Fiddle Hell Schedule

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2018 Schedule

Sunday 11:00AM-12:00PM KIDS Fun New England Tunes: F M G C L1 L2 R7 SCHNECKENBURGER[F] GORMAN[M,G]

Anyone from New England? Lissa will cover fiddle and cello, and Skip will cover guitar and mandolin, as you learn an easy New England tune or two.

Sunday 11:00AM-12:00PM Singing While Playing Fiddle: V F L2 R3 MOLSKY[V,F]

The strings of the fiddle and the human voice have a lot in common, and can be made to blend beautifully. Bruce will lead the class through some exercises to get fiddle and voice working together so we can play through a simple song, and also demonstrate a couple of his own favorites.

Sunday 11:00AM-12:00PM JAM Intermediate Klezmer Jam: Any L2 L3 R247 MARCH[Clarinet,F] AISENBERG[F,M] CHAMBERS[Accordion]

Klezmer music is from the mournful but exuberant musical tradition of the Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern Europe, with influences from American jazz. Crank up your fiddle or other instrument - last year this was a wild session. Handout of tunes.

Sunday 11:00AM-12:00PM TEACHERS How to Make Music with Different Levels of Students in the Same Jam Class: F C L2 L3 L4 R34 WILEY[F]

Pam is the author of "Teacher Training in the American Music System," and a frequent clinician at music educators' professional development workshops and conventions. This is a new workshop at FH and Pam's got some great ideas to share. Hands-on.

Sunday 11:00AM-12:00PM Fiddle as Backup - What To Do, What Not To Do: F C M L3 R33 ANGER[F] PHELPS[V,G]

The ins and outs of playing behind a singer or other soloist. Not limited to Bluegrass, though that will be our main focus.

Sunday 11:00AM-12:00PM Learn "Hell Up Coal Holler" and "Namibian Night" F M L3 R4 D. REINER[F] L. HAMMOND[Dulcimer]

"Hell Up Coal Holler" in C is close to Gerry Milnes' oldtime version (which Lorraine has recorded with Gerry).  A fine tune that doesn't get played enough. "Namibian Night" is a very new 3/4 tune in Gm written by Dave a month ago in Namibia; it packs lyricism, mystery, tension and excitement into just 32 bars. 

Sunday 11:00AM-12:00PM JAM Quintessential New England Jam: Any L3 R36 KAYNOR[F] BRYAN[G]

Westford’s the perfect place for your favorite New England tunes, and a few that might be new to you. Spend a happy hour with David and Art, having great fun with classic tunes.

Sunday 11:00AM-12:00PM Intro to Comping on Jazz Guitar: G L3 R345 MOULTRUP[G]

"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.

Sunday 11:00AM-12:00PM Dock Boggs Oldtime Tunes for Banjo: B L3 R35 ROWELL[B]

We’ll explore Dock Boggs' unique up-picking banjo style in two of his most well-known songs. We’ll learn a couple of his unusual tunings and a bunch of his signature licks.

Sunday 11:00AM-12:00PM Cape Breton Set Workshop (March to Strathspey to Reel): F L4 R32 BEATON[F]

We’ll start with a Cape Breton setting of the marching air "Lament for James Moray of Abercairny," and then go into the Cape Breton settings of a John Campbell strathspey and the "Lord Seaforth" reel. The excitement ratchets up as the tempo increases. 

Sunday 11:00AM-12:00PM Québecois Workshop to Learn a Fine Reel "Le Brandy": F L4 R31 FAVREAU[F]

The iconic tune "Le Brandy" is a very old tune with a lot of different versions, a perfect tune for a step-dancer. This one has four parts, with a little strange structure ABACDB. Hypnotic pattern, minimalist melody in 3/2. Wake up!

