Eric's a fine swing mandolin player who also runs Wellspring Sound Recording Studio in Acton.He'll use tunes such as "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen," "Minor Swing," and "It Don't Mean A Thing" to help you with minor scale jazz improvisation over Dave's solid rhythm playing.
William Gagnon (1901-1979) was a fiddler, step-dancer and carpenter from Jonquière-Nord, near Chicoutimi. Éric says: "Each tune I heard from him was unique and unpredictable in form, repetitions and variations. A sublime player. This tune is crooked. For those who like this, you are served!"
Seamus Connolly, a 10-time All-Ireland fiddle champion from County Clare, and Laurel Martin, a former prize pupil of Séamus and a highly respected teacher of Irish fiddling herself, have made Irish music thoroughly accessible to beginners and more advanced players alike in Forget Me Not: 50 Memorable Traditional Irish Tunes. Tunes are in both basic and more ornamented versions.
Early Cajun music was all about the fiddle. There was no accordion nor guitar. These early tunes are sprightly, haunting and often quirky and involve twin fiddles. Cathy will teach "Devil on the Bayou," a haunting and fun tune as well as a seconding (back-up) part so students can trade leading and backing up.
A five-string fiddle adds a low C string, which helps with melodies and chords, and extends the range of the fiddle downwards in a pleasing, growly way. Bob will demo and teach examples of 5-string playing. Helpful handout, too. If you don't have a five-string, come to listen and maybe get a chance to try one out.
The source for modern versions of this tune is Magoffin County, Kentucky, fiddler William Hamilton Stepp (1875-1947), recorded by Elizabeth and Alan Lomax for Library of Congress in 1937. BTW, Stepp was also the source for the version of "Bonaparte's Retreat" that Aaron Copeland used in "Hoedown" in his ballet Rodeo.
"Comping" (an abbreviation of "accompanying" or possibly from the verb to "complement") is the chords, rhythms, and occasionally countermelodies that guitar players use to support a jazz musician's improvised solo or melody lines. Dave will show you some basic comping chords and rhythms on the guitar as an intro.
Pull those chairs in until you're knee to knee, change keys once in a while, and you're off. Shakin' Off the Acorns? Chinquapin Hunting? Garfield’s Blackberry Blossom? Benton's Dream? Forked Deer? Grasshopper on the Fiddle Case?
Starting with a medley called "Canray’s One-Steps," we'll include ornaments, slides, drones, and the chords. The Creole fiddle, and its contemporary moniker zydeco fiddle, arrived in South Louisiana in the seventeenth century, coming ashore with French-speaking Africans from Saint-Domingue, now Haiti.
Pete's Posse has twin fiddles (Pete and Oliver) in tight, wild harmony over high-powered guitar and pounding foot percussion with mandolin, clawhammer banjo, jaw harp, rocking keyboards, and soaring vocal harmonies. You can bet that one of their favorite tunes will be mighty fine! Did you hear them play at the Friday night dance?
We’ll start with a Cape Breton setting of the march "Space Available," and then go into the Cape Breton settings of "Moxham Castle" strathspey and "Glasgow Session" reel. The excitement ratchets up as the tempo increases.
Learn this 3-part tune played by the Round Peak masters. Tom will first teach the tune, and then show you what the tune can teach you about Round Peak style in particular and excellent clawhammer technique in general. By ear, tab provided.
Microphones, mixer, speakers - what's it all about? Oliver will talk through a few of the basics. We might use a volunteer instrumentalist or two to experiment on if there's time. A more advanced version is offered as a full session by Colin McKinley at 6:30PM on Thursday.
Known as the "father of American popular music," Stephen Foster (1826-1864) made his living by selling his sheet music in the days before records and radio. During his career, Foster penned over 200 songs, including the lyrics for "Oh! Susanna," "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair," "Camptown Races" and "My Old Kentucky Home." Many are popular to this day, although some songs contained hateful racial lyrics that are never sung today.
