FiddleOn and Folk Music Weekend 2009

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Synopsis: This is a course aimed at arranging traditional tunes.

With Sarah Allen | Cormac Byrne | Anna Esslemont | Karen Tweed | Tim Edey.

A fantastic new folk weekend at Farncombe Estate supported by Fiddle On magazine. A great weekend for percussion, backers and tune players. Full concert performance on Sunday afternoon!

Weekend folk music course with internationally known tutors including Cormac Byrne – bodhran/percussion (Uiscedwr, Seth Lakeman), Anna Esslemont – fiddle (Uiscedwr), Karen Tweed – piano accordion (Poozies, Swap), Tim Edey – guitar (Sharon Shannon, Michael McGoldrick) and Sarah Allen – flute (Flook). The course is open to players of ALL instruments. Each of the tutors is experienced in working with both tune players (e.g. fiddle/flute/melodeon) and backers (e.g. guitar/bass/percussion) and variety is definitely encouraged!

The course brings musicians together to learn how to arrange folk tunes for performance. A large part of playing and performing folk tunes is down to how they are arranged – changing the style, rhythm, harmonies, dynamics etc can bring a tune to life, and take it somewhere you never imagined possible when you first heard the basic melody! You will learn how to create interesting counter melodies, how to get the best from the instruments you have in your group, how to vary the chords backing a tune and much more.

The emphasis is on arranging and not learning tunes. Sheet music with basic chords or a recording of the material will be provided well in advance, so participants arrive feeling comfortable and confident with the tunes and time can be spent on the real task: arranging, which will be done largely by ear.

Each musician will be assigned to a mixed group (containing some melody players and some backers) lead by one of the tutors, and then the fun will start! You will get a chance to work on arranging two pieces to perform at an informal concert on the Sunday. The first piece will be the tunes you have worked on with your tutors in smaller groups, and the second will be a full group piece with everyone involved.

The beauty of arranging for folk music is that it caters for a wide range of abilities – sometimes the most important part of a set of tunes is the simplest part – it’s amazing how an off-beat “chug” on the chords can lift a tune from being good, to foot-stompingly good! So this course is suitable for pretty much every musician who wants to come and have a go, whether you’re a beginner or a pro looking for some fresh ideas for arranging. However, as the weekend will be quite challenging, the programme is not suited to absolute beginners on their instruments; there isn’t time to provide teaching on how to play your instrument. If you are unsure as to whether this course is suited to you, please get in touch and one of the tutors will be happy to discuss your concerns.