Check out the “Let it Snow” Xmas 2020 Group youtube project!”
Just sharing some info--
If you’re looking for basic melodies for Irish Fiddle tunes that you can easily print out, I came across this one: The Session https://thesession.org/
I signed up for a few online classes scheduled next week through Strings without Boundaries https://www.stringswithoutboun.....aries.com/
One of the classes entitled Top 20 Fiddle Tunes Every Fiddler Should Know (taught by Tom Morley) has a list of fiddle songs posted with the pre-class information. Since I do not know many of them (not much of a fiddler, I guess), I went looking for them & found The Session website.
I found it easier to find stuff on their site going through Google (e.g., type “Arkansas Traveler the Session” in Google search) rather than using their search engine.
I focus on classical, but I saw this as an opportunity to learn more about fiddle music. I took two classes with Tom Morley; Top 20 Fiddle Tunes & Irish Fiddling. I do have one of his fiddle books (Learn to Play Irish Trad Fiddle).
He talked about top tunes, the types of tunes (jig, reel, hornpipe, etc.,), and fiddle session etiquette (I had no idea there were rules). And we played a few pieces. I also took 3 other classes in classical vibrato, shifting and bow techniques. Classes used Zoom—and it went well. I think 2020 will go down in history as the year of Zoom.
Tom Morley does a “play-a-long” live every Monday night at 6pm ET on his Facebook page, so anyone familiar with the tunes (he puts out a play list a few days before each week) can go & listen/play along (he doesn’t have to “friend” you first, you just have to be signed into Facebook).
He also has a YouTube channel with some tutorials on a few fiddle songs:
I like classical, so I intend to stay focused on it. However, I like Irish tunes, so I think I'll start to dabble there some.
I took two classes on vibrato – one from David Wallace, & the other from Anne Nagosky (class titled for vibrato & shifting, but she focused on vibrato based on the interest of students attending). Both were very good.
David Wallace talked about ensuring the finger movement on the finger board matches your “biology” (i.e., how your hand/fingers are shaped & move naturally). He stated that vibrato comes from a place of balance. In exercises, he talked about using a metronome in practice. He also indicated that some people get vibrato sooner than others, and that there isn’t a time frame that is really correct.
Anne Nagosky indicated that when she teaches vibrato to her young students, she focuses on arm vibrato because students seem to acquire it more easily (with exceptions; she indicated that sometimes a student will have a natural inclination for wrist vibrato, so she’ll work with that when she encounters it).
She talked about an exercise using a shaker, sort of demonstrated in this video (but in this video, the woman uses her wrist; Anne focuses on the forearm moving from the elbow), with the focus on the rhythm pattern (I used an Aleve bottle during the class).
There is so much information out there about vibrato. I think each individual has to find what the right movement is for his/her body. Of the stuff I’ve come across, I’ve found the exercises that Simon Fischer talks about the most useful for me.
I think his dotted rhythms made the most sense to me because I played drums as a kid. When I used to practice speeding up in my drumming, I focused on bringing the stick up faster, not so much on the down “stroke”. Fischer’s dotted rhythms on his vibrato exercises have the focus on the finger returning upright to the note (after extending finger below note). I found this emphasis on the “up” motion to be similar to my drum stick “up” focus, and so it clicked for me.
This is a video of Nathan Cole who does a really good job of demonstrating Fischer’s exercises (around 13:40 where he does the dotted rhythm exercises).
Thank you SO much - every little bit of info helps! Sounds like your classes were well worth taking.
Somehow, while I was focusing on other matters, my vibrato evolved into 2 different kinds of movements.
I know it will probably take a long time (and I'm impatient) to really over-ride this bad behavior...
SharonC - Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! - for passing on what you have learned!
I just wanted to let you know that the one specific tip you gave me about shaking a small pill bottle to help with vibrato REALLY helps!
A skinny pill bottle with a little rice seems to do the trick. I've only used it a handful (no pun intended) of times, but this exercise (used long enough to tire) together with the shaker sound has definitely helped to cement the movement I want.
Now, I need to use it with a metronome...
I really didn't expect to see any improvement this quickly - I'm indebted to you!
Wanted to add this to @SharonC original post.. this is a link to the most popular tunes on the session. Once you pull the page up, if you scroll to the bottom you can select reels, jigs, waltz, etc...basically sort by tune type.
Food for thought -
1,843 pages... with no way to skip a page or go to a specific page, other than type of tune.
If I was newer to fiddling and saw this, not so sure I'd ever look past the 2nd page. (lol)
Now I really want to know what's on page 1,842!
Here's the breakdown for the most "Popular" tunes on The Session:
- Reels - 653 pages
- Jigs - 476 pages
- Waltzes - 158 pages
- Polkas - 136 pages
- Hornpipes - 134 pages
- Slip Jigs - 62 pages
- Barndances - 64 pages
- Strathspeys - 53 pages
- Marches - 41 pages
- Slides - 36 pages
- Mazurkas - 21 pages
- Three-Twos - 14 pages
I think everyone should learn a few "Popular" tunes, because you can go anywhere and join in with other Fiddlers - great way to make new friends.
BUT... who made these tunes "Popular"?
It was Fiddlers like US!
AND... "Less Popular" doesn't mean less than extraordinary.
Find and play the tunes you 💖 then share them, help others learn them - make them the "Popular" tunes!
The music you play tells the World who you are.
Think there's also Popular Session Tune lists at some of the other Tune Archives sites.
Sorry... I get carried away.