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This list is an introduction to old time fiddle styles with a short definition of each.
Appalachian, Bluegrass, Brudmarsch, Cajun, Cape Breton, Celtic, English, French-Canadian, Gånglåt Irish, Maritime Métis, New England, Newfoundland, Old-Timey, Ontario, Polska, Roundpeak, Scandinavian, Scottish, Shetland, Skänklåt, Sligo, Southern Texas Style Ukranian Western Swing
A style of fiddling that comes from the Appalachian Mountains of the United States that uses modal sounds and techniques.
A musical style that originated with Bill Monroe in
the late 1930's with increased improvisation and flashiness. This
style is primarily meant for a listening audience only.
A Swedish Bridal March
A French-North American style that was originated in Maritime Canada by the "Acadiens," a group of French settlers in present-day Nova Scotia. This group, harassed by the British, moved to Southern Louisiana and were isolated until the start of the twentieth century.
A regional variance of Scottish fiddling with a more formal style. Players of this style include Winston "Scotty" Fitzgerald and The Cape Breton Symphony Fiddlers.
A type of Scottish fiddling with the melody in a
higher range, usually imitating the sounds of the bagpipes.
- a style where ornamentation is used sparingly and
the bow is used simply.
a highly spirited style that borrows from French folk
music, Scottish and Irish fiddling, but leans toward a more rhythmic
and less ornamental style. The favoured instrumentation is fiddle and piano.
A Swedish walking tune
Attention is given to the ornaments and melody on an
equal basis. Tunes in the Ionian mode (major scale), Dorian (a scale
starting and ending on the second note of the major scale),
Mixolydian (a scale start- ing and ending on the fifth note of the
major scale) and Aeolian (natural minor scale) are equally common.
Music with a brisk tempo and a spirited bounce that
makes it very suitable for dancing. This is also referred to as the
"Down East" style. Players of this style include Gerry
Robichaud and Don Messer.
A mix of Scottish, French and Indian music with a
highly spirited character and adjusted to suit the traditional Metis dances.
A mix of Irish, Scottish and English fiddle
techniques. Tunes can range from a simple English fashion to a highly
ornamented style of Scottish/Irish fiddling.
A local offshoot of Irish and Welsh Fiddling that is
lively in spirit and quick in tempo
A pre-bluegrass stringband style with country dance
rhythms, including music from Vaudeville, minstrel shows, British
Isles folk traditionals, early 78 RPM country recordings, old songs
played on the fiddle, Appalachian modal tunes, and listening tunes
unsuitable for dancing.
A style of fiddling that is melodic in character and
has its roots in the music of the British Isles. This is the most
widely known fiddle style in Canada.
Denotes two different dances:
a. The "Hambopolska" (eighth note) Polska with a strongly marked 3/4 beat.
b. The "Slängspolska" with a more even beat in 3/4 time.
A highly rhythmic style of North Carolina fiddling
(ex. Tommy Jarrel)
A highly melodic type of fiddle music that can be
played in harmony and sometimes on eight-string or nine-string
"Hardanger" fiddles (Norwegian origin). They are tuned to
the same intervals as regular violin tuning, except that the lowest
string is usually (but not always) tuned up one whole step. Also the
PITCH for the whole instrument is higher than for a violin. It could
be tuned anywhere from one half to two whole steps higher. Most
common seems to be about one whole step higher. They have four
droning strings that run under the fingerboard and through the middle
of the bridge.
Where the right hand is used to bring out a wide
variety of arpeggio and spicatto bowings. Reels are usually slower
than in Ireland, and the roll, a staple Irish ornament, is rarely used.
It has a lively style of its own taking from Sweden,
Norway, Scotland and Ireland.
A Swedish gift giving tune at a wedding.
- a highly ornamental Irish fiddling style typified by
the playing of Michael Coleman, which originated in the Sligo area of Ireland.
A mix of French, Spanish and British fiddling with
very quick tempo and a heavy usage of double stops
A style with highly developed melody variations and
jazz-like backup from the accompanying instruments. Tempo is slower
than Old-time and bluegrass. An example includes Bob Wills.
An ethnic type of music that is high spirited,
lyrical, and faster in tempo than traditional fiddle music. Much of
this music is composed in minor keys.
A form of popular music that originated from popular swing. Fiddling often aspires to the "hot" improvisation of jazz soloists, such as Joe Venuti and Jean-Luc Ponty.