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Jun 2, 2022 - 1:54:51 PM
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AGACNP

USA

335 posts since 10/12/2011

A conversation between phb, Arnie Fleisher and myself caused me to wonder about others’ approaches to arranging fiddle tunes for banjo in melodic style.

A long time ‘Scruggs’ enthusiast myself, until the past 2-3 years have always done ‘Scruggsy’ arrangements and have been satisfied with that.

Hearing Pikelnys landmark album has ‘ruined’ me, lol, and now I realize I won’t live long enough to arrange and learn all the fiddle tunes I’d like to.

Both phb and Arnie Fleisher, on the “Alternate Tunings” thread, talk about playing Jerusalems Ridge in open G, with noncapoed 5th string. I have arranged an acceptable (to me, anyway) approximation of Pikelnys first “easy” break on his album…almost now up to speed.

A good friend of mine plays both banjo and fiddle, and is a master at arranging fiddle tunes for banjo.

I would be curious to know of others approach to arranging fiddle tunes, and thread drift is welcome/encouraged. Consider this more of a request for a virtual brainstorming session.

Jun 2, 2022 - 2:45:18 PM
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5521 posts since 5/9/2007

I tune my banjo to the key being employed by the fiddle player.
Easier to find melody and less “avoidance” required.

Edited by - mrphysics55 on 06/02/2022 14:46:25

Jun 2, 2022 - 2:47:40 PM
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15529 posts since 12/2/2005

The key to arranging fiddle tunes in melodic style is... to learn melodic style, and understand the fundamental concepts therein. Melodic style was developed (arguably by Bobby Thompson and Bill Keith) to enable them to hit all the notes.

There are certain fiddle tunes that are commonly played in the bluegrass canon that lend themselves to this. One of my favorites, and the one I use to introduce students to the style, is "Red Haired Boy."

From there, all things flow. Once you understand that 8-note "roll patterns" are a construct, and start learning how notes work up the fingerboard when you're willing to play open strings, arranging fiddle tunes becomes entirely logical.

Edited by - eagleisland on 06/02/2022 14:48:48

Jun 2, 2022 - 4:35:42 PM
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76640 posts since 5/9/2007

My version of Kitchen Girl is in A out of open G tuning.
Soldier's Joy is open 1-4 with 5th at 7.
I play Whiskey B4 Breakfast,Angeline the Baker and most D fiddletunes out of a G neck.
I started figuring that out in the 70s when a bunch of out-of-staters moved here to work in the boatyards.Many were from Connecticut,New York and Canada.
Not much bluegrass near Port Clyde in those days so I worked on fiddletunes with those folks and played a bunch of contra dances with 10-15 other musicians.
Contra dances are great places to learn tunes because they play them so many times through for the dance to complete.

There are many good fiddletunes in the key of G,too.

Santa Claus,Off to California hp,Minstrel's Fancy and Blackberry Blossom off the top of my head.

When I lived in R.I. I joined the state fiddler's organization and they had weekly jams.
The best way to learn is immersion in my opinion.Play with talented fiddlers as much as possible.

Edited by - steve davis on 06/02/2022 16:41:02

Jun 2, 2022 - 5:24:46 PM

AGACNP

USA

335 posts since 10/12/2011

quote:
Originally posted by eagleisland

The key to arranging fiddle tunes in melodic style is... to learn melodic style, and understand the fundamental concepts therein. Melodic style was developed (arguably by Bobby Thompson and Bill Keith) to enable them to hit all the notes.

There are certain fiddle tunes that are commonly played in the bluegrass canon that lend themselves to this. One of my favorites, and the one I use to introduce students to the style, is "Red Haired Boy."

From there, all things flow. Once you understand that 8-note "roll patterns" are a construct, and start learning how notes work up the fingerboard when you're willing to play open strings, arranging fiddle tunes becomes entirely logical.


Thanks Skip, great thoughts here, I've come to respect your opinions and contributions greatly.

Ive found melodic technique on banjo to be much less linear than finding the melody on banjo, as you've alluded to. My technique for learning a new fiddle tune has been to painstakingly learn, note for note, measure by measure, and finally: whole tunes. Then, I start working on playing it in time, and finally...speed.

Ive found some melodic player sometimes insert melodic licks without actually playing the melody. Acceptable, certainly, but really not the way I prefer to approach this.

As an advanced player, do you find, like 'Scruggs' style, there is finally a time where you can hear a 'new to you' fiddle tune a few times through and play an acceptable, seamless melody line?

