Cape Breton piano accompaniment has a special swing and syncopation that closely follows the fiddle, the stepdance and the Scottish Gaelic language. Some fingering and percussive styles as well as 'runs' will be demonstrated.
The Registration Desk is in Room R5 near the right front entrance of the Westford Regency Inn. Sign in, pay if you're not preregistered, get a stylish wristband and nametag, pick up a Program Brochure and Grid, perhaps buy a newly designed T-shirt ($15). Then, look for your fellow fiddlers; cellists; and mandolin, guitar, and banjo players everywhere around you.
Cash Lunch Concession with inexpensive choices: Grilled Vegetable Wrap, Hot Dog, Bowl of Chili, Ham & Swiss on Bulkie, Chicken Salad on Bulkie, Chef Salad, Garden Salad, Gluten Free Sandwich (ask), Fruit, Cookies, Chips, COFFEE, Soda, Bottled Water. Eat on the go or at a session.
We will focus on your mandolin questions on scales, arpeggios, pick direction, tremolo, double stops, chord shapes up the neck, and more. Drop in or stay for a while; Shana will also teach some exercises for developing and refining technique.
Pete says: "The first fiddling I fell hard for was Southern. Loved the groove, the swing of it, the simple melodies that seemed to grow out of the bowing. I love sharing the ingredients that make this happen."
A fine Irish jig from our Common Tune List (CTL). It's pretty easy - the first six notes on fiddle and mandolin are open strings. There are a few opportunities for nice grace notes and rolls if we have time.
Cape Breton in Nova Scotia is home to the world’s largest fiddle and bow. Even better, it’s home to a driving, ornamented, fiddle style that draws on Scottish and Irish traditions and more. Mabou (where the Beatons are from) is a great community of strathspey lovers. Learn "Editor's Favorite."
We will learn a tune from Maggie Parker Hammons, a great musician and banjo player from West Virginia. We will learn a nice banjo arrangement, add in a few more of the trickier melody notes, and go over the chords.
Explore the most important aspects of accompanying Irish and Scottish tunes on guitar. Tune types, basic right hand rhythms and easy fail-safe chord progressions for most traditional tunes. We'll focus on a few Irish and Scottish tunes to put the technique in context. Players interested in Drop-D, DADGAD, and Standard tuning are welcome.
How to put two voices together? Susie and Brittany are both excellent singers who've sung in a variety of styles, and they'll show you some key ideas to help figure out and strengthen your harmony singing. Listen and then try it for a few different songs.
Always for the Quadrille dance or Partie de Set, with nice balance for the movement of dancers. Éric's here all four days to teach tunes in the French Canadian style of beauty, feeling, rhythm, and excitement.
Tony will review some of the most important aspects of Flatpicking Guitar in the bluegrass style, but this knowledge will apply to many other related styles of music as well. Bring your questions or just come ready to learn!
Start off Fiddle Hell with a singing workshop! Lissa will teach one or two of her original songs about families and attachment, including a few helpful pointers on singing technique. Says Lissa: "... songs are part of all of us..."
"Adrian’s Hornpipe" is a fine tune from a highly-regarded 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.
"Cooley's Reel" (from our Common Tune List) will be the canvas. Cuts, rolls, spitting triplets, and serpentine bowings will be the paint. Get into the nitty gritty of Irish ornamentation with a focus on how to use your fingers and hands to create a vibrant masterpiece.
Come explore some of the techniques and tricks that fiddlers like Stéphane Grapelli and Stuff Smith used to make their solos really swing. Duane came to Fiddle Hell from Hawaii to teach several great workshops and to jam.
Two-steps are a regular part of barn dances across Canada to this day. The “Harrington Valley” has become a classic, must-have tune in any serious Canadian fiddler’s repertoire, thanks to Calvin Vollrath’s prolific pen.
Helpful suggestions about the Fiddle Hell schedule, choosing where to go, special events, levels for sessions, learning by ear, jamming, and more. Includes the best tips for newbies from prior attendees. Also held Friday at 10:35-10:55AM.
You will learn an easy and fun oldtime tune that has all the rhythmic elements that make a fiddle tune sound "oldtime." We will discuss how you can modify the oldtime tunes you already play to have them sound more rhythmically charged and "oldtime." Alan wrote a fine book called Beginning Oldtime Fiddle, from which this workshop takes its name.
