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Old-Time New England Fiddling & Related Traditions

New England Fiddling Main Page: Fiddle Tunes, The Musical Traditions & Learning the Tunes

An Overview of the Section with Links to the Various Topics

In this web site I present a selection of traditional and some more contemporary tunes from New England, Canada, Sweden and related traditions. In addition I include a discussion of the traditions themselves, and the issue of how one learns a tune. That can have major implications for how one plays it and how one thinks about the tune and even about fiddle tunes and traditions in general. If you only want to download tunes and don't care about anything else, click on the link below for The Tunes.

A Detailed Site Map

The Main Sections of the Web Site

There are four major sections to this web site

  • Tune Transcriptions: Many fiddle tunes presented in abc notation and as sheet music in PDF format.
  • abc notation: An introduction to abc notation and useful links
  • Learning tunes: A discussion of learning by ear and from written music, and how the two may be combined.
  • About fiddle tunes: A discussion of different aspects of fiddle music and playing fiddle tunes.

Here is a more detailed summary of what you'll find, with links to relevant pages.

Transcriptions of many tunes ~ Look Here for Download Information.

  • Tunes are grouped by kind. They are presented as abc notation and as standard musical notation in PDF form. This section includes the following:
    • The Tunes. If you only want to download a tune in PDF or abc format, this is the page! There are links to transcriptions in abc format of a variety of types of New England, Canadian, Scandinavian and other tunes. It also contains links to downloadable PDFs with standard notation for all the tunes.
    • Links Page. Links to web pages containing collections of abc tunes, links to such pages, and links to abc search pages.
    • A Tune List with a searchable table of all the tunes. The table may be sorted by any column (e.g. tune type, key, title), and a page listing all the Tune Sources used for the web site.

Introduction to abc Notation.

  • Click above for help getting started with abc notation, although you don't need to know very much just to use it.
    • This section includes a basic introduction to abc notation as well as a more advanced page to help with formatting the results more effectively.
    • The abc Links Pages. There are some excellent introductions to abc notation. These are included here along with links for downloading free abc software, and learning to use more advanced abc techniques.

Learning by ear and from written music.

  • These are two very different ways of learning music, and it's worth looking at the differences and how they can be used to complement each other. This page includes the following:
    • Why bother to learn by ear?
    • Learning by ear for those who think they can't do it.
    • The value in going beyond the usual sources to listen and learn from.
  • Learning tunes by listening, reading and a combination of the two .
    • How does learning method affect what you learn about the music?
    • How do these differences affect your fiddling style?
    • Learning by ear and by reading in ways that are complementary and beneficial to your playing.

About Fiddle Tunes

  • This is a new section under development that looks at different aspects of playing fiddle music and of the tunes themselves.
    • It starts with a section on accompanying fiddle tunes.

I hope you enjoy it and find it interesting and useful!

 

 

Who Am I, and Am I Really Qualified to Discuss All These Topics?

Good question. Anyone can design (or pay someone to design) a web site that looks professional and impressive. But too much of the Internet is made up of material written by people who either don't know much about the topics they write about, or who deliberately distort the facts for their own purposes.

So how am I qualified to discuss all this stuff?

First, here's what I am not:

  • I'm not formally trained in music. I don't read music very well.
  • I have no degrees in music, Folklore, Ethnomusicology or any related field.

Having said that, I believe I do have some important positive qualifications to discuss all this stuff.

  • Although I don't read music well, I am good at writing out musical notation and have written out at least a couple hundred fiddle tunes. I can also use music to learn a tune.
  • I do have considerable training that's relevant to the topics at hand.
    • I have a degree in Psychology with an emphasis on behavioral psychology and learning.
    • I taught for my entire career, and put a lot of thought and work into finding better ways to teach.
  • I have played traditional New England fiddle tunes since about 1980, on hammered dulcimer, fiddle, piano and a couple other instruments.
    • I've also been contra and square dancing that entire time as well as calling both.
    • I've listened to, learned from and played with many of the old-timers in New Hampshire and Maine; both New England and French.
    • Thus I understand the music well, both from the melody and accompaniment perspective.
    • Beyond playing I've read a wide variety of material about New England fiddle music and dance, and have put a lot of thought into it.

I could go on at much greater length, but hopefully I've established that I'm qualified to talk about New England fiddle tunes and different ways to learn them.

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Tune Links (16, indented)
Tune Links (16, indented)