FIDDLE TRANSCRIPTIONS AND MIDI
Reed, Don Borchelt, and Don Couchie at Clifftop, 2010
There are some great sites for listening to
old time music on the web. For streaming web radio audio, I
would recommend subscribing to John Salmon's Live365 Sugar
in the Gourd. John has excellent taste, and offers a variety
of contemporary and classic recordings. James Reidy's webpage,
Honking Duck, has Jim Bollman's old collection of classic
78s. Another tremendous source of vintage old time music is
Jeremy Stephen's Soggy
Record Cabinet, which has digital files of a vast number
of out of print old-time and early bluegrass vinyl albums, including
the Home Folks (with two finger legend Will Keys), both J.E.
and Wade Mainer, the Bailes Brothers, fiddler Allen Sisson,
Arthur Smith, and many others. For banjo, check out the Banjo
Newsletter's MP3 page, which is packed with recordings of
some great tune picking. Lately, I've been hanging around a
lot of evenings in the threads and listening to some great MP3
files on the Jukebox and members homepages on the Banjo
Hangout, where I have picked up lots of new tunes over the
last couple of years. There
are a growing number of fiddle MP3s being posted by members
of the Fiddle
Hangout, sister site to the Banjo Hangout, where you can
hear a wide variety of styles and regions. Recently, I ran across
this terrific webpage from some folks in Seattle, posted for
an old time stringband class, featuring the playing of Greg
Canote and Candy Goldman. They play fiddle and banjo duets-
lots of great old-time tunes- at a pace fast enough to enjoy
but slow enough to hear all the notes! The accompanying banjo
tabs are for clawhammer, but they will give you a starting point.
fiddletunes.net has solid renditions of about 35 tunes,
all well known and often played. The Charlotte Folk Society
in North Carolina has posted a Megaband
Partial Tune List with Samples, with MP3 snippets of a lot
of the tunes I have been hearing at jams lately. Atlanta neurologist
and banjo picker Josh Turknett has put up a great site
Old Time Jam,with over 90 old times tunes. Select the Fiddle
and Banjo playlist from the The Old Time Machine.
Giant music publisher Mel Bay has posted MP3 files of fiddle
versions of all of the tunes in the Old
Time Festival Tunes for Clawhammer Banjo, 117 tunes in all.
There are both basic and more advanced versions of the tunes,
which you can download one at a time, or en mass in a zip file.
This is a great free resource.
For some great field
recordings of old-time fiddlers, check out the Henry Reed webpage,
Tunes of the Old Frontier, which is part of the Library
of Congress American Memory project. The
Digital Library of Appalachia, a project sponsored by a
dozen Kentucky college and university libraries, contains dozens
of field recordings of old-time fiddlers and banjo pickers.
Morehead State University, Appalachian Development Center in
Kentucky offers its excellent Vintage
Fiddlers Oral History Project webpage, with field recordings
of seven old-time Kentucky fiddlers. For fans of Jeff Titon's
great annotated collection, Old
Time Kentucky Fiddle Tunes, the source tunes have been
by fiddler Larry Warren. This includes recordings of John Morgan
Salyer, Doc Roberts, Hiram Stamper, Clyde Davenport, and many
others. Some of these recordings are also available in the Digital
Library of Appalachia collection (see above), but it is nice
to have them all in one place. Not long ago I purchased a copy
Milliner-Koken Collection of American Fiddle Tunes,
the enormous volume of tune transcriptions by Claire Milliner
and Walt Koken. There are over 1,400 tunes in the collection,
presented in strandard notation. Now, the original source recordings
used by the authors is available for download on-line in MP3
format, from a site called Slippery
Hill, along with the source recordings for two other collections.
This is an incredible resource for anyone interested in Applachian
Music collection has over 300 tabs and MIDI, many in Tabledit.
There is also a bluegrass collection. The Banjo
Hangout, has a large selection of free tab, mostly bluegrass.
you are a clawhammer player, and you have stumbled upon this
site, I strongly recommend Rob
Quinlan's webpage, which has with an exhaustive list of
clawhammer tab site links.
TRANSCRIPTIONS & MIDI: There are quite a
few great sites with fiddle tune transcriptions in musical notation
and/or MIDI files, which can be a great help when trying to
remember how a tune goes, or to figure out the notes in a particularly
difficult phrase. One of the oldest is Hetzler's
Fakebook, which has very simple versions of most of the
standard tunes found in just about every fiddlers repertoire.
John Lamancusa has transcribed in standard notation one of the
largest collections on the net at his Old
Time Fiddle Tunes site, in both PDF and MIDI format. A few
of the tunes also include MP3 field recordings. John also has
put up Samuel Preston Bayard's landmark 1944 collection Hill
Country Tunes, Instrumental Folk Music of Southwestern Pennsylvania.
John Chambers' is the author of the misnamed JC's
ABC Tune Finder, since he also offers the tunes in PDF,
GIF, and other formats. A British site called A Traditional
Music Library has a great page of Traditional
Old-Time Music of America, with scores, and MIDI in slow,
medium and fast speeds. Another great site is Peter Doyle's
Tunes from Bernie Waugh, taken from Waugh's collection "282
Fiddle Tunes." Abba Moses has 58 fiddle tunes, both rare
and common, transcribed on his The
Way of the Fiddle site. The Charlotte Folk Society has put
up music transcriptions with MIDI and MP3 files for 33 of the
tunes played at their Post
Gathering Slow Jam. And last but not least, for excellent,
comprehensive background notes recorded sources for a whole
slew of tunes, many with the melodies in abc format, check out
Andrew Kuntz's encyclopedic reference guide, the Fiddler's
One of the best resources on the net for watching
and listening to old time music is YouTube.
Just type in the name of the tune you are looking for in the
search box, and almost always a whole bunch of vids will pop
up. Here, as an example, is the result for Abe's
Retreat, the first- and fairly obscure- tune on my tab list.
Generally the results are a live video taken fom a concert performance,
a festival jam session, or someone's posted lesson. Occasionally,
it will be a classic 78 rpm recording, with no video, or some
type of still image montage. There is a channel by a YouTube
member with the screenname BBYMRLCCOTN,
which has a great collection of old-time music posted. A great
take is the video Appalachian Journey, produced by
Alan Lomax in 1991. The entire 58 minute video can be seen on
website. Well worth the time.
Sometimes I like to sneak over to the Banjo
Hangout's live chatroom, which now includes pickers from
the Fiddle Hangout and the new Flatpickers Hangout, Reso Hangout,
and Bass Hangout. If you have time, come by and pick a tune
SOFTWARE: Again, I would also like to recommend
software for tablature creation and editing. This is a great
program, with excellent editing tools, clear printer output,
and tremendous MIDI dynamic control and effects.
copyright 2003 - 2012 by Donald J. Borchelt, all rights reserved.