Here’s a lesson on how to turn an American tune called Ida Red into an Irish jig.
Some of the things I added: Jig swing, melodic variation, slur 3
OK, so this is kind of a weird lesson…but hopefully, you’ll have a good time 🕺💃 I had good time coming up with it and it’s still fun to play Ida Red as a jig.
But if you look at this historically, it’s actually not that weird. I like to think of music as an evolving conversation. In this case, it’s a conversation between Ireland and America. And this conversation has lasted for hundreds of years. A lot of melodies got brought over with immigrants and then slowly morphed into unique tunes here. Even Yankee Doodle (if I’m not mistaken, this evolved from a Dutch tune).
Unlike simply learning a tune, the process of turning a reel into a jig is not a cut-and-dried process.
In order to do this fiddle conversion, it helps if you:
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OK! 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Here's a newer version of the Notefinder which is based on sheet music.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.