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Nov 28, 2020 - 9:16:28 PM
311 posts since 6/11/2019

I am a classically-trained pianist (doesn't mean I'm good, just that Mom was), but not violinist/fiddler. I appreciate and interpret the various classical periods, but, as far as violin/fiddle, I'm country as heck--I don't care to play above 3rd position or sight-read 5-leger-line notation. I prefer to keep a tune in a 2-octave gate.

So, my question is, what 'light' (ie, less technical) classical pieces would you recommend for solo fiddle? An example I've been working on is Bach Cello Suite No. 1 (transposed for violin to key of Dmaj)--used a lot for TV shows, etc. Good exercise for string crossings. Also, his "Air on the G String."  I like the Oshoken Farewells and all that but wonder what classical passages you like that elicit a "Freebird!" response (for lack of a better explanation). Melodies that cause one to weep are a plus.

Edited by - Flat_the_3rd_n7th on 11/28/2020 21:28:04

Nov 28, 2020 - 11:33:46 PM
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1742 posts since 12/11/2008

I'm not averse to sacrilegiously transposing my favorite classical tunes into easy keys like D or G, and it's enabled me to play a whole passel of 'em. I do the final movements of several Bach Brandenburg Concertos. I do the first of Bach's Well Tempered Klaviers, transposing it from C to D. I do several Bartok tunes (man, do I love that composer!). Tunes from Beethoven Symphonies and Piano Concertos. A couple of tunes from the opera Carmen. Some Borodin and Benjamin Britten. A few Dvorak tunes. Les Chemins de L'Amour by Francis Poulenc. Lots of Mahler & Mozart melodies. Puccini. Henry Purcell. Tchaikovsky. Vaughn-Williams.

It's amazing how easily many of them fall under the fingers in first position. It's one of my favorite pastimes.

Nov 29, 2020 - 6:34:17 AM
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2204 posts since 10/22/2007
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I reccomend a methodist church hymnal. Hymns are sorta classical light. Typically filled with recognizable melodies. Not saying they are all in convienient keys. But often with me, if it's recongnizable, it's more easily transposed.

Nov 29, 2020 - 8:55:18 AM
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Hector

UK

23 posts since 11/1/2018

Handel's Arrival of the Queen of Sheba can be "rhythmed-up" a bit and provides a good workout. I think a shortened version transposed from B flat down to D is available somewhere on the internet. There are least two great recordings of this tune by folk musicians:- one on the hurdy-gurdy and the other on the Irish pipes!

Nov 29, 2020 - 8:59:57 AM
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11705 posts since 9/23/2009

Is there an official definition of classical music? The reason I ask is if you follow old time tunes back in history, a lot of them either are the same, spawned from, or are similar to very old Renaissance songs or tunes. In that sense, the sense I see it, Old Time music is actually classical music...and can be approached as that...although I will be the first to agree it's also folk music, in the sense that it's easy enough for the common man to play without any training or a ton of practice, plus has common people musical elements incorporated in there, etc. Well but anyway, when I play Old Time, it feels classical to me and my simple playing...lol. Probably skewing the topic too much...I know it's not Bach.

Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 11/29/2020 09:01:30

Nov 29, 2020 - 9:01:22 AM

Hector

UK

23 posts since 11/1/2018

My mistake. The version I've seen is in G.

Nov 29, 2020 - 11:27:02 AM
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311 posts since 3/1/2020

Some popular light classical pieces:

Salut d’Amour—Elgar
Ave Maria—Schubert
Czardas—Monti
Souvenir—Drdla
*Variations on Yankee Doodle—Vieuxtemps
Liebesleid or Liebesfreud or The Old Refrain—Kreisler
Träumerei—Schumann
Humoresque—Dvorak
Melody in F or Romance—Rubinstein
Serenade—Drigo
Élégie—Massenet
Berceuse from “Jocelyn”—Godard
Hungarian Dances—Brahms
Spring Song—Mendelssohn

This list is by no means exhaustive. These are just a few that came to mind right away. Most of them are not too challenging technically, but they’re all excellent pieces.

*This one has been a crowd pleaser ever since it was written, and there’s quite a story to go with it.

Nov 29, 2020 - 12:12:44 PM
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2204 posts since 10/22/2007
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Indeed, Ode to Joy, is a "gimme" tune. But it's almost what's challenging about it. To play it nice and pure, with no mustard.

Another i play is Jesu's Joy of Man's Desiring, by Bach. Not as easy. But it really messes with people when they see a Sasquatch with a fiddle playing that tune. Makes me sound like a violinist, to which i am not.

