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Dec 11, 2020 - 1:20:12 AM
1 posts since 12/11/2020

Well Hello fellow Fiddlers!

I'm just starting out playing the Fiddle but I've been into Old Time Music and Bluegrass for quite a long time (I Play the Banjo both OT and Bluegrass, Guitar, Mandolin, Harmonica and a little Mountain Dulcimer).
I'm normally not that much into Irish Folk but there's this band called Lankum (former Lynched) that I listen to a LOT. They've made a beautiful version of "Down in the Willow Garden" with mostly Solo fiddle and singing (plus Harmonium in the second half of the song) you can watch it on Youtube (since this is my first post here, I'm not allowed to share the link yet, but you can find it on Youtube if you search for "Lynched willow garden")
It's an Appalachian murder ballet that is also known by the name "Rose Connelly" and has its origins in irish folk music.

I'd love to learn it the way Lankum play this tune but the tuning seems very unusual. it seems to be in the key of C with the lowest string tuned all the way down to C (he doesn't play a 5-string fiddle). Can anyone figure out this tuning? And is it possible to tune down the fiddle so low with standard strings or is he probably using thicker strings?

Cheers
Manuel

Dec 11, 2020 - 3:13:22 AM

RichJ

USA

413 posts since 8/6/2013

Great sound, and unusual (to me) to hear the fiddle used mostly as a drone against voice harmony. Not sure what the gal is playing, but reminds me of an Indian shruti box. Daryl Anger is big on using drones to develop harmony and has a great website to practice with.

https://darolanger1.bandcamp.com/album/darols-drones-in-all-keys

Dec 11, 2020 - 4:59:45 AM
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11705 posts since 9/23/2009

Is this the version you're talking about? youtu.be/Jz3LQ34q6Gc
I didn't know you couldn't link something if you were new to Fiddle Hangout. Anyway, in that version, sounds possible he is playing out of "dead man's tuning," which he has tuned up to C. In other words, instead of DDAD, he might be tuned CCGC. I'm not certain about that, still on the first cup of coffee here, but I would try it that way if I was trying. Sounds beautiful how they are doing it there.

Rich, is that link you shared just the drones only? I clicked on a sample and just got one tone going.

Dec 11, 2020 - 5:07:45 AM
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RichJ

USA

413 posts since 8/6/2013

HI Peggy - The Daryl's Done site should have drones for 12 keys. I think each one plays a continuous drone for 6 minutes. Lots of opportunity to explore different harmonies, but suggest you do this when no one else is home listening.

Dec 11, 2020 - 6:22:41 AM

RichJ

USA

413 posts since 8/6/2013

The more I listen to this the more I'm convinced the magic in this tune comes from vocal harmony. I think the fiddle is in standard and just droning along on G and D strings. Try playing it against a C drone on Darol's website and you can get a pretty good feel for the tune. Those vocal Celtic rolls are an entirely different matter.

Dec 11, 2020 - 7:28:47 AM

DougD

USA

9976 posts since 12/2/2007

I'm with Peggy. You are correct thats its in C and there's a low string on the fiddle. The most common tuning like this is DDAD (or variants) sometimes used for "Bonaparte's Retreat" an "Midnight on the Water." So CCGC seems likeky, or maybe CCGD.

Dec 11, 2020 - 8:22:56 AM

11705 posts since 9/23/2009

Lol...you could definitely drive a spouse or whole family out messin' with drones for 6 minutes each. Kinda like making horseradish...when we first got a food processor, I tried making horseradish in it and drove out our daughter and her friend, our dog, and Mike...plus myself...we all high-tailed it out like tear gas. I still do prefer making it with the processor, but we run and extension cord these days and put that thing outside. Yeah, horseradish is a lot like drones. Good, yet fumy.

I think the vocals are just great on that Willow Garden. And I have to agree with Doug on agreeing with me...lol.

Dec 11, 2020 - 9:34:53 AM
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RichJ

USA

413 posts since 8/6/2013

Yeah, yeah, well you guys know a lot more about music than a retired horse doc so go ahead, keep agreeing with each other while I go off in the corner somewhere as my fiddle gently weeps.

PS: Also remember my first attempt at making horseradish indoors... getting spayed with Mace can be no worse than what happened when I took the lid of the blender.

Dec 11, 2020 - 10:57:30 AM

11705 posts since 9/23/2009

lol...Aw gee, if I had a horse I'm sure he'd agree with you right now, no matter what! But if your fiddle weeps, it's doing the right thing. My fiddles cry and whine when they are behaving right...when they start screeching, I know it's a bad day.

