Scottish Fiddling Style

Scottish Fiddling Style

I’m interested in learning to play in the Scottish style (especially after listening to the tunes of Natalie MacMaster over and over again). Are there any set "styles" or "techniques" in Scottish music? Certain grace notes, triplets, bowing patterns, etc?

Re: Scottish Fiddling Style

I don’t know anything about fiddling (pardon my ignorance), but Cape Breton players (Ms. MacMaster) refer to playing "cuts" in certain tunes. Perhaps these "cuts" give their repeated notes a certain flavor?

Re: Scottish Fiddling Style

Hi there,

If you are interested in Cape Breton style fiddling, I highly recommend this book by Glenn Graham:
http://www.capebretonbooks.com/detail_1.jsp?book_id=306
He has written a masters thesis on Cape Breton fiddling. The book comes with a CD that has audio examples of the ornaments and cuts used in Cape Breton fiddling. I am reading it right now and I find it very informative and interesting.

Re: Scottish Fiddling Style

Sort of hard to condense all that down into a post isn’t it?
1. Keep listening.
2. Try some internet searches - a cursory one gave me this: http://www.scotlandsmusic.com/scottish-fiddle.htm
3. Find some fiddlers in your area that play in those styles (and there are several, by the way).

Scottish fiddling is really, really different from Irish music.

Re: Scottish Fiddling Style

Several techniques are peculiar to Scottish fiddling….
1.The Scotch Snap
2.The Up-Driven Bow
3.The Bow "Shake"

Re: Scottish Fiddling Style

My suggestion: Listen to Alasdair Fraser, and try to play like him. (That’ll keep you busy for a while….)

Re: Scottish Fiddling Style

Also listen to Johnny Cunningham recordings.

Mary

Re: Scottish Fiddling Style

Reenactor is right, as is Frog: bowing patterns are quite different. Jigs and reels tend to be played with separate bowings. It is also a lot scratchier (.."dirrrtier"… ) than your typical Irish bowing. And strathspeys are a sort of different animal; if you don’t get the bowings right, they sound slightly "off" and would be hard to dance to. You really need to get together with someone that plays in the Cape Breton style, if that is what you want to learn.

Re: Scottish Fiddling Style

I’m laughing pirate cos I tried to send the same link to my niece and it did the same thing.

Here is a more manageable link: http://www.elderly.com/books/items/01-100000.htm

There are a few different styles in Scotland, of course …

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Re: Scottish Fiddling Style

I have no financial stake or anything in this, but I know some of the people involved — from what I know if it, a great way to get immersed in Scottish fiddling (whatever your level of experience):

http://scottishfiddle.org/bh/

(Of course, it depends where you are and how far you’d have to travel to get there!)

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Re: Scottish Fiddling Style

Thank you. But what are:

1.The Scotch Snap
2.The Up-Driven Bow
3.The Bow "Shake"

???

Re: Scottish Fiddling Style

Or, more specifically, Natalie’s style?

Re: Scottish Fiddling Style

1.The Scotch Snap - a short accented note before a longer one, typically a semiquaver followed by a dotted quaver.
2.The Up-Driven Bow - technique attributed to Niel Gow and apparently a development of the scotch snap in which the first note is taken with a sharp down bow and the next three with an up bow with emphasis on the third note of the phrase and the last note is played staccato.
3.The Bow "Shake" - a rapid and indistinct bowed triplet, more of a scratch than a series of notes. Hard to describe accurately, but youll know it when you hear it.
Hope that helps.

Re: Scottish Fiddling Style

Jim Dorans used to be an active member of this site. He has his own site:
http://www.worldfiddlemusic.co.uk/
It has sections whith tutorials for Irish fiddling, Scottish fiddling, etc
The site is free but requires registration. As I’m not a fiddler I haven’t registered so I know nothing about the content. But it could be worth a try.
Lars

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Re: Scottish Fiddling Style

This is a great book: "Scottish Fiddlers and Their Music" by Mary Anne Alburger. An enjoyable read with lots of sample tunes and illustrations. It tells you all about the Scotch Snap and the up-driven bow. My copy’s becoming quite dog-eared. Many of the tunes are very challenging (too difficult for me). On the cover a formidable picture of Scott Skinner - there’s a site devoted to him here: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/scottskinner/