Lorrie Gunn - children's lessons & play-along videos expert

Learn to Play "Ryan's Polka" on the Violin

The perfect song for Saint Patrick's Day!

Get ready for Saint Patrick's Day with this new video by Lorrie Gunn, teaching you how to play the Irish tune "Ryan's Polka," featured in the Titanic movie. Get ready for some fun with it!

Released on March 3, 2021

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hello, fellow violin lovers. I'm here today to show you how to play a really fun Irish song called Ryan's Polka. In fact, this is one of the songs they played on the Titanic in the scene where they're dancing on the tables way down at the bottom of the boat there. So, I'm thinking that the reason it's fun to learn this song is that we will play on each string. So, we'll play on the G string, the D string, the A string and the E string. And what we're going to do for this version is we're going to always use separate bows.

The song has two parts, a part A, and a part B, and both of those parts repeat. So, I thought it would be really fun if I tried to teach a leprechaun how to play this song, and I'm going to do this by tricking him with some words. So, I'm going to give some words to the song and let's see if we can get the leprechaun to play along. The first part I'm going to play is going to be on the A string, three fingers. Okay? And my words are, "Hello." So, I'm going to play that and see if the leprechaun comes along.

The next part is, "Can you do this," on the A string, first finger, second finger, third finger, first finger. "Can you do this?" So, so far we have, "Hello. Can you do this?" Let's see if we can get the leprechaun to come along with those words.

The next part is, "Yes, I like this." Those are the words. And you're going to play on the A string and then a second finger on the D string. And you'll do that twice. All right, here we go.

I wonder if we can get the leprechaun to do the, "Hello. Can you do this," part one more time? Let's see.

Very good.

The next part that follows is, "Yes. I said so." And we're going to play that on the A string, A, on the D string, two, first finger, and zero.

Well, it looks like the leprechaun has most of that. We finished up the first section by repeating, "Hello? Can you do this? Yes, I like," and we're going to change for the "it," so we'll play, " Hello? Can you do this? Yes, I like." Now here, it's going to be different. And we're just going to sing tra-la-la-la-la-la. And we're going to play a three, a one on the E, a three on the A, an open E, a two on the A, and a three.

Let's see if the leprechaun can do that too. What is going on with your violin there?

It's me wee violin ya see.

Now, let's learn the second part of the Ryan's Polka. And I'm going to use the words, "I can dance while I play my fiddle," to try to trick the leprechaun into learning with me. I'm going to play this part on my D string of my violin. I'm going to use two fingers like this two, oh, oh, one, two, three, two, one, oh. And the one, two in the middle is going to go a little bit quicker. We actually have eighth notes there. All right, let's try.

After that, the words are, "I can dance and play it all day." Now, this is the part of the song where we will play on the G string, and when we come down on the G string, we're going to use a first finger right here on the G string. So, it's going to play like this, two, oh, one, oh, two, oh, two, A.

Next we will learn, "Will you dance while I play my fiddle?" Okay? And that will be similar to the earlier part. We're going to play two fingers on the D string. Two, oh, one, two, three, two, one, oh.

Let's see if the leprechaun can do that. And we'll end the entire song with, "Dance before you go." So, on the D string, we're going to play it all on the D string. Two, oh, one, one, oh, oh.

Now, I'm going to try playing the song and dancing along as well. Maybe you'll get really good at the piece and you can dance and play too. (silence)

Your dancing wasn't very good.

Well, I guess I'd better keep working on my dancing and playing.

If you want, there is a free sheet music download for the music in this video from virtualsheetmusic.com.
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Mary Cosey * VSM MEMBER * on March 3, 2021 @9:39 am PST
very creative! Simple to learn, I liked it.
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