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Thread: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

  1. #26

    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    Quote Originally Posted by MoreThanQuinn View Post
    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?
    Appears to be an old thread, but 'm going to chime in: there are tons of quick, fun, easy, French tunes to learn.. I know a dozen or so in this easy AABB form. Have to be a fan of waltz-time though


  2. #27

    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    As a North American option, if you search for examples of the older, pre-accordian style of Cajun & Creole musicians in Louisiana, a lot of the songs and fiddle tunes came from France in their origin and there is a certain crystalization (preservation) of older French culture in some of France's former colonies (sort of like the way the Appalachian Ritchie family preserved older English songs in almost their original form). (BTW, I refer to Creole here in the older sense; a person of French ancestry who was born in Louisiana, as opposed to a descendant of the French settlers of Acadia who fled from British rule to Louisiana).

    If you can get a copy of Denus (sometimes spelled Dennis) McGee and Amedé Ardoin's early album, it has some archaic, pre-chank-chank songs. Alan Lomax's Louisiana Field recordings also have some fiddle pieces in the older style.

    I hear that the Quebecois and New Brunswick traditional fiddlers have also preserved some older French fiddle tunes in their repertoire.

    I've spent years listening to and translating older Cajun songs and I've always wanted to dig into some traditional music from Quebec.

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  4. #28

    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    John, do you know if any of this particular early repertoire is on youtube? I like this style and played quite a bit on fiddle. I'd be interested in learning more. There are several really nice documentaries on YT, unfortunately i dont speak French or dialects and I dont get the discussions.

  5. #29
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    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    Quote Originally Posted by John Clay View Post
    As a North American option, if you search for examples of the older, pre-accordian style of Cajun & Creole musicians in Louisiana, a lot of the songs and fiddle tunes came from France in their origin and there is a certain crystalization (preservation) of older French culture in some of France's former colonies (sort of like the way the Appalachian Ritchie family preserved older English songs in almost their original form). (BTW, I refer to Creole here in the older sense; a person of French ancestry who was born in Louisiana, as opposed to a descendant of the French settlers of Acadia who fled from British rule to Louisiana).

    If you can get a copy of Denus (sometimes spelled Dennis) McGee and Amedé Ardoin's early album, it has some archaic, pre-chank-chank songs. Alan Lomax's Louisiana Field recordings also have some fiddle pieces in the older style.

    I hear that the Quebecois and New Brunswick traditional fiddlers have also preserved some older French fiddle tunes in their repertoire.

    I've spent years listening to and translating older Cajun songs and I've always wanted to dig into some traditional music from Quebec.
    My experience playing French Canadian fiddle tunes as part of the north eastern contra dance repertoire, and the tunes I found in that collection of traditional fiddle tunes from France, is that they are pretty different. As different as say New England contra dancemusic, and Old Time fiddle from Appalachia. But as with anything, my experience is limited to umm... my experience.

    More specifically, as with my comparison of northern and southern old time, the Quebecois tunes are more notey and virtuosic, while the tunes in that Belgium collection do a whole lot with few notes and more rhythmic repetition. Both are absolutely excellent and fun to play.

    I am not familiar with the Cajun tunes so much.
    Having something to say is highly over rated.

    The entire staff
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  7. #30

    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    Quote Originally Posted by catmandu2 View Post
    John, do you know if any of this particular early repertoire is on youtube? I like this style and played quite a bit on fiddle. I'd be interested in learning more. There are several really nice documentaries on YT, unfortunately i dont speak French or dialects and I dont get the discussions.
    Here is a link to the complete early recordings of Denus McGee:
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...lzg52imZ-6WMMI

    It’s an amazing album - the twin fiddle pieces could give mandolinists a lot of food for thought on twin instrument arrangements.

    I love 20th Century Cajun music with its syncopation after the accordion became a staple (Iry Lejeune brought the accordion back to prominence after WWII) but the older twin fiddle songs always had a closer connection to the old Continent.

    Michael Doucet has a great Homespun audio course on Cajun fiddling for which Niles Hokkanen was the transcriber. Doucet offers a lot of commentary on the heavier sawing/shuffling bow stroke with lots of slides in the pre-20th Century music of French Louisiana. McGee was unique because he was born in 1893 and learned a pre-radio repertoire of a much older tradition and he lived until 1989.

    One good resource for finding older Cajun folk songs and instrumentals (pre-commercial) is the Cajun and Creole albums in the Smithsonian Folkways Collection (and they offer the Lomax recordings).

