How can I learn fiddle???

How can I learn fiddle???

Hi,
I am really a bit desperate about my fiddle learning. After some years of violin learning I decided that fiddle is what I want to play. Some weeks ago I attended a fiddle workshop in Scotland which was really great (though I had to find out that fiddlers don’t need sheet music). Anyway I’m back in Germany now, learning my fiddle every day (I can play 5 tunes now without sheetmusic - which really gives me a very good feeling) but I can only learn tunes which I have on CD and where I have the sheet music to. I can’t learn a tune by ear or only by sheet music, because then I don’t know how it shall sound. I can’t really explain, perhaps you know what I mean. Now, it really is extrem difficult to find a fiddle teacher here in Germany. Has anyone of you any ideas how I can improve my fiddle playing? Without teacher? Is this possible? Please help me!!!

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Re: How can I learn fiddle???

Listen 🙂

Really, if you can’t find a teacher, try to get records, or even recordings from the WWW. Even a 30 second sample of John Doherty from a webshop can be a good teacher. Not to mention what 100 * 30 second samples could do…

But always try to hear it live. Go to concerts or sessions as much as you can. And just keep trying.

I started last spring, took some lessons during the summer (mostly tunes, some ornamentation), but mostly I’ve just been playing at home. It just takes longer than with a teacher. ;)

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Re: How can I learn fiddle???

Sing along to recordings.

Re: How can I learn fiddle???

And you can always try "noodling away" at sessions. 🙂

Seriously though, you could always try some software like "Amazing Slowdowner" or "Transcribe". This will give you the tune at any speed you like and at the original pitch. It’s much easier to cath all the ornaments and finer points that way. Also, try to look out for albums of solo playing or with limited accompaniment. That way it’s easier to identify the tune.

Cathal Hayden’s tutorial on the "Mad for Trad" CD ROM is good too. I’ve been using it to practice some of my ornaments.

John

Re: How can I learn fiddle???

Have a look at http://www.scoiltrad.com/

I think it includes am individual assessment, where you record a tune and send it to
the tutor.

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Re: How can I learn fiddle???

Listening is going to be the most important thing. There are numerous resources on the Internet.

Here are some of my favorites:

BBC’s Virtual Session (music and dots!!)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/r2music/folk/sessions/

BBC Radio (Folk and Country):
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/folk_promo.shtml
(listen to Celtic Heartbeat, Culan, Folk Club, The Reel Blend, and Travelling Folk.)

Radio RTE’s "Ceili House":
http://www.rte.ie/radio1/weekend/ceilihouse/

Radio RTE’s "The Late Session":
http://www.rte.ie/radio1/weekend/latesession/

Green Linnet’s "Listen" site:
http://greenlinnet.com/listen/realaudio.htm

Henrik Norbeck’s abcmus (a program that plays abc files, like the ones you can get here, in a fairly realistic way including accents and ornaments):
http://www.norbeck.nu/abcmus/

You should be able to find nearly any song you want in "abc" and if you can find it, you can get sheet music and listen to it with abcmus.

Re: How can I learn fiddle???

John,

where can I get this "Amazing Slowdowner" or "Transcribe" and this MAD for Trad CD Rom? Sounds very useful. I hope it’s not too complicated to use as I am not very ino technics.
Thanks a lot for your help.

Oh I will also have a look at scoiltrad. Sounds very exciting.

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Re: How can I learn fiddle???

You can get all sorts of cds now, and they come with the music so you can play along. I think there’s one by Folkworks.

Re: How can I learn fiddle???

Get in touch with Sabine Pichler ("irishtradhead") who teaches and organizes workshops. There are numerous ITM courses in Germany. See www.folker.de for dates.
All the best,Almut

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Re: How can I learn fiddle???

If you are in the south of Germany (near Stuttgart/Tuebingen), I’d recommend checking out the More Maids, a very good ITM trio:

www.moremaids.de

Their fiddle player Gudrun Walther is an excellent teacher. I probably got 4 or 5 hour long practice sessions out of every 1.5 hour lesson I took with her.

If you are in the north of Germany check out Steampacket because they’re just plain fun.

www.steampacket.de

I’d also recommend hooking up with the Deutsche Uilleann Piping Gemeinshaft - they hold tionols quarterly in differnt locations around Germany, and there is almost always a fiddle workshop. The one I went to last year was taught by Caoimhin O Raghallaigh.

Tschuss!

Re: How can I learn fiddle???

Hi Nicki,
I use Transcribe. You can obtain it from here.
http://www.seventhstring.demon.co.uk/xscribe/index.html
It’s quite easy to use for our purposes, ie slowing down tunes, though its purpose is do a lot more. You can also play the CD or tune files in a different key, eg if it was recorded in A, you could alter it by a couple of semi tones and play it back in G. This can be handy too. If you have Windows XP, you can directly use the CD you wish to Transcribe straight away. On older systems, you have to copy it to your hard drive first. This a bit more time and space consuming but it does work too.
Here is the link for "Mad for Trad"

http://www.madfortrad.com/

Hope this helps.

Re: How can I learn fiddle???

Oh also I see that you hail from Trier - if you are ever looking for a good fiddle or bow, go visit Geigenbaumeister Ernst Kaeshammer - he’s located in a small village about half an hour west of Mannheim.

Re: How can I learn fiddle???

I’m fairly new at fiddling and all that…so this is what I do…I go to every tune session I can (homework permitting), sit in the back, and try to play the tunes. Don’t expect to play every note. On tunes I don’t know I manage about one note per nine or so. On songs I actually know I usually only get to play one note out of three, just because of the speed. I go home, saturate my mind with irish tunes (I’m a very weird teen, I stopped listening to the radio. I try to play by ear to songs on the CDs, but often I cheat…which really isn’t cheating…by looking at a tune book to get the basics down…then I never look at the music again. Try to learn tunes that you already know…as in you’ve heard them a lot.
Fiddling takes a lot of time to learn, and you have to just grin and bare it the first couple tunes sessions. Then it starts to get easier.
~jenna~ (rainog’s daughter)

Message for Nicki in Germany!!!

Tutor CDs

Karen Steven brought out a tutor CD a while ago which is really good, works the same way as a workshop going through the tunes in sections. She also has another CD which is made for practicing step dancing but is also good for learning tunes as the tunes are played at speed and at a slower pace. You can find more info on her website at http://www.karensteven.com

Music books with CD

Also, there are lots of music books that come with CDs so that you can hear what the tunes should sound like. Two very good books are ‘the scottish folk fiddle tutor’ and ‘Traditional scottish fiddling’. I personally prefer the second as it’s more advanced than normal tutor books and covers different styles of scottish playing. Such as west coast and Shetland styles, along with many others. It has alot in it on bowing and ornamintaion. A book for long term use with lots of tunes from all over. For more info on these books and others with cds, go to http://www.folkrevolution.co.uk there’s lots of books on there, including irish stuff (with CDs) if you prefer and they are very helpful and can advice you on any questions you might have. They also stock lots of fantastic fiddle CDs.

Alistair MacCulloch, a fine scottish fiddle player has also recently released a music book with CD which is really nice and has some fantastic tunes in it.

Good luck in your quest,

Eilidh

Re: How can I learn fiddle???

Here’s another weird teen🙂))) Is there a difference between violin and fiddle? That would be news for me….