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Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas Concert

January 27, 2006

Anthony and I went to this concert last night and it was great! It got me thinking about doing more Celtic/Irish fiddling. As I was watching, I brainstormed ideas to change up a tune. Usually the first time through a tune is fairly basic so the audience gets the idea, but from after that anything is fair game. Here are a few of the the ideas I compiled.

Bare Bones – Simplifying the melody so that only the most important notes are there. The harmonic structure should still be obvious, and the melody not completely gone. This probably only works well with more than one person.

Using the chords – This can work in many ways. 1) take it up an octave (or down, or just raise a few notes, whatever you feel like doing) 2) add some open strings. 3) play the harmonies (important to remember that harmonies don’t have to be slow) 4) modulate to a new key

Concerto-ize it – I’m pretty sure Concerto-ize isn’t a word, but this is my favorite. This is one that I could be (if I put in the practice time) good at. This would be using more advanced techniques to make the melody different. Some examples of this would be using more off the string techniques and more complex chords. Really I think the bow could do a lot more in these tunes, melding the fiddle sound with higher techniques.

It’ll be interesting to see what I find after the Leahy concert tomorrow night. Feel free to add to this list, or make suggestions. I am by no means an expert, more of a hypothesizer.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. January 30, 2006 7:34 am

    “Defenestrate” is my current favourite word…


  2. Jodie permalink
    January 30, 2006 10:22 am

    Defenestrate huh? Do you have a good definition for it? Maybe I’ll start using it in posts.

  3. January 31, 2006 8:02 am


    defenestrate \dee-FEN-uh-strayt\, transitive verb:
    To throw out of a window.

    Some of his apparent chums . . . would still happily defenestrate him if they caught him near a window.
    — Andrew Marr, “No option bar the radical one,” Independent, July 5, 1994

    I defenestrated a clock to see if time flies!
    — Lane Smith, “quoted in Who’s News,” Time for Kids, September 25, 1998

    A woman, driven to fury by the manner in which her lover prefers to lavish his attention on a match on the telly rather than her, starts to throw his possessions out of the window. He’s finally moved to stop her when she tries to defenestrate his new Puma boots.
    — Jim White, “Budgets substantial enough to buy most of the clubs in the Endsleigh,” Independent, April 6, 1996

    Defenestrate is derived from Latin de-, “out of” + fenestra, “window.” The noun form is defenestration.


  4. Jodie permalink
    February 1, 2006 11:31 am

    I’ll have to try and work that one in somewhere. Thanks!

  5. Astrid permalink
    February 18, 2006 7:38 pm

    It’s an old post but I just had to comment, because I love Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas. I would love to be able to play my flute with the clarity and playful precision of his fiddle.

    I suppose I am just very jealous!

  6. Jodie permalink
    February 20, 2006 5:53 pm

    I always welcome comments on any post. Did you see Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas live? They were so great. I immediatly wanted to go home and try a few things out on my fiddle after. Of course I don’t get enough time to really practice any fiddle music. I hardly have enough time to practice my music for class.

  7. Astrid permalink
    February 21, 2006 12:53 pm

    No, but I wish I had. I have only heard them together on disk.

    I have seen Alisdair Fraser live with Tony McManus and also solo.

    My main traditional instrument is flute, but I also play others. Although there are lots of fine flute players, I find that I have been looking to fiddle players for interpretive and creative inspiration. I try to play in a style that is well grounded in traditional sound and idioms, but which also takes advantage of modern flexibility and creativity.

    The only stringed instrument I have played was viola da gamba, and that was long ago.

    I also play baroque winds. I’m an amateur but music is a huge part of my life.

  8. Jodie permalink
    February 21, 2006 11:34 pm

    Cool! If you ever have any recommendations feel free to post them here. I’m always looking for new stuff to listen to.

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