We’ll go through a series of exercises designed to help strengthen your ears over time, and improve your ability to learn tunes on the fly. No experience necessary, all instruments welcome. Bring a recording device and a notebook! Also Saturday at 12:30PM.
Éric learned this version from left-handed fiddler Yvon Mimeault (from the Gaspé area) with floating bowing between light staccato and spicatto. Éric's good-humored teaching style and infectious repertoire will be with us all weekend.
Frank has composed well over 300 fiddle tunes! Says Frank: “We’ll explore inspiration, form and what fits on the fiddle. Then work together to craft a tune.” Look for Frank’s book The Ferrel Collection along with his CD of original tunes "Moxie" in the FH store.
The most common way to approach intonation is to learn to "match" pitches in, say, a tune or a scale. I have found it more effective (easier to hear) to learn to "find" your place in a chord. Come experience if this is helpful to you!
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.
Adding ornaments to Scottish Airs is not so different than putting icing on the cake, color in the painting or curry on the chicken. Ornaments create character, color and emotion. We will work with a slow air and find variations of expression.
This classic, flowing French Canadian tune is a must know! Great for contra dances and easily paired with other tunes, its title translates as "High Country." Jean Carignan and Andy de Jarlis recorded it as "Winnapeg Reel."
To start off Fiddle Hell, here's a hypnotic Oklahoma tune, easy and flowing, as played by J. S. Price. It's also played in the southeast. "Went to the river but I couldn't git across. Rode on a bullfrog, thought he was a hoss."
An excellent way to learn is by studying the masters. In this session we will examine a couple of masterpieces in detail, unpacking how lyrics, melody, rhythm, and chord structure work together. We won’t write a song, but you will take away fresh perspectives on how to put one together.
Learn a trance-inducing original fiddle tune written by Judy Hyman of the Horse Flies, who never officially recorded it but gave Allison De Groot and Tatiana Hargreaves permission to record it on their recent CD. Fiddlers taught by Judy; banjo players, by Allison - then we'll all play the tune together.
Träd Weekend is an intensive workshop for Scandi-interested fiddlers, cooked up by lydia together with fiddle partner Andrea Larson after their joint year in Sweden. We'll focus on engaging your core rhythm, and explore how dance and movement inform your role as a musician. Tune: "polska e. Petter Dufva nr 53."
We'll consider the best ways to familiarize yourself with the upper positions on the fiddle (or mandolin) neck. We'll explore strategies to re-apply your knowledge of first position into an effective access point for other positions, and to other keys to that can seem awkward or difficult in first position. All twelve keys can be yours!
New England, oldtime, Irish, bluegrass, Scottish, and the unexpected. Says Darol Anger: "Andy Reiner is an exceptional creative presence in this rapidly evolving Fiddle world, and stands tall among his peers as an agent of positive change." Joy plays a really big fiddle to hold down the growly low end.
We’ll explore the bowing techniques of various counties, plus ornamentations including rolls, grace notes and bowed triplets. While you might know Mitch as a Cajun fiddler, he's also a fine traditional Irish player and teacher.
This dynamic, 3-part concert features fantastic Fiddle Hell instructors as performers. From Québec City in French Canada, Éric Favreau will lead off, backed by Baron Collins-Hill. Then, Mitch Reed and Cathy Mason play rollicking Cajun, followed by Don and Cindy Roy with spry Franco-American tunes.
The Montville Project is is a Maine/New Hampshire based band dedicated to recording and performing the essential repertoire of New England dance music. The inspiration for this project came in the summer of 2007 at Maine Fiddle Camp (in the town of Montville), Look for George and Art's Montville Project CDs in the FH store. BTW, "Jenny Lind Polka" was first published in 1859.
DADGAD is an alternative guitar tuning most associated with Celtic music. This open tuning is neither intrinsically major nor minor; it facilitates moveable chords and drones. Bethany will help you tune up and get the basic idea of this tuning, with Tom providing fiddle melody. More DADGAD at 12:30PM Saturday from David Surette and 2:00PM from Eamon Sefton.
Although a relatively easy tune to learn, this is one of the classic Maritime tunes especially favored for the first figure of a Cape Breton square set by the likes of such legendary players as Buddy MacMaster and his peers - also a great "driver" for contras as well.
Guided jam with easy songs – not too fast or difficult. Learn as you jam. It’s more fun if you can sing or improvise solos, but not required. The best way to get prepared is to learn a common bluegrass song to sing (you can bring the verses along to read from).