Nov 29, 2020 - 1:31:05 PM

311 posts since 6/11/2019

I like all these, thanks! Gives me a bunch of homework. Keep em coming...going to cut and paste or print screen this list somehow.

Nov 29, 2020 - 3:02:41 PM
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Fiddler

USA

4138 posts since 6/22/2007

You could also add:
* The Moldau - Smetana
* The Waves of the Danube Waltz - Josef Ivanovici
(The most famous of Romanian melodies. The main theme was used for "The Anniversary Song" sung by Al Jolson)
* Goin' Home - Dvorak
(The nostalgic melody of the 2nd Movement of his 9th Symphony - New World)
*Hirtengesang. Frohe und dankbare Gefühle nach dem Sturm - Beethoven
(Shepherd's Song: Cheerful and thankful feelings after the storm)
(The theme from the 5th Movement - Allegretto - of his 6th Symphony)
* Simple Gifts
(Copeland quoted this melody for the ballet Appalachian Spring.
* Bonapart's Retreat - W. H. Stepp
(Copeland quotes this melody in the ballet "Rodeo" almost exactly as transcribed by Ruth Crawford Seeger)
* Bizet - "March of the Toreadors" from the opera Carmen
* Babes in Toyland - from Victor Herbert's operetta
* Sobre las Olas - Juventino Rosas
(This waltz was long thought to have been composed by Johann Strauss, but it was not. It was composed by Mexican violinist, Juventino Rosas, and published in 1888. It become one of the most famous melodies in the world. Rosas was essentially self-taught and earned his acceptance into the Conservatory where he honed his skill. His life, though, was quite difficult and tragic. He died in Cuba at the age of 26 while traveling with an orchestra.
* Ombra mai fu (Largo from Xerxes) - Handel
(Not exactly a violin piece - it's usually played on organ. This is often in Methodist hymnals.

Nov 29, 2020 - 5:15:32 PM
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1742 posts since 12/11/2008

Peggy -- this is just me posting off the top of my head, but a workable...though fraught with holes...definition of classical music might be:

A music that owes its style to a particular European tradition where the music is

1) Largely composed by a single writer.

2) Written down note for note and meant to be played as closely to what is written as reasonably possible.

3) Meant to be sung or performed on the musical instruments (or groups of instruments) the writer specifies.

Inevitably, because the style comes from Europe, it largely uses instruments, scales and vocal styles that evolved and developed in Europe. And because it is written down, it is possible for massive forces of musicians and singers to join together. What this does is allow the noise that's created to be considerably more than 'just noise.' When it all comes together the noise can be a compelling emotional force.

In any case, yeah, I got to admit I'm a complete sucker for it.

Nov 29, 2020 - 6:35:59 PM

11705 posts since 9/23/2009

Good definitions. Wondering if there could sometimes be some evolution involved?
I'm thinking some of the old ballads were spawned from old renaissance songs in Europe, came over here, had a mixture of other cultures thrown in, and ended up as American folk songs. When Jean Ritchie was in Ireland singing Appalachian ballads she grew up with in Kentucky, the Irish audience knew many of them, insisting those were actually Irish ballads, not Kentucky ballads.
Maiden's Prayer was once a classical tune, wasn't it? Maybe sorta. And then became an Asian garbage truck tune...well maybe sorta youtu.be/T5cqjz6k2cY and then became, what...Bluegrass or country or something...lol...wonder how many can be traced back to similar origins? Wonder if classical is something like the hippo who gave up his feet to become the whale...no longer recognizable as such? I mean, maybe, sorta. I don't know.

Nov 29, 2020 - 7:40:29 PM

311 posts since 6/11/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler

Peggy -- this is just me posting off the top of my head, but a workable...though fraught with holes...definition of classical music might be:

A music that owes its style to a particular European tradition where the music is

1) Largely composed by a single writer.

2) Written down note for note and meant to be played as closely to what is written as reasonably possible.

3) Meant to be sung or performed on the musical instruments (or groups of instruments) the writer specifies.

Inevitably, because the style comes from Europe, it largely uses instruments, scales and vocal styles that evolved and developed in Europe. And because it is written down, it is possible for massive forces of musicians and singers to join together. What this does is allow the noise that's created to be considerably more than 'just noise.' When it all comes together the noise can be a compelling emotional force.

In any case, yeah, I got to admit I'm a complete sucker for it.


This here...

Do you teach music appreciation?

Classical is supposed to be performed exactly as written, with a little wiggle-room for tempo and expression, but even that is specified, ie, Adagio sostenuto, or Grave.  I don't see anything wrong with that--even Kentucky Bourbon has a strict definition.