Feel free to expand, expound, drift off track with your reply, and thanks!

Jun 2, 2022 - 5:26:10 PM
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Alex Z

USA

4928 posts since 12/7/2006

In a workshop, Bill Keith told me that if key had two open string notes on the banjo, he could play in that key without a capo.

So Jerusalem Ridge is in A minor, and all 5 strings in G tuning are notes in that scale and in that tune.

Myself, I play Jerusalem Ridge in a G minor tuning, capoed up two frets, since when learning the tune I was more familiar with the minor scale fingerings in that tuning and didn't know any other way.

Jun 2, 2022 - 5:31:24 PM

AGACNP

USA

335 posts since 10/12/2011

quote:
Originally posted by steve davis

My version of Kitchen Girl is in A out of open G tuning.
Soldier's Joy is open 1-4 with 5th at 7.
I play Whiskey B4 Breakfast,Angeline the Baker and most D fiddletunes out of a G neck.
I started figuring that out in the 70s when a bunch of out-of-staters moved here to work in the boatyards.Many were from Connecticut,New York and Canada.
Not much bluegrass near Port Clyde in those days so I worked on fiddletunes with those folks and played a bunch of contra dances with 10-15 other musicians.
Contra dances are great places to learn tunes because they play them so many times through for the dance to complete.

There are many good fiddletunes in the key of G,too.

Santa Claus,Off to California hp,Minstrel's Fancy and Blackberry Blossom off the top of my head.

When I lived in R.I. I joined the state fiddler's organization and they had weekly jams.
The best way to learn is immersion in my opinion.Play with talented fiddlers as much as possible.


Great thoughts and new (to me anyway) fiddle tunes to learn..:never heard anyone play Kitchen Girl.

Ive fallen in with some great fiddlers just the past two years. My first actual fiddle tune I learned (other than an obligatory Blackberry Blossom break) is John Barleycorn, taught to me by fiddler Mike Feagan.

Ive added various D tunes, like Arkansas Traveler and other of the usual favorites, forcing myself to play out of open G, key of D, 5th not capoed. I'm well on the way.

Jun 2, 2022 - 5:41:15 PM
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5521 posts since 5/9/2007

Kitchen Girl is easily played in A-Modal or A.
It frequently gets played in Old-Time Jams. No real mystery.

Is the point of this exercise to play everything possible from Open G with no capo .. but maybe a 5th string tweek?
I’m ignorant of the BG approach and am very curious.

Jun 2, 2022 - 6:04:39 PM

AGACNP

USA

335 posts since 10/12/2011

quote:
Originally posted by mrphysics55

Kitchen Girl is easily played in A-Modal or A.
It frequently gets played in Old-Time Jams. No real mystery.

Is the point of this exercise to play everything possible from Open G with no capo .. but maybe a 5th string tweek?
I’m ignorant of the BG approach and am very curious.


Ive been around bluegrass music all my life, but never really any old time jams and such. I will look into Kitchen Girl and maybe learn that one.

Ive been around other bluegrass banjo players who have no compunction about playing fiddle tunes with capo. Personally, I have found it a welcome challenge to learn some C and D tunes out of open G without capoed 5th string. My reason for starting the thread was to ask about other BG players approach to learning such tunes.

Edited by - AGACNP on 06/02/2022 18:05:16

Jun 2, 2022 - 6:37:20 PM
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13577 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by AGACNP

Both phb and Arnie Fleisher, on the “Alternate Tunings” thread, talk about playing Jerusalems Ridge in open G, with noncapoed 5th string. I have arranged an acceptable (to me, anyway) approximation of Pikelnys first “easy” break on his album…almost now up to speed.


Am/C is only one note different from Em/G, so it lays out extremely well on the fingerboard in standard G tuning.

John Boulding ("Banjophobic" when he participated in the Hangout) teaches a good sounding, basic, standard tuning version of Jerusalem Ridge in his free online lessons. He also lays the groundwork for Jerusalem Ridge with several lessons on minor scales in melodic style. Here's a direct link to the index of his minor key lessons.

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Jun 2, 2022 - 6:50:43 PM
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AGACNP

USA

335 posts since 10/12/2011

quote:
Originally posted by Old Hickory
quote:
Originally posted by AGACNP

Both phb and Arnie Fleisher, on the “Alternate Tunings” thread, talk about playing Jerusalems Ridge in open G, with noncapoed 5th string. I have arranged an acceptable (to me, anyway) approximation of Pikelnys first “easy” break on his album…almost now up to speed.


