 Play in a Fiddle Session


Ok, so it wasn’t a big session like this…. but a session it was.  With *other people*!  Horror.  I don’t play in front of anyone other than my teacher Ruth and Mark (even then Mark is generally in a different room!) so this was a big deal.  And it’s one that I’ve been putting of for the last few years.  But Ruth’s persistence has finally got through and I said yes to a session at her house.

So on thursday evening I made my way over to Broughton Gifford with fear weighing heavily, admittedly tinged with a bit of excitement.  I needn’t have worried.  To start with it was just me, Ruth and another student of hers – Peter.  We didn’t play any of the reels I’d been madly practising as Peter didn’t know any of them!  So we did some jigs that I learned ages ago (which was a bit of a memory test!)  We were soon joined by another student of Ruth’s – Tim – he’d been having lessons for 4 years but been playing for 40 years on and off!  The speed was fairly relaxed so I didn’t have too many problems keeping up which was a relief.  I also didn’t have to sit out too many tunes.  Tim was a bit of a hornpipe fan too so we rattled a few of those out too, which was great!

It was a great introductory session for me.  It’s boosted my confidence a bit and it’s given me a new skill – being able to drop out and back into a tune without too much trouble.  Whether I’d be able to do that at full speed, I doubt, but it’s a start.  The next plan is to go to a faster session (still at Ruth’s) with some of her more able fiddling friends so that will be a bit more realistic and will be a bigger test of my abilities.

I’m looking forward to it!