This 3-part concert features Swedish tunes from lydia ievins and David Kaynor, then Northern and Celtic tunes from David Surette and Susie Burke, and finally oldtime and New England tunes from Alan Kaufman and Dave Neiman. Relax and enjoy this last concert of Fiddle Hell.
If you’re new to oldtime fiddling, or newish to the fiddle, Bruce will lead you through the basics, including what to listen for and how to find your way into a simple tune. FYI, at 8PM tonight, Bruce Molsky will perform at Club Passim in Cambridge.
One of the lovely and distinctive things about Cajun music is having twin fiddles, exchanging leads and "seconding" (backing up) each other. We'll learn about rhythm patterns and chord shapes that will give your fiddling that Cajun feeling, with combined influences of music from Louisiana, Texas, Québec, and Cape Breton.
Bass runs are a quintessential part of the folk-guitar vocabulary. They expand on the basic boom-chuck rhythm heard throughout the world and propel tunes and songs forward. Come to this workshop to get your bass runs going with a few quick tricks to get from chord X to chord Y.
It’s deceptively simple!...or is it deceptively challenging? Come and find out! We’ll explore some of the secrets of making even the simplest traditional Irish tunes sound enthralling. We’ll learn a barn dance by ear and will explore some subtle bowing and variation techniques to add nuance and musicality.
How do you make your slow tunes gorgeous and haunting? Learn the practice techniques to develop tone and control over dynamics and phrasing to make your Slow Airs legendary. We will study different instruments like the voice and the pipes and learn how to incorporate those elements on the fiddle.
Cajun music is emblematic of Louisiana. If you have a Cajun tune that you would like to share, come on in, or if you would like to learn a little back-up to play along while someone else is taking the lead; come on in.
Some think "Big John McNeill" came about to distinguish this tune (with 8 bar parts) from Peter Milne’s original "John McNeill’s Reel." John McNeill was a famous Highland dancer at the turn of the 20th century, who "...threw a fine leg!” A great tune, once in a while played with a mischievous chromatic ending.
India is home to the most advanced rhythmic system ever created by humans. In this class we’ll scratch the surface of “konnokol,” aka rhythmic solfege, and learn to apply the basics to fiddle rhythms and more. You’d be amazed how useful this is for your grooving!
It's not too late! Learn a unique Scandinavian tune from Mariel’s repertoire from her time studying the hardanger fiddle in Norway, or perhaps her time in the Oldtime/Scandinavian fusion band, Blue Moose and the Unbuttoned Zippers.
Klezmer is a rich musical tradition, with the fiddle (aka fidl) playing a prominent role in late 19th and early 20th century Eastern European ensembles. To bring FH to a dynamic close, we’ll learn an exciting tune, “Goldenshteyn’s Bulgar,” from the repertoire of Romanian-born klezmer musician German Goldenshteyn.
This happened informally two years ago in the lower hallway, with great happiness and excitement. So we made it official. Éric Favreau will lead, and the betting is that Oliver Scanlon will sit in for all or part of this Québécois farewell to Fiddle Hell for another year.
Do you like Del McCoury, Bill Monroe, Kenny Baker, Laurie Lewis, Sierra Hull? What about Bob Wills, Asleep at the Wheel, Milton Brown and His Musical Brownies? Jam on some of your favorite tunes to round out the weekend with Paul and Art.
Take your bass runs to the next level. Surprise yourself and those around you with inventive new ways to get from chord X to chord Y. This will change your life! Basic knowledge of playing single note lines and scales on the guitar assumed.
Our Fiddle Hell Store is closed until next year. Fiddle Hell Massachusetts is officially over. Go to dinner, take in a live performance, make your way to Boston or Cambridge. Or head home, glowing with the aura of new friends, new tunes, and new experiences.
Plan ahead for Fiddle Hell next year! It'll be on Nov 5-8, 2020.