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  • #14931 Reply

    Mary Ann Fricko

    I am an advanced classical player and would like to play fiddle music. I just cannot seem to get rid of my classical sound. Any tips?

    #14972 Reply


    I am by no means a professional, but to me the difference in sound is, the fiddle has more license to not follow the strict rules of violin playing as much. It is faster paced usually, more hoppy and dancing-like… I don’t know if this is making sense…but i guess what i’m trying to say is fiddling is more informal or whatever. Maybe try swaying around to your music, playing outside, or dancing in circles to let your jamming loose. in other words, bend the rules of formal violin playing a little!

    #14979 Reply

    Dianne Adkins

    Personally, I wouldn’t want to get rid of the classical sound that comes with proper training, even if that quality makes it through a totally informal style of fiddling. I believe fiddle players want that sound too, but they’re typically not trained and therefore don’t have a clue how to make it happen.

    Keep in mind, fiddlers often use cheap, steel strings. They also often shave down their bridges for some ill guided notion that it makes playing two strings easier. They also rarely wipe the rosin off the violin. All these practices effect the tone, along with widely varied bow grips and violin positions. So these are some things you can think about if you want to achieve that earthy, raw fiddle quality.

    My advice is to listen to lots of players playing the tunes you like and, knowing how to practice classically, determine what those fiddlers are doing that you are not. Watch videos on youtube. What do you feel your playing lacks in comparison? In my own experience, I can happily leave behind the terrible hand positions, the scratchy tone and limited ability (no shifting, pitchy intonation) that often accompanies fiddling. I focus more on trying to emulate the bowing patterns, rhythms, and double strings found in fiddle music and to me, applying classical training to those fiddling challenges makes me a stand out that no mountain born, self taught fiddle player has ever frowned upon.

    Don’t forget Michael’s book on Fiddling called Fiddle for Dummies which is currently on sale at Superior Violins. Click Here to visit the Fiddle for Dummies Product Page and get a preview of what each chapter contains. There’s also a video on that page to watch about the book, which comes with his autograph! 🙂

    Happy Fiddling!
    Fiddle Player

    #15641 Reply


    I’m a “classically trained” violinist, and I’ve been going to fiddle jams for a while, now. Nowhere near good enough for anything, in part because I have a hard time playing by ear (I call it “tune” deaf), and my memory for tunes isn’t good enough, yet.

    That said, the fiddle sound is characterized by playing legato and detache, with accents and note ties determined by the beat of the tune – most are dance tunes or based on dance tunes, so your accents should be something to dance to. 🙂 Other characteristics of fiddle play – swinging the eights, droning on neighboring strings and double stops, sliding up or down into the note, various kinds of grace notes, depend on the style of the tune you’re playing. There are many fiddle traditions, and each has their own style. I think it’s best to start with one and get familiar with it before going to the next, rather than trying to learn them all at once, if for no other reason that there are just too many of them.

    Do not mess with cheap strings or other gimmicks. 🙂

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