Tag Archives: fiddle tune

Huntsmans Chorus-Fiddle and Suzuki

The Huntsman’s Chorus in Fiddle Tab

Have you ever heard a fiddle tune for the first time and said, “Whoa! That’s a fiddle tune?” That was me sitting up quickly as I head Lissa Schneckenburger play The Huntsman’s Chorus on her CD album, Dance

Before going on with the Huntsman’s Chorus I need to say that I listened to this album a lot! Then, I gave it to another fiddler. It is very well produced with some of the best arranging I’ve ever heard.

I knew the tune from Suzuki Violin Studies Vol. 1. I had been through the piece many times with students. Who knew it  was a fiddle tune? The video below is a segment of the opera that features this chorus. It’s the very thing Suzuki adapted for his violin students.

Originally it comes from an opera by 19th Century composer Carl Maria von Weber. Der Freishutz, (The Free Shooters), is the opera and this piece, whether fiddle tune or Suzuki piece, is adapted from a chorus number.

The Huntsman’s Chorus on Fiddle

Below is a clear video of a fiddle instructor showing how to play the tune. She plays it much like Lissa Schneckenburger.

The Huntsman’s Chorus on Mandolin

is another tutorial video. This time mandolin. And yet so clear I could easily follow it on the violin.

And, finally, just as you would expect, here is the fiddle tab chart for Huntsman’s Chorus.

huntsmans_chorus

A couple of bar lines at the end got chopped. Oh well, I’ve put off this project long enough just to get this far. Perfection will have “Take a Cold Tater and Wait.”

And, as always, here is a nifty pdf file for good printing. huntsmans_chorus Don’t hesitate to draw in the two missing bar lines!

Arkansas Traveler

 

Arkansas Traveler and Eck Robertson

 

Eck Robertson recorded Arkansas Traveller and Sally Gooden for Edison Records in 1922. These must have been the first recordings of fiddle tunes.

Sally Gooden was included in the Smithsonian Country Classics. The other side of the original recording, Arkansas Traveller, remains a very popular tune in fiddle jams.

ArkansasTravellerHere is the pdf file for the tune.

This is what Arkansas Traveller sounds like. First time, as it appears on the page, second time, a little more freely.

 

For another great hoedown in D, try Whiskey before Breakfast.

Swallowtail Jig Revised

This morning I was with a student who was struggling with the B part of Swallowtail Jig. If you have my book, 43 Fiddle Tunes in Tab, you can see how it’s tricky at that spot.

For her, I changed two things to simplify the part. I changed the D# to a D natural. Most people play it that way. And I eliminated the cut getting into B part, substituting a quick bow move instead.

Some of the jigs I’ve posted here, Out on the Ocean, for example, are intermediate to advanced. This version of the Swallowtail Jig is intermediate. It’s more approachable for a relative beginner.

 

Fiddle tab chart of Swallowtail Jig
Swallowtail Jig in Fiddle Tab

The pdf of Swallowtail Jig makes a better copy.

The 8th of January Redone

This is my second fiddle tab publication of 8th of January. This version is a little easier than the previous. If nothing else it gives you more options for playing the tune.

It’s known better as the tune for “The Battle of New Orleans” by those old enough to have heard it. It’s a great story song and a powerful melody.

When I started playing it I had the idea f using only pentatonic notes for the A part. That has been preserved in this version.

The B part of the fiddle tab chart allows the use of drones and a drum like figure along with the droning. Especially on the lower two strings, you can get a good effect.

In the key of G you will find it singable, if you wish. In D, not so much.

Later, I expanded the tune into a more complex form. I call it “The Eighth,” and used to play it in a medley with “Sevens” and “9 Points of Roguery”. Thus, it was the 7, 8, 9 medley.

Presently, I prefer playing “Sevens” to round out the medley of “Potato on the Door” and “The Golden Legs.” All three tunes are from Liz Carroll.

For right now here is “The 8th of January.”

8th of January in fiddle tab
Fiddle Tab of the 8th of January

For printing the fiddle tab chart use the pdf of the 8th of January.