Also, Baroque period (1600s-late 1700s) music closely linked to the church--compositions written just for a church service, commissioned by a royal...the church was a big influence on early 'classical.'  Culture the bigger influence on folk music, which you won't find written down in a manuscript.  Just a different tradition.  And, I like just about all of them.  Violin/fiddle is a unique instrument in that it spans all kinds of music traditions.  Isn't it great??

Nov 29, 2020 - 8:11:36 PM

25 posts since 11/20/2020

Handel’s Violin sonatas in D and F mostly stay 3rd position or below. The A sonata is OK but takes you into 6th position in one passage. Haven’t tackled the rest yet. Haydn’s Serenade is also a good one that I’ve played, and it’s easier than the Handel pieces. PAchelbel’s Canon is also obtainable for a fiddler.

Nov 29, 2020 - 8:14:58 PM
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Fiddler

USA

4138 posts since 6/22/2007

Oh, I forgot one very famous piece:


Tekla B?darzewska-Baranowska's "Modlitwa dziewicy" Op.4 - published in Warsaw in 1856. It's been hailed as "sentimental salon tosh" to "the dowdy product of ineptitude." Bob Wills likely heard this melody played when he was a barber in New Mexico and then quoted this work in one of his compositions.  Yes, that's it - Maiden's Prayer."

Here's pianist Lang Lang playing the piece that caught WIlls' ear.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTww0x2dHt0

Nov 29, 2020 - 8:44:19 PM
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Fiddler

USA

4138 posts since 6/22/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler

Peggy -- this is just me posting off the top of my head, but a workable...though fraught with holes...definition of classical music might be:

A music that owes its style to a particular European tradition where the music is

1) Largely composed by a single writer.

2) Written down note for note and meant to be played as closely to what is written as reasonably possible.

3) Meant to be sung or performed on the musical instruments (or groups of instruments) the writer specifies.

Inevitably, because the style comes from Europe, it largely uses instruments, scales and vocal styles that evolved and developed in Europe. And because it is written down, it is possible for massive forces of musicians and singers to join together. What this does is allow the noise that's created to be considerably more than 'just noise.' When it all comes together the noise can be a compelling emotional force.

In any case, yeah, I got to admit I'm a complete sucker for it.


Ed, this is a good workable definition. I know classical musicologists would shudder at the generalities, but for our purposes, it is fine. (I spent 11 years "at the bench" as a kid skillfully avoiding my mother's insistence that I was the heir-aparent to Van Cliburn. If I had only spent that time practicing!) As others have pointed out, the music has one identified composer (usually), has composer-defined tempos and expressions that are to be precisely reproduced,  and many times, it has a strong connection to royalty, wealthy or the Church (composers had to make a living!). 

A bit more specifically, classical music is a broad brush category for any formally composed and performed European music. However, it also is an era that lies between the Baroque era and the Romantic era during which it became a common practice of composing works for ensembles and performing those works. This required a common language of notation and instructions for the musicians, and also standardized techniques for playing various instruments in order to achieve the sound envisioned by the composer.

I am a huge fan of classical music and gladly spend a good portion of my discretionary funds supporting the musicians, ensembles and orchestras. It moves me in ways that no other music can.

Nov 30, 2020 - 5:33:37 AM
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7 posts since 9/22/2013

I'm a self-taught fiddler and have been playing for over thirty years. I also love J.S. Bach's music. I've transcribed two of my favorite keyboard pieces into "fiddle-friendly" keys: the Bouree from a lute suite (popularized by Jethro Tull years ago), and the final Gigue movement from an early suite in F minor. These pieces, as well as being perfectly-constructed, are also good bowing exercises. Here are a pair of PDFs.


Nov 30, 2020 - 5:58:10 AM

Earworm

USA

170 posts since 1/30/2018

quote:
Originally posted by farmerjones

I reccomend a methodist church hymnal. Hymns are sorta classical light. Typically filled with recognizable melodies. Not saying they are all in convienient keys. But often with me, if it's recongnizable, it's more easily transposed.


I understand that many of the United Methodist hymns (the old ones, anyway) were tunes that were really co-opted by John Wesley from old drinking songs.

Nov 30, 2020 - 7:57:26 AM
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Fiddler

USA

4138 posts since 6/22/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Earworm
quote:
Originally posted by farmerjones

I reccomend a methodist church hymnal. Hymns are sorta classical light. Typically filled with recognizable melodies. Not saying they are all in convienient keys. But often with me, if it's recongnizable, it's more easily transposed.


I understand that many of the United Methodist hymns (the old ones, anyway) were tunes that were really co-opted by John Wesley from old drinking songs.


As was our National Anthem. The melody is Anacreon to Heaven - a drinking song, sort of.