Horse doctors are nice guys, but that horseRADISH...wheeeeee, that still'll could kill a person. We haven't made it yet this year because of the whole arm adventure...didn't want Mike to have to do it all ... but the weather is so mild I'm tempted to go and try to dig some up and see if I can chase all the horses and everybody outta here later on today.

Dec 11, 2020 - 1:33 PM

18 posts since 7/18/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Banjer

Well Hello fellow Fiddlers!

I'd love to learn it the way Lankum play this tune but the tuning seems very unusual. it seems to be in the key of C with the lowest string tuned all the way down to C (he doesn't play a 5-string fiddle). Can anyone figure out this tuning? And is it possible to tune down the fiddle so low with standard strings or is he probably using thicker strings?

Cheers
Manuel


Could he be using a viola?? The normal tuning for viola is C,G, D,A. This tuning can be used on violin also, or even better, a small viola. The advantage is it keeps the tuning in 5ths.

Edited by - Evermore on 12/11/2020 13:34:16

Dec 12, 2020 - 7:39:09 AM

DougD

USA

9976 posts since 12/2/2007

That's possible, Evermore, but it looks like a violin to me, although as you said a small viola could be tuned like that.
However, that low string sounds like an "outlier" to me, rather than part of any "tuned in fifths" scheme.

Dec 12, 2020 - 9:21:56 AM

11705 posts since 9/23/2009

Again, I have to agree with Doug on that assessment. That's two agreeing, two positives, which equals one negative...which means...what? Seriously...doesn't look like a viola or sound like viola in standard tuning...sounds very, very crosstuned to my ear...to my other ear too.

Dec 12, 2020 - 3:59:21 PM

Jimbeaux

Germany

374 posts since 5/24/2016

Don't want to discourage you learning from that version, but I'd encourage you to first learn from an older source. Grayson and Whitter's is great but my favorite fiddle version, unfortunately without vocals, comes from Uncle Charlie Higgins.

Dec 12, 2020 - 4:27:22 PM

DougD

USA

9976 posts since 12/2/2007

Grayson and Whitter (which might have been the first recording of this song?) really is great, and its amazing that Henry Whitter could play completely unexpected (to me) chords and still have it work.
I learned it from Wade Mainer's recording, because it was on an LP we had: youtu.be/kPHwV8sC2HA
I've sung that enough times that I'm not too interested in any version for now, but thanks for the introduction to Lankum.

Dec 12, 2020 - 5:14:41 PM

11705 posts since 9/23/2009

I think I first heard people playing it on the banjo, and I completely agree with myself on that. I always did like it, but here recently with everybody angrily open carrying their banjos and such, kinda gettin' tired of the bloody violins in the old murder ballads lyrics...although the music itself is absolutely beautiful. The words didn't used to disturb me so much until I just look out the door and watch the neighbors shooting at each other...lol...some of them are in jail now...not all...maybe one day I'll feel comfortable singing my heart out about murder again.

Dec 12, 2020 - 11:38:29 PM
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Jimbeaux

Germany

374 posts since 5/24/2016

quote:
Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

I think I first heard people playing it on the banjo, and I completely agree with myself on that. I always did like it, but here recently with everybody angrily open carrying their banjos and such, kinda gettin' tired of the bloody violins in the old murder ballads lyrics...although the music itself is absolutely beautiful. The words didn't used to disturb me so much until I just look out the door and watch the neighbors shooting at each other...lol...some of them are in jail now...not all...maybe one day I'll feel comfortable singing my heart out about murder again.


My daughter really liked the song for a while and want it as a bedtime lullaby. Melody wise it is great for that purpose but once she started understanding the lyrics, I rewrote it into a courting ballad. Every now and then I'll mixed up the two versions and it can come out pretty funny.

Dec 13, 2020 - 4:17:08 AM

11705 posts since 9/23/2009

Interesting. I had the same thing with my daughter wanting me to sing The Banks of the Ohio to her as a bedtime song. I wish I woulda thought of making up new lyrics, but the murderous lyrics she went to sleep by didn't seem to make her grow up too crazy or anything...lol...I did sorta worry about that, but it was the song she wanted me to sit beside her bed and sing to her, just about every night for several years. Of course fairy tales are pretty twisted too.

Dec 13, 2020 - 8:26:31 AM
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11705 posts since 9/23/2009

I guess my big issue is I actually prefer old whiney slow ballads to energetic fiddle tunes...I love to play a whiney fiddle...so...what's that leave you, but...murder...lol?

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