home about hope lessons kids programs store tune of the month jamsmailing list links

Previous Tunes of the Month

 

2016

January
The Bishop

Here's a ridiculously happy English Country Dance melody to start your year off on a bright note. I love this tune! Harmony part included.

August Indian Corn A rollicking old time tune! One of my students brought this to his lesson. He found the tune on Youtube, played by the Big Foot String Band.
September Foggy Dew A classic Irish tune, brought in by one of my students. Fiddlers' Companion shows this as possibly dating back to the year 1595.
October The Trip to Limone I was delighted to recieve this lovely original waltz in my inbox from Peter Clayton, who lives in the UK. He kindly gave me permission to share his composition here as a tune of the month.
November Hunting the Buffalo Thanks to Jeremy Brooks for reminding me of this old-time tune. To get the low drones in the B part, tune your G string up to an A (so your tuning will be ADAE). I included a couple of different ideas for bowing it, and an alternate A part as well. Have fun!

 

2015

January
Gloomy Winter's Noo Awa

Translation: Gloomy Winter's Now Away. This Scottish tune dates from 1787. The Fiddler's Companion lists it as playable as both a strathspey and an aire.

The melody is lusciously gloomy, (I adore the B part), and I couldn't help put pull out a viola to play it in a lower octave. The pdf is notated for fiddle, an octave above.

Words written to this tune by poet Robert Tannahill tell of a young man longing for his love and feeling sad despite the beauty of spring that surrounds him.

Thanks to fiddling friend Kathy Selby for bringing this tune to my attention!

February Walker Street

Here's a fun reel to warm up your February! This tune is found in both the Canadian and American repertoire, sometimes known as "The Traveller" or, in Canada, “Reel des Ouvriers” (The Laborer’s Reel).

Thanks to The Fiddler's Companion website for history on this tune.

March
Paddy Fahey's #14

Yes, the title is a bit bland, but when I first heard this reel played by fiddler Martin Hayes I thought an angel had descended from heaven. It's a lovely slow reel.

You can hear Martin's version with Dennis Cahill on guitar on youtube here.

April Lizzie's Puttin on the Ritz

New York State Fiddlers' Hall of Fame inductee Randy Kerr wrote this tune for his charming wife Lizzie. I had the honor of getting to know Randy and Lizzie at the summer concerts at the Fiddlers' Hall of Fame Pavillion in Osceola, and playing tunes with Randy at the home of Fred and Jessie Gotham.

Not only was Randy a fabulous fiddler, but among many other accomplishments he served in World War II, was the director of the Adirondacks and Catskills state parks, served as a scoutmaster and fire chief, and in his lifetime planted over 50,000 trees.

Neither Randy nor Lizzie are with us any longer, and they are deeply missed. Many thanks to their son Mike for permission to feature this wonderful tune. You can learn more about other New York State Fiddlers' Hall of Fame inductees at the NYSOTFA website.

 

Audio version Sheet music
May Chinese Breakdown

First recorded in 1925 by the Dixie Stringband, Chinese Breakdown is a traditional tune that according to The Fiddlers' Companion, is "...widespread from the south to the midwest, the American northeast and Canada and even to England and Scotland."

It's a fun tune to play!

Audio version Sheet music
June The Arra Mountains

The Arra Mountains are located in County Tipperary, Ireland. This driving slip jig, named after them, was composed by Paddy O'Brien.

