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Ryan & Brennish Thomson

Updated Feb 2, 2024

Captain Fiddle’s Tunes and Variations, $26.95

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A review of the previous edition, by Fiddler Magazine: 


"These tune books from Ryan Thomson provide a great collection of jigs, reels, waltzes, and hornpipes that are easy enough for the novice, but catchy enough for the jaded. Nice notes on the tunes (and occasionally lyrics) are provided. The fiddle tune book/cassette(now CDs) sets are recommended for the beginners out there, and the books by themselves are highly recommended to everyone." (see more reviews at the bottom)


So now, a new edition, with much more written music:


This 54 page book contains written music for 32 different fiddle tunes that are played by award winning fiddler Ryan Thomson on the two CDs included with the book.(CDs #2, #3) Each CD is an hour long and is perfect for improving skills in learning by ear. Each tune is played with several variations, at both slow, and normal speed. Unlike ordinary fiddle tune books, this book includes both a basic version and also several variations for each tune as played on the CDs. If you'd like, you can buy the CDs separately.

This helps beginners start with a good basic version of a tune. It helps more advanced players assemble a personalized version from the ideas presented in the variations. There is a written description about the origins and style of each tune plus song lyrics for the tunes that have words. Suggested chords for accompaniment are included for each tune. The styles include bluegrass, Celtic, contra dance, jigs, reels, waltzes, etc. The book is 8.5 by 11 inches and plastic comb bound to stay flat on a music stand. ISBN 978-0-931877-13-1

Book and 2 CDs - $26.95. 


Secure online payment, free shipping within the USA. Click here for instructions on how to mail payment or to figure out foreign shipping costs.


For those who already have the cassette or CD recordings, you can order just the 

Book without the CDs for $17.95.

Book Reviews:

Folk Legacy: "An accomplished folk musician, teacher and veteran of numerous prestigious fiddle contests, here presents 40 traditional tunes and variations with chords. All are Thomson's favorites and include many that are universally familiar, such as "Old Joe Clark," Turkey in the Straw," and "Arkansas Traveler." Each selection is arranged by the compiler; the music is suitable for all instruments. Reels, hornpipes, jigs, hoedowns and waltzes are all represented. Each tune is followed by brief, informative comment on the history, origin and tips on performance. Spiral bound, this small anthology is directed to folk performers at all levels of skill."


Victory Music Review: "Captain Fiddle's Tunebook #1 is a collection of about 40 tunes suitable for advanced beginners (who can read music) to intermediate players, Basic arrangements with variations and song lore." Please note that the original "Tune Book 1" is sold out and has been replaced by Captain Fiddle's Tunes and Variations, Book 1. 


From happy customers:



Just wanted to let you know i received your books and CD's. I have learned some valuable things and I know they will help me to improve my playing. 

Thank you, 

S. S.


Dear Mr. Thomson:

I believe I met you years ago at the festival at Univ. of Mass at Dartmouth, when I bought your Tune book #1, thinking that someday it might be interesting to look at. I pulled it out of its hiding place last year, when my son Sam, age 7, and I needed a little bit of relaxation from the daily grind of Suzuki repertoire, and it became our guide into the world of fiddling. We've acquired a lot of books since then, but keep coming back to yours, as the best balance between being too easy (like the Mel Bay Easy Fiddling Book) or too challenging (but instructive!) like the Mel Bay "Fiddling Across America."


Marion, Massachusetts

Tunes Include:

Angelina Baker

Arkansas Traveler

Bonaparte's Retreat

Chorus Jig

Cock of the North

Dickson County Blues

Drowsy Maggie

Eskimo Waltz

Gentle Maiden Waltz

La Bastringue

Mairi's Wedding

Margaret's Waltz

My Love is but a Lassie

Off She Goes 

Old French

Old Joe Clark

Old Molly Hare

One Hundred Pipers

Over the Waterfall

Ragtime Annie

Rights of Man

Road to Boston

Road to Lisdoonvarna

Rory O'More

Rose Tree

Shebeg and Sheemore

Smash the Windows

Soldier's Joy

Tennessee Waltz

Turkey in the Straw

West Fork Gals

Whiskey before Breakfast

Front cover of Captain Fiddle's Tunes and Variations

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