Here’s a fiddle raga version of Lucy Farr’s. I made some brief liner notes about what I did in each section of the performance.
Fiddle raga is my term for an improvisational interpretation of a fiddle tune. It explores variations which go beyond traditional Irish embellishments (though it can include those too). The fiddle raga form also includes sections of improvisation.
In this Lucy Farr’s fiddle raga, I start with a traditional version (roughly as I learned it from Martin Hayes). Then I turn it into a jig. Then I do a wandering improv as a transition back to a faster 4/4 time. Then the tune is reinvented as an old-time tune. Yeehaw! I stay with it for a second repetition. Note the dragon of the bow for a three-string double stop. Also note that I stumble a bit at 3:20. Instead of starting over, I shift gears and slow it down, ending with some cool but creepy false harmonics. These are played by holding down the index finger and lightly touch the pinky to create the harmonic.
Video with liner note links
Jig variation 0:50
Wandering improv > transitioning to 4/4 time 2:02
Old-time variation with lots of double stops and some offbeat rhythms 2:38
Staying with the old-time variation, dragging the bow across multiple strings and adding some melodic variation 3:02
I stumble a bit, and then decide to roll with it, slowing down 3:20
False harmonics variation...a little creepy at times 3:33
If you’re interested in adding variation to tunes, start by adding variation to one little phrase. Alternate between the basic and the variation as a way to learn the variation and to test to see if it works.
If you’re interested in improvising, try this simple format: Tune/Improv/Tune. You can use this form with any instrument or style.
I just gave a workshop on Improvisation and will eventually publish lessons in how to bring improvisation into your daily practice.
Here is an mp3 of the performance:
Thanks for listening 🙏
Are you ready to begin your fiddle journey? I’ll send you some free lessons tailored to your current skill level.