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Thread: You don't know a fiddle tune until...

  1. #76

    Default Re: You don't know a fiddle tune until...

    Even in horns, it's standard practice to emulate the physiology (with the throat, shape of the mouth, etc) of 'singing'/vocalization. Might be of interest - pertaining to the above ..

    *listening to Alice Parker (on 'on being'/Krista tippet), someone said, "There's an aspect of sound not realized until it is embodied in the human throat" (prphr).

    Ms Parker iterated that - it - is all about "the sound" ( of singing/vocalization - from a nonrational perspective, etc).
    Last edited by catmandu2; Dec-11-2016 at 6:30pm.

  2. #77
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    Default Re: You don't know a fiddle tune until...

    These are all great things to do, but I don't agree they mean you "really" know a tune. Knowing a tune means being able to play it up to speed, clean and with consistency. Everything else is gravy :^) I suppose the "really" part for me is being able to play lots of melodic variations which are still recognizable as the tune.

  3. #78

    Default Re: You don't know a fiddle tune until...

    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Glassman View Post
    These are all great things to do, but I don't agree they mean you "really" know a tune. Knowing a tune means being able to play it up to speed, clean and with consistency. Everything else is gravy :^) I suppose the "really" part for me is being able to play lots of melodic variations which are still recognizable as the tune.
    Certainly, especially from a rational standpoint. Some of the reflections I mention above are coming from less overt angles - taking the word "know" in a more gnostic sense, perhaps.

  4. #79

    Default Re: You don't know a fiddle tune until...

    I've been thinking about this thread....

    What I think I have concluded is this: If I knew a fiddle tune in the manner that some folks on this thread have suggested, then I would be able to "hear" the tune in virtually every possible incarnation and variation-- and if (BIG IF) I could play all of that extemporaneously, I would be able to "play anything I could hear in my head", which is actually my personal musical goal.

    So, in that sense, knowing ONE fiddle tune to that extent would be the equivalent of knowing ANY fiddle tune (or any other piece of music, or improvisation) that I could imagine.

    So-- COOL..... count me in.

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  6. #80
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    Default Re: You don't know a fiddle tune until...

    I asked a man once if there is a source for definitive transcriptions or recordings of fiddle tunes - a way to know the actual tune. He looked very puzzled about the question. Then he told me in a very definitive manner that it is all interpretation. So, I would say it is impossible to know a fiddle tune beyond your own interpretation at the moment. The OP's teacher and others here have given a comprehensive list of mechanical and mental practices that will expand your interpretive horizons. However, I would say your interpretation is just as valid as anyone's, no matter how well or little you know your instrument technique and music theory.

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    Default Re: You don't know a fiddle tune until...

    And this is why the guys who transcribed and generously circulated fiddle tunes - when this music started taking hold and becoming popular some years ago (Dawg, Dave Peters, Niles, Joe Carr, among others) - would often include several 'takes' of the same tune, as picked by different musicians. Slight variations abound, and contribute to individual styles. It's all good.

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  10. #82
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    Default Re: You don't know a fiddle tune until...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tommando View Post
    I would say your interpretation is just as valid as anyone's, no matter how well or little you know your instrument technique and music theory.
    Yeah, we're sentenced to local views. It's a bit like saying "you don't know the universe until...".
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

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  12. #83

    Default Re: You don't know a fiddle tune until...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bertram Henze View Post
    Yeah, we're sentenced to local views. It's a bit like saying "you don't know the universe until...".
    Tradition dictates parochialism of the mind. Yet, in music there's a universe of opportunity to unbound oneself.

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  14. #84

    Default Re: You don't know a fiddle tune until...

    ....you listen to how Kenny Baker plays it.
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    Default Re: You don't know a fiddle tune until...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tommando View Post
    I asked a man once if there is a source for definitive transcriptions or recordings of fiddle tunes - a way to know the actual tune. He looked very puzzled about the question. Then he told me in a very definitive manner that it is all interpretation. So, I would say it is impossible to know a fiddle tune beyond your own interpretation at the moment. The OP's teacher and others here have given a comprehensive list of mechanical and mental practices that will expand your interpretive horizons. However, I would say your interpretation is just as valid as anyone's, no matter how well or little you know your instrument technique and music theory.
    Exactly. Fiddle tunes are like soup. There's no definitive definition of most fiddle tunes, just like there's no definitive recipe that defines potato soup or pea soup. But we all know what pea soup tastes like and we know when we've eaten it, just as we can (mostly) recognize a particular fiddle tune when we hear it. It loosely revolves around a melody and chord structure (if there are even chords that fit the tune, which many tunes will defy).

    Truly knowing a fiddle tune is all about capturing the essence of the tune, whatever that may be. Some folks will completely change the chords, but the tune still works. Some will play wildly different variations of the melody, but the tune still works. Knowing all the different variations, or methods to vary the tune, while still being able to make it recognizable, is what's fun about fiddle tunes. It's an art form in and of itself.

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  18. #86
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    Default Re: You don't know a fiddle tune until...

