Clare Fiddle Styles

This is a lively collection of jigs, reels and hornpipes taught by the renowned Clare fiddler Tola Custy. Most of the thirteen tunes taught originate from Co. Clare, which Tola learnt from local players such as his father Frank Custy, Micho Russell, P.J. Crotty and James Cullinane. Tola also includes two of his own compositions in the course - these tunes are already becoming embedded in the local tradition and can be heard in sessions around the County Clare and further afield!

Tola takes a progressive approach towards teaching embellishments, the use of chords and variation. He starts by introducing simple techniques in the first lessons and builds on them in subsequent lessons. In each lesson, he teaches the tune simply, phrase by phrase before demonstrating how to incorporate various techniques into the tune. By the end of the course, the Fiddler will have a vibrant palette of fiddle skills and fiddle tunes to add to their repertoire!

Clare Fiddle Styles
OAIM Free 'Clare Fiddle Styles' Sample Lesson

The Geese in the Bog

This lesson is the first from the 'Clare Fiddle Styles' course.  Tola Custy teaches the tune phrase by phrase with focus on the ornament - the cut.


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Course Syllabus for Full Access Lessons
FIddle Lesson 2: The Silver Spear (reel) Dmajor

In this lesson the reel 'The Silver Spear' will be taught. Tola will introduce the 'triplet bow' technique. .


Fiddle Lesson 3: The Kilfenora Slide Dmajor

The 'Kilfenora Slide' will be the tune focused upon in this lesson. Tola will introduce the technique of double stopping on the fiddle.


Fiddle Lesson 4: Cloudy Day Navigation (Reel) Amaj

In This lesson will teach the tune 'Cloudy Day Navigation'. Tola will continue his study of chords and double stops and will also introduce various types of slides to be used to enhance the tune.


Fiddle Lesson 5: Fergus McTaggart's Jig Amajor

In this lesson Fergus McTaggart's jig will be taught. The roll will be the main focus of this lesson - Tola will demonstrate this embellishment and show where and how to use them in the tune.


Fiddle Lesson 6: The Yellow Wattle (Jig) Dmodal

Tola will teach the Jig 'The Yellow Wattle' in the lesson. He will demonstrate how to incorporate subtle variations into the melody of the tune.


Fiddle Lesson 7: Miss Galvin's Hornpipe, Dmajor

'Miss Galvin's Hornpipe' will be focused upon in this lesson. Tola will continue his study of rolls and double stops.


Fiddle Lesson 8: Up-Downey (Reel) Eminor

In this lesson, Tola will teach a composition of his own, called 'Up Downey'. Tola will continue his study of variation in this tune.


Fiddle Lesson 9: Sagairt na mBuataisí (jig) Gmajor

'Sagairt na mBuataisí' is the jig taught in this lesson. Tola will continue his study of rolls, slides and triplets.


Fiddle Lesson 10: Leaba Síoda (reel) Dminor

In this lesson the tune 'Leaba Síoda' will be taught. Tola will continue his study of slides, rolls and variations.


Fiddle Lesson 11: Humours of Ballyconnell (Hornpipe)

This lesson will teach the Hornpipe 'The Humours of Ballyconnell. Tola will focus on runs in this tune, as well as continuing his study of half rolls and variation.


Fiddle Lesson 12: Gan Ainm (reel) Bminor

This lesson will teach a reel of unknown name in the key of B minor. Tola will discuss how to create harmonic variation in this tune through the use of chords and double stops.


Fiddle Lesson 13: The Glen of Aherlow (reel) Eminor

In this lesson, the reel 'The Glen of Aherlow' will be taught. Tola will continue his study of rolls, triplets and variation.


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Tunes Taught
  • The Geese in the Bog
  • The Silver Spear
  • The Kilfenora Slide
  • Cloudy Day Navigation
  • Fergus McTaggart's
  • The Yellow Wattle
  • Hornpipe
  • Up-Downey
  • Sagart na mBuatais
  • Leaba Sioda
  • The Humours of Ballyconnell
  • The Swallow's Tail

Tutor Info

Tola Custy

Tola Custy

Tola Custy comes from Toonagh in County Clare. His father, Frank was the local primary school teacher and also inspired many people to play traditional music. Names such as James Cullinane, Siobhan Peoples Sharon Shannon, as well as Tola himself all owe their musical beginnings to him. Thus music has been a friend to Tola since he was able to walk.

Tola first cut his teeth by making the album “ Setting Free” with bouzouki player Cyril O Donoghue in 1993.He then teamed up with the Moynihan Family from County Cork and , along with bozouki player Pat Marsh, formed the group “Calico”.....[Read More]