Klezmer is a rich musical tradition, with fiddle (fidl) playing a prominent role in late 19th and early 20th century Eastern European ensembles. We'll explore the scales that give klezmer its unique sound; learn to play an easy 2 part tune “Hangu From Polody”; and discuss accompaniment. No previous knowledge required. High-spirited Klezmer jam at 11AM on Sunday.
"Kitchen Girl" is a dramatic oldtime tune on our Common Tune List (CTL). Collected in 1966 from influential Virginia fiddler Henry Reed by fiddler and folklorist Alan Jabbour, who popularized the melody on the Hollow Rock String Band's 1967 recording (get it!). Fiddler Bill Hicks points out that "kitchen girl" was often a term used for a female slave who worked in the kitchen. Kitchen dances were a fixture of rural American life and may have been the inspiration for the title.
This is my favorite part of the fiddle. We will work on movable double stops of varied intervals through chord progressions in several keys and how you can use this amazing sound in your own music for both soloing and accompaniment.
Rediscover the early 20th century, Hawaiian string band tradition style that blended western classical music, American swing, improvisation, church hymns, Hawaiian chant, and hula; it was lost due to political forces of the era. We'll cover tunes like Hawaii Aloha, Hula Blues, Bye and Bye Hoi Ma Oe.
From the 1880s to the 1930s Tin Pan Alley was the hub of American popular music. When the first ukulele craze hit in the 1920s, music publishers put uke chord diagrams onto sheet music. Come learn some terrific songs from that era; chord charts provided for concert/tenor uke tuning (GCEA).
After we learn a fiddle tune we’ll add bowing rhythm, explore some simple improvisation, and play to a compelling percussive groove. We’ll also look at the software in which the groove was constructed.
Hungry? Thirsty? Food and drinks available at Old Joe Clark's Pub off the Lobby. Special menu for Fiddle Hell, leisurely paced. Jam session from 8PM until closing. A much faster alternative for dinner is the Quick Dinner Buffet from 6PM-8PM in the Lobby.
Three stellar performers on fiddle, plus expert backup musicians on piano and guitar, will bring magic to the main stage. While styles may blend and cross over, Seán Heely and Jenna Moynihan represent Scottish traditions and new directions, while Andrea Beaton brings in the Cape Breton heritage.
We will learn "Madame Sosthene," an easy, standard Cajun tune. In addition to the melody we will explore drones, and how to play second fiddle for a true Cajun sound. Mitch toured with BeauSoleil for many years.
This is for intermediate fiddle players who aspire to move up a notch in their playing. This includes how to play in tune, how to get better tone on your instrument, and how to gradually increase your speed.
In learning English language skills, reading and writing go hand in hand. Learn how to employ writing as a tool for learning to read music. Also, we'll cover reading music by "sound" instead of by "instruction" or "location."
You can find C harmonicas for $10 in the Fiddle Hell store. Paul plays with the Reiner Family Band, and adds great harmonica to his guitar playing and vocals. Bring your C harmonica and learn several key techniques for playing melody, playing "cross-harp" in G, and bending notes.
Messer and Allen were big fiddle stars in mid-20th c. Canada and have left us an incredible legacy of great dance music. We’ll learn "Don Messer's Breakdown" (Messer, of course) and "The Old Box Stove" (Allen). Look for George and Art's CDs (including The Montville Project) in the FH store.
5:00-6:00PM Swing Fiddle:
We will learn a standard by ear and use it as a platform to work on voice leading, phrasing and swing feel. Alex is an innovative, cross-genre violinist described as “the best young jazz violinist in America” by Matt Glaser, artistic director of Berklee College of Music, American Roots Program.
Join us for a hands-on glimpse of what's behind those luscious twin-fiddle harmonies you associate with Swedish fiddling. We'll spend a short while gaining a common waltz tune called "Svensk Annas vals", which we'll then use to explore a smorgåsbord of approaches to playing harmonies in Swedish styles.
We'll listen to and analyze several classic "prototypes" of fiddle tunes, and dissect them into their component parts ("riffs"). As a group, we'll decide on a prototype to experiment with and collectively build the tune. The goal is to help you with creating your own tunes.
