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New England Fiddling: About the Music

About Fiddle Tunes: Choosing Chords

This is a new section of the web site that I expect to expand over time. It will look at fiddle tunes from various perspectives. I expect there will be some low-level theory here, some discussion of characteristics of fiddle tunes, maybe something on what makes a good dance tune, and some discussion of accompanying fiddle tunes. I'll start with a discussion of choosing chords for fiddle tunes.




Links to Related Pages


Choosing Chords for Fiddle Tunes: Is There a Correct Set of Chords?

When I first started learning to play accompaniment for fiddle tunes on the piano, I was under the impression that there was one correct chord choice for each tune. I was aware that occasionally alternatives existed, but I think I felt that choosing chords was a matter of figuring out the best chords to go with a tune, and anything else would likely be in some way incorrect or inferior. It didn't take too long to figure out this wasn't true! Let's look at the issue of chord choices.

Over time I became aware that in many cases there were multiple ways of accompanying a tune, each of which were valid, and each of which would give the tune a different mood. I also became aware that different musical traditions had sometimes very different approaches to choosing a set of chords.

In this section of the web site we will look at how chord choices vary from one musical tradition to another, and from one time period to another. We will then look at an example of developing a set of chords for a tune, illustrating how even within the tradition of New England fiddling, a tune may be accompanied in a variety of different ways.

Next Page: Choosing Chords ~ Regional & Generational Differences

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Tune Links (16, indented)