Sunday 11:00AM-12:00PM Fiery Twin Fiddle Workshop in Memory of Stacy Philips: F L4 R6 ORSHAW[F] CHIARANDINI[F]

Dave Reiner says: "Stacy Phillips, fiddler and dobro player extraordinaire, was an inspiration and a charismatic musical friend to many musicians. We'll miss his great music, his clear teaching, his dry sense of humor, and his vast knowledge of traditional fiddling. I learned a lot - as did many fiddlers - from his wonderful fiddle books, recordings, and DVDs. The Phillips Collection of Traditional American Fiddle Tunes (in two volumes) is a monumental work of fiddle tune curation, scholarship, expertise, and love. Stacy would have been teaching and performing at Fiddle Hell Massachusetts this year. Sadly, we'll remember him here instead. May his memory be a blessing." Laura and Sofía will show some fine twin fiddling, point out the techniques being used, and give attendees a chance to try a few things out.

Sunday 11:00AM-12:00PM Beyond Ornaments: Melodic Variations in Irish Trad Tunes: F M L4 R245 MARTIN[F]

You may include ornaments and interesting bowing but want other ways to make trad tunes your own. This is for you! We'll consider conventions of variation in traditional Irish music, and then we’ll work together to apply variations to a traditional Irish reel, creating our own signature version of the tune.

Sunday 12:30-1:30PM CONCERT Blue Moose & the Unbuttoned Zippers (Hypnotic Swedish-Oldtime Fusion) R1 A. REINER[F,OM] VANDERSTEEL[F,V] WYSLOUCH[G,V] BIRD[Nyck,V]

BMUZ reunion concert right here at Fiddle Hell! BMUZ plays original, oldtime, and Scandinavian fiddle tunes and songs. Hypnotic and exciting! BMUZ will also be appearing at Club Passim in Cambridge, MA, on Nov. 5th at 8PM.

Sunday 12:30-1:30PM Play and Sing Along with Songs of the Carter Family V L1 L2 L3 L4 R32 BURKE[V,G] SURETTE[M,G]

The Carter Family repertoire is one of the true touchstones of American roots music. Their music blends elements of folk, old-time, blues, and gospel music; come and play and sing some of them today with Susie and David!

Sunday 12:30-1:30PM An Easy Romanian Fiddle Tune: F L1 R7 B. COHEN[F]

Romanian fiddle music by definition isn’t really easy, but we’ll learn a tune that’s very accessible. Romanian music is often called the roots of Klezmer music - they both use many of the same scales and ornaments.

Sunday 12:30-1:30PM How About an Easy Tune from Québec? F C M L1 R33 WEEKS[F,C]

There’s a great tradition in Québec of everyone singing along on marches. Pam will teach a sing-able march from Québec - perhaps two if there's time. 

Sunday 12:30-1:30PM Basic Mandolin Technique Workshop: M L1 L2 R8 WATT[M]

Bring mandolin! Tony will review the most important aspects of basic mandolin technique for bluegrass and oldtime, but this knowledge will apply to other related styles of music as well. Bring your questions or just come ready to learn!

Sunday 12:30-1:30PM Efficient & Stress-Free Practicing: Any L2 L3 R34 C. MASON[F,G] BESHARA[F]

The interplay between stress and logistics can be big obstacles to our goals of practicing efficiently, fluently and successfully. In this workshop, we'll examine the physical, technical, mental, emotional and logistical aspects of stress, and will emphasize techniques to develop relaxed and efficient practice habits that lead to improved musical skills.

Sunday 12:30-1:30PM Easy Favorites from Maine's Fiddle-icious Group: Any L2 R31 D. ROY[F] C. ROY[P]

Easy tunes that are loved by both beginner and advanced players. Fiddle-icious, the largest fiddle orchestra in Maine, evolved out of a monthly fiddle workshop led by Don Roy. Don and his wife Cindy grew up in French Canadian families where music was an integral part of their lives. The goal of Fiddle-icious is to keep the tradition alive by sharing Maine’s musical heritage with the community. 

