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Hårgalåten
Sheet Music, Playing, Projects
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (2 votes) 
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EJ-Kisz
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January 28, 2013 - 12:04 pm
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Hey everybody!

I just wanted to share the next song I am going to attempt.  I'm trying to move out of my comfort zone a bit with new material that challenges my weaknesses as a fiddler.  Plus, I'm trying to get out of a "fundamental rut" thanks to an encounter with one of those evil "musicians" that had nothing good to say!  

I think I may have found the perfect song that fits my situation and challenges my bowing and playing anything outside of G major! LOL  I chose the song, Hårgalåten.

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Hårgalåten is a Swedish folk tune that was suggested to me by a friend who lives "across the pond" in Sweden.  She told me the story of Hårgalåten which was quite dark and very interesting!  

She explained that the young people of the village, Hårga gathered together in a barn to dance when a stranger with a fiddle appeared from the shadows and interrupted the music.  The fiddler had a large, dark hat and burning eyes.  As he began to play a song that nobody ever heard before, the people began to dance.  Once they started dancing, they could not stop.  The fiddler played all night and began to lead them out of the barn to the mountain where they danced until nothing but bone was left.  According to legend, those who are brave enough to climb the Hårga Mountain can still see the dance ring of those who danced their lives away to the devil's fiddle.  

-----

Hearing the story and the song touched a nerve with me.  It reminded me of my encounter recently with that concert violinist and her less-than-constructive advice.  Had I continued to listen to her, my violin playing days would probably be over!  

-----

I wanted to learn more about the story and song, but my friend only had a limited amount of chat time. :-(  Maybe Pierre can help fill in the blanks or give some advice on how to attack this song!?!?  😉  

In the mean time, I'm attaching the music and a video version of this song!  I will be attempting the video version of this song.  The sheet music starts with an E instead of the A like in the video.  The great thing is, if you learn it in E, just drop down one string and you have the exact video version! ;-)  

What do you guys thing?  For those advanced players (and those who know the song), is the sheet music good?

Thanks Everybody!

~EJ

 

 

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Fiddlestix
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January 28, 2013 - 12:13 pm
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Nice tune, Eric, go for it.  

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Steve
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January 28, 2013 - 12:20 pm
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Hi Eric,

Sheet music looks good to me. That would be a fine tune for you to work on, go for it! (Just don't emulate the left hand position of the guy in the video!)

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EJ-Kisz
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Steve said
Hi Eric,

Sheet music looks good to me. That would be a fine tune for you to work on, go for it! (Just don't emulate the left hand position of the guy in the video!)

Yeah, I noticed that, Steve! LOL  I really don't think I can play that way even if I tried!    I love the sound that he's getting, though!  ......although, the song itself is dark! devil-violin

I found another version of it as well.  Thought I'd post that one as well.

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Steve
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January 28, 2013 - 6:11 pm
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Hi Eric,

My advice is forget that second version you posted and go with the first version. It's much easier to play especially if you are a beginner, as most of us here are. Fiddlers generally prefer music in 1,2 or 3 sharps, not music in flats as your second version has. At least that's how I think of music I'm thinking of learning to play.  🙂

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EJ-Kisz
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January 28, 2013 - 6:55 pm
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LOL, I was just thinking that!  Funny thing is, I don't have any problem reading music.  .....that is, until I see something in F# major or Bb minor! dazeddroolingfacepalm I mean, who writes stuff in those keys?!?!?  LOL  I really start to second guess my sight reading at that point!  

One of the problems I have is playing violin and reading music at the same time.  Once I have a song memorized, I can't make it sound somewhat nice!  ......but playing something straight from a sheet of music......well.....I get weird looks from everyone within ear-shot! LOL dunno

I've played trumpet in bands and orchestras for over 20 years now and I think that's where my problem comes in.  My violin playing (just under a year now) can't keep up with my sight reading!  I'll actually play some violin tunes on piano or trumpet first, just to hear how they sound and THEN play it on violin!  .....I need to stop cheating! devil-violin

So far, Hårgalåten is coming along quite nicely!  I'm currently stuck on around measure 22 where the A-m part begins.  I'm not that familiar with that part and it has some pickup notes that my fingers don't quite agree with yet.  I'm trying to play the part without the pickups, but we'll see how it goes!  

Once I have that figured out, I need to work on some of the ornamentation's and finer aspects of the song that give it that "folk" feel.  I really want to nail those!

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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ratvn
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EJKiszenia said
 

One of the problems I have is playing violin and reading music at the same time. 

It's very nice tune, very inspired and thank you for posting, EJKiszenia.

I have the same problem with playing and reading at the same time as well, so memorizing the tune works for me, for now.

Thanks again.