Am/C is only one note different from Em/G, so it lays out extremely well on the fingerboard in standard G tuning.

John Boulding ("Banjophobic" when he participated in the Hangout) teaches a good sounding, basic, standard tuning version of Jerusalem Ridge in his free online lessons. He also lays the groundwork for Jerusalem Ridge with several lessons on minor scales in melodic style. Here's a direct link to the index of his minor key lessons.


Ken,

As always, great comments, thank you. Also, thank you for the John Boulding resource, the amount of info provided there is rather vast.

Jun 2, 2022 - 6:56:26 PM
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Bill H

USA

1969 posts since 11/7/2010

I am a long time claw hammer player who set out to learn three finger style a few years ago. Inevitably, most beginner learning material is oriented towards Scruggs style. But I really like fiddle tunes. I attend a class every week led by a fiddler who teaches us tunes from her vast repertoire of regional New England tunes and dance tunes from years of playing contra dances. There are no banjo versions of many of these tunes to be found on YouTube, and I struggle to come up with arrangements. She provides us with notation of the way she plays the tune, which is a very basic melody. So I have been drifting away from Scruggs and working on melodic and single string arrangements of fiddle and dance tunes. Iam making progress slowly and finally gaining enough speed to keep up at a moderate pace. Playing with a fiddle is a blast and has taught me a ton about timing and phrasing.

Jun 2, 2022 - 7:41:40 PM

5521 posts since 5/9/2007

quote:
Originally posted by AGACNP
quote:
Originally posted by mrphysics55

Kitchen Girl is easily played in A-Modal or A.
It frequently gets played in Old-Time Jams. No real mystery.

Is the point of this exercise to play everything possible from Open G with no capo .. but maybe a 5th string tweek?
I’m ignorant of the BG approach and am very curious.


Ive been around bluegrass music all my life, but never really any old time jams and such. I will look into Kitchen Girl and maybe learn that one.

Ive been around other bluegrass banjo players who have no compunction about playing fiddle tunes with capo. Personally, I have found it a welcome challenge to learn some C and D tunes out of open G without capoed 5th string. My reason for starting the thread was to ask about other BG players approach to learning such tunes.


yessmiley
I can also recommend that you look at D tunes. This is a common key that fiddle players use. I usually play those tunes out of double D tuning. aDADE

... a couple of good ones in D ...

Soldiers Joy

Whiskey for Breakfast 

Edited by - mrphysics55 on 06/02/2022 19:45:44

Jun 2, 2022 - 7:45:38 PM
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76640 posts since 5/9/2007

Kitchen Girl has a good amount of A to G in the A part and a great exercise of Am to E in the 1st 2 frets (B part).

One of my favorite things about no capo is access to those low notes in the first 2 frets.That low banjo D is powerful stuff and hammering from D to A and a one note E7 chord. 0100

Edited by - steve davis on 06/02/2022 19:50:07

Jun 2, 2022 - 7:54:29 PM
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5521 posts since 5/9/2007

quote:
Originally posted by steve davis

...

One of my favorite things about no capo is access to those low notes in the first 2 frets.That low banjo D is powerful stuff    ...


Amen

Edited by - mrphysics55 on 06/02/2022 19:55:48

Jun 2, 2022 - 9:03:02 PM
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4398 posts since 6/15/2005

I work out fiddle tunes the same way I work out any other tune or song. I listen to the tune over and over until I can play it back in my mind. I determine the key and the chord progression and then find the melody on the fingerboard. Finally, I use whatever combination of Scruggs, melodic and single-string techniques allows me to play the tune as easily as possible (as I've said in other threads, I'm lazy) while achieving the sound I want.

I don't necessarily try to play every melody note in every tune. For example, my version of "Billy in the Lowground" is completely Scruggs style (and is to a large extent stolen from Herb Pederson's version on the "Here Today" album). On the other hand, my version of ""The Grey Eagle" does have every note and is a combination of Scruggs and melodic styles (and is to a large extent stolen from Larry McNeely's version on the "Dad's Favorites" album). And my version of "Wheel Hoss" also has every note and uses Scruggs, melodic and single-string to get there (and isn't stolen from anyone).

