Fiddlers Green Beyond Violin/How to Accompany

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Accompanying with fiddle requires the ability to listen to and understand what the other musicians, as a whole, are doing and relate that understanding musically to the intended audience. The best way to get a feel is by listening and since the web has a plethora of listening opportunities this lesson is structured around those listening opportunities.

Old Crow Medicine Show performs has two fiddlers, Ketch Secor and Willie Watson, and perrforms in a variety of styles which may be loosely categorized as alt-country. One can't go wrong emulating their techniques and incorpoating them into whatever personal style you can deliver.

Angel from Montgomery[edit]

This John Prine song has been covered by numerous top notch musicians including Bonnie Raitt,Susan Tedeschi, and Old Crow Medicine Show.

Susan Tedeschi[edit]

Susan delivers a soulful and masterful rendition on Austin City Limits [1] with Jason Crosby, Jeff Sites, William Green, Ron Perry. Note the violin (1) tracking the vocalist (2) engaged in call-response and (3) performing breaks. The violin is mixed at a distinctly lower volume than the vocal and usually plays when the vocals pause. It is important to educate the vocalist and others to provide some "white space" to enable the violin an opportunity to put some sweet notes into - this only makes the vocalist sound good, but it doesn't work if the vocal and the instrument are competing for the listeners' attention. Note that this performance uses and almost violinistic style of quarter notes and half notes rather than fast shappy fiddle style.

OCMS[edit]

John Prine & Old Crow Medicine Show performed Angel From Montgomery at Bonnaroo in 2010.

Wagon Wheel[edit]

Mumford and Sons w/ Old Crow Medicine Show also at Bonnaroo in 2010, perform Wagon Wheel with ample opportunity for the fiddler to show off. Unfortunately, he played into the mike and the sound quality was not what it could be. At 3:32 the fiddle can barely be heard - a good lesson in why an investment in a wireless pickup may be a good idea. If the sound engineer isn't provided with a good signal, he won't be able to do much to help the sound. This probably wouldn't have happened except they probably ended up combining two bands on the spur of the moment, and so everybody had a good time. At 5:20 the fiddle comes in at a higher volume and provides a good example of how to blend.

Paradise[edit]

John Prine, who wrote the song, is joined by OCMS, who opened at Cary North Carolina in a spring 2008 show. The tempo drags a bit, but that helps us to observe the interaction between these experts, who are entitled to play at any tempo they damn please. At 2:20 we observe the familiar engineering difficulty in that the violin is somewhat lost in the mix. This just goes to show that taping a live show is a highly refined art, and when expensive experts and equipment are deployed to produce CD quality HD video, the world had best sit up and take notice. Generally, the more musicians, the more difficult it is to get the mix perfect, and what is perfect for the live audience does not necessarily work for the video track. Note also that when creating a video for Youtube, few spend the money required to polish and mix down to perfection. The essential feature of this fiddle accompaniment is that it is highly unobtrusive and keeps the focus on the singer songwriter.

You can hear the same tune with better high end audi and with the addition of Kris Kristopherson at the by now familiar 2010 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.