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English Fiddle Tunes

Book Cover English Fiddle Tunes

Notes: Tune List & Research Notes
Sample Pages and Free Downloads:
sheet music and mp3s

Book/CD set
Schott ED 12758
£12.99 in the UK from Schott
email: info@erics-music-shop.com
Tel: 020 7534 0710.


UK and Europe








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US and Canada

Pete’s new collection of ninety-nine traditional fiddle tunes draws on recordings of twentieth-century traditional players like Jinkey Wells, Walter Bulwer, Scan Tester, Billy Harrison, Stephen Baldwin, and Fred Pidgeon, as well as contemporary fiddlers like Jon Boden, Eliza Carthy, and Kathryn Tickell. But it also presents many tunes from the ‘lost’, pre-Victorian English fiddle tradition of the late-18th and early-19th centuries, selected from the rich manuscript collections of William Vickers, William Irwin, Joseph Kershaw, Joshua Jackson, Joshua Gibbons, Michael Turner, John Moore, the Brownes of Troutbeck, Thomas Hardy, John Clare, and many others. All the tunes are recorded, note-for-note as written, on the accompanying CD.  

‘This collection explores fiddle tunes, past and present, from different parts of England,’ writes Pete in his absorbing introduction. ‘The traditions of Northumbrian music, and that played for Morris dancing in the Cotswolds, have been unbroken since the late 1700s. Such continuity, in the sense of music being handed down, player to player, from one generation to the next within a family or village, was almost, or entirely, lost in many other English regions. With its rapid and large-scale industrialisation, England by 1850 was the first country in history where over half the population lived in big cities. While its rural fiddle traditions were profoundly disrupted, however, and remain less well known internationally than their counterparts in Ireland and Scotland, rumours of their death have been greatly exaggerated...’

'If you play, or want to play, English fiddle tunes, or even just want to know how they go, this book is the number one purchase. Not just a book; you get a CD too, of Pete Cooper playing all 99 tunes on solo fiddle, inhabiting each one with fine tone, plenty of shape, lift and style and just enough hints of the possibilities of variation to trigger a player’s own developments.

The tunes from across England, including hornpipes, 3/2 hornpipes, jigs, slip-jigs, reels, rants, waltzes, polkas, marches, schottisches and morris tunes, come from 33 named sources, from early published collections through fiddlers’manuscripts to individual living or recent musicians. Quite a few will sound familiar, but these are their most interesting and catchy versions, many with appended alternatives and link bars, and there are plenty that even a dedicated sessioneer won’t have encountered.

They’re printed clearly and large, easily read with the soft, lie-flat A4 book on your lap while playing, with plenty of space around them for pencilled notes. And, there are chord letters; though most creative people generally ignore such things and work out their own accompaniments, you may well find you’ll end up agreeing with them.

In the introduction, in English, French and German, Pete gives a lucid and concise summing up of the range, history, connections, forms and traditions of the interpretation by English fiddlers of dance tune forms that have spread across Europe since the late 17th century. He also gives some pointers to typical playing styles and phrasing.

All this, and it’s only £10.99.’

- Andrew Cronshaw, fROOTS, November 2006 

Sample Pages and Free Downloads:

Click here for sample page and mp3s. Astley’s Ride/Rochdale Coconut Dance
Click here for sample page and mp3s. Dance to Your Daddy



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