Amazing Grace Fiddle Notes and Recording

The Amazing Grace fiddle notes are comments I make here, not musical notation. Fiddle notes might be tablature, but not musical notation targeted for fiddle.

Dale Morris had a very interesting approach to Amazing Grace. He talked about this when I attended the Texarkana Fiddle Camp way back when. (It was the first year of the Mark O’Connor Camp, whenever that was. I attended both.)

He said that he liked to slur notes together if they represented one word. The first word in the song is ‘amazing’. It is given one note for each syllable. Usually you hear this played with three bows. And that’s the way I’ve published the tune.

His reasoning is good and musical. If you are a beginner, though, it’s a little awkward to get the three notes together in one bow. Since I give this tune to beginners, I make it easier and more conventional.

If you are an intermediate or advanced player, you can stretch this first part out in one bow. In fact, you may choose to do a juicy shift to third position on the third note.

I’m showing the three ways of handling this beginning of the tune in the tabs below. Further along is a link to an mp3 file demonstrating the sound.

You will see an ornamented version of the song in the first fiddle tab chart. Even beginners are encouraged to push into new territory.

Fiddle tab chart for Amazing Grace

Now here is a fragment to show the beginning with the slur covering the first three notes.

Fragment of Amazing Grace with slurring

And finally, moving into third position for during first three notes.

Fragment of Amazing Grace with 3rd position move

For the best printing results, here is a pdf of Amazing Grace.

A three minute mp3 file demonstrates the comparative sound of all this: Amazing-Grace MP3.

Down Yonder

Down Yonder is a good old time tune that you don’t hear so much any more. My first serious exposure to it was when I listened to the “Circle Album.”

Doc Watson asked, “How does that go, Vassar?” and away they went. That version got published by Oak Publications. Alas, it is out of print.

Scotty Stoneman’s version is in the Phillips Collection. Like Vassar’s it’s advanced and rakish, a no-holds-barred music event.

What I’m offering here is quite basic. But, there are a few tricks worth noticing.

The kickoff is a particular bow technique that requires good control of the bow while playing near the frog. Here’s the tip: Keep the bow close to the string for the repeated down-bows.

Once you get going, the plan of slurs or separate bows should feel natural and easy.

Fiddle tab chart for Down Yonder

And here is the pdf of Down Yonder.

Moscow Duck

This must be the oldest original fiddle tune that I still play. A hand draw tab was published in The Florida Fiddler newsletter a long time ago.

This update is only a little different. I don’t think I had Georgia bow in the B part, as in this version.

A special observation is the use of a high fourth finger in the B part. That stretches all the way up to an F natural. You notice the slide up and down indications, too. It’s a moaning kind of sound. Very bluesy.

Fiddle tab chart for Moscow Duck
Moscow Duck in Fiddle Tab

And here is the pdf of Moscow Duck.

Old Joe Clark

One occasion when I got to observe Vassar Clements was when he was promoting his new album at a record store. He was mainly holding his fiddle and chatting with fans, when suddenly Mike Marshall breezed into the store, pulled out his fiddle and got into a hot twin fiddle version of Old Joe Clark with Vassar.

I was astounded, both by the virtuosity displayed, and by the unrehearsed excellence of the performance. It was a clear clue for me of the high musical potential of fiddling.

In my book, 43 Fiddle Tunes in Tab, I have a beginner version of this tune. This chart is a little more advanced, and more typical of how you hear it played.

The fiddle tab chart for Old Joe Clark in pdf.

Lamp Lighter’s Hornpipe

The only hornpipe in my book 43 Fiddle Tunes in Tab is “Harvest Home Hornpipe.” It’s played with a swing feel, and students like it.

To pull another hornpipe out of the hat, I put Lamp Lighter’s Hornpipe into tab. I look forward to seeing how my fiddle students like this one.

[Update] This is definitely catching on, too. At a lesson with students at the Suncoast Waldorf School, one of the beginning students was humming it after two hearings. It’s a winner!

Here is a pdf of Lamp Lighter’s Hornpipe.