Recommended CDs/Books

There’s no better way to improve your playing than by listening to lots of recordings by great players and bands. Reading about the music, its history and where it comes from, can give you a lot of insight and make you play better as well. As I’ve explored different fiddle styles over the years, I’ve always tried to immersed myself with all the best recordings & written material I can find!

I’m going to get this page of recommended books and CDs going with some of my favorites in the Irish/Celtic genre. Later I’ll add more genres, more recommendations. And if you have a favorite recording or book that has made an impression on you or helped make you a better player, I hope you’ll let me and all the readers at The Fiddle Center know about it as well!

Irish Fiddling

Mel Bay’s Complete Irish Fiddle Player by Peter Cooper is my all-time favorite book for violinists at any level who are proficient music-readers and want to learn Irish fiddling. Peter teaches classic jigs, reels, polkas, hornpipes, mazurkas and more, with good bowings and clear explanations on how to add ornaments correctly for that authentic Irish sound. You’ll learn plenty from listening to the optional CDs as well. Highly Recommended!

Irish Fiddle Solos by Peter Cooper continues where his first book leaves off. There’s 64 great tunes in this book, featuring the same concise bowings & written ornaments. You’ll really expand your repertoire of jigs, reels, and more when you start using this fine collection.

The Irish Fiddle Book, The Art of Traditional Fiddle-Playing by Matt Cranitch is a comprehensive tutorial covering all aspects of Irish fiddle playing. Matt is one of the most well-respected fiddlers in Ireland and is a master of the slides and polkas played in the Sliabh Luachra area (on the Cork/Kerry border).

The Dance Music of Ireland – O’Neill’s 1001 is the ‘bible’ of Irish tunes, first publishes in 1907. Every player of Irish tunes has referred to this book at one time or another! Fiddle players be warned, however, as the tunes have no slurs or bowings of any kind. You’ll have to learn to add those on your own.

The Ireland’s Best Collection includes a number of good books full of tunes. You can choose from Ireland’s Best Fiddle Tunes, Polkas and Slides, Slow Airs, Tin Whistle Tunes, and more. Companion CDs are available for all books as well.

Fiddle Tunes for the Violinist by Betty Barlow includes jigs, reels and hornpipes for the beginner to build real violin technique and have fun doing it. Includes piano accompaniment.