Matt Cranitch Fiddle Workshop 2014

Continuing the success of last year’s Fiddle Workshop, the second Matt Cranitch Fiddle Workshop was held again in the last weekend of May 2014. With two extra participants compared to last year – one of them coming all the way from Scotland for this workshop – Naarden was once again the place for some great Irish fiddle music.

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Matt Cranitch is a renowned fiddle teacher and performer of Irish traditional music and his experience in teaching the material is tremendous. While there are many workshops where teaching new tunes is the main focus, this workshop focuses on the question on how the music is played. Playing Irish traditional music is not just a matter of playing the right notes in the right order; for fiddle players in particular, the question what to do with the bow is of tremendous importance.

Since Matt Cranitch is an expert in the music of the Sliabh Luachra area, the musical repertoire of that area formed an integral part of the workshop. Although this area features reels, jigs and hornpipes like other areas in Ireland, it are the polkas and slides that are mainly asociated with this area. Of these two tune types, the polkas are the most elusive in appearance – they are often not that complex in nature, but the way they need to be bowed to produce the energy and lift required for polka set-dancing is very difficult to grasp. If not bowed in a specific way, polkas have the tendency to come out sounding like marches, thereby totally negating the beauty of these tunes.

Besides polkas and slides, plenty of time was devoted to the playing of reels, jig and hornpipes as well as slow airs. As is the case with polkas and slides, the bowing in for example reels has a tremendous impact on how the tune sounds.

If you are interested in fiddle workshops as well, please leave a note through the contact form specifying your background (classically trained?, how many years of playing, etc ) and we will keep you informed about the next fiddle workshop!

Matt playing a tune to the students

Matt playing a tune to the students

Playing in the afternoon session

Playing in the afternoon session

Boat trip on the Naardermeer with the workshop participants!

Boat trip on the Naardermeer with the workshop participants!