Playing in tune is a challenge on the fiddle and one that every fiddler struggles with at times. Most fiddle tunes are in keys G, D, A or relative minors of Em and Bm that are fairly easy to finger in that the spacing of the notes falls in places where the hand is a little more comfortable.
The fiddle is not an easy instrument to learn but with practice and a degree of ability everybody can make music on it. It’s easier if you learn a few basic principles when you’re starting out rather than trying to correct things later, but it’s never too late. Here’s a few I’ve gleaned over the years playing and talking with other fiddlers.
Writing these articles is a bit of a challenge because trying to illustrate aspects of playing the fiddle by trying to describe specific details without the reader being able to see and hear what is being described is hard to do. I would appreciate any feed back to let me know if any of this stuff is useful.
As with everything else in life, your mental attitude makes all the difference and fiddling is no different. There are as many different reasons for playing the fiddle as there are fiddlers. Everyone has their own twist on why they spend hours trying to draw a horsehair bow across the strings.
Last issue we covered some aspects to help you play in tune . I went over some of
the major scales and the relationships between the scale notes and where you place your
fingers on the fingerboard. A major part of playing in tune is getting your hearing sense coordinated
Well we’re into the heat and himidity of the summer so I thought I’d cover a few key points for summer playing. But first, I’m happy to say I seem to be rid of those pesky carpet beatles that were eating my bow hair. *
In this shop talk I’m including one of my favourite tunes. it's also one that I am often requested to play. In learning any new tune from sheet music there’s a simple sequence to go through that will help you be able to play the tune. What’s the key signature ? Without going into a long explanation here, the major
Heading into the fall is a good time to reevaluate your fiddle playing and to plan out
some activities that will help you move towards playing better. Self evaluation of your
playing is a bit difficult at first but with some practice it will be very rewarding since it
allows you to direct your own learning process.
As the new year approached I thought I would revisit the relationship between learning
and brain and neurological function. There is a lot of research showing that learning to
play an instrument has significant advantages for your brain development, regardless of
the age at when you start learning. At an older age the process of learning a new
I've included a new waltz tune to try out. I wrote this for my aunt Millie and I play it a little on the slow side and with some dignity although she was a very energetic and vibrant lady. She operated a little cafe in Vancouver called the Strawberry Lane and my brother and I loved the french fries and strawberry milkshakes which she was famous for.
Winter's is finally passing and we're moving into the spring. Time to get re-inspired as the weather warms up and the snow melts. I have included a new tune if you want to learn it. It's a polka I wrote in memory ofWendell Boyle. For the written music click on music scores and select Wendell Boyle''s polka.
♬ Sunday Session Tune List ♬
Swallows Tail (Em) , Kesh , Lark in the morning (D)
Foxhunter's (D), Kid on the Mtn, (Em), Morrison;s (Em)
Off She Goes (D), Connaughtman's Rhambles, Smash the Windows, Haste to the
Irishman's Heart to the Ladies(A), Paddy in London (Am),
Rolling Waves (D), Market Town (A), Scatter the Mud (Am)
Why playing the fiddle is a lot more than just fiddling around.
I did a web search the other day and typed in fiddling and I couldn't believe the number of web sites listed that had the word fiddling in them but the reference wasn't about playing the fiddle it was about "fiddling around" . What seemed to be a kind of unstructured doodling with no purpose or end in sight .
The field of neuroscience had been making many amazing discoveries about how our brain functions and these new insights have important ramifications for our understanding of what it is to be human.
This is a grouping of tunes taught by Quebecois fiddler Andre Brunet at workshops held in Prince Edward Island. Thanks to the PEI Acadian federation for sponsoring the events.