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Posts Tagged ‘fiddle’

Well, I dropped the ball (i.e. fiddle) on March 11. So to make up for missing my tune-a-day on day 40, tune 40 (on day 41) is kick ass! Thanks goes to my good buddy Paul, who suggested Old Greasy Coat, and an awesome crooked version of it. I’ve listened to Molsky’s version quite a bit, but I have to say I’m really diggin’ this backyard recording Billygoat and Grandaddy. I checked out the several different versions in the fiddle hangout library. It’s amazing how much a tune can change and mutate into idiosyncratic interpretations but still hit all its reference points and be recognizable.

So check out Old Greasy Coat (a possible reference to condoms, one forum contributor informed me) and rip it up in cross G.

I don’t drink and I don’t smoke and I don’t wear no greasy coat

I don’t smoke and I don’t chew, and I don’t kiss boys like you

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This is such a beautiful tune! Bill Monroe tune is it? I’m not sure, but I have a great version off a four-disc compilation of his stuff that I’m combining with this fiddler’s take.  What a pretty, yearning melody.

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And we’re back on the wagon.  After a good three weeks off, which saw very little fiddling happen, the tune Forked Dear gets me back to some good ol’, ol’ time sawing. This tune was a recommendation from James W. I really like the Bruce Molsky version of this one, so I’m working from that.

Practicing the last 9 tunes (27 to 35) is…hmmm…a bit of a cold shower. It seems like I have to learn them all over again, especially as a few of these were learned fairly off the cuff (like “Raleigh and Spencer”, which was learned while being performed). So, in addition to a lot of practicing ahead, there’s also a lot of listening to do. That, actually, is what I feel I am most disconnected from – the simple and quiet act of listening to music. Listening is also, I feel, one of the best things you can do to improve. But than entails careful, attentive, focused listening; not background music. Which reminds me, I better get to planning the tunes a few days in advance if I want to be able to absorb them through listening first…

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I love tunes that can be learned by listening for two minutes, and playing for 20 seconds.

(This tune was suggested to me by a local mandolin enthusiast and luthier. Thanks to him!)

One of the things I’m discovering about myself through this experiment is that sometimes, it’s better to do away with the regimented practice and just noodle my heart out. Tonight is one of those nights. Oh! Minor Swing, it’s been so long…

(Another thing I’ve mentioned before, but that I have to remind myself of daily, is to look at my fingers to help with my focus…just maybe not tonight.)

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Yeah for ragtime.

Part A
A—|A—|A—|E-A-:||

Part B
A—|A—|A—|E-A-:||

Part C
A—|A—|D—|D—|1A—|E—|E—|E—:|| 2A—|E—|A—|A—||

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has a nice version of this. Doc Watson says it’s a fiddle tune, and Vassar Clements does it justice with his signature lick (I tried finding it written online, but no luck.  It’s basically a chromatic descent of four notes, which he will repeat or follow by another chromatic descent of four notes starting a fifth higher). There are some cool ones, too, on the Fiddle Hangout site.

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“Ah ma jolie blonde! Tu m’as laissé, tu t’es en allé avec un vaurien!” A beautiful cajun waltz about lost love. This version here, by Dewey Balfa and Nathan Abshire, is the real deal, and is from a great documentary called Les Blues de Balfa in English) that you can watch through folkstreams.net (links under Blogroll).  I used this slowed-down version, which was very helpful. I found I was having trouble with the timing of the ornaments, but a few more listens and practices should solve that.

A friend once said of Cajun music that it’s “that music you never think of learning, but once you start you can’t stop and you don’t understant why the whole worlsd isn’t two-stepping along.” I for one don’t know any other music that is quite as soulful and also gets me up and dancing.

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A nice old time tune in D. A favourite at the first old time jam I sat in on.

Update: Thanks to Gary!, who informed me that this tune also goes by the names Susannah Gal (Suzana, Susanna) and Western Country. This tripled the amount of variations to pool together and to then extract the essence of the tune from. My favourite so far is on the Fiddle Hangout site, under Susanna Gal.  Gary also had the genius idea that a tune that goes by more than one name can count for three tunes. Devious. I was almost tempted to take a little break for the next two days.

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