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Outdoor faddling

Posted by FiddlerFaddler on Tuesday, July 29, 2008

No, that's not a typo.  If my violin is a fiddle, then my viola is my faddle.

Anyway, last Sunday afternoon played fiddle tunes and hymns on my faddle at the church picnic - it sounded good outdoors!  Wrong key and all, the fiddle tunes sounded great.  I could hardly believe that I remembered all of Big Scioty, but I did.

For grins I tried playing some of the fiddle tunes in the original octave, but oy vey, I was in need of finding a woodshed to practice them, so I quickly gave up and relished playing everything a fifth low.

There was a rascal present who had grown up at a Church of the Brethren congregation, and he was reminiscing about some hymns, and one title he rattled off was Be Thou My Vision.  I remember that in many hymnals it is in the key of E-flat, so that is the key I noodled it.  I was surprised at how easy it was to do it in double stops (mostly sixths).  I reckon that I'll have to burnish that one for an instrumental during an offering.

6 comments on “Outdoor faddling”

bsed55 Says:
Friday, August 1, 2008 @8:53:13 PM

Michael, when you say you played double stops in Eb, you're not talking drones. You're fingering 2 notes of a 3 note chord. Right? I don't think I could ever do that in a key like that. That's something that takes a talent I'll never have.

FiddlerFaddler Says:
Sunday, August 3, 2008 @8:10:50 PM

Hi Bruce.  You are right, I am not talking about drones.  Yes, fingering two notes of a chord, however, at least two pairs of notes featured one open string: index to play an E-flat with an open G string, and the index again to play a B-flat with an open D string.  All others were as follows (finger/note), with the second note on the preceding string: 2/F + 1/A-flat; 3/G + 2/B-flat; 4/A-flat + 3/C; B-flat already mentioned; 2/C + 1/E-flat; 3/D + 2/F; 4/E-flat + 3/G.

A key like E-flat?  On the faddle it's fingered like B-flat on the fiddle.  When you go from the fiddle to the faddle you lose a sharp (or add a flat), so it's easier, however, E-flat double stops as above are easier on the fiddle because the finger stretch is easier - you just shift down one string.  Don't sell yourself short.  Try going up a scale like that - it's a great double-stop exercise.

fiddlepogo Says:
Wednesday, October 15, 2008 @1:47:11 PM

Michael- I see you've become a cartoon character! ;^D
(referring to your avatar change!)

graham Says:
Saturday, October 18, 2008 @9:28:04 AM

Hi Michael,
'Be Thou my Vision' is a great piece of Irish origin, I think. I play it in D and use some simple drones and 3rds. It certainly has the melodic texture of an Irish air and when played with that in mind it provides some interesting imagery while retaining the religious overtones. I must try it in Eb.

Humbled by this instrument Says:
Saturday, December 20, 2008 @1:33:40 PM

I sometimes play in Eb, though never on purpose. And sixths? Uhm, I've had a six pack. And if you're going to keep calling your viola a faddle, well then by Gosh I'm gonna call my guitar mandolin a fandolin.... I'll keep working on it.

FiddlerFaddler Says:
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @1:37:22 PM

You know, Humbled, in the 19th century somebody made a viol-like instrument tuned exactly a guitar, and entire concertos were written for it. To save my life, I cannot remember its name. Maybe you are on to something: how about a 6-string fiddle tuned an octave higher than the fiddle? There are electric instruments like that (e.g., by Viper, I think) whose tuning I am unsure of, but since I am an acoustic music snob, I would only be interested in a non-electric version, and if tuned in 5ths, I don't see a need for 6 strings.

As for a fandolin, I like the name, but I don't think it will catch on. As for faddle, it's an actual word in English used in the phrase, fiddle faddle, and there is even a snack of that name Fiddle-faddle (caramel popcorn). Foddle and foedle are my inventions, imitative of fiddle. Fee, fie, FOE, fum, I hear the fiddle of an English mum!

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