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Thread: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

  1. #1
    Registered User MoreThanQuinn's Avatar
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    Default French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    Hey Café-ers,

    Is there such thing as a French fiddle tune? Or an uptempo French folk tune?

    I love playing fiddle tunes - they're lively and fun and easy enough. Now I'm in France for the next 8 months and I'd love to add some French music to my rep to play while I'm here, but I'm not ready to tackle any big classical pieces. Looking for something more fiddle tune-esque.

    You know of anything that's quick and fun and totally-French?

    2016 Martin TEN515 Tenor Guitar
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  2. #2
    Americana in France? Daniel Nestlerode's Avatar
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    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    Most folk music from France predates France as a single cultural entity. Look up Breton folk, Picardie folk, etc.
    I'll see if I can dig up more over the weekend.


    Daniel

  3. #3
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    I hope others will chime in here with more extensive knowledge, but here are a few I play. Many of the tunes that show up as "fiddle tunes" are adapted from Breton dance tunes, often cherry-picked by Irish trad bands. Like this set from Lunasa... a bit over-elaborate with orchestral backing, but great tunes. I play them on flute, but they would work on mandolin. The tunes are "Tadin-Tinaketa," "Marche Des Charbonniers," and
    "Ridees Six-Temps."



    There is a beautiful tune called Crested Hens (Poulles Huppees) by Gillies Chabenat, that shows up often in Irish sessions. It's a slow 3/8 Bourrée (sort of a waltz but not exactly), and would lend itself to a chord/melody arrangement on mandolin. This is a classic version by Solas with Winifred Horan on fiddle:



    And then there's Bear Dance, a very simple and easy to learn tune. It might be originally from Belgium, but as you can see it shows up in France. Apparently fun to dance to!


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    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    For sure there are. Check out this festival in Central France, Le Son Continu. It was formerly in the nearby village of St Chartier, which I went to once.

    https://www.facebook.com/lsc.lesonco...227441219/?t=9

    Heaps of French music there, played on hurdy-gurdies, accordions, French bagpipes (from different regions) and indeed fiddle. There is a lot more to French music than Breton music. The stuff from Central France is rather different.

    http://www.lesoncontinu.fr/en/les-animations-2018-2/

    https://www.facebook.com/lsc.lesoncontinu
    David A. Gordon

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    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    I bought Chris Haigh’s book & there are lots of tunes in there http://amzn.eu/d/f2UTJFL and good info on his website called Fiddling Around
    Eoin



    "Forget that anyone is listening to you and always listen to yourself" - Fryderyk Chopin

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    Peace. Love. Mandolin. Gelsenbury's Avatar
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    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    L'inconnu de Limoise:

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    String-Bending Heretic mandocrucian's Avatar
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    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    Here you go... plenty of trad French fiddle VIOLON TRAD ...68 videos of various players including Jean-Francois Vrod
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qf_V...3dyOKeBC2HJeCd

    Lots of medieval 'residue' (imo) in this stuff.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_folk_music


    Main article: Music of Limousin
    "Limousin is known for its violin music, as well as the chabrette bagpipe. Eric Montbel is the biggest star of Limousin folk, while Françoise Etay, Jean Pierre Champeval, Olivier Durif, Valentin Clastrier and Pascal Lefeuvre are also popular. Instruments include the cabrette bagpipe and the ancient army fife, pifre. Limousin violin music, focussed in Corrèze, has produced stars François Etay and Trio Violon, while more modern fiddlers include François Breugnot, Olivier Durif, Jean Pierre Champeval and Jean-François Vrod. The hurdy-gurdy in Limousin has been extended to avant-garde styles utilizing electronic music, jazz and other influences, including Pascal Lefeuvre, Dominique Regef and Valentin Clastrier."

    Niles H

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    Notary Sojac Paul Kotapish's Avatar
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    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    You are looking for French country dance music, and as noted above, there are loads of regional variations.

    I used to play loads of bourrées and waltzes from central France. Many of them are in a 32-bar structure that would be familiar to anyone who plays American or Irish fiddle tunes. The bourrées are in two main rhythmic forms--"two-time" and "three=time." The former is square--not unlike a hoedown or reel--that latter is sort of a peppy, accented waltz time. Most of the tunes are played on the vielle à roue (hurdy gurdy), bagpipe, accordion, or fiddle. I learned them all by ear, but there is notation out there.

    Here's a dance-oriented page with lots of video links so you can hear the tunes and see the dancing in that style.

    Breton tune (Brittany) are very cool, gnarly, and fun, too. There are some great fiddlers in that tradition, but the more traditional instrumental combo is a pair is the bombard and biniou -- ear-splitting and mind-blowing reed instruments. Here's a great resource from Jim Oakden, with an explanation of the tune forms and links to a bunch of tune books.

    Here's another great resource for French tunes of various sorts, also from the Lark in the Morning library: https://www.larkcamp.com/LarkLibrary/French/French.html.
    Just one guy's opinion
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    Notary Sojac Paul Kotapish's Avatar
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    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    Here's a set I recorded with Kevin Burke and Open House some years back.



