Here’s my basic fiddlosophy on adding variation to fiddle tunes. The principles can be used by beginners as well as advanced players. Lower on the page, I’ll detail what types of variations can be added by students of different skill levels.
- Start by adding variation to a single note.
- This is a way to physically learn the variation.
- Then add the same variation to each note of a scale.
- This is the first step to integrating the phrase into other music.
- If this breaks down, then return to adding the variation to a single note.
- Then add it to a single phrase from a tune.
- You’re now even closer to adding variation to a tune.
- As with the previous step, if this breaks down, just return to a less complex step.
- Alternate between the basic and variation versions of the phrase.
- This is my golden rule for adding variation.
- Continuously alternate between simple and complex in a loop.
- During the basic version, you get a little chance to reset.
- This helps you to test if the variation sounds good.
- This process will teach you how to add variation in a tasteful way.
- Don’t overdo it!
- Otherwise, you run the risk of losing the melody.
- Remember to sound good.
Types of variation by skill level
- Dynamics: quiet (whisper), medium (speaking), loud (shouting) volumes
- Rhythms: tucka, hoedown, triplets, swing
- Textures: tremolo, plucking, staccato
- Slurring: slur 2, slur 3, slur 4, slur 2-separate 2, separate 1-slur 3
- Double stops
- Melodic variation
Alright! Now go fiddle with it…