Sunday 12:30-1:30PM Read Through a Few 18th Century Scottish and Irish Tunes: C F Trad Readers L3 R36 NEWTON[C] MCOWEN[F]

This will be a mini traditional folk chamber music experience. Abby will bring some not too difficult Scottish Baroque pieces and some O’Carolan to read. We will jam on 18th Century tunes.

Sunday 12:30-1:30PM Playing the Blues: F C L3 R6 CLARK[F] B. HAMMOND[G]

The blues is the basis for a great deal of modern music, from rock to jazz via soul and funk. In this session, Graham will talk about his approach to blues, show you how he uses blues in these different blues-based genres, and give you a chance to try out several useful techniques.

Sunday 12:30-1:30PM Learn a Bluegrassy "Billy in the Lowground" (Original 52): F M L3 R4 ORSHAW[F,M]

That Billy sure gets around! Let's see how Billy in the Lowground made his way to the bluegrass state of Kentucky. We'll look at some fun licks and stylistic approaches to bring out the bluegrass in this fun fiddle tune.

Sunday 12:30-1:30PM Scottish Influenced Tunes from County Donegal: F L4 R35 HEELY[F]

We will study several great fiddlers (including the late Tommy Peoples) from this Scottish influenced style of Irish Fiddling and will compare and contrast their styles. We will learn different ornaments, bowings and how the Scottish strathspey became the Donegal Highland.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM Effective Songwriting Workshop: V Any L1 L2 L3 L4 R4 ADAMS[V,C,B] PHELPS[V,G]

Joy writes great songs and sings harmony with Andy Reiner in Half Pelican, as well as with Emy in Darol Anger and the Furies. Emy is a prolific songwriter with a riveting voice which plumbs the deepest emotions. They'll help you move along the path to effective songwriting. There's another songwriting workshop from Emy and Joy Saturday afternoon at 3:30PM.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM DROP-IN Help on Oldtime Banjo or Guitar: B G L1 L2 L3 L4 R349 ROWELL[B,G]

Right hand, left hand, rhythm, chords, and much more. Drop in with a question, stay for a while if you like.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM Bow Chopping Workshop: F C L1 L2 L3 L4 R3 A. REINER[F]

A modern fiddling technique for both backup and leads, like playing drums on your fiddle or cello. Crunches, ghost notes, syncopation - it’s all there and nobody does it better than Andy and Joy. They'll help you chop step by step.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM Capturing Emotions & Moods in Composing Tunes: Any L1 L2 L3 L4 R36 UNGAR[F] M. MASON[G,P]

A time to share ideas, techniques and approaches for composing music that touches the heart.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM JAM Easy New England Jam with Jam Tips: Any L1 L2 R245 SUTHERLAND[F] SURETTE[G] WEEKS[C]

Some doggone great traditional Yankee dance music is quite easy to learn and play. We're going THERE, with some helpful suggestions on jam etiquette, fitting in when you don’t really know the tune, and more.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM Ear Training on Melodic Rhythms in American Music: Any L2 L3 L4 R6 GLASER[F]

We’ll use the “Taxonomy of American Melodic Rhythms in Performance” to highlight similar melodic rhythms in American music as diverse as Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, Bill Monroe, Sonny Rollins, Irving Berlin, and Little Walter. Learn to play the rhythms of a Louis Armstrong solo on Heebie Jeebies, and apply those rhythms to your own improvisations. All are welcome.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM KIDS Cape Breton Tune Workshop for Kids: F M L2 R35 BEATON[F]

We’ll learn a jig or reel commonly played in Cape Breton and tell some jokes!

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM DANCE Learn Some Simple Swedish Dances from Bronwyn: Dancers L2 R31 BIRD[Dance,Nyck] KAYNOR[F,G]

Learn some very simple Swedish folk dances, such as Långdans frank Sollerön. No partner necessary as we will rotate and do some mixers!