Nov 30, 2020 - 10:15:49 AM

2204 posts since 10/22/2007
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by Earworm
quote:
Originally posted by farmerjones

I reccomend a methodist church hymnal. Hymns are sorta classical light. Typically filled with recognizable melodies. Not saying they are all in convienient keys. But often with me, if it's recongnizable, it's more easily transposed.


I understand that many of the United Methodist hymns (the old ones, anyway) were tunes that were really co-opted by John Wesley from old drinking songs.


How should i know? Ima Budist. 

But seriously, everything is derivative. The Classical era composrs were ripping off the Baroque era composers. The Homosapiens were ripping off the Nianderthals. The Good spellers ripping off the Bad spellers. Etc. Etc. 

Nov 30, 2020 - 10:50:15 AM
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3076 posts since 6/21/2007

"classical" music ain't nothin' but old, old, old-time music. (grin)

Nov 30, 2020 - 12:45:02 PM
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11705 posts since 9/23/2009

yes. and if I'm not mistaken, it was Wolfgang Mozart's daddy who messed everything up...writing that doggone treatise he called "Violinschule," and it's entirely possible and probable that I spelled that wrong...anyhow, before he went and wrote all that out, from what I hear tell of, all the violinists were just ol' happy fiddlers who just played anything however, whichever they could manage...you know, sort of anywhichway type stuff...maybe a few Nashville Shufflers among the bunch over there in the old country. So then old man Mozart decides to make a buncha fancy rules for fancy playing, then of course they all got so good, following them rules...music started going out of control to where you had to go to school and spend your life worrying with it just to be able to play it, what the composers started writing. Now, why'd he go and do a thing like that? I'm tellin ya, I do believe that was the evolutionary splitting point between old time and classical...that was when the whale said goodbye to the hippo and went to live in the sea.

Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 11/30/2020 12:47:58

Nov 30, 2020 - 1:35:33 PM
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1742 posts since 12/11/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Fiddler

Oh, I forgot one very famous piece:


Tekla B?darzewska-Baranowska's "Modlitwa dziewicy" Op.4 - published in Warsaw in 1856. It's been hailed as "sentimental salon tosh" to "the dowdy product of ineptitude." Bob Wills likely heard this melody played when he was a barber in New Mexico and then quoted this work in one of his compositions.  Yes, that's it - Maiden's Prayer."

Here's pianist Lang Lang playing the piece that caught WIlls' ear.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTww0x2dHt0


After listening/watching that Lang Lang vid I'm inclined to agree with the "sentimental salon tosh" "dowdy product of ineptitude" crowd.  What a yawner!

Nov 30, 2020 - 2:21:39 PM
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Fiddler

USA

4138 posts since 6/22/2007

quote:
Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

yes. and if I'm not mistaken, it was Wolfgang Mozart's daddy who messed everything up...writing that doggone treatise he called "Violinschule," and it's entirely possible and probable that I spelled that wrong...anyhow, before he went and wrote all that out, from what I hear tell of, all the violinists were just ol' happy fiddlers who just played anything however, whichever they could manage...you know, sort of anywhichway type stuff...maybe a few Nashville Shufflers among the bunch over there in the old country. So then old man Mozart decides to make a buncha fancy rules for fancy playing, then of course they all got so good, following them rules...music started going out of control to where you had to go to school and spend your life worrying with it just to be able to play it, what the composers started writing. Now, why'd he go and do a thing like that? I'm tellin ya, I do believe that was the evolutionary splitting point between old time and classical...that was when the whale said goodbye to the hippo and went to live in the sea.


Yup, ol' Leopold really did a number on us! Standardization -- harrumph!   It was also about this time that Francoise Tourte perfected his bow design which allowed string players to play with stronger dynamics than the predecessor bows of the Baroque design.  It is my understanding that Mozart benefited from this new design, and that Beethoven really took advantage of it. 

Nov 30, 2020 - 2:54:32 PM

11705 posts since 9/23/2009

aggghhhhhh...what were they thinking?????

Nov 30, 2020 - 3:49:20 PM
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Earworm

USA

170 posts since 1/30/2018

There was an evening when I thought I'd just listen to something different - as different from old-time as I could get, so I turned my Pandora on to some opera. When I read more about what I was listening to, the piece was taken from some Romanian folk songs, which, no doubt ripped off and repackaged to suit another taste, style, and culture. And I thought - geez - I'm listening to fiddle music after all. Since then, I have reflected that classical music can often reuse folk themes and tunes with no repercussions, then disdain folk music in general for being illiterate or unschooled. Just my 2 cents.

Edited by - Earworm on 11/30/2020 15:50:54

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