Jenn Learns Fiddle: Tunes and Videos

Here, you can watch the videos I’ve been uploading to my channel on YouTube. You can find sheet music and some tabs for tunes below for your own personal use.  

Thanks to the composers who have allowed me to share their tunes, or who have uploaded tunes to their own websites!  Make sure you buy their music if you enjoy their tunes. Often they are my own transcriptions, so might not be exactly what the composer intended.  It’s best to check with the composer themselves if you’re planning to record or use them for anything more than your own practice.

The tunes I choose are just tunes that I really like, regardless of where they’re from or who wrote them. I just sit down with the fiddle and think ‘what tune would I like to play?’. They may be tunes I’ve heard recently on recordings, or I may have played them on the guitar in various musical projects. At the moment, by coincidence, it’s a male-heavy list of composers. I can reel off a big list of great female musicians, and I know some of the tunes they have composed (some of them are pretty tricky!), but I want to research female composers further. Some composers have tune books available; I have books by Marie Fielding, Lauren MacColl, Fraser Shaw, Liz Carroll and Calum MacCrimmon to name a few, and some composers make tunes available on their websites, like Ali Hutton who wrote ‘Smiler’.

I transcribed Archie Churchill-Moss’ tune ‘The Iron Bell’ from his album ‘III’ by Moore, Moss, Rutter. I transcribe tunes with Sibelius.

TUNE LIST / SHEET MUSIC

  1. The Iron Bell by Archie Churchill-Moss, from III by Moore, Moss, Rutter  SHEET MUSIC  GUITAR TAB
  2. Smiler by Ali Hutton, from Symbiosis by Ross Ainslie & Ali Hutton   SHEET MUSIC
  3. Jen McNeil’s 38th by Rufus Huggan SHEET MUSIC
  4. Angus MacKenzie’s by Fraser Shaw, from the album Mac Ìle: The Music of Fraser Shaw.  You can buy a book of Fraser’s tunes from the Fraser Shaw Trust website.  SHEET MUSIC
  5. John Sinclair-Younger of Ulster by Addie Harper.  
  6. Sandy River Belle (Traditional), learned from Brittany Haas and Lena Jonsson’s album. SHEET MUSIC This tune was my first experiment in playing to my own accompaniment.
  7. Valhalla, by Seàn Óg Graham. Learned from Laura-Beth Salter, who learned it from Kevin Henderson.

EXPERIMENT 1: Sandy River Belle – playing along to my own guitar accompaniment.


I’ve been having a go at playing fiddle along to my own guitar accompaniment.  🤓 Pretty tricky. If I could clone myself it would be far easier.

I made 3 videos. In the first one, I’m just playing solo. Then, I recorded a guitar part along with a click, and recorded a second fiddle solo whilst listening to that. I then mixed the two together, so the third video is both fiddle and guitar at the same time (the fiddle is recorded through my DPA mic, and my guitar is just the pickup).

I think there are too many variables to really learn anything specific from comparing the three. Playing to a click, improvising a guitar part whilst singing the tune in your head, using a DPA rather than a crap iPhone mic… I guess the main thing is that when you play with another person it opens up so many more possibilities for creative ideas. I had more freedom to let go when the guitar was there as a foundation. I’m far more confident at shaping arrangements on the fly with the guitar, and it helped having something to play off, even if it did feel a bit out of sync. When I listen back to the guitar part, I can hear so many fun possibilities of what can happen with the fiddle part in my head, they just aren’t in my fingers at the moment.

Video 1 (solo):  https://youtu.be/WoHkUot0b9U
Video 2 (solo + guitar):  https://youtu.be/0czkGnc0qq0
Video 3 (fiddle + guitar):  https://youtu.be/oX9fZqWh728

The tune I used is Sandy River Belle, which is on Brittany Haas & Lena Jonsson‘s album.