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM Fiddling in Layers (Bluegrass, Country, Folk & More): F M C L2 R7 REINER[F] WILE[G,V]

A brand new way to think about learning and playing fiddle breaks and tunes. It will help you forever and a day. Hands-on and fun, short handout provided.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM A Favorite Waltz from Québec: F L2 R32 FAVREAU[F]

"Berceuse pour Anna Waltz" is beautiful, nice, and simple. It works about sound, and phrasing with grace and distinction. "Berceuse" means "lullaby" in English.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM Following Singers' Melodies on Irish Slow Airs: F C L2 R247 O'CONNOR[F]

Gerry has worked for years with many of the top Irish traditional singers.  He'll select a few examples of following the melody line of a singer and create a sensible approach for a fiddle player to imitate and reinforce this.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM Playing Fiddle Backup in an Oldtime Jam: F L2 R347 VANDERSTEEL[F]

Join Mariel in exploring different ways to back up a tune in an Oldtime jam setting. We’ll explore rhythmic bowing, and how to hear and play chords on our fiddle.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM JAM It's a Blues Jam!: Any V L2 L3 R8 FLAX[F,G,V] OBOMSAWIN[Bass]

Who says you have to wait until late at night for some 12-bar blues? This will be a fun jam.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM Right Hand Grooves to Make Your Mandolin Playing Come Alive: M L2 L3 R345 GORMAN[M]

We will look at double-stop grooves, strumming and picking patterns, and rhythmic playing based on Norman Blake-style mandolin and old-time fiddle tunes. Your right hand will move along the live sparkle spectrum.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM Texas Swing Guitar to Back Up Fiddle Tunes: G L3 L4 R37 RACOWSKY[G]

Transform simple chord progressions into more complex ones that still fit the fiddle tune melody. Chords change twice a measure, with a walking bass line, closed position chords; passing, extended and altered chords. Perfect for Texas tunes! Marshall’s the master and he’ll show you step-by-step in a common key or two.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM JAM Traditional Scottish Session: Trad L3 R1 MCOWEN[F] EID-REINER[P]

Smith's a Gallant Fireman? The High Road to Linton? Atholl Highlanders? Join Barbara and Eric for some sets of classic Scottish session tunes. Be sure to bring some of your favorites, too! 

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM Learn a Couple of Bruce's Favorites: F M L3 R33 MOLSKY[F] WYSLOUCH[G]

Come and work through the details of how to play a couple of Bruce’s favorites, with bowings and ornaments. Be prepared to play in alternate tunings. Will this take you to an alternate reality?

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM JAM Cajun House Party: F M C G V L3 R346 C. MASON[F] HARTY[G]

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.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM Melody and Phrasing Workshop: F C M L3 R34 ANGER[F]

How can we keep a melody interesting when it gets repeated so much in fiddling? Darol knows, and soon you will, too. Darol is exceptional among modern fiddlers for his versatility and depth, and recently started up an online fiddling school. Listeners welcome.

Sunday 3:00-3:30PM FLASH READTHROUGH Read Through Trad Italian Tunes: Any L3 R245 ALESSIO[F] CHAMBERS[Acc]

Italian folk music is an important part of the country's musical heritage, and spans a diverse array of regional styles, instruments and dances. Sheet music will be provided at this very quick read-through. Bring a portable music stand if you have one.


We saved the best until last!  This concert features a range of styles by three dynamic duos.  First, Celtic and American tunes and songs from David and Susie, then leading edge Vermont and oldtime tunes from Pete and Oliver, and finally bluegrass songs and picking from Laura and Tony. Relax and enjoy this last concert of Fiddle Hell.

Sunday 3:30-4:30PM DANCE Sunday Intro to Step Dancing for Beginners: L1 R31 C. ROY[Dance]

Just the basic step can get you through the whole party. Here's a quick chance to try some step dancing with Cindy Roy. Also offered Thursday at 5-6PM.

