Turkey In the Straw

Here’s a tune you’ll want to play round the Thanksgiving table!  An American classic fiddle tune,  “Turkey in the Straw” sounds to me like it came from a type of old Scottish tune called the Scots Measure.

In that spirit, here’s a very simple version of the tune, but if you replace the numbered measures with the variations marked below the tune, you’ll see how this simple version might have developed into the tune we usually hear today.

The Scots Measure was a type of dance; there are many old tunes of that type but nowadays we have folded the Scots Measures into other forms such as hornpipes and reels. Below is a typical example of a Scots Measure Continue reading Turkey In the Straw

Finding Articles You Want!

There are some 70 articles in this blog!  Apart from the more recent ones highlighted to the left, you can check out past months in the archive, if you know which month you want, or if you want to hunt through them all.  But the easiest way to find something useful to you is to use the search box at the left.

Here are some keywords you can type into the search box to bring up selected articles you might enjoy.

“advanced” — tips for use of fiddle-online by advanced and professional players

“tuning” — about tuning the violin

“mind/hand/ears” — reversing presumptions on how to learn to play

“playing faster 1”, “playing faster 2”, and “playing faster 3” — three articles setting you up for learning to play faster and understanding how fast to play various tunes

“mapping” — how to “ear-map” your tunes and learn most efficiently

“clarify” — once you’ve “ear-mapped” your tune, how to clarify and embody that map

“troubleshooting 1” — how to handle and avoid various physical problems from playing

“troubleshooting 2”, “troubleshooting 3”, and “troubleshooting 4” — understanding and improving bow control

“troubleshooting 5” and “troubleshooting 6” — addressing left hand problems

“stagefright” — is it learned?  New and organic ideas on how to avoid and handle it

“style” — what are fiddle styles?  how to learn them from within

“nature” — about intonation and mother nature, including a comparison of musical pitches and those of various insects around us

“motivators” — ten aids for motivating your practicing

“brain” — how learning and playing music enhances brain capacity

“musical fork” — how to avoid being derailed by wrong notes

“jokes” — 60 jokes making fun of every kind of musician!  Perhaps the most useful article of all!

**Have any favorite articles you’d like to recommend?  Leave a comment!**

©2018 Ed Pearlman

A Year-ful of Laughs

Here’s how to have a happy new year — kick it off with a year-ful of jokes!

Did you hear about the farmer who played fiddle out in his cornfield? It was music to his ears.

What muscles do you use most when you cross a fiddle with a pig? The hamstrings.

How do you end up with a million dollars playing the fiddle? Start with 2 million.

The fiddler asked his friend if she’d heard his last show. She said, “I hope so!”

The boy told his mother, “When I grow up, I’m going to be a fiddler.” His mother said, “Honey, you know you can’t do both.”

How do you protect a valuable fiddle? Hide it in an accordion case.

When is a fiddler considered successful? When his wife has a really good job.

St Peter welcomed three new souls to heaven. “What did you each do in life?” he asked. The first said Continue reading A Year-ful of Laughs

Writing a Tune

You can learn a lot from writing tunes.  It doesn’t matter if you think you can or not.  Just do it!  Allow yourself to write a few musicconstructionbad ones before you make a gem of a tune.

Here’s why you should try writing a tune:

  • It’s fun.
  • It’s easier than you think (see below).
  • You get a better sense of how tunes are constructed, by phrase and part.
  • You learn a lot about why tunes are written down the way they are, and why there’s always more to a tune than can be written.
  • You get to name your tunes after somebody or something important to you (or name it something silly).
  • You learn about how music is written down.

Here’s how:
Continue reading Writing a Tune

At Musicians’ Expense (music jokes, not taxes!)

The nice thing about jokes is that most people forget them soon after laughing-animalshearing them, so they can enjoy them again next time!  Here’s a nice list of all those music jokes you may have heard and forgotten.

Note:  There are no fiddle jokes here.  Is there a message in this?  Is the fiddle such an awesome intrument that it’s not funny?  Or do people already feel so sorry for us that they don’t need to take us down a notch?

OK, get ready.  No instrument is sacred here!  (Caution #1:  Do not read this while playing a wind instrument.)  (Caution #2: These are not all in good taste.)

The prodigy:  A boy said to his dad, “I want to be a musician when I grow up.”  His dad said, “Hold on there son, you can’t do both.”

Harmonica: What do you call a harmonica player’s accompanist?  Fido.

Viola:  The violist said to the violinist, “You know, we violists can play 64th notes.”  The violinist said, “Oh, yeah?  Let’s hear them.”  So the violist played him one.

Oboe:  What is a minor second?  Two oboes playing in unison.

Bagpipes:  Why do pipers always walk while they play?  To get away from the noise.  (It also makes them harder to hit.)

Continue reading At Musicians’ Expense (music jokes, not taxes!)