    Sometimes the singing or playing sounds rough but it is earthy, raw, and the melodies have more of a modal sound than more modern Cajun (which I also appreciate). As I got better at translating and transcribing, however, I realized that a fair number of the Smithsonian and Arhoolie transcriptions by the folk ethnologists have inaccurate (sometimes wildly so) lyrics - perhaps hobbled together from other sources of transcription but not necessarily tracking what the person is singing. But they captured the music at an important point in time when the older songs and tunes were still being performed.

    The best resource I have found for good transcriptions / translations of Louisiana French songs - which also includes the melodic vocal transcription (and a phonetic pronunciation accompanying the Cajun & Creole lyrics) - is Anne Savoy’s book on Cajun Music. I just read that Volume II is coming out and can’t wait to get a copy.

    An excellent book with lyrics and skeleton transcriptions of the fiddle part for hundreds of songs and tunes is a book called, Yé Yaille, Chère!, by Raymond Francois. Floyd’s Records (Louisiana regional music store) may still carry it. It is also available on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Yaille-Tradit.../dp/B01FKRRCG2

    Francois’s book is probably the best resource for people who want to arrange fiddle instrumentals for a mandolin.

    I would love to hear Niles Hokkanen’s thoughts because he has interviewed, transcribed, and recorded with Michael Doucet, Tommy Comeaux, etc. (I recall a really nice mandolin song on one of the Beausoleil albums, if I remember correctly). It’s hard to play acoustic mandolin against an accordion but it fits in well with acoustic guitar, fiddle, and a ti-fer (triangle). Here is a thread to check out on the Mandolin Cafe:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...cajun-mandolin

    One minor thought I have had on some potential ways that the mandolin can be used - if you check out Sam Bush’s approach to rhythm, he often will play the lower two strings (G and D) followed by faster strums (or up strokes) on the A and E string almost like a snare drum. I see a lot of similarities between that and the way that traditional Cajun fiddlers would play a rhythmic, chordal second or “bass” fiddle part behind the instrumental melodic lead on the other fiddle in the early 20th Century (pre-electric). My favorite example of that style would have to be McGee’s early recordings.

    But I would like to hear more from others about traditional music from the Quebecois and Acadians that contains older traditions from France.
    Last edited by John Clay; Nov-28-2020 at 8:07pm. Reason: Final sentence.

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  9. #31

    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    That's cool, didn't know Niles was involved - I learned the tunes from the Doucet Homespun VHS back in the 90s I guess - got me into it way before I got into Irish tunes and the lot. I always ask people if they can play ti-fer. Too much fun!

    Niles, you wouldnt happen to have the lyrics to those tunes trans in English? If I could sing the tunes I'd get right back into it.

    *Alright man you guys have totally gotten me back into it - I haven't played in years but I'm going to start again



    Tune from the VHS
    Last edited by catmandu2; Nov-28-2020 at 11:22pm.

  10. #32

    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    Quote Originally Posted by catmandu2 View Post
    That's cool, didn't know Niles was involved - I learned the tunes from the Doucet Homespun VHS back in the 90s I guess - got me into it way before I got into Irish tunes and the lot. I always ask people if they can play ti-fer. Too much fun!

    Niles, you wouldnt happen to have the lyrics to those tunes trans in English? If I could sing the tunes I'd get right back into it.

    *Alright man you guys have totally gotten me back into it - I haven't played in years but I'm going to start again



    Tune from the VHS
    For Cajun French lyrics with a translation, this website is an excellent source:

    https://earlycajunmusic.blogspot.com/

    Try the search bar on the link to pull up individual songs. Lots of info about seminal early recordings, often with links to the recordings.

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  12. #33

    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    Some tabbed tunes from Auvergne, France.
    Some are on YouTube too.
    Enjoy and Happy Christmas guys!!
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/ahw02aegkh...20TAB.pdf?dl=0

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  14. #34

    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    Quote Originally Posted by John Clay View Post
    For Cajun French lyrics with a translation, this website is an excellent source:

    https://earlycajunmusic.blogspot.com/
    Wow, perfect!

  15. #35

    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon DS View Post
    Bump!

    Here’s a link to the TAB that I transcribed from the original site:
    TOURNEALAUBE.FREE.FR
    ENJOY!
    Merci Beaucoup!

  16. #36

    Default Re: French Folk / Fiddle Tunes

    Quote Originally Posted by catmandu2 View Post

    *Alright man

    Tune from the VHS
    Edit: .. NOT

    *avoid posting after night time toddies

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