    Neo: What is the tune?
    Trinity: The answer is out there, Neo, and it's looking for you, and it will find you if you want it to.

    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

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  20. #87

    Default Re: You don't know a fiddle tune until...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jstring View Post
    ....you listen to how Kenny Baker plays it.
    Or Kenny Hall too, yup fiddle (in addition to the mandolin that he was more well-known for). Music starts about 0:46:


    (or direct link)

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    Default Re: You don't know a fiddle tune until...

    jshane--This has been my goal also, and I've been at it for about 40 years. Singing is the key. Johnny Gimble talked about improv. in an interview. "You need to be able to sing what you play and play what you sing". He does it here in a jazz solo which starts at 7:08
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cx1lNJ-jebc
    Learning to sing along with every melody you can play on the instrument is a start. Learning a bunch of versions of common tunes [or Texas style fiddling, which incorporates them] is the next step. Getting very comfortable with departing from familiar melodies while playing them is another. Its building flexibility with melody. I make lots of exercise patterns with different intervals to try and stump myself too.

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    Default Re: You don't know a fiddle tune until...

    You don't know a fiddle tune until...

    1) You can name at least two more alternative titles for it.
    2) You complain about the other ways they play it Down South, Out West, Back East, Up in the Hills, Back in the Old Country, etc.
    3) You know at least five acceptable variations on the melody ... plus five more unacceptable variations.
    4) You can claim who learned it from whom, and so on down the line, covering at least three generations of fiddlers.
    5) You dismiss certain phrases as coming from "the banjo version" or "the tin whistle version."
    6) You ornament it (or play it crooked) in such a way that few people can follow it, let alone "steal," your version. Only one person you regularly play with is able to accompany you.


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  26. #90

    Default Re: You don't know a fiddle tune until...

    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Glassman View Post
    ........ Singing is the key. ........
    yep. I agree. Both out loud, and "in your head"...

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    Default Re: You don't know a fiddle tune until...

    Quote Originally Posted by jshane View Post
    yep. I agree. Both out loud, and "in your head"...
    Yes to this. But...nothing drives me more batty than picking with someone who insists on audibly singing or humming the tune when others are taking a break. They do this because they will get lost if they don't do it. Hate it.

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  29. #92
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    Default Re: You don't know a fiddle tune until...

    A couple more thoughts that may have been stated already.

    1. The style of playing the fiddle tune. The Irish style of playing differs in a lot of ways from the Appalachian style in terms of timing, melody note choices, and ornamentation. So, do we need to master the tune in every imaginable style - including jazz and hip hop - before we can claim to know it?

    2. The key. Most fiddle tunes are traditionally played in particular keys. Since they generally are not sung, we have to ask why insist on a certain key. What I find is that each tune captures a particular technique, fingering, riff, or other musical statement, or two, to practice for improving one's violin playing. Trying to play that series of notes in another key or position is informative, but the technique is lost and it does not sound the same. So, I would add that knowing a fiddle tune involves discerning the technique that it teaches in it's traditional key and mastering that bit of technique or sound. Not so much playing those notes in another key or position.

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  31. #93

    Default Re: You don't know a fiddle tune until...

    Great thread, regardless of "really knowing" a tune or not, this is certainly a great list of things to work on to improve your musicianship with tunes you already have in your bag

  32. #94

    Default Re: You don't know a fiddle tune until...

    I think all of those things are good practice approaches but not necessary for every tune you learn. If you took one or two tunes that you knew well and went through that list of items you'd become a better player overall. You'd learn more of the fingerboard and would understand more about the attention to detail needed to play cleanly.

  33. #95
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: You don't know a fiddle tune until...

    Quote Originally Posted by KarlinJackson View Post
    ...improve your musicianship with tunes you already have in your bag
    Very important. I have known many musicians who could barely stumble through their old tunes but were already working on a new one. And every month they would come into the session with ten new tunes to trainwreck.
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  35. #96

    Default Re: You don't know a fiddle tune until...

    This guy may never learn the tune!


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  37. #97
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    Default Re: You don't know a fiddle tune until...

    Love the soup analogy for old-time tunes!! Haha!!

    Completely agree on, "Singing" the mandolin. The tune is the framework. I'm not there!!

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  38. #98
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    Default Re: You don't know a fiddle tune until...

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanN View Post
    So true, buddy.

    Imitate
    Emulate
    Innovate

    That's it, right there.
    You left out my specialty: Irritate.

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    Default Re: You don't know a fiddle tune until...

    Quote Originally Posted by FatBear View Post
    You left out my specialty: Irritate.
    Extrapolate is an excellent descriptive word:
    extend the application of a method or conclusion, to an unknown situation by assuming that existing trends will continue or similar methods will be applicable.

  40. #100
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    Default Re: You don't know a fiddle tune until...

    Good grief I was playing for fun and to jam a few times with friends. If I have to play it forwards, backwards, up down, down up. I guess I'll just throw the mando in the fire place and take up knitting.

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