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Dec 20, 2020 - 12:51:40 PM
4303 posts since 6/23/2007

Will any "Old Time" fiddler aware of where I could obtain scordatura versions for commonly played tunes let me know where I can obtain it. BTW I