On Saturday the 16th of April 2016, www.irishtradmusic.nl hosted a traditional Irish fiddle masterclass in the small village of Sassenheim, near Leiden. The masterclass was intended for advanced fiddlers and classical violinists who are experienced violin players but may not have had a lot of experience with the Irish traditional fiddle style.
The masterclass was given by fiddle teacher and performer Matt Cranitch who prepared a class specifically catered towards the groups experience.
The masterclass commenced with 8 fiddle/violin players who were already experienced players in their respective field. They came from various regions in The Netherlands with one notable exception: violinist Gabrielle Schiavi came all the way from Rome, Italy to participate in this workshop. He has interest in many types of violin playing and the Irish traditional fiddle playing is also one of those.
As with the fiddle workshop earlier that day, all participants were asked to play a piece of, preferably Irish, music. Although the nerves kicked in when this question got asked, each participant played a piece of music; there were slip jigs, jigs and even reels to be heard!
After this initial introduction, Matt decided that it was worthwhile to spend some time on bowing technique. In a way, bowing used in for example classical music is much different than bowing in Irish traditional fiddle playing. Another difference is the use of vibrato, or rather, the much less use of vibrato in Irish music.
Other subjects that were dealt with during the masterclass was music structure ( small tunes with repetition rather than a large single piece of music ), history of the music, improvisation, different rhythm types, and much more.
It was great to see the group so interested in the material presented during this short masterclass and we hope that it has inspired the participants to continue their foray into Irish traditional music!