Here’s a short performance of an Irish tune called Foxhunter’s (slip jig). I play a very simple version and then play a version with some variation added:
A bit from the A part of the second quarter keeps reminding me of the theme to the movie Chariots Of Fire: D0-3-A0-1-0-D2
Both versions are taught in a step-by-step lesson in the Irish Fiddle Variation course.
If you want to learn more about how the process of adding variation works, then click the button below and I will send you three video lessons and some articles. These cover both the main concepts as well as how to practice variation.
The basic version is very stripped down, arranged for beginners. The variation version adds a few variations, but not too many. The idea is for you to really start to listen to the subtle difference between the two. I also want to remind you of the fundamental point of the adding variation: alternate between basic and variation versions.
This process carries over to adding variation to any tune or fiddle style. It prepares you to improvise or compose your own melodies.
Play every day, have fun ? and thanks for taking part ?
Now, go fiddle with it…?
Here is a quick way for you to access the essential practice tools you need. Under each tab you'll find play-along tracks, tabs and condensed teachings to help you as you practice. This is an evolving idea, so let me know in a comment below if it could be better.
Here's a newer version of the Notefinder which is based on sheet music. If you're interested in learning to read, this will be an invaluable reference. I'll be posting lessons on this in 2020.
Note: the brackets indicate notes that are the same pitch but spelled differently. For example, AH3 (D#) sounds the same as AL4 (Eb). Without going into too much teory detail here, this will be determined by the key of the tune or piece you are playing.
Here's he original table version of the Notefinder. Sometimes people learn in different ways...
Sawmill tuning Notefinder
This is used to find notes in Sawmill tuning (when the G string is tuned up to A and the D string is tuned up to E). If you're a beginner...best to ignore this! Learn more about sawmill tuning in the Appalachian Fiddle course.
Here are some common scales used in fiddle tunes. Each runs through a series of variations: two bows legato, two bows staccato, four bows, tucka (4 shorts, two longs), hoedown (1 long, two shorts), throwaway bow, triplets, tremolo.
G Major, starting on D3
Practice a tune with its scale (Kerry Polka is in G major, so practice a G major scale). Practice scales before, during and after practicing tunes.
Always return to a good sound, even if it means playing quarter notes on the D string. You can do this! You just have to remember to pause on practicing the challenging thing and just get a good sound on single notes.
Why do this? Because it will bring you deep joy. And it will build your confidence which will inspire further practice.