Thanks to fiddler Kathy Selby for teaching me this tune. (Note: in the recording I tuned my G string to an A pitch)

Audio version Sheet music
July Emma's Waltz This is a hauntingly beautiful Finnish waltz. There's a spot in the B part that I think is easier fingered in third position; I marked it incase you'd like to give it a try. Audio version Sheet music
August French Canadian Four Step I learned this jaunty tune for the New York State Old Time Fiddlers' Association's "Fiddle Queens of New York State" concerts in Osceola, N.Y. last month. It's fun to play! Audio version Sheet music
September Toronto Waltz An elegant waltz, as played by one of the true queens of the Canadian fiddle, Eleanor Townsend.
October The Canal in October I love tunes that are simple and elegant, and this one is a gem. The Canal in October is a French tune, taught to me by Tom Hodgson and composed by Frederick Paris.
November Go to the Devil and Shake Yourself

I first learned this jig 30 years ago when fiddling in the Geneseo String Band. Local fiddler Larry Downey knew it by the title "When Sick is it Tea You Want".

Yes, this was a tune of the month a few years back in the key of D, but I found this lovely version in C, which appears to be the original key according to Fiddlers' Companion, and had to share it.

December What Wondrous Love is This In my December tradition of featuring a carol or hymn, here's a lovely shape note hymn that one of my students brought to lessons. I've arranged it in an alternate tuning using drones and double stops. It was fun to work out; I hope you enjoy it too!

 

2014

January Return to Milltown

I really enjoy this Irish reel! It begins in Dm, but switches to D major in the B part.

Kinda like the change from winter to spring...

Audio version Sheet music
February The First Waltz with You Just in time for Valentine's Day, a lovely waltz that one of my students brought to lessons. Composer unknown - anyone know something about its origin?
March The Queen's Fancy For this month we have a lovely Scottish jig, which according to The Fiddler's Companion website dates back to c. 1780. It's great fun to play - give it a try!
April Easter Thursday I seem to be on an 18th century kick these last few months. Here's a lovely tune from the English Country Dance repertoire, Easter Thursday, composed circa 1733.
May The Rambling Pitchfork According to The Fiddler's Companion website, the title “Rambling Pitchfork” refers to ..."an itinerant farm laborer, in the same sense that ‘hired gun’ refers to a mercenary." A fun jig, whatever the title!
June Crooked Stovepipe Here's a Canadian tune that is just addicting to play! According to the Fiddler's Companion website, it's thought that the tune originated in Canada and spread to New England from Ottawa. I like playing it at a slightly relaxed pace.
July Sourwood Mountain This popular southern tune dates back to the mid-1800's. Often played on the banjo, it's great fun to play on the fiddle and has lyrics as well (included).
August The Happy Fiddler

Thanks to Ernie McDonald, New York State Fiddler's Hall of Fame inductee from 1995, for granting me permission to use his original tune this month.

To learn more about Ernie and the history of more New York State Hall of Fame fiddlers, visit the New York State Old-Tyme Fiddlers' Association web site HERE.

September Josie Girl Josie Girl is an addicting old time tune. Caution: You will be humming this all day!
October Up Jumped the Devil

This one-part old time tune is a great example of one of my favorite aspects of fiddling: musicians of all different skill levels can play the same tune together.

I've included pdfs for both the simplest version of the tune and a number of variations. The recording has the most variations.

Thanks to Barbara, one of my subscribers in North Carolina, for suggesting this tune.

Sheet music

Simpler version

November The Yellow Barn

I wrote "The Yellow Barn" last winter, inspired by one of the workshop rooms at the Falling Waters Music Camp at La Tourelle Resort in Ithaca, N.Y.

This coming year the camp will be January 9th - 11th, with a fantastic lineup of instructors, workshops, concerts, and jams. Take a peek at the event here!

December Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella

Following last December's example, I've chosen one of my favorite Christmas carols and created a harmony part for it.

"Bring a Torch" is such a joyful piece of music, originally published in 1553 in the Provence region of France.

It's amazing that a melody written 461 years ago could endure the turmoil of the ages. It connects us with an emotional bond to musicians stretching back through centuries, truly a remarkable feat.

