I was told last night by my house-mate that in Ireland some teachers, when teaching children to play the fiddle, make the kids put the fiddle on the table while the teacher plays a tune. The children are instructed to lightly place their fingers on the strings while the teacher is playing. When they do this, they can feel the instrument vibrating. The children are then told that the vibrations they are feeling, are the fairies inside the fiddle and it’s their job to bring them out through the music.
I love this story, not only because I love the concept of fairies roaming around us but because I feel that vibration in my fiddle during sessions and it is truly magical.
This is only one of the many stories I’ve heard this week and I’m sure to hear more.
What is the most wonderful part about being in fiddle school in Ireland is you’re not only learning tunes but you’re hearing the stories behind them. And they all have a story. There is so much history to each and every tune and where it came from. When someone teaches you a tune here they know who composed it, who recorded it, who plays it, who plays it well and what version they play. This is the stuff you don’t find in history or music books. This is the tradition, passing down tunes and stories from generation to generation. It’s what I love most about this music.
Today marks the mid-week point of my musical journey in Glencolmcille. And what a journey it has been thus far. I can’t even begin to tell you how many stories I heard and tunes I’ve tried to learn. I’m really hoping the fairies in my fiddle are taking good notes.
More to come…