Workshop updates

Working on the tune set

We spent this week working on the joins between the tunes in the set, and starting to decide how we would play them. The back line rhythm for Brenda Stubberts reel is working well.

We’ll put the tunes in this order

The Sleeping tune (either once or twice through)

Brenda Stubbert’s Reel (twice through)

Bryan the Seasoned Traveller (twice through)

Next week I’m hoping that we can try out Roisin’s Harmony for the Sleeping tune.

Faye at St Bride’s asked me if I would take a photo in the class for their brochure for next term. Here’s a copy of my favourite one:

Photo - happy members of the String Circle fiddle class in Edinburgh
Photo ©Ros Gasson

Putting sets of tunes together

Creating sets of tunes

We learnt the B part of the Sleeping Tune on Tuesday. We spent some time looking at how to make our fiddle playing more expressive, and played around with grace notes in the tune.

At the end of the evening, we played through our two reels a few times and decided we would put the set in this order:

The Sleeping Tune

Brenda Stubbert’s Reel

Bryan the Seasoned Traveller

We’ll play this set when we go to perform at the Scots Music Group’s ‘Big Seat by the Fire’ event in December.

Creating sets of tunes
Photo ©Ros Gasson 2013

Gordon Duncan’s ‘Sleeping Tune’

The Sleeping Tune by Gordon Duncan

This week we started learning Gordon Duncan’s Sleeping Tune. We’ll learn the B part next week, and put it all together into a set with the two reels we’ve been working on this term. We spent some time looking at tone, and how to  use the bow to create the tone we want from our fiddles.

Two weeks ago we spent most of the evening looking at tuning, and things we can do to help play in tune. We talked about tuning our fiddles by ear, then checking the tuning with an electronic tuner, so we can learn to hear when the open strings are in tune.

The Sleeping Tune by Gordon Duncan
Photo ©Ros Gasson


Playing in pub sessions


Playing in pub sessions

Once you’ve started learning some commonly known tunes, going along and playing in pub sessions becomes possible. Pub sessions can be a great way to meet other players, learn more about tunes and music, and can also help to build confidence with playing. There are many different types of session. If you’re unsure about joining  a session, it’s worth going along once without your instrument, and having a listen, and chatting to the session members. Most (but not all) sessions are open to anyone to join in. If you’re new to paying, you might want to consider looking for a slow session, where most of the tunes will be played at a gentler pace suitable for someone who is learning to play.

Some members of the class have been going along to the pub session at the Greenmantle on Monday evenings. If you’re on Facebook, you can join the Greenmantle session group, to keep updated with what is happening at the session. There’s also a webpage with information on tunes etc that they play regularly in the session.

There are plenty of other sessions in and around Edinburgh.

Playing in pub sessions around Edinburgh
Photo ©Ros Gasson

Update: The Greenmantle session stopped running in August 2012

New tune

This week we learnt a tune written by a 7 year old. The tune is Bryan the Seasoned Traveller, written by Miffy Finlay. It will go well with Brenda Stubbert’s Reel. We’ll be spending some time looking at how to bow this tune – there’s plenty of scope for playing around with the rhythm.

Playing around

Tonight we spent some time working on the riff that we have to accompany Brenda Stubberts Reel. We tried playing while we were wandering around the room as well…great fun.

We broke into 2 groups later on in the evening, and each group came up with their own rhythmic variation on the riff. We’re turning into a small orchestra!

We also agreed that we would go and play at the Scots Music Group‘s Big Seat by the Fire event on Sunday  11th December.

Brenda Stubbert’s Reel

We learnt the second half of the tune tonight, and spent a while playing around with the rhythm. I’ll post the music for the tune onto the tunes page during the week.

We also talked about going along to the Big Seat by the Fire to play a set of tunes, at some point later in the term. Next week we’ll sort out  a date we can do this. The Big Seat is on every 2nd Sunday in the month, in the cafe at St George’s West, Shandwick Place. There’s more information about it on the Scots Music Group website.

A new tune

This week we started learning Brenda Stubbert’s reel, a tune by Jerry Holland. Well finish learning the tune next week, and I’ll post the music up then. It’s a lovely tune to play on the fiddle – there’s plenty of options for double stopping, and playing around with the rhythms. we’ll be look at this over the coming weeks.

Term has started

What a lovely start to the term – a full class, with lots of familiar faces, and a few folk new to the group as well.

We started off tonight looking at our bow holds, and how to keep a relaxed grip, while still controlling the bow. We also spent a bit of time thinking about different tones we can get out of the fiddle. Then we played around with rhythm – finding the beats and off beats, and creating a short riff to play to accompany the first part of Brenda Stubbert’s Reel.

Photo - a fiddle on a table
Photo ©Ros Gasson

I’m looking forward to the rest of the term!