2013

June
Michael Turner's Waltz
Michael Turner was a fiddler in Warnham, Sussex, who lived from 1796 - 1885. It's unclear how this waltz came to carry his name (perhaps it was a favorite), as the melody was written before he was born by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1788, as the second of six German dances.
July
Cajun Fiddle
Here's a fun Cajun fiddle tune written by Don Rich, who played with Buck Owens. Lots of fun Youtube videos out there for this tune!
August
Be Thou My Vision
This month's tune is a traditional hymn of Irish origin.  I had a request to make this lovely melody a tune of the month, and have arranged it with double stops the second time through for extra fun.
September
Go to the Devil and Shake Yourself
This month, our tune's devilish title is an old fashioned method of telling a person to get lost! The Fiddlers' Companion website has this tune dating back to the 1700's. This version is from "Cole's 1000 Fiddle Tunes" collection. There is an Em version of a jig with this title as well.
October
Grasshopper Polka
Here's a fun polka that I learned from the playing of my friend Ernie McDonald, the 1995 New York State Fiddlers' Hall of Fame inductee.
November The Hag at the Churn I'm choosing this month's tune of the month just before Halloween, and thought this minor Irish jig would be appropriate!
December In the Bleak Midwinter

One of my favorite carols this year. Here it is with three part harmony for fiddles.

Annie Lenox has a beautiful vocal arrangement of this song on youtube if you have a chance to listen!

Audio version Sheet music

2012

January
The Minor Spaniard
February
Georgiana Moon
March
Ballydesmond Polka #3
May
Dreyfus Reel
June
Waltz Quadrille
August
Rabbit Reel
December
Breakin' Up Christmas

2011

January
Roscoe
February
Old Wife Behind the Fire
March
Toss the Blanket
April
Le Cultivateur
May
Clifford
June
Alabama Jubilee
July
Going to the Well for Water
August
The Rose of Tralee
September
The Snow on the Hills
October
Full Rigged Ship
November
Draper's Gardens
December
Nelly Bly

 

2010

January
The Lamb Skinnet
February
The Whistling Swans
March
The Rolling Wave
April
The Moving Cloud
May
Home with the Girls in the Morning
June
The Virginia
July
John Stenson's #2
August
Ellis Jig
September
Phillip's Little Boat
October
The Wise Maid
November
Robert and Alice's Waltz
December
Star Above the Garter

 

2009

January
Peeler's Jacket
February
Betty's Party
March
Mulqueen's
April
Sally in the Garden with the Hog-Eyed Man
May
Meeting of the Waters
June
The Banshee
July
Spotted Pony
August
Cuil Aodha Jig
September
Reel St. Joseph
October
Hector the Hero
November
The Fairy Princess Reel
December
Yearlings in the Canebreak

 

2008

January
Streak O' Lean, Streak O' Fat
February
Katie's Waltz
Melody     Harmony
March
MacPherson's Rant
April
The Wren
May
Indian Trails
June
La Grondeuse
July
Paddy Fahey's
August
Twin Cities
September
Sally's Got Mud Between Her Toes
October
The Popcorn Reel
November
The Convenience Reel
December
Don's March

2007

January
Virginia Reel
February
Leona Tuttle
March
Happy Hollow
April
The Quarry Cross
May
Red Haired Lass
June
Rory O'More
July
Two Roads
August
Fermoy Lasses
September
Year of Jubilo
October
Outhouse
November
Mug of Brown Ale
December
Money in Both Pockets
Melody     Harmony

2006

January
Through the Gates
January bonus
Hole in the Wall
February
La Bonne Fille Betsy
March
The Merry Blacksmith
April
The Joys of Quebec
May
Miss Monaghan's
June
Archibald MacDonald of Keppoch
July
Wild Hog in the Woods
August
Highland Laddie
September
Reel des Colons
October
Shoes and Stockings
November
Rock the Cradle Joe
December
Coleraine

2005

September:   Father Kelly’s Reel   
October:   Milk Cow Blues   
November Sean Ryan's
December Pigeon on a Gate

 

Website design by Hope Grietzer, copyright 2008