Jun 2, 2022 - 10:26:05 PM
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chuckv97

Canada

66047 posts since 10/5/2013

I play some fiddle tunes melodic style (Turkey in the Straw, Devil’s Dream, among a couple others) and others “Scruggs-ified” (Whisky BB, Ste. Anne’s Reel, Beaumont Rag).
My excuse is I figure the fiddle and mandolin and guitar have already played it mostly note-for-note , so why not a “banjo-istic” version for variety. I’ve been working on “Old Grimes” , key of D in open G tuning, 5th spiked at 7. It’s all melodic based on a guitar version by Chris Eldridge. It’s a lot of work.

Edited by - chuckv97 on 06/02/2022 22:26:58

Jun 3, 2022 - 5:27:43 AM
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phb

Germany

3498 posts since 11/8/2010

I started off with Janet Davis's "You Can Teach Yourself Banjo". She basically shows beginning players around and has some melodic arrangements for melodic style standards such as "Devil's Dream", "Blackberry Blossom" and some more. Since I had played classic guitar in my youth, the melodic style material came easy to me. The approach of playing adjacent notes on adjacent strings with one open strings isn't foreign to classic guitar playing, I actually composed some stuff using that approach before I ever had touched a banjo. I found learning those basic melodic style arrangement from that banjo primer easier than learning the Scruggs style material. There was a clear melody that was even recognisable when playing slowly. In that time I even made my first own melodic style arrangement which is still in my tabs (Sailor's Hornpipe). As I stated before, it was far easier for me to grasp the concepts of melodic style playing. At that point in time I couldn't have come up with a Scruggs style arrangement for anything.

I eventually came to realise that melodic style playing wasn't going to help me when playing in jams. It wasn't really the type of music I wanted to play, I had bought a banjo to play bluegrass music. I thus decided to leave all melodic playing aside until I felt I had come sufficiently far with Scruggs style. It has been like that for ten years now. Some time this or last year "Blackberry Blossom" was played frequently in my jams which is why I reconstructed the Janet Davis arrangement from memory (the book has vanished from my bookshelf).

With my local session recovering from the covid hiatus, we got a new fiddle player (hardly ever had one and the one we sometimes had wasn't too good). Since she is quite good, fiddle tunes have become more popular at my jam. Since I try to jam as much as I can, I hardly ever decide to not play a song or tune which again meant that I had to work on some fiddle tunes at home. The first one I tackled was "Salt Creek" because that was popular at my jam a few months ago. I never liked that one much but put together an arrangement collecting ideas from different sources and adding some bits of my own. I tried to make it as Scruggsy as possible. I downloaded a backing track from the internet and practiced my arrangement with that.

The bits I came up with for my "Salt Creek" arrangement (B part) were quite important for me. They weren't sensational in any way, it was more about realising how I had come up with them. I was away from the computer as I was on vacations in a region that hardly even has access to mobile internet. I therefore was on my own. I remembered the fiddle melody as our fiddle player had played it and tried to come up with some banjo equivalent. I have no idea whether our fiddle player plays the melody the way I remember it and, if so, this is the way "Salt Creek" is supposed to be played on the fiddle. The important thing for me was to realise that I could just memorise the fiddle melody and then look for some banjo representation of the same melody.

Some weeks later I first heard "Salt Spring" in a jam session and very much liked it (it suddenly gets played everywhere around me and I feel ignorant for not having known it earlier). This time I remembered how I had come up with my own few measures for "Salt Creek" and used that approach intentionally. I set up a backing track, looped it infinitely and sat down with my banjo playing along with the backing track. I first looked for the most important melody notes, started filling in some rolls until only a few "holes" remained and then concentrated on those until the arrangement was complete (I recorded and posted that in the Sound-Off subforum).

This took about two hours and was a completely different approach to what I had done before. For the first time I really felt I was creating something of my own in a musical way. Other arrangements I had made were more of an academic exercise and pretty much paper-based (virtual or real paper). Those older arrangements were a process to arrive at some tablature, the "new" approach was a process that directly created sound. To me this was a very important experience (only took me more than ten years...). I realised that there were so many fiddle tunes and each one of them could become a practical exercise in coming up with a break of my own helping me to become much better at playing solid breaks for unfamiliar songs in jam sessions.

The next arrangement I made in this way was "Cherokee Shuffle", again because it got played at my jam and I like the tune. It took me a little longer to come up with an arrangement that felt natural to me but again I was quite happy with the result. None of my fiddle tune arrangements made use of any Scruggs style licks but they were all rolls around the important melody notes and clearly recognisable. Due to the Scruggs style nature of my arrangements, the fact that those tunes were fiddle tunes did not have any effect on my capo choices. I capoed 2 for A major fiddle tunes and I do not capo for D major fiddle tunes (still have some of those in store I have to work on, e.g. "Angeline the Baker"). For both A major and D major I spike the 5th string at 7 like I would do for any Scruggs song in those keys.

