Nine sets of fiddle tunes I love. Maybe you will too.

By Tim Stephenson

For me, one of the best parts of learning new tunes is listening to them. I'm always looking for cool tunes. Though I may not always be able to learn them. Here are nine sets of awesome tunes, by ten different artists. I included one tune twice. That's OK right? 

These aren't necessarily tunes that get played frequently in sessions, but they're great to listen to. And, who knows, maybe I'll learn some of them when I grow up.

The Wee Man from Uist and The High Drive

This set was recorded by Natalie Haas and Alasdair Fraser on the album Highlander's Farewell. The Wee Man from Uist is a traditional hornpipe. The High Drive was composed by a piper named Gordon Duncan. 

Pauline Conneely's, Arthur Muise, Dog Bites Chapman, The Boston Urban Ceilidh

This set comes from Hanneke Cassel's Some Melodious Sonnet CD. Pauline Ceneely is a banjo player and step dancer from Bedford, England. The tune was composed by Liz Carol. Brenda Stubbert composed Arthur Muise for the fiddle player from Cape Breton of the same name. The Boston Urban Ceilidh was composed by Hanneke Cassel. I didn't find much about Dog Bites Chapman, if anyone has information, let me know.

Norwegian Waltz

The first tune is the Norwegian Waltz, followed by a two hornpipes, The Golden Eagle and Complements to Sean Maguire by Brendan Mulvihill. They finish up with a nice foot tappin' reel called Lady Montgomerie by Lord Eglintoun. A great set that can be found on their album Thursday Night at the Caley.

The Champion of the Seas, Over the Isles to America, Pop Goes the Weasel, Rossie Castle

Bonnie Rideout did this recording, and I found it on an album called A Scottish Fiddle Collection. I didn't find much information about these tunes. There was a clipper ship by the name Champion of the Seas. Over the Isles to America is a traditional reel. Pop Goes the Weasel is a familiar jig that I'm surprised we don't hear more. A lot of people pair it with Off She Goes, which we like to refer to as the Humpty Dumpty Song.

Pressed for Time

This set by The Fire starts out with The Heights Of Cassino, which is a 6/8 march. It is followed by Pressed for Time, a pipe reel by Gordon Duncan and they finish up with The Prince of Wales, composed by Donald MacPhedran. Apparently about a pub named the Prince of Wales. Oh, and Leslie and I are woking on The Heights of Cassino and The Prince of Whales, both taught to us by David and Rebecca. You can find The Fire on iTunes.

David's Jig

Composed by Natalie MacMaster. What else can I say. It rocks. It's another one we've worked on a bit. Maybe someday we'll have it in our repertoure.

Strathbogie Toast

The first tune is Miss Drummond of Perth’s Favourite Scotch Measure, from one of Malcom MacDonald's collections of Strathspeys and Reels. The second tune is The Strathbogie Toast a traditional reel, also known as The Bobers Of Brechin by William Marshall. They do a great job with the harmonies, and the slow gypsy like beginning really lures me in. This is on their second album called Reverie. Check out their first album too. Both can be found at rantfiddles.bandcamp.com.

Falling Polska

I first heard The Real Vocal String Quartet play this one and loved it. You can get this on their album Four Little Sisters. I later learned that it is by Vasen, so I've included their version too. 

Here's the Vasen version. The Keyed Up album is also filled with great tunes.

The Drunken Sailor

The first tune is Drunken Sailor's Hornpipe by Brendan McGlinchey and the second is a reel called Colonel Frazer's. Zoe Conway is an Irish fiddler and composer. She also plays classical. This can be found on her album The Horse's Tail which I listen too over and over.

If you've made it this far, congratulations.  I'll just leave you with these nuggets of wisdom. 

- "We gotta play 'em one day at a time."

- "I just wanna give it my best shot and, the good Lord willing, things will work out."

- "Sometimes it rains."

I hope you enjoy listening to these tunes. I figured I like them, so you might too.