 

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Fiddlerman
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January 28, 2013 - 11:33 pm
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I was wondering why they stuck that F natural accidental on the 8th line 2nd measure until I checked out the other version in Bb. It appears they accidently wrote a natural sign when they meant to use a sharp = # sign.

Good luck with it Eric. Seems like a nice piece. Look forward to hearing you play it.

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ratvn
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Fiddlerman said
I was wondering why they stuck that F natural accidental on the 8th line 2nd measure until I checked out the other version in Bb. It appears they accidently wrote a natural sign when they meant to use a sharp = # sign.

Thank you for your correction, Pierre. I was wondering about that too, as there no sharp/flat to use the natural accidental sign.

Thanks again.

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EJ-Kisz
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Yeah, I caught that when I ran through it on piano.  It just sounded off.....and even worse on violin! LOL  I had to double check the key signature to see if I was playing the enitre thing wrong! dunnofacepalmexactly  

That's actually the area that I'm having trouble with in the song.  6 lines down, 3 measures in (measure 26?).  For some odd reason, I can't quite get the melody down from that point on.  I might be over-thinking it.  I can somewhat play the song up until that point.  The video doesn't quite match up to the sheet music.  I guess I have to keep working on it! LOL

-----

Strange thing just happened!  I was just playing the song (well attempting anyways) when we were just hit with a freak thunderstorm!   Thunder, lightning and even hail! LOL  I must be playing something right!  ......that or someone else doesn't like my playing! devil-violin 

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EJ-Kisz
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AND on a side note.....

How the heck to pronounce Hårgalåten?!?!?  I understand German, but not Swedish even though I've been told that they have some similarities. 

If that's true, the first and third "a" would be pronounced as a long vowel.  Almost like:

Hair-guh-lay-ten or German-English:  Haergalaeten  

I was trying to tell a friend about the song and I couldn't pronounce it! facepalm

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ratvn
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EJKiszenia said 
Strange thing just happened!  I was just playing the song (well attempting anyways) when we were just hit with a freak thunderstorm!   Thunder, lightning and even hail! LOL  I must be playing something right!  .

It's the devil's fiddle as you said, LOL.

I agree that the sheet music doesn't match quite well. Happen in many folk songs as how they play and have those written.

I would suggest play a bit through the sheet music to get a feel for it then use some software to slow down the posted video, to the point that it is played real slowly and can be heard clearly, note for note, and then learn from it.

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Almandin
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This is a nice song. I've not heard it since sixth grade or so; can't believe I still remember the lyrics! Would be fun to learn to play one day.

EJKiszenia said
AND on a side note.....

How the heck to pronounce Hårgalåten?!?!?  I understand German, but not Swedish even though I've been told that they have some similarities.

The Å is not pronounced like ae, we have another letter for that (Ä). Å resembles O in many ways. An anglified pronunciation guide would be HORR-ga-LAU-ten, with a "lau" like in Fort Lauderdale. It's got two points of stress because it's two words in one (Hårga, the place where the story takes place, and låten, which means "the song".)

How cool about the thunderstorm! And I look forward to hearing you play it.

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DanielB
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Firstly, I'd hunt up some other versions of it being played (preferably also some of it being sung) before assuming the person in that first video is playing it more correctly than the notation.  Folk songs frequently have more than one version/variation.  But listening to a few different versions can help with getting  feel for the piece.

The source on the scores posted is the abcnotation site.  Since they offer music in different formats for download, I'd probably grab it as a midi file so it can be loaded into midi software and then the key and tempo can be adjusted to convenience.  That way one can print out a standard notation score in any key you want, and also if a note sounds "off" then one can edit it a bit to get it better.  That's where having heard at least a few different versions would come in handy.  But accidents happen when writing things down.  Not unusual for a note to be out once in a while. 

Once it is loaded into software, one can also adjust tempo to play back some parts of it at an easier speed to "catch" or use cut and past into a new file to make a practice routine of any of the parts that might be a bit tricky so they can be practised/drilled.

There can be good reasons to write a piece in keys that aren't what some would consider "easy", though.  The most obvious one is sound.  Not just pitch, but timbre can be different if a series of notes is played in a particular area of the fingerboard/neck.  At a certain spot on the neck, it might simply sound better or even actually be easier to play, but be not very accommodating to reading the score or playing in "more usual positions".  On the instrument of whoever wrote it down, it may have sounded a bit "sweeter" or "edgier" in F# major or Bb minor.  Or it may have been done in a certain key for the convenience of a vocalist whose voice might be a bit stronger in those keys. 

Another example of why a song might be done in a key that seems "less than convenient" is that it may cause the instrument's open strings to ring sympathetically on certain notes in the melody.  That would be another case of doing it to get a certain sound, and might not be apparent in the notation.  Sometimes different regions also tuned differently before "standard pitch", and it can be just what it works out to on an instrument in "standard tuning".  Traditional folk music was usually learned by ear and memorization, so it doesn't necessarily have much regard for what will look nice when notated.

