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Drop by for a front-porch chat about your favorite fiddle tunes, fiddle players, fiddle makers, and other things of a traditional nature.

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Favorite Fiddle Tunes Anyone?
OK, someone's gotta get this one started; might as well be me! Favourite fiddle tunes? Hmmm...that varies as my skill as a fiddler/violinist improves (hopefully!). Early on, several years ago, I got a kick out of a little set I did made up of "Galway Hornpipe", "Boys of Bluehill" and "Harvest Home". Then it was "Off She Goes" into "Dingle Regatta". Then, when I started playing more Scottish and Cape Breton tunes, I got into stuff like "Angus Campbell" and "Timour the Tartar", soon to be supplanted by the likes of "Sweetness of Mary" and "Hughie Jim Paul's". Then, as my ability to shift positions became a bit more skillful, I went for stuff like "Dickie Rogers' Pedestal" and "Doc Harris' Hornpipe", and a number of other tunes in flat keys. Most of last year was dedicated to jazz and American Songbook (tunes and songs too numerous to mention) Then another six months or so working on more violinistic repertoire, such as "Libera Me" from the Faure Requium or the theme from Ravel's Bolero. Lately, I've been dabbling in western swing, with "San Antonio Rose" in third position being this past week's favourite. Yesterday, I started working on "Rainbow Schottishe", a transcription from a recent issue of Fiddler magazine. Nice position shifting and a key change in the "C" part.
OK, here we are in September and I'm still the only one to reply to this thread! What's crossed my stand since March in the way of fiddle tunes? Nothing sequential, just a real "mixed bag" of stuff. I do, however, have a goal for the next few months: writing up some transcriptions of original fiddle tunes by the late Oliver Schrorer, a Canadian fiddler whose original writing and playing styles resonate with me strongly.

The last six months have seen me transcribing a few things off the internet for my own practice. These include the late Jerry Holland's tribute to John Hartford ( a truly beautiful waltz); the traditional "Coleraine's Jig"; Shetland fiddler Aly Bain's version in Eb of Capt. Simon Fraser's lovely "Beauties of the North"; Don Messer's arrangement of "The Old Red Barn"; Ian Walsh's arrangement of "King of the Faeries"; a fine anonymous tune known only as "The Rustler's Jig", mostly in third position; a Dezi Donnelly hornpipe called "The Second Star"; the "John A. MacDonald' Waltz" as played on Youtube by Vivian Williams; and another Youtube-based transcription of Jay Unger's and Aly Bain's beautiful duet on "Lover's Waltz".
not a fiddle tune BUT question
what would be the strings to put on my fiddle ? same as my violin ? yes I know same instruments just different tech. of playing thought maybe something different should be installed
I love Tristan and Tashina Clarridge (fiddle champions).

I just saw one of their projects: "The Bee Eaters" and it was a GREAT show! =D
I'm a fiddle teacher here in South Hadley, MA. I currently have about 12 students learning a variety of fiddle music styles including Celtic, Bluegrass, Klezmer, Cajun, French Canadian, etc. We use primarily the Fiddler's Fakebook and Susan Songer's Portland Collection, but when I can't find a tune in either of those books, I turn to the online forums and JC's ABC Tunefinder. As a last ditch effort, if it's impossible to find a tune through those sites, I turn to my own site, the Fiddle World, where a posting in either the Transcriptions group or the forum will turn up a copy or a reference to help me in my search.

Where do you go when you are looking for tunes to learn?
At the risk of seeming impertinent, Kelly, imagine the question posed in the opposite direction. i.e.: "Can anyone share any advice on common classical techniques, and how they might differ from fiddling techniques?" A classically-trained violinist would probably laugh; I daresay, fiddlers would likely react in a similar way. First of all, a fiddler is not (despite what you may hear from your classically-trained colleagues) simply an inferior, less refined player when compared to a violinist. They are largely two very different kinds of musicians who happen to use the same instrument (albeit with some bridge modification, according to certain schools of old-time fiddling). They differ markedly in why they play, where they play, with whom they play, how they learn to play, etc.

If you're not familiar with the particular style of fiddling your student is set on learning, and there are many even within the limited context of American fiddling, you'll be very hard pressed to teach her anything "authentic". You're wise to want to start by educating yourself. Of course, there are instructional books for different fiddling styles; Mark O'Connor's recent publication of his own instructional method for American fiddling will likely go a long way toward bridging the gap between fiddling and the classical world, but it's still far too early to tell.

One little hint: at the risk of sounding cryptic, the "notes on the page" are the least of your worries when it comes to fiddling. Watching and listening to expert players, preferably live and in person (although Youtube will do as an interim resource) is the "way in". Fiddlers generally learn by doing, by sharing with one another, by such traditional institutions as communal jamming and contra dances, or at festival gatherings where "contest fiddling" is the focus. It's said to be a sociological, as opposed to an academic, phenomenon: it's a natural outgrowth of a life lived in a particular culture, as opposed to a subject studied in pursuit of skill development.

Perhaps your young student is already aware of this on some level. If her interests lie more within the realm of American fiddling, chances are she will seek it out, herself. She will watch and listen and thereby learn, and come to "make the notes into fiddling" herself. This is not to say you have no role to play in her growth, far from it. A firm grounding in classical technique will, of course, serve her in good stead with whatever style she chooses to pursue, be it American fiddling or Norwegian hardanger!

However, you do her no favours if you cease to "stay within yourself" as a teacher. Give her the gifts you know to be true and valid; she will take it from there.
Who is coming to IBMA in Nashville Sept 26- Oct.3??? There will be some of the best fiddlers in the world there. There will also be an exhibition hall where many vendors will sow there goods. I will be there showing my 5 string violins.

I'm glad to see Stings have a section for "Fiddle" music!!! Thanks.
my teacher just came back from Galax N.C the world fiddle comptition
Ok, I'll jump in here. Currently I've been getting into Scottish fiddle after hearing Jon Turner play in Williamsburg, VA. It was very inspiring. I like tunes like "MacPherson's Lament," and Neil Gow's "Farewell to Whiskey" (not to ever be played without following it with "Welcome Whiskey Back Again"). I like Old Tyme fiddle as well and Cajun fiddle. Michael Doucet is one of my favorites.
Scottish fiddle, eh? OK, that's a whole world unto itself, and a beautiful one, at that. One of the other fiddling magazines to which I subscribe is Fiddler's Magazine, and they maintain an excellent website with a killer links section. I've started using it only recently, and I was able to access therein the wonderful site dedicated to the compositions of J. Scott Skinner, the enigmatic and self-acknowledged "Strathspey King". True, the Gows and their ilk did a great deal to further the publishing of Scottish fiddle tunes (some of which you've already discovered), but it was Skinner who brought the game "up a notch or two": his original compositions can be challenging (try his "Tullochgorum" variations!) but always rewarding, and they're a true reflection of the debt Scottish fiddling owes to the Highland pipes. And if it's whiskey-related tunes you're after, look no further than Skinner's own "Glenlivet" (complete with great lyrics for pub singing) or "Talisker", both of which are available on the aforementioned website. I'm not going to get into Shetland, Cape Breton, or Ottawa Valley fiddling (all Scottish "sub groups", if you will); that's fodder for a whole group on its own!

Eastern Kentucky Fiddlers of the 20s thru the 50s. My Grandfather was Lloyd "Gravy" Graves. He played with his band " The Trail Dusters" and with many others during these years. I know he recorded in Greenup, Ky and played many times at the famous Renfro Vally Barn Dance. Any information about any of the fiddlers of these times would be appreciated.

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