52 Tunes From Fiddle Hell

The Fiddle Hell Festival is a yearly gathering of fiddlers, cellists, mandolin/guitar/banjo players, and singers to meet, jam, learn, listen, and have fun.

The Fiddle Hell folks have put together 52 Traditional Fiddle Tunes from Fiddle Hell. The songs, recorded in both regular and slow versions by the Reiner Family Band and friends, are a compilation of reels, jigs, waltzes, hornpipes and airs from Southern, Northern, Irish, Scottish, Canadian, and other traditional fiddle styles. They were recorded to help folks prepare for the Fiddle Hell Annual Festival, to learn the tunes even if they can’t make a Fiddle Hell Festival, or to just enjoy some excellent fiddle music.


Angeline the Baker (Southern reel in D)
Ashokan Farewell (Northern waltz in D) by Jay Ungar ©1983 by Swinging Door Music-BMI
Athol Highlanders’ (Scottish march in A)
Big John McNeill (Scottish reel in A)
Bile Them Cabbage Down (Southern reel in A)
Billy in the Lowground (Oldtime and bluegrass reel in C)
Bodine’s Waltz (Western waltz in A) ©1981 by Dale Hopkins, founder of Fiddle Hell
Brian Boru’s March (Irish march in Am)
The Butterfly (Irish slip jig in Em)
Cluck Old Hen (Southern reel in A Dorian)
Cold Frosty Morning (Southern reel in A Dorian)
Coleraine (Irish jig in Am)
Cooley’s Reel (Irish reel in Em)
Cork Hornpipe (Irish hornpipe in D)
Devil’s Dream (Scottish reel in A)
Drowsy Maggie (Irish reel in Em)
Fairy Dance (Scottish reel in D) by Nathanial Gow (public domain)
Flowers of Edinburgh (Scottish reel in G)
Gary Owen (Irish jig in G)
Golden Slippers (Northern song in G) by James A. Bland (public domain)
Gravel Walk (Irish reel in Am)
Haste to the Wedding (Ubiquitous jig in D)
Irish Washerwoman (English jig in G)
Julia Delaney’s (Irish reel in Dm)
Kesh Jig (Irish jig in G)
La Bastringue (French Canadian reel in D)
Laird O’Drumblair (Scottish reel in A) by J. Scott Skinner (public domain)
Liberty Two-Step (Oldtime reel in D)
Little Liza Jane (Southern reel in A)
Maid Behind the Bar (Irish reel in D)
Old Joe Clark (Southern reel in A)
Over the Waterfall (Southern reel in D)
Over the Waves (Mexican waltz in G) by Juventino Rosas (public domain)
Ragtime Annie (Oldtime reel in D, two parts)
Red Haired Boy (Ubiquitous reel in A)
Redwing (Oldtime song in G) by Kerry Mills (public domain)
Road to Lisdoonvarna (Irish jig in Em)
St. Anne’s Reel (Canadian Reel in D)
Sandy Boys (Southern reel in A)
Seneca Square Dance (Southern reel in G)
Shady Grove (Oldtime song in A Dorian)
Ships Are Sailing (Irish reel in Em)
Si Bheag, Si Mhor (Irish air in D)
Smash the Windows (English & Irish jig in D)
Soldier’s Joy (Ubiquitous reel in D)
Spootiskerry (Shetland reel in G) ©1980 by Ian Burns
Staten Island Hornpipe (Scottish hornpipe in D)
Stone’s Rag (Texas rag in C) by Oscar Stone (public domain)
Swallowtail Jig (Irish jig in Em)
Ten Penny Bit (Irish jig in Am)
Tennessee Waltz
(Oldtime song in D) ©1947 by Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King
Turkey in the Straw (Oldtime reel in G)

The tunes are scored for fiddle and piano or fiddle and guitar, and each one is clear and crisp, reminiscent of being at a festival or dance The slower version of each tune will be really helpful at some point when I begin learning some advanced fiddling music. In the meantime, I am enjoying listening to the regular speed tunes. It is a real nice mix of plain good fiddle music!

There are a number of online stores where you can purchase the physical CD or download the album and have it immediately. If interested, you can hear sample tracks of all the tunes and pick up the album from Amazon. If you decide to buy 52 Tunes From Fiddle Hell, consider using my link to Amazon. Whatever small commission I make goes directly back into maintaining this website. Thank you.

EXTRA: Playing by ear vs. using sheet music (thoughts from Dave Reiner on the Fiddle Hell website)

If you’re new to fiddle, I’d guess there are a couple of songs that you can sing or hum, like Happy Birthday, or Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, or others, and that you could play these by ear on fiddle with a little experimentation.  Try it!  It’s just a matter of developing this ability with fiddle tunes.  If you listen to and try singing or playing along with your favorite fiddlers or with the Fiddle Hell repertoire CDs (which include slow versions of the tunes), you’ll eventually have some of those tunes in your head.  Then you can sound them out on your fiddle.  I know it’s hard at the beginning, but it’ll get easier over time.

Even if you track down some sheet music for a tune, that may not be the version that’s commonly played, so listening and playing by ear is still preferable.  And even if you can play what’s on the sheet music perfectly, it may sound mechanical and you’ll be tied to it unless you take the additional step of learning it by ear.

Here’s my personal experience.  I’ve learned some tunes by ear and some from music.  The ones that I’m most comfortable with and that sound the best are almost always the ones I picked up by ear.

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