Want a quick dinner before the evening sessions? The hotel is running a Fiddle Hell buffet for us in the Stoney Brook Café next to the main lobby, from 6-8PM. Help yourself to mac & cheese, BBQ chicken, green beans, garden salad, rolls and butter, and your choice of a soft drink or a bottle of water. Prices include tax and gratuity: Adults $19, Kids 4-12 $12, Kids under 4 free.
Bring a banjo! This class is for students who are starting from the very beginning or those who want a refresher on technique. We will focus on the bum-ditty and double thumbing patterns and learn a tune you can practice them to. We will learn by ear, but tablature will be provided and it's helpful to bring a recording device.
If you’ve never jammed before, there are so many questions. What do I play? How do I even ask someone to jam? Learn the basics of this community-oriented music making method. We’ll talk about jam sessions of different styles, what to play (and what not!), and then have fun playing together.
Everything you need to know to GO ELECTRIC! We can discuss amps, effects pedals, pre amps, solid state versus acoustic instruments, and I will try to answer your questions about the mysteries of the electric world.
Dissect fiddle tunes to find out what makes them tick, explore idea creation, discuss how to use melodic development to turn a small phrase into a coherent fiddle tune, and learn how to open ourselves up to receive those magic bits of inspiration. As a group, we will collaborate on writing a new tune together, and attendees will leave with a new skill set and inspiration for writing new tunes into the future!
Balancing technical with creative practice while identifying and strengthening weak areas in our playing can be a challenge. Create your own customized and ever-evolving system of practice and time allotment to maximize effectiveness of your precious practice time. Learn to develop new exercises to strengthen weaker elements of your playing while having more fun practicing!
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.
Bring your bluegrass instruments (and voices) to this enjoyable jam. Brown County Breakdown, anyone? Jerusalem Ridge? Old Daingerfield? Blue Night? How about Old Home Place? Levels vary by tune, covering L2 to L3.
You understand something about microphones, mixers, and speakers, but how do you make musicians sound good individually, and mix several together? Colin will talk through the perspective of a sound person. He might use a volunteer instrumentalist to experiment on. Also, a very basic intro to running sound by Oliver Scanlon will be at 3:00-3:30PM.
Here's a driving, ornamented, fiddle style that draws on Scottish and Irish traditions and more. Learn "Jenny Bowser" from Andrea Beaton, of a musical family from Mabou, Cape Breton Island. This tune was originally written by J. Scott Skinner, but gained wide currency in Cape Breton after it was recorded by the Five MacDonald Fiddlers and popularized by fiddler Winston Fitzgerald.
Learn a simple tune that is easy to play and covers some of the fundamental left- and right-hand techniques of playing the Irish Tenor Banjo or similar instruments (tenor guitar, mandolin, bouzouki). Bring a 4-string tenor banjo or similar instrument, unless you just want to listen.
A great way to work on playing by ear is to use song tunes. Traditional and contemporary songs are a rich source of lovely melodies. Take a little break from the breakdowns and relax into the comfort of fingering some well-known songs.
Understanding the Circle of Fifths can help to unlock many music theory mysteries. Shana will discuss the major, minor and seventh chords found in any key; typical chord progressions in a key; and swing progressions with backwards cycling through the circle. She'll start at L2 and may take you to L3 territory. This is consistently one of the highest rated FH workshops.
We’ll see how you can be more playful and free in playing your favorite traditional fiddle tunes, with some exercises and practice techniques to develop your own personal style. Starting with a common simple fiddle tune we’ll bend it in a variety of ways. Bring a recorder and notebook to capture ideas.
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.
Join fiddlers Patrick M'Gonigle, Ellen Carlson, and Alex Hargreaves as they push the limits of bluegrass fiddle. Backed by Flynn Cohen on guitar and mandolin and Brittany Karlson on bass, they'll set the main stage afire with Fiddle Hell's first bluegrass show.
At a relaxed pace, learn a driving, three-part oldtime tune from the Common Tune List. It likely entered the oldtime tradition from a minstrel tune. Cathy will lead you through this tune with patience and good cheer.
Judy has many favorite fiddle tunes. That’s the nature of loving old-time fiddle music, right? She’ll choose a great one for the occasion. Husband Jeff Claus, also from the Horse Flies, will back up on guitar.
You guessed it, its about the most popular tune type -- the infamous reel. We will look at a few Irish and Scottish reels, talk about the effects of playing them at different tempos and work on ornaments, phrasing, and thinking about variations.
