Learn About The Irish Fiddling Tradition

Irish FiddlerThe lovely, lilting sound of the Irish fiddle is synonymous with the Emerald Isle. For centuries, Irish fiddles have been a powerful part of the cultural tradition of Ireland.

Today, the legacy continues… modern musicians remain intrigued by the traditional folk melodies and techniques of the past…and listeners still enjoy the classic sounds of the instrument.

If you are interested in Irish fiddles and want to learn more about the art of playing them, this article will provide some interesting information about the instruments, as well some insight into their history and significance…

Irish Fiddles – A History…

As far back as 900 A.D., drawings and carvings of the fiddle, or violin (they are the very same thing) first appeared in Europe and the British Isles. It is believed that Scottish players actually introduced the instruments to the Irish during the Crusades

Throughout history, the fiddle has evolved in form and sound. During the 18th century, an excavation in Dublin revealed primitive examples of these stringed instruments and their bows.

By the early 19th century, certain modifications and improvements to the fiddle were in place…chin rests for comfort appeared around 1820, and the range of the instrument was increased by the creation of a longer fingerboard.

Predating even the quintessentially Irish uilleann pipes, the fiddle is considered the oldest traditional Irish instrument of all. In song, verse, and prose, the Irish fiddle (in its early manifestations) was often celebrated and revered.

The fiddle is generally strung in a different way than a violin used to play classical music would be, in order to capture a certain “folk” sound that is uniquely Celtic.

Facts About The Irish Fiddle

Fiddle and Case

This four-stringed instrument comes in a variety of shapes. Fiddle playing generally features a dance-inspired rhythm that is jauntier and more fast-paced than most violin playing. As well, the Irish fiddle is usually played at a louder volume in order to get the most out of the instrument.

In the early 20th century, Irish families and friends would gather in the country, often at crossroads, and practice Irish fiddling in a group. Get-togethers at houses and pubs were also commonplace…the instrument became a way of uniting the Irish people through traditional folk music…

However, the religious leaders of the 1930’s tended to take a dim view of crossroads parties and other such activities; in time, these gatherings gave way to bigger get-togethers in town halls and larger city venues.

Despite what the powers-that-be thought of Irish fiddling in its grass-roots format, the people of the country continued to play in their homes and refine their skills. Eventually, more formal music groups and recording artists began to emerge. During the 50’s and 60’s, recordings of classic Irish fiddling tunes became more prevalent.

Today, Celtic musicians use the fiddle to add traditional elements to a variety of styles, including pop and rock. An example of a modern Irish group that uses the instrument to add color to their compositions is The Corrs, who put whistles, bodhrains, and Irish fiddles into their contemporary pop songs.

Another rock band, the Hothouse Flowers, also used fiddles to add dimension to their sound. These are just a couple of examples of the way the old traditions get a modern spin in the current music scene…

Other Ways To Enjoy Irish Beauty…

The artistry and individuality of the Irish people and their culture is unparalleled…today, artisans in the Emerald Isle craft elegant jewelry that also honors the old traditions.

Gold Solitaire Irish Engagement Ring with Celtic Knotwork

Carefully-wrought engravings of ancient Celtic and Irish symbols add timeless beauty to rings, earrings, and pendants.

Many brides-to-be enjoy choosing Irish engagement rings that feature ornate knot work…this woven effect is found on Irish art treasures dating back to the 6th century.

Often, such knot work (also known as interlace) is a symbol of life-force and eternity, and it is therefore quite appropriate for a wedding ceremony that celebrates a lifetime commitment.

Today’s Irish jewelry has a unique beauty and resonates with meaning…the most authentic designs are created by hand and assayed in the Emerald Isle…