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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

The NH Old-Time Fiddle Website covers a variety of topics related to traditional music and dance of New Hampshire and surrounding areas.

Designed & Edited by Peter Yarensky

 

Contact & About Page + Site News

Use the Menu (upper left) to navigate. Here are the main topics covered on this web site.

  • Fiddle Tunes! Tunes in abc notation and in PDF format.
  • abc Notation . Music written out in text form that can be displayed as standard notation and played back for proofreading or tune learning. Section includes:
    • abc tutorial on basics of using abc notation & links to web sites that document/teach abc, sources of music in abc, & to abc reader/converter software.
  • Learning tunes by ear and from notation, a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of each, differences in what is learned, combining the use of both kinds of learning with relevant links.
  • About Fiddle Music. General discussion of fiddle-related topics, starting with choosing chords for a tune.
  • Lamprey River Band. About the transition from the Dover dance to the Durham dance with schedule information.