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traditional fiddle  
learn folk fiddle


exploring jazz violin


by Chris Haigh



by Chris Haigh



By Chris Haigh





"Ideal for the budding folk musician, or classical player looking for something a little different!"- MMA Ensemble

"There is a lot in this book!- Dave Clark. Folk Monthly

"This large book is truly a magnificent piece of work..."-John Offord, Fiddle On Magazine

" interesting right from the start, so many nuggets in there...interrspersed with interesting stories and good humour... " -Ashley West,fiddler

"His writing style is entertaining..."-David Lasserson, The Strad

"The recordings perfectly underpin the narrative..." -Eric Sharp, Folk Roundabout

"A top-notch impressive collection" -Stringendo

|"A great publication from people who know a lot about Folk Violin, love it, and know how to explain it. Congrats to the author.

Excellent in every context. I am a violinist and although my preference is for classical music, I wanted a guide to understand and play folk. This book delivers more than I expected. Very clear explanation of the styles. The writer is concise, friendly and full of good insight. If the book didn't have the sheet music, it woud still be good from these comments.

A lot of good sheet music to illustrate the styles, pointing out the important things about each of them. Each piece is very well played by the accompanying cd. Fabulous printing quality". -Carlos DA (Amazon review)



Folk fiddle and classical violin are as different as chalk and cheese.

At first glance, folk might seem so simple itís hardly worth bothering with. The tunes are often no more than 32 bars long, they stay in first position, and they donít even have a composer. However, itís whatís NOT written on the page that makes folk fiddle so interesting and challenging. This book attempts to explore, from general observation down to the finest detail, what the fiddler needs to know to bring these tunes alive. We need to understand their history and context, their purpose, their structure and pulse.

And we need to be able to add all the stylistic elements that come not from reading the music, but from years of immersion in folk music, both from listening and playing.

This book covers such things as

-Tune types and structures



-Modes and scales


-starts, endings and links

-variation, improvisation and composition

- playing tunes in ďsetsĒ

-regional and individual style

-playing in sessions, for contests, and for dancing

The book is centred around Irish traditional music, but also dips into English, Scottish, Scandinavian, East European, Klezmer, Cajun and American Old Time traditions. It is aimed both at the classical player approaching folk for the first time, and at the seasoned fiddler who wants to deepen and broaden his understanding, repertoire and technique.




The book was written with the help of interviews with many contemporary folk fiddlers including Kevin Burke, Chris Leslie, Stewart Hardie, David Greely, Jody Stecher, Karen Ryan, Sarah-Jane Summers, Sturla Eide and Karen Myers, as well as accordionists John Kirkpatrick and Mike Adcock.



This folk fiddlebook comes with 45 studio band tracks on CD, and 56 solo fiddle tracks on mp3. The studio tracks cover a wide range of musical styles, with Chris Haigh on fiddle, Colette O'Leary on accordion. Freddy Gottlieb on guitar and Roy Dodds on percussion.


author: Chris Haigh

An introduction to jazz harmony, technique and improvisation

Instrumentation: Violin
Publisher: Schott Music (2013)
Difficulty: intermediate
Edition: edition with CD
Language: English
Series: Schott Pop-Styles
208 Pages - Paperback/Soft Cover
ISMN: M-2201-3301-5
ISBN: 978-1-84761-268-7

Price: £16.99
plus delivery



"This book is not for beginners, it is aimed at classically taught violinists who are interested in folk music and people who have learned fiddle in a folk setting but want to deepen their understanding.
Although it focuses mainly on Irish and Scottish music it contains discussions and examples of other traditions, particularly English, Scandinavian, North American and Eastern European music.
Most of the book is very practical with sections on the interpretation of tunes, phrasing, bowing, and even the use of unconventional tunings. All of these are illustrated with examples in musical notation and to get the most from the book you need some degree of musical literacy, although the notation is supported by tracks on the accompanying CD. There is one possible problem with this: some tracks play on a CD player but the solo demo tracks are in MP3 format so you need a computer or MP3 player to hear them. The book tells you how to do this but the technically challenged might need help.
Parts of the book contain detailed discussions of the history of the various styles and there are some technical and theoretical sections dealing with scales, modes and tuning which; depending on your musical background, education and interests; will either fascinate or bemuse you. Don't worry if you're bemused, they're not essential.
There is an excellent bibliography if you want to read more on some of the topics covered, a discography if you want more inspiration and a list of useful websites.
If you buy this book will you absorb and make use of everything in it? Almost certainly not, any more than you will have learned every tune in that copy of O'Neill's Music of Ireland you bought in 19-whenever-it-was. Is it worth the 17 quid for the bits (whichever they are) that you will use? Absolutely!"
Copyright © Geoff Convery 2014


"There is a lot in this book! As it says on the Schott website, the book is a "practical, down-to earth approach to style and technique." It includes a cd with all the main tunes played with a full band, but some fiddle solos are only available as mp3 clips. Haigh starts off by looking at tune types; polkas, jigs and reels etc, unpicking the structure of the tunes. He then moves through ornamentation and bowing before appraching scales, modes and tunings, including some East European variants.

After introducing the idea of starting, ending and linking tunes he moves onto improvisation, variation and composition before approaching the issue of sets of tunes and how they work together. He ends with a couple of chapters on playing for dancing and contests; session etiquette and regional styles in Irish music.

Haigh takes the Irish fiddle style as the foundation for the book, but also covers old time, Scandinavian, Scottish, English etc. He even throws in a Chinese tune from 1000BC.

As with the recent Matt Cranitch book, Haigh is keen on the apprach to bowing as a result of informed decision rather than the judgemental approach of right and wrong. From a personal standpoint it is interesting to see the "short bow" style recognised as a technique and not an abberation!

Whilst this book is for all fiddle players there is a distinct focus, as with many of the Schott publications, on the classical player who may need to get their head around some of the unspecified and unwritten aspects of traditional music.This book has a broad approach, covers a lot of territory, and can be dipped into at various levels. Whilst some may question the seemingly simplistic approach to several topics, the answer is provided in the subtitle; "An introduction to..."

Dave Clarke. Folk Monthly



"This is a really nice substantial book but more than that it has a lot of information on ornamentation which you don't get with many other fiddle "tutors" been playing the violin for more than 20 years, and I was struggling to understand the ornamentation when playing Scottish music. I have a fiddle tutor as well, but I'm not very good at looking and copying what he does when the fingering is so quick. Worth the price. Some really nice tunes in different styles as well with a good explanation of what makes that style unique".-SuzeeQ (Amazon review)


"Covers a wide range of topics in a lively style with lots of interesting and useful detail along with musical examples. Clear exposition of various folk styles, excellent choices of music as examples, interesting historical detail. I particularly appreciated the sections on modes and scales and on improvisation. I am an intermediate fiddler learning to play in a folk ensemble."-Pat, Amazon Review


If you're in the UK you can get it here by paypal for just £27.00 (including postage & packing)


If you're in Europe add £8, or outside Europe £10 for postage

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Chris Haigh is a freelance fiddle player based in London. His playing covers a huge range of styles, all played with commitment and authority. He has played on over 70 albums. He has two book published by Spartan Press; "Fiddling around the World" and "Any fool can write Fiddle Tunes", and "The Fiddle Handbook" is published by Backbeat/Hal Leonard. "Discovering Rock Violin", "Exploring Folk Fiddle", French Fiddle Tunes, Exploring Klezmer fiddle and Hungarian Fiddle Tunes" are all published by Schott .