I first learned Irish fiddle music from LPs. Then I took a trip to Ireland where I met Peter Horan, Fred Finn and Joe Dowd in Sligo, and heard the Russel family play in Doolin. About that time I discovered the Preston branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (Irish musicians’ association) and went to their monthly session as well as the Blackburn branch’s monthly session. With Jim Maguire (Sean’s brother who lived locally) we had a branch of CCE in Lancaster that stopped and started again, but finally stopped for good because the local Irish community wasn’t big enough to support it. We did though have a weekly music session in Lancaster which, after the arrival of Gordon Johnston and his brothers from Belfast in about 1970, became mostly Irish and eventually mostly instrumental. That session is still going.
To figure out what people were doing with the bow I started to make transcriptions, with bowing directions that I discovered by slowing down the recording to quarter speed. I approached CCE about publishing, and they published two volumes which you can buy from their Dublin office. Or, you can download them, together with a third, unpublished volume as .pdf files below. More will follow.
Bowing Styles in Irish Fiddle Playing
Note: the first two volumes are large files (>30MB) and so may take some time to download, especially over slow connections.