Week #189 ~ Breaking Up Christmas

  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    This week's winner is Breaking Up Christmas, which was submitted as an Appalachian fiddle tune.

    Here is a link to the tune in Mel Bay's mandolin sessions. It includes the standard notation, and TAB for AEAE cross tuning. It also includes an mp3.

    Searching You Tube for Breaking Up Christmas and Breakin Up Christmas yields many examples.

  2. sgarrity
    What am i going to post now??
  3. Kay Kirkpatrick
    Kay Kirkpatrick
    You and Kimble already did a great job on Breaking up Christmas, so you should put up another grassy waltz -- your Roxanne's was fabulous!
  4. Marcelyn
    Here's a version from Jeff and me. It's a fun tune!
  5. maudlin mandolin
    maudlin mandolin

    Great work Marcelyn and Jeff - like the vocals. This is my first attempt at DGDG tuning.
  6. Marcelyn
    Congratulations on your first tune in GDGD. It sounds great. I love the ringing sound of sawmill tuning. One cool thing you can do, especially with repetitive fiddle tunes like this, is take the melody down an octive and play it the same way on the lower two strings. For this one, I guess you could do that with the A part and then play the B part as you did the first time.
  7. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Very nicely played maudlin!

    Marcelyn, what a great old time version you've put together. The mandolin sounds great as do the vocals. Jeff played a great sounding banjo part too! Thanks!
  8. AaronVW
    Looks like this week is getting off to a slow start but some good versions so far. Here is my attempt.
  9. luurtie
    Nice version Aaron. Are you getting used to your new mandolin? my compliments for you Marcelyn, nice combination with that clawhammer banjo! Your version is really singin Maudlin, wonderful!
    Here's my 1 minute of "Breaking up Christmas".....

  10. OldSausage
    It's a great little Christmas fiddle tune and you can't say it isn't. Excellent work from Marcelyn - great to hear the singing and some really nice banjo picking too. Very Christmassy version from Maudlin, and Aaron, your new mando is really sparkling on this one. And really strong picking from Luurtie, a nice guitar backing track too.

    Here's my version, little bit of old time with a little bit of bluegrass:

  11. sgarrity
    Great videos everybody. Love that mandolin and banjo duet!!
  12. OldSausage
    Hey Shaun, I forgot to point out how great your video was, too - awesome stuff!
  13. jonny250
    I am intrigued by this and similar style of tunes set around the Christmas theme - in particular this tune and 'Christmas eve' seem to be fiddle tunes, but where do they come from and how did they first become popular? i guess its part of the old time fiddle tune tradition that just got the Christmas makeover???
    anyway, as OS said, its a cool tune
    I particularly like Marcelyns singing & picking, Maudlin for putting on a suit & tie for the occasion, and Luurtie you seem to play effortlessly - your left hand looks very relaxed? OS love the bluegrass band - did you use a bass in there?
    Here is my effort [need to learn to smile whilst playing ] and definitely need to learn some endings:
  14. Marcelyn
    Wow, all the great versions came in a landslide. Amazing picking and a really awesome sounding bass on your mandolin David. And thanks Shaun, I stole a lot of ideas from your early version.
    Jonny, great picking, and here's a really interesting article that explores the roots of this tune.

  15. Kristibob
    From an awe-inspired newbie listening to everyone's work....WOW!!!!
  16. luurtie
    Unbelievable what you did there David! You're a great musician and I hope to see a lot more the coming time! You also did a very nice job Johnny, so much progression in a short time is unusual
  17. jonny250
    Marcelyn thanks for that link, interesting reading
    Luurtie, thanks i played 5 string banjo for 5 years, so not completely new to the left hand stuff, plus 3 hours practice every day helps
  18. OldSausage
    Thanks Mr Luurtie! Call me skeptical (frankly I'm no entirely convinced that I am skeptical) but has anyone actually experienced or have evidence of this "breaking up Christmas" tradition? Actually I really want to believe it, but it's just not clear where the idea comes from - lots of anecdotes, but I can't find any primary sources.
  19. Marcelyn
    Aw, surely Benton Flippen and the Smoky Valley Boys wouldn't trick a group of fourth graders...at Christmas time.
  20. laura809
    I recorded a slower version first, but after comparing it to all of the great up-tempo versions already posted, I was embarrassed to post it. Everyone did such a great job this week I felt like I had to push myself to come up with something acceptable.
  21. SMH
    Love this saw mill tuning. The only other one I know is Jenny Lynn. If anyone has any other tabs in saw mill tuning I'd love to see them.



  22. OldSausage
    I thought that was a really nice version Laura - and getting some nice tone out of the Collings.

    And a deep, crisp and even performance from SMH - well done.
  23. Marcelyn
    Laura, that was great! Love all those double stops.
    Ditto to you Sean. You asked about tab. I don't have any, but maybe you'll find that in sawmill tuning you don't need it too much. What I do when I'm in GDGD (same as AEAE but less stress on the instrument) I start out playing a tune on the two upper strings the same way I would have on any two strings in a regular tuning. Drones are mostly intuitive because the strings tend to go together all the time. A 5-2 (C-E) double stop is the only one that I find I regularly need. The only thing to remember is that dipping down to the lower courses means you're two frets back. When you go to play the melody on the low strings, you just get a little creative with the notes that are two low by finding one or two higher ones that sound good in their place. When playing a run of notes on the low strings, I sometimes get tripped up by forgetting that the 5th fret G on the low D and the open high G are the same note. It sounds like a cool fiddling effect and helps me remember if I slide up to the 5th fret G while playing both strings in unison.From your great version, it looks like you already know most of that, anyway.
  24. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Wow! All the great versions here have inspired me to pound out one of my own. I was too lazy to retune so my mandolin is in standard tuning. I played mandolin, guitar and clawhammer banjo on this one and for such a simple melody it certainly is a lot of fun to play...

  25. Marcelyn
    Love it, Michael. Your old time stuff always has such a happy bounce to it. I could definitely dance to that. The banjo sounds awesome in the mix.
  26. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Thanks, Marcy! I got the idea to do it this way from your video with Jeff.
  27. Steve Cantrell
    Steve Cantrell
    Hopefully just plain sound links aren't frowned on, but this comes courtesy of a jam in my living room I recorded with a Zoom at my feet.
  28. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Steve, Pinetop Revival is a great sounding old time band. Love the way the fiddle and banjo work off of each other!
  29. AaronVW
    Just came across this and thought I would post it as it is a fun video and includes this tune!
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