Violin Online String Class: Non-Traditional Violin Music

AMERICAN FIDDLE MEDLEY

SECTION 6.11
American Fiddle Medley
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American Fiddle Medley (simplified)
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This American fiddle medley is a brief arrangement of three traditional, old-time fiddle pieces: Bile Them Cabbage Down, Devil's Dream, and the Shuffle. These pieces are commonly found in old-time American fiddle music collections. Bile Them Cabbage Down (also known as Boil them Cabbage Down), a reel, has been traced to an English country dance called Smiling Polly (a 1765 version is one of the earliest extant copies). [135] Devil's Dream, another reel, originated in Scotland, and an early version appeared in 1790 under the title: The Devil Among the Taylors (The Devil Among the Taylors or Tailors is still used as the title for this piece in the British Isles). [136] The final section called Shuffle, is a simplified version of the double shuffle, a bowing pattern frequently used in fiddle music. The shuffle bowing pattern uses the rhythm long-short-short, and is notated as follows:

shuffle
Shuffle Bowing Pattern

The double shuffle is a 16-note bowing pattern, and uses two or more strings. Notice how in the example below, every third note uses a string crossing to reach to a different note in the following manner: d-d-A-d-d-A-d-d-A-d-d-A-d-d-A-d (the pattern is then repeated).This results in a syncopated feel to the rhythm (syncopation means to shift the musical accent from a strong beat to a weak one).

double shuffle
Double Shuffle Bowing Pattern

Double stops are frequently used in the shuffle bowing pattern, as in the following double shuffle excerpt from Orange Blossom Special.

orange blossom special
Orange Blossom Special Double Shuffle Bowing

Double stops are commonly used in fiddle music, and are found in this piece. If this arrangement is too difficult for you, play the simplified version of this fiddle medley (without double stops). The term double stop simply mean a chord of two notes is played at the same time, and to do this, evenly place your bow on the two required strings as you pull your bow.

This fiddle medley begins with an excerpt from Bile Them Cabbage Down. It features the shuffle bow stroke. Another fiddle technique you may want to try adding are slides. A sample slide is notated in the last measure of the piece, and is written the way it should sound (slide your finger from a low C natural to a C#). For fun, you may want to add more slides. For example, in Bile Them Cabbage Down, you could add a slide on the first beat of measures 1, 2, 3 and 5, 6 and 7. During the section of the medley featuring Devil's Dream, play the fast sixteenth notes separately in the upper third of your bow. The final Shuffle section of the piece uses a simplified version of a double shuffle bowing stroke.


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