Fiddlers Green Beyond Violin

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Introduction to Lesson One
Completion status: Ready for testing by learners and teachers. Please begin!
Type classification: this is a workshop resource.


Interested in playing fiddle and:

  • You are taking advantage of Violin 101 and want to learn more, or
  • You already know how to play violin at an advanced novice or intermediate level.


Hello and welcome to Fiddler's Green at Wikiversity! This course is designed to help you break out of violin indoctrination and free your mind and body so you can soar into the ethereal realm of the eternal emerald paradise, Fiddler's Green. First things first: we need to un-learn lots of things we were taught, such as how the bow is held, how the fiddle is held, and incessant use of vibrato. Join Kevin Burke for Morning Dew at a[house party] - he handles the bow like Hemingway handles a typewriter: no superfluous nothin'!
Learn fiddle (despite violin training!
Basic differences from violin playin'
The best and most fiddle sounding is not "violinistic". Although all rules are made to be broken, to start out you should eliminate the over use of vibrato, which, in the beginning, includes almost all vibrato. (Once you get in a fiddle playin' mode you can break that rule all you want. But first things first; it is necessary to break the old bad habits that you learned from your violin teacher). Learn to play with punch like a cowpoke at a Saturday night hoe down, or an Irish rogue in a crowded pub. This is party music. Forget all of those Italian tempo words like ritartando - fiddle music is usually just played at one speed (mostly just fast). To help you break out from all that classical training, take a look at some right hand stuff, the "chop" technique; you probably won't be ready to use it right off the bat, but it gives you a good idea of the direction you will be moving in and how radical a departure you will be taking from all that orchestra stuff you learned as a kid. Richard Greene's "Chop" technique is demonstrated in a shorter video here with the expectation that you have previously viewed [1]. Watch all of these videos several times in various orders and break out your fiddle and bow and give it a shot. Here is how the technique gets blended into a somewhat violinistic rock performance.
Book larnin'

Survey the styles and find your groove!

  • [[[Wikibooks:Compendium of Fiddle Styles|Text: Compendium of Fiddle Styles on WikiBooks]]]
  • [[[Wikibooks:Fiddlers Companion|Fiddlers Companion]]] Fiddlers Companion Tunes A-Z
  • [Paul Cranford] offers Michael Coleman recordings and transcriptions with some generous on line free shots. Take advantage, and, by the way, any of his books contain excellent material exemplifying the unique blend of Cape Breton style fiddle music, much of it composed in the w:Monastic silence of a lighthouse.
The Cape Breton Fiddlers Collection
  • Fiddling Across America by David Reiner & Peter Anick
Published by Mel Bay 1989 Pacific Missouri
  • Boston Fiddle:The Dudley Street Tradition by Frank Ferrell Listen online.
  • English, Welsh,Scottish & Irish FIDDLE TUNES by Robin Williamson. Oak Publications. 1976. New York|London|Sydney This book has a study guide
  • Appalachian Fiddle by Miles Krassen Oak Publications 1995
  • Cajun Fiddle by Craig Duncan Mel Bay 1995
  • Twenty Irish Fiddle Tunes Kevin Burke. CD-BUR-TW01 Level 3 Includes music Kevin plays once slow, once at tempo. Grace notes, rolls, double-stops and other ornaments.
Get a guitar accompanist and practice playing in ensemble!

Course instructor on guitar

Fiddle styles

Decide which style you are most interest in by reading these articles. All of them were started by this teacher so if you have questions, use the email link below.

Mandatory listening

Mute to allow vigorous bowing when you can't play loudly.

Mutes allow vigorous bowing practice when you need to keep the volume down.

Listening is critical

Course originator Geof Bard posts as Wikidgood

The primary instructor of this class is Geof Bard. Without the tireless assistance of the Wikiverity administrators and other contributors this class would not have been possible.
The primary instructor of this class is Geof Bard. Without the tireless assistance of the Wikiverity administrators and other contributors this class would not have been possible.
... and if you can find it, course instructor Geof Bard was recorded as here playing McPherson’s Lament, a sad bagpipe style tune of a rogue fiddler who met his demise and played one last tune “upon the gallers tree”.
Geof and Scott, a damned good guitarist demonstrate the spirit of collaboration which is essential in makin' music.

Collaboration is the key!

This course will use humor, graphics and collaboration at all times.
Lesson One Wrap Up
What this course covers
  • Fiddle styles especially indigenous and Anglo-Celtic as developed in North America.
  • Southern fiddle styles, especially from the Piedmont area of Virginia and the Appalachia, will be studied and taught only as they have influenced the above said Yankee fiddle traditions
  • Canadian fiddle styles, since they are influential on Down East and Northwest Fiddle, will be considered, studied, and absorbed, but this course will not teach those styles unless a Canadian fiddle instructor signs on.
Conclusion title

Lesson 2

Continue this lesson on More fiddle...

Contact your instructor


Lester McCumbers demonstrating how to hold the fiddle Appalachia style, violin teachers beware!

Class Notes.

Lesson on How to Accompany.