I have been working on Jerusalem Ridge now which I always liked and which has been something like the ultimate fiddle tune to me. I have always admired people able to play this tune. Our fiddle player is currently learning this tune and when we met at a bluegrass even a couple of weeks ago, she told me to sit down with her and accompany her on the banjo so that she could practice it some more. I realised that it wasn't all that complex harmonically. When it showed up at our next jam session, I decided I might secretly try and work out a lead arrangement and see how that would go.

Since Jerusalem Ridge is a more complex tune than common, I didn't use my new approach (backing track and then just playing along until I am happy). I didn't feel confident I could do that sort of thing for such a complex masterpiece. Thus, I put it into my slow-downer software and pretty much transcribed the fiddle melody for banjo. I was still familiar with the concepts of melodic playing and chose uncapoed, unspiked open G from the get-go. Again this would have been my choice for any A minor song and I knew how the scales for G, C and D lay out on the neck in melodic style.

In the beginning the transcription process was more intended to help me actually learn the different parts of the tune, identify the important melody notes and then decide what I could play on the banjo to somehow resemble what the fiddle was playing. However, I was surprised to find that it was quite easy to use the melodic style concepts and play the fiddle melody almost note for note. In fact there are only three measures where I don't replicate the fiddle melody exactly: one measure because I simply didn't find a way, one measure where I made a subtle (I'd say unnoticeable) change to the melody to make it easier to change between the two main positions for A minor melodic playing and one measure where the fiddle plays the same melody note repeatedly and where it was both technically and musically more fitting to roll through the chord instead. I will upload tabs to my arrangement when I have practiced it enough to post a recording of it.

I still prefer Scruggs-style representations of fiddle tunes over melodic style. I like how the frills around the cardinal melody notes get removed and replaced by other filler stuff. Like Chuck I feel that the banjo should add some variety to what the fiddle and mandolin are playing.

Scruggs style is far less intuitive to me than anything else but also far more appealing than melodic style (melodic style is just that, the melody, no surprises, no secrets). I perhaps will try to work out some Scruggs style arrangement for Jerusalem Ridge some time in the future but right now my melodic style arrangement is keeping me busy enough. I have been practicing it every evening after work for a week or so and it still starts to get sloppy at anything above 85bpm (my usual speed limit is at somewhere between 100bpm and 110bpm). Yesterday I tried it at 90 to 100bpm and could notice how the mistakes became more with the increasing speed. But I guess I can't get faster if I don't play faster. I got through it a few times with hardly any real mistake at 90bpm so I am getting better at it. But notes get uneven in volume and duration. A few days ago the same happened at 85bpm. Well, little baby steps...

Edited by - phb on 06/03/2022 05:29:09

Jun 3, 2022 - 6:00:32 AM
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15529 posts since 12/2/2005

quote:
Originally posted by AGACNP

Thanks Skip, great thoughts here, I've come to respect your opinions and contributions greatly.

That's kind of you. Thanks.

Ive found melodic technique on banjo to be much less linear than finding the melody on banjo, as you've alluded to. My technique for learning a new fiddle tune has been to painstakingly learn, note for note, measure by measure, and finally: whole tunes. Then, I start working on playing it in time, and finally...speed.

Honestly, I know of no other way. I can say, however, that the more you play with melodics and fiddle tunes, the more you'll find that - just as in Scruggs - certain note sequences and left- and right-hand moves get used a lot. In other words, the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Ive found some melodic player sometimes insert melodic licks without actually playing the melody. Acceptable, certainly, but really not the way I prefer to approach this.

If we're truly playing melodics, every note is melody. Scruggs tends more towards melody-notes-and-filler-notes. Earl played fiddle tunes, but he simplified them such that many of the actual melody notes weren't played. Part of Earl's genius is that he IMPLIED them without actually playing them, and the result sounded fabulous. It reportedly drove Bill Monroe nuts that none of his banjo players could play all the notes that the fiddler and mandolin could - Monroe said (paraphrasing) "Those notes are on the instrument. Why can't they play them?" It was simply because those first generation players hadn't really figured out how to do these moves efficiently. This is why the work of Bill Keith and Bobby Thompson was so revolutionary: they figured out the technique that allowed them to do it. Monroe, upon hearing Keith, was reported to have said "I knew it! I knew it could be done!" When he hired Bill Keith, he reportedly laid down a strict edict that Keith was NOT to show other banjo players how he was doing it. That, of course, proved an impossible task.

