View Full Version : Pickin with a fiddle
I have a slight problem. #One of my friends is taking old time fiddle lessons and leaning by ear. #He has no writen music so it is hard for me to pick up what he is doing. #I have asked him what the chords are so I can just chunk along with him. #He says that there are few chords and everybody just plays the melody. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif Does anyone know what to do to make it easyer to play with him?
Well, there are a couple of possibilities:
1) You could learn the melodies just like he is doing.
2) You can figure out the chords that go with it and strum along.
There are multiple ways to do this:
1) By ear: You can figure out melodies and chords by listening and imitating on the mandolin, trying different notes/chords until you get it right. It is hard to do at first, but it gets easier the more you do it. If you know the key the tune is in, you can figure out the scale. Also, if you know the key, the I, IV and V chords are always going to be likely suspects. A help is to record the tune, especially if you can get the person to play it slow, and then take it home and noodle with it until you can figure it out. If you are doing while someone else is playing, you should do it quietly so only you can hear, unless you know they don't mind.
2) Sheet Music and Tab. There is sheet music and tab online at places like alltabs.com and hetzlersfakebook.com for a lot of old time tunes. Those sites also have MIDIs for the tunes. Hetzler's allows you to download a free media played that you can use to slow tunes down or change keys. There is also the Fiddler's Fakebook or Mandolin Fakebook you can buy. That will tell you the chords and the notes to many common tunes.
3) Lessons: You can take lessons from an old time player who can teach you the tunes you want to learn. This is a great way to learn if you find a good teacher.
Fiddle players often don't know the chords to the tunes they're playing, becuase they never have to play them. Neither do you in OT, because you can just pluck away at the melody all night long with the fiddle player.
But that is not to say you shouldn't know the chords for when you want to fall back into some chopping and/or strumming, and Mando Johnnys advice above can help you figure that out.
In OT, with mandolin, you really do have the option to just play melody all the time, or fall back into ryhtm. Pretty cool to have both options available for when you don't know/can't figure out the melody, or for when you don't know/can't figure out the chords.
Another option if you ever have a guitar player is just to follow his chording. If you play contradictory chords to the guitar, its gonna sound funky. With lots of OT tunes, chording is really up to the discretion of the rythm player/leader as many chordings will work for the same tune (ever had this dillemma....do I play G,D,C,G, or do I just play G,G,G,G?)