Sunday 3:30-4:30PM Singing for the Joy of It at Fiddle Hell: V L1 L2 L3 L4 R33 HAMMOND[V]

Challenging - and rewarding - songs that are worth the stretch! The title truly sums up the spirit of the class.

Sunday 3:30-4:30PM JAM Swedish Jam with Bronwyn: Trad L2 L3 R7 BIRD[Nyck] NAWN[G]

Just what it sounds like! Come have fun playing your favorite Scandinavian folk tunes with friends! Polskas, Schottises, Hambos, Waltzes, Snoas, Gånglåtar etc.

Sunday 3:30-4:30PM Bruce's Tour of "Other" Fiddle Traditions - Listen & Learn: F L2 R3 MOLSKY[F]

Bruce says: "I’ll demo a couple of Scandinavian styles, Métís, and maybe Balkan, then teach a simple tune from one of those traditions."

Sunday 3:30-4:30PM "Jefferson & Liberty" (New England Jig from New 52): F C M L2 R34 SCHNECKENBURGER[F]

This A Dorian jig from the New 52 is hypnotic and ancient; it has its roots in the Irish jig "The Gobby-O." Lissa will teach a simple version and help you make it come alive.

Sunday 3:30-4:30PM Piano Workshop - Ideas and Techniques (Mostly a Demo): Demo L2 L3 R36 M. MASON[P] UNGAR[F]

Known for her inventiveness on piano Molly supports the tunes and follows the flow of the melody. She will demonstrate how she accompanies a variety of jigs, reels, waltzes and airs provided by Jay on fiddle.

Sunday 3:30-4:30PM Fourth Finger Considerations - When, Where, How and Why: F L2 R6 WILEY[F]

Many players avoid using the fourth finger because “it’s too short” or “it’s too weak.” Find out why these are false assumptions. Also find out why using the 4th finger is sometimes easier than using the open string.

Sunday 3:30-4:30PM KIDS Jazz/Swing Rhythms for Kids: F L2 L3 R8 FLAX[F,G]

Want to improvise, but don't know a lot of cool licks? Take a simple idea and play with the rhythm. We'll explore rhythms from all over the world, using techniques not usually taught to fiddlers, and then apply them to an awesome tune.

Sunday 3:30-4:30PM Traditional Cape Breton Ornamentation: F C L3 R32 BEATON[F]

We’ll talk about the different kinds of grace notes used in CB fiddle style. We’ll also talk about the bowing style and a couple of general rules when playing CB style. Along the way, we'll likely learn a new tune and take a familiar tune to dissect a bit.

Sunday 3:30-4:30PM JAM No Holds Barred Oldtime Jam: Trad L3 L4 R4 A. REINER[F] ROWELL[B] ADAMS[C,B]

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?

Sunday 3:30-4:30PM Playing Guitar with Others: G L3 R37 B. HAMMOND[G]

Non-generic guitar accompaniment knows one tune or song from another. Guitar wisdom from Bennett for playing tunes with others.

Sunday 3:30-4:30PM Learn Gershwin's "Summertime" and Jazz It Up with Roy: F M C L3 R35 JOHNSTONE[F] MOULTRUP[G]

Learn the melody first, and then we'll take a melodic and arpeggio based approach to improvising on the Gershwin tune “Summertime”. A simple chordal harmonic approach to arpeggios will be considered as well.

Sunday FOOD and DRINK at Old Joe Clark's Pub 4PM-10PM Sunday

Hungry? Thirsty? Food and drinks available at Old Joe Clark's Pub off the Lobby. Special menu for Fiddle Hell, leisurely paced.

Sunday 5:00-6:00PM Try Out a Turkish Violin Tune: F C M L2 R33 B. COHEN[F]

While Beth also plays the Turkish bowed tanbur and kabak kemane, this workshop will focus on violin. She'll teach an easy Turkish tune as an introduction to this lively, vibrant folk music.