As an advanced player, do you find, like 'Scruggs' style, there is finally a time where you can hear a 'new to you' fiddle tune a few times through and play an acceptable, seamless melody line?

I don't know if I deserve the title of "advanced" player, but when I add a new fiddle tune I need to work on it for a while. It does get easier once we recognize that there ARE patterns, as noted above.

One advantage of Scruggs style: you can always bail out to a familiar roll pattern or lick. When you come off the rails in a fiddle tune, it's nice to have that Scruggs stuff waiting to ease you back on the track. But melodic reads of fiddle tunes, perhaps stretching the metaphor beyond usefulness, offers us no end of opportunities for train wrecks.

Feel free to expand, expound, drift off track with your reply, and thanks!


Jun 3, 2022 - 6:19:18 AM
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Eric A

USA

1602 posts since 10/15/2019

This thread implies that everything that the fiddle player plays is golden. Every single note is core melody, even though every fiddle player plays things differently, and great fiddle players are famous for never playing it the same way twice.

When banjo players (or dobro, guitar, etc.) chase exact reproductions of fiddle tunes they are chasing a chimera, an impostor. There is no point to it.

Jun 3, 2022 - 6:23:28 AM
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76640 posts since 5/9/2007

When I work out a fiddletune I use visuals of my new patterns as benchmarks.I feel every new fiddletune is a new lesson in navigation.

Jun 3, 2022 - 6:50:53 AM

76640 posts since 5/9/2007

I wish I could remember how to bring my homepage music over here.
It's been explained to me but it didn't stick.

Jun 3, 2022 - 6:52:13 AM
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phb

Germany

3498 posts since 11/8/2010

One little piece I found myself is that the common Scruggs style note sequence worth half a measure and leading into a C chord or C note

------------------0-------|----------
-------------0------------|--1------
--2-s-3------------------|---------
---------------------------|---------
-----------------------0--|---------

is the primary Scruggs style equivalent of a melodic fragment played by the fiddle (notated here as single-string banjo):

----------------------|----------------
------------------0--|--1-------------
--2---0----2--------|----------------
----------------------|----------------
----------------------|----------------

which, of course, would rather be played melodic style:

---------------------|-------------------
----------------0---|--------------------
------0-------------|--5-----------------
--7-------7--------|---------------------
---------------------|--------------------

I am sure one can find more such typical building blocks to use for melodic playing or Scruggs style representations of the fiddle melody.

Main melody notes on the fiddle tend to be the notes played on the downbeats and the remaining notes are just as much filler notes as with Scruggs style just that the fiddle usually zig-zags around the main melody notes using neighbouring notes directly above and below the main melody notes while Scruggs style rolls through the chord notes.

Jun 3, 2022 - 6:58:37 AM
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chuckv97

Canada

66047 posts since 10/5/2013

My mostly Scruggs-ified version of Ste. Anne’s Reel,,, capo 2, played out of C position.
youtu.be/uB0LUZrzdzc

Edited by - chuckv97 on 06/03/2022 07:03:50

Jun 3, 2022 - 6:59:13 AM
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76640 posts since 5/9/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Eric A

This thread implies that everything that the fiddle player plays is golden. Every single note is core melody, even though every fiddle player plays things differently, and great fiddle players are famous for never playing it the same way twice.

When banjo players (or dobro, guitar, etc.) chase exact reproductions of fiddle tunes they are chasing a chimera, an impostor. There is no point to it.


Fiddletunes have a definite melody.People choose their own ornamentation.

When I learn a fiddletune I search out a good example of the core melody.For good melody representations of fiddletunes go to abcnotation.com

When I learn from a fiddle player directly I pay attention to the fiddler(s) that many respect.

Lucien Mathiau was one of those great fiddlers.I used to play what I was working on for his advice on if I was on the riught track.There is definitely a point to playing the real melody,but I improvise on many melodies ornamenting what fits.Ornamentation has to keep the real melody close at hand to make any sense.

I enjoy playing the melody very closely the first time through so people know what tune I'm playing.

Jun 3, 2022 - 7:14:20 AM

AGACNP

USA

335 posts since 10/12/2011

This is exactly the sort of discussion I was hopeful would ensue. I am at work and unable to fully read and respond currently, but will do so this weekend. Thanks guys!

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