Depending on the age of the piece, region and etc, it is also possible that it was not originally played on a fiddle that was tuned GDAE anyway.  I mean, why expect "the devil" to follow "rules"?  LOL

 

Anyway, though, EJKiszenia.. Definitely a very cool little piece, with an interesting story and it is a great find.  I ran across a few versions that I found interesting when hunting it on youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....I3iX8WtzaM

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EJ-Kisz
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Almandin said
The Å is not pronounced like ae, we have another letter for that (Ä). Å resembles O in many ways. An anglified pronunciation guide would be HORR-ga-LAU-ten, with a "lau" like in Fort Lauderdale. It's got two points of stress because it's two words in one (Hårga, the place where the story takes place, and låten, which means "the song".)

How cool about the thunderstorm! And I look forward to hearing you play it.

Ah Ha!!!  Thanks so much Almandin!!!  So the little circle above a vowel is vastly different than the German umlout!  Now I don't have to butcher the song name when people ask me what I am playing! LOL  Now you have me thinking about the lyrics.....I must look those up now!

 

Daniel, that's how I learned much of the songs I play today.  I'll listen to them and interpret them the best way I can picking up little tricks as I go.  I love the whole story-telling aspect of folk music and how the songs are passed down!  

When I do find sheet music for songs, I generally run through them on another instrument that I am familiar with or I'll drop them into a notation program.  Unfortunately, all I have now is Muse Score which I'm still learning.  I actually had to hand-write Hårgalåten.  

I did hear a few different versions of this and I like some of the little things in each one.  It's funny, I actually have the In Flames CD, Lunar Strain!  They're one of my two favorite Swedish metal bands! LOL :D  That version may be tuned differently if it's anything like their guitars!  Most of their songs are detuned to C standard!  

The one thing I did notice is that the In Flames version actually has the 2nd violin part and the cello part towards the end of it!  It sounds so cool and I can't find another version like that anywhere!  I really love the counter melodies used!!  

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This is a nice tune and look forward to hearing it. I think I'll add it to my song list in a while, currently my irish tunes are kicking my butt. b-slap

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EJ-Kisz
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peanut_gallery said
This is a nice tune and look forward to hearing it. I think I'll add it to my song list in a while, currently my irish tunes are kicking my butt. b-slap

Well, they wouldn't be Irish if someone wasn't kicking someone else's butt! LMAO!!  Just ask my family! :D  

I know the feeling though.  I love Celtic folk and some songs are really intense!  I'm still trying to figure out the whole "stop-muting" with your pinky in the middle of a 5 note roll.  .......come to think of it, I should focus on my bow technique before I get too far ahead of myself! exactlyfacepalmduncecap  (Jenny O'Conner of Circa Paleo aka "The Hot Violinist" is actually really good at those Irish type of rolls and has a neat tutorial for them in the theme from Last of the Mohicans!)  

 

What I'm noticing with this song is the amount of trills that fiddlers like to through in to it.  I can do trills, just not that fast.  I'm actually having better luck with the fills and cool accents.  

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ratvn
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EJKiszenia said

I know the feeling though.  I love Celtic folk and some songs are really intense!  I'm still trying to figure out the whole "stop-muting" with your pinky in the middle of a 5 note roll. (Jenny O'Conner of Circa Paleo aka "The Hot Violinist" is actually really good at those Irish type of rolls and has a neat tutorial for them in the theme from Last of the Mohicans!)  

Thanks for mentioning it. That is the tune I'm currently working on. 5 note roll isn't too bad after some practicing, but making it sound smooth is tough. I'm trying to put a fast vibrato on those triplets/rolls and so far it's challenging.

Hope to hear your playing that "Horr-ga-lau-ten" tune soon. It will be on my learning list sometimes later on.

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EJ-Kisz
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No prob, ratvn!  I hope it helps!  I know it helped me!  I think if you sign up for her newsletters, you get a copy of the sheet music for The Kiss/Prominence with Jenny's notations to go along with her youtube video.  

So far, "Horr-ga-lau-ten" is quickly becoming one of my favorite tunes to play!  I'm still struggling in the same area, but I'm sure that will pass soon.  Vibrato and trills really make this song, but they are tough to do!  

I can't wait till I can play it all the way through.....after of course, telling the story!  I have a feeling this one will be another campfire favorite! :D  

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EJKiszenia said
 

So far, "Horr-ga-lau-ten" is quickly becoming one of my favorite tunes to play! 

Yes, it sounds so nice. You can also slow it down to learn from youtube as notation is a bit different for many traditional music tunes. People play them somewhat different than what they wrote down.

I'm looking for some software to create backing track to play along with. Will need to spend sometime there as well.

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