Sunday 5:00-6:00PM Tips & Techniques for Playing for Scandinavian Dances: Trad L2 L3 R36 BIRD[Nyck]

We will discuss the various different Swedish dance styles and the musicians role within them, how to select tunes, pick the right tempos, and what to look for to ensure a successful dance for all!

Sunday 5:00-6:00PM Blues Guitar Workshop: G L2 L3 R35 SURETTE[G]

Work on a couple of songs from the rich country blues traditions of the Piedmont blues and the Delta blues. This workshop will focus primarily on finger style techniques, but flat pickers are welcome, too.

Sunday 5:00-6:00PM JAM Scottish Jam on Well-Known Tunes: Trad L2 L3 R31 E. Anderson[F] B. Anderson[C]

Elizabeth and Ben will keep this jam at an intermediate level, with well-known session tunes. They'll be on fiddle and cello, but any traditional instruments are welcome.  "They have taken the influence of people like Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas and really made their own mark on traditional music." - Brian O'Donovan, WGBH Radio.

Sunday 5:00-6:00PM "My Cape Breton Home" on Cello (Waltz from New 52): C F M L2 R7 WEEKS[C,F]

This beautiful waltz by the great fiddler Jerry Holland, is a great “gateway” tune for learning to play in second position. We will also address using your bow to create flow and to shape phrases when playing waltzes.

Sunday 5:00-6:00PM Shape Note Singing Session: V L2 R4 SUTHERLAND[V]

Some shape note experience is helpful. “Old time New England rock and roll." This community power singing style has been part of America's musical landscape for centuries and remains a visceral, moving experience for participants and listeners now. The bigger the sound, the better. Check your inhibitions at the door. Music provided.

Sunday 5:00-6:00PM Drop Thumb Clawhammer for Oldtime Banjo: B L2 R8 ROWELL[B]

This critical technique adds rhythm, melodic clarity and interest to your banjo playing. We’ll work on the great D tune “Spring In The Valley."

Sunday 5:00-6:00PM Waltz Playalong 3 of 3 Music Provided: Any Dancers Welcome L3 R3 ALESSIO[F] KAYNOR[G]

A warm, welcoming, waltz wonderland to close off Fiddle Hell. Read the music or play by ear to drift along through a 3/4 landscape for an hour. Actual waltzers welcome. 

Sunday 5:00-6:00PM A Quick and Devilish Lyman Enloe Tune from Missouri: F M L3 R37 C. MASON[F]

"Cowhide Boots" is a fine tune from a great fiddler. Missouri was a microcosm of American fiddle music due to its geographical position as a settlement area from Eastern US and in the westward expansion. As such, it combines elements of early Appalachian style with the vast community of immigrants - Irish railroad workers, Cherokees, French miners and farmers and Germans.

Sunday 5:00-6:00PM JAM Last Québecois Session at Fiddle Hell: Trad L3 L4 R6 FAVREAU[F]

This happened informally last year in the lower hallway, with great happiness and excitement. So we made it official. Éric will lead, and the betting is that Oliver Scanlon will sit in for all or part.

Sunday 5:00-6:00PM JAM The Last Bluegrass and Western Swing Jam at Fiddle Hell: Any L3 R32 HARTY[G,V]

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.

Sunday 5:00-6:00PM Inventive Advanced Bass Runs on the Guitar: G L3 L4 R34 WYSLOUCH[G]

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. Basic knowledge of playing single note lines and scales on the guitar assumed.

Sunday 5:00-6:00PM JAM Last Up-To-Speed Irish Jam: Trad L3 R1 T. MORLEY[F] A. REINER [OM,F]

Reels, jigs, and the occasional hornpipe. You could be in the Cobblestone Pub in Dublin, Ireland. Or The Burren in Somerville, MA. Slán agus beannacht!


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 7-10, 2019.