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As early as the middle ages Ireland had an international reputation for the quality of its musicians. rather quick and lively, while at the same time the melody is sweet and pleasant.
The Norman Girald Cambrensis visited the country in 1185. It is remarkable how, in spite of the great speed of the fingers, the musical proportion is maintained.” There were numerous stringed musical instruments in use at the time; the accurate naming and descriptions of these is open to a good deal of confusion.
Perhaps the first thing to consider is that, perhaps more so than in any other European fiddle tradition, ornamentation is vital.
By the 11th or 12th C the bow had been introduced to Ireland and, as happened in England and Wales, there was a rapid evolution as the lyres were adapted for bowing. The Irish Harp (This description dates from the 7th C, which seems too early for any bowed instrument to have been used in Ireland; most likely some mistranslation or misinterpretation is involved.
By 1674 the fiddle was well established; Richard Head wrote that in Ireland "in every field a fiddle, and the lasses footing it till they were all of a foam " Initially this would have been the medieval fiddle, but eventually the standard violin was introduced, probably via the Ulster Scots.
The harp gradually declined in importance, perhaps in no small part because of the displacement of the Irish upper class- chief patrons of the harp, due to repeated Norman, English and Scottish incursions.
Many players treat the roll more as a rhythmic than a melodic ornament, with the notes played so fast that they are not heard clearly. A Short Roll is exactly like the long roll, except that the five notes are squeezed into a crotchet instead of a dotted crotchet. For a fiddler, the cran is the equivelant of an open string roll. Instead of hitting the note squarely, the Irish fiddler will sometimes approach the note from below, starting maybe half a semitone down and sliding swiftly and smoothly up to the correct pitch.
Instead of fingering 01030, which would involve string crossing, he will play 0210. The slide is most commonly used at the start of a phrase, and will be applied to just one or two key notes in a tune.
For any violinist wishing to step beyond the narrow confines of classical discipline, the Irish jig or reel is one of the first stopping points.