Abby plays cello with Ferintosh, a wonderful band that performs the vibrant folk music of Scotland, America, and Cape Breton. She'll teach one of her favorite tunes from the band's repertoire. BTW, Google tells us that "Newton of Ferintosh" is a scattered crofting township on the Black Isle in the Highland council area of Scotland.
We will explore the banjo up the neck through shapes, scales and chords. This will help you navigate this part of the neck, whether you are picking out a melody that goes high, transposing a low section up an octave, or taking a solo.
A warm, welcoming, waltz wonderland. Read the music or play by ear to drift along through a 3/4 landscape for an hour. Actual waltzers welcome. Two more waltz sessions on Friday morning and Sunday afternoon.
Says Pete: "As a young buck who didn't know one style from another, I was unbelievably fortunate to be introduced to this ex-cop and radiator repairman living a mile away in Burlington, VT. Louis and his music influenced me tremendously, and some of his tunes are deservedly well-known. I'll teach a couple on fiddle, with Oliver teaching the mandolin players."
Andrea came down from Cape Breton just for the Fiddle Hell Festival, carrying with her the awesome fiddling traditions of the Beaton family, the MacMasters, and more. These three tunes are possibilities: "Elmer Briand’s Jig," "Beaton’s Delight Strathspey," and "Ann MacQuarrie’s Reel."
Multi-instrumentalist Oliver Scanlon plays with Pete Sutherland in Pete's Posse and The Clayfoot Strutters, and has a long history of awesome fiddling. At Fiddle Hell, he's happy to pass along that tradition to you, with a fine tune selected in real-time. Look for Oliver's debut CD in the FH store; he's also essential to the Fiddle Hell sound crew.
Come learn a simple fiddle tune on the mandolin. We'll also discuss how to learn tunes, which makes the whole process easier and mare enjoyable. Did you know that Baron offers free online mandolin lessons here?
Tunes will be common repertoire similar to what you might find in The New England Fiddlers Repertoire book, but anyone is welcome to join whether familiar with the New England style or not. Bring your instruments, jokes, and favorite tunes to share. Tunes will be played 30-50% slower than usual.
This useful workshop is for fiddlers (and mandolin players) to learn a key element of playing solos on songs with words (as opposed to tunes). Ellen (and Flynn) will sing a whole bunch of songs (bluegrass, folk, country, Western Swing) in different keys and show you how to pick up the melodies quickly so you can then play a break.
The Atholl Highlanders are a Scottish infantry regiment based in Blair Atholl. From our Common Tune List, this is a popular, 4-part 6/8 march to play on bagpipes, fiddle, cello, or other lead instrument. Some believe this was originally a Shetland tune called "The Three Sisters."
Master Sligo style fiddler Manus McGuire is known as a member of seminal bands including Buttons & Bows, Moving Cloud and the Brock-McGuire Band, but also as a prolific composer. His most well-known composition is the Irish waltz he wrote for his wife, Genevieve, now played around the world.
We’ll learn a beautiful tune TBD by ear, complete with ornaments and accompaniment. This is Beth Bahia Cohen's third year at Fiddle Hell, and she's bringing several new styles for us to learn and enjoy.
Terri and Art will pick easier tunes from the two Common Tune Lists (CTL), like Bile 'Em Cabbage Down, Angeline the Baker, Old Joe Clark, Gary Owen, Redwing, Soldier's Joy, Da Slockit Light, Ten Penny Bit, Jamie Allen, Road to Boston, ... A slow jam helps you learn these.
New Englanders have harvested the sea’s bounty for thousands of years, and Europeans took fish from these waters well before permanent colonies were established. Learn a few songs about the lives and work of dorymen, whalers, and lobstermen. A session for singers.
Power chords are the building blocks of Rock and great for string players to understand harmony and chord changes. They also help in composing, arranging, and learning other genres. We will rock out to play music by Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, and Jimi Hendrix, and will also touch on pentatonic riffs and songwriting.
When you think of mandoln tunes you might not think of rags but ragtime tunes are very suited to the mandolin. In this workshop, Alan will introduce and teach two lovely rags that will seem as though they were written for the mandolin.
Official Jam Spots in the hallways are fine (not those near guest rooms), and the following rooms are open all night for jamming: R4, R6, R7, R8, R35, and R36. The sounds are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And tunes to go before I sleep, And tunes to go before I sleep.