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Learning Fiddle Tunes by Ear & from Written Music, & Combining Methods Effectively

Learning Fiddle Tunes by Ear & from Written Music, & Combining Methods Effectively

Part II ~ Combining Learning by Ear with Reading Music

Here we look at how the method of learning affects what you learn and thus what you play. Then we look at ways of combining learning by ear and from written music.

Learning Tunes by Listening, Reading and a Combination of the Two

Hopefully if you are someone who has always learned from written music, this set of tutorials and demonstrations has either given you or reinforced an understanding of why learning by ear might be a good thing, and hopefully you've even tried to learn a couple easy tunes by ear.

If you haven't already, I encourage you to buy some software for slowing down music. If you do it the honest way that will cost some money; but I am confident that if you want to learn by ear you will find it quite worthwhile both in terms of learning more quickly and more accurately and in terms of reduced frustration when learning difficult phrases.

  • Obviously in order to slow down a tune with software you need to have digitized music to slow down. If you don't have any music on your phone or computer that may not work; although I think you could get tunes directly off a CD if necessary.
  • I encourage you to obtain software legally. Much software is developed by small companies, often just a couple people. If supported they will continue developing the software; but if too many people copy software without paying they will have no way to continue.

In this section we look at how the method of learning tunes can have a rather profound effect on what you learn, and therefore on how you play. It will affect not just what you learn about the melody, but it will affect your playing style.

Before going on to the next page, you might go back to that comparison between what's in the written music and what's in the music played by any good fiddler.

Contact Form: If you have questions, corrections, or any other feedback or thoughts about this or any other part of the web site, please feel free to send me a note!


Next Page   The Importance of Evidence


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.



Learning by Ear, from Written Music & Combining the Two