Fiddle and Cello Duet Sheet Music
[or cello parts for ceilidh bands and sessions]
Fiddle and Cello Duets Vol. 1 is a collection of 40 traditional fiddle tunes with newly composed basslines to play on the cello. I've published the sheet music in the form of a PDF whic you can download and print out at home.
These duets can be used as standalone fiddle and cello arrangements, or they can be used by cellists playing folk music in ceilidh bands, or in sessions, where the cello's natural home is playing basslines rather than the melodies most of the time.
The sheet music also has chord symbols printed on it, so can be used by a larger group who want to play these tunes together – e.g. fiddle, cello and guitar.
Find a list of the tunes that are included here, where you can also see some previews of the sheet music.
Fiddle and Cello Duet Demo Videos
Other Ways to Use the Cello in Traditional Music
I hope that these duets / composed basslines will provide cellists who are new to playing folk music with a starting point and a way into the music. Unlike with most melody instruments, for which the music can be accessed by – obviously – learning the traditional melodies, chords and basslines are not widely available for beginners and it can be hard to know where to start.
However, this sheet music collection is not intended as the last word in "how to play folk on the cello". In order to accompany a melody sympathetically, it is advantageous to know that melody, and, ideally, to be able to play it. Many of the melodies in traditional folk were not written for the cello and are obviously not easy to play at full speed or even in their original keys, except by more advanced players. However, learning and playing these tunes on the cello, transposed down by a fifth where appropriate, and at a slower speed if preferred, for personal practice and/or for performance where the cello is the featured instrument, can still be an enhancement of the cellist's understanding of the music, even if they still only play the basslines in a session or ceilidh band.
For this reason, I've also made an extended version of these fiddle and cello duets which includes the melodies transposed to fit most comfortably on the cello, as well as the duet arrangements. You can buy this from here.
Additionally, the inclusion of chord symbols on the sheet music means that once you are more familiar with the music, there is the potential for improvising – developing the basslines I have provided further by adding passing notes, or experimenting with inventing an entirely new part based on the chords.
You can also try out using drones, pedal notes, doubling the melody if it's one that works well, or anything else that you think sounds good!