A curated selection of recommended resources for learning and playing tunes.
Books and Associated Recordings
- Books – The Portland Collection – Tune books. Three volumes, 300 tunes per volume, representing many of the tunes played, and how they are played, in the Portland, Oregon, USA area. The tunes include Irish, Old-Time, and the omnivorous selection of tunes played for contra dance. By Susan Songer with Clyde Curley. These books are carefully curated, and the tunes are nicely presented with accompanying notes about each tune. This set is a highly recommended core for your fiddle tune library. If you actively play and learn fiddle tunes of North America, you should own these books.
- Audio – A Portland Selection — Three albums of “contra dance music in the Pacific Northwest.” These are companion recordings to The Portland Collection books, providing an audio selection of tunes that are in the books. The tunes presented and clearly and slowly enough for learning, and with musical beauty to make them a pleasure to just listen to.
- Book – Foinn Seisiún — Irish session tune books; three volumes. Each of the three volumes contains sheet music for more than 100 traditional Irish tunes. Published by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3.
- Audio – Foinn Seisiún — CDs to accompany the Foinn Seisiún tune books. Three albums. The Comhaltas website provides many of these recordings for playing or download, for free.
- Book – The Fiddler’s Fakebook, by David Brody — One of the most useful traditional fiddle tune collections of the 20th century. A staple for your reference library.
- Book – Learn to Play Irish Fiddle, by Tom Morley — Fifty core Irish tunes, presented well with sheet music, chords, and a reference CD. A good reference for a core Irish tune repertoire even if you don’t play fiddle.
- Book – Irish Music 400 Traditional Tunes, by Stephen Ducke — A good collection of Irish tunes, with downloadable audio tracks for all of the tunes.
- Book – Complete Irish Fiddle Player, by Peter Cooper (Mel Bay Publications) — A good collection of Irish tunes, with chords and downloadable audio tracks for all of the tunes.
- Book – 100 Essential Irish Session Tunes, by Dave Mallinson (Mally Productions), with accompanying audio tracks.
- Book – Gary Coover: 75 Irish Session Tunes for Anglo Concertina (Rollston Press). One of a series of Anglo concertina tune books by this author. Available as a printed book a e-book.
- MandoLessons — Baron Collins Hill — Video instruction, play-along tracks, and sheet music for more than 200 fiddle tunes. These are presented for mandolin, but a useful resource for any player of fiddle tunes. Beyond instruction for playing tunes on mandolin, Baron includes instruction on improvising, chording technique, octave mandolin, and more. All of the material is accessible for free, but you can (and should) make contributions and purchase audio tracks.
- Online Academy of Irish Music — Instruction on traditional Irish tunes and how to play them on a variety of instruments. Subscription.
- FiddleVideo — Instruction for playing traditional tunes on fiddle. Great for non-fiddlers too. A variety of genres taught by several instructors, including excellent Irish tune instruction from Kevin Burke.
- Peghead Nation — instruction in old time, Irish, swing and more for a variety of acoustic instruments.
- North Atlantic Tune List – Dance & fiddle music from Scandinavia, the British Isles, Canada, Appalachia and more. A resource for traditional musicians.
- The Session – A community website dedicated to Irish traditional music. This is often a good first stop for finding music notation for tunes, and for finding Irish tune playing sessions.
- Vashon Celtic Tunes – A collection of Celtic tune music scores, many with chords and MIDI files.