    And another set, from our second CD:



    Not traditional instruments or styling, but the tunes are cool.

    One more from tune I recorded with the Rodney Miller Band:

    Just one guy's opinion
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    Hey Café-ers,

    Is there such thing as a French fiddle tune? Or an uptempo French folk tune?

    Yes.

    http://tournealaube.free.fr/IMG/pdf/a_carnetrep.pdf
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

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  19. #12
    Registered User MoreThanQuinn's Avatar
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    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    Haha holy crap.

    Excuse the language, but I did NOT expect such an awesome response. This is incredible. I'm sure it will take me hours and hours to go through all these resources. I can't thank you all enough, seriously. This gets me so excited to sit down and start learning some of these.

    I will respond to individual posts as I go through some of the content.

    You guys rock!

    Merci!
    2016 Martin TEN515 Tenor Guitar
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post

    There is a great story to go with my finding this. Chatting with a French mandolinner I met at a festival, and asking these very same questions. She in French, (her English was close to non-existant), and me in horrible French run through google translate several times.

    But she guided me to pay dirt.

    Enjoy.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  21. #14
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    https://www.monviolon.org/en/bibliot...euf_trad/vol_5

    Dances from Central France
    Berry, Bourbonnais, Nivernais, Limousin, Auvergne

    mp3 and sheet music . enjoy

  22. #15
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    There is a great story to go with my finding this. Chatting with a French mandolinner I met at a festival, and asking these very same questions. She in French, (her English was close to non-existant), and me in horrible French run through google translate several times.

    But she guided me to pay dirt.

    Enjoy.
    I have been using that "Tourne à l'Aube" tunebook a lot -- there is some great music in there! I can't remember where I got the link from, but chances are it's from one of your posts here on the Cafe, so thank you very much!

    Martin

  23. #16
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Jonas View Post
    I have been using that "Tourne à l'Aube" tunebook a lot -- there is some great music in there! I can't remember where I got the link from, but chances are it's from one of your posts here on the Cafe, so thank you very much!
    Could well have been. I love it. Some of the tunes that may at first sound (to my ears anyway) as being simple minded turn out to be among the most powerful and fun tunes in there. A tune need not be notey or complicated to grip one's heart.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  24. #17
    Registered User zoukboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    Roger Landes
    http://rogerlandes.com
    The Hal Leonard Irish Bouzouki Method:
    http://www.halleonard.com/product/vi...?itemid=696348
    "House to House" with Randal Bays
    http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bayslandes
    "The Janissary Stomp" with Chipper Thompson
    http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/rogerchipper

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  26. #18

    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    Here’s a book of Popular French Folk songs, a lot of which are probably played on the fiddle, see with YouTube.
    Enjoy.
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/z87qz0cc2l...20%20.pdf?dl=0



    ALSO:
    Here’s a book of tunes from the Auvergne region of France, I added the TAB to make it more accessible, though because the tunes are relatively simple, it can sometimes be more effective to just learn to play by ear and go through, playing along with the vids.
    Auvergne is a south central, quite isolated part of France and compared to what people think of as Old French trad the music reminds me of the difference between Nova Scotia and ITM.
    -quite a lot of it was ‘written’ for flute, whistle, hurdy gurdy...
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/ahw02aegkh...20TAB.pdf?dl=0

    And, because the site is now down, I put the Tourne à l’aube book here, I did post on MandolinCafe another one in old text with a summary and references which lead to other sources, but can’t find it for the moment, enjoy!
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/kaxyakl6at...DOTAB.pdf?dl=0
    Last edited by Simon DS; Oct-23-2019 at 4:39am.

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  28. #19
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    Quote Originally Posted by atsunrise View Post
    Auvergne is a south central, quite isolated part of France and compared to what people think of as Old French trad the music reminds me of the difference between Nova Scotia and ITM.
    Sunrise, what's "ITM." I'm from Nova Scotia. If someone says I'm from ITM, are those fightin' words?
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

  29. #20

    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    Oops, you can see I’m not much of an archivist, I should have written NSTM.

  30. #21
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    Quote Originally Posted by atsunrise View Post
    Oops, you can see I’m not much of an archivist, I should have written NSTM.
    I'm not trying to give you a hard time, but I'm still confused. Changing ITM to NSTM, I get: "Auvergne is a south central, quite isolated part of France and compared to what people think of as Old French trad the music reminds me of the difference between Nova Scotia and" NSTM. I'm assuming you mean Nova Scotia Traditional Music, but I still don't understand what the sentence means. Nova Scotia is a place and NSTM is the traditional music of the residents, is it not?
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

  31. #22
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    Oh, do you mean the difference between Cape Breton music and mainland Nova Scotia's traditional music? That would make sense. (I'm a terrible proof reader myself, so I understand how you make such a mistake.)
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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