Fiddle I - Calliope

Winter 2018

Tuesdays, 6:30-8:00 PM

Fiddle I

January 23 through March 20

Instructor: Mark Tamsula


No experience is necessary, coordination and a good ear is helpful. A fiddle is the same instrument as a violin, the distinction comes from the background of the music, and the rules (or lack of ) regarding how it is played. Learn to play fiddle by starting with some simple old tunes. In an over simplified way, fiddling is a lot like learning how to sing. You make a note sound, then move your fingers up or down a string to find the next. The bow is moved ( like pushing out breath ) and you can sustain the tone. However, don’t be in a big hurry, the coordination required to handle the bow well takes a long time. Speed is not the most important thing, critical factors are keeping the bow moving perfectly straight, and smooth. The way you move is the way you sound. If you already play mandolin ( they are tuned the same ) you will have some left hand experience that may be useful, but you still have to deal with the fact that the fiddle has no frets!

For class you must bring a fiddle (violin) and a bow in playable condition. If you are in doubt, we recommend that you have it checked by a reputable dealer. This course will be taught by ear with some written study aids provided.

Students are strongly urged to bring a recording device and something to write with. The instructor provides sample recordings of the tunes covered in class, these are downloadable in mp3 format.

Note to violinists: Often students with many years of violin training are interested in learning the subtleties of the fiddling style and wish to join these classes. I welcome the participation, but I will always maintain a pace that suits the beginners who may have only just started.

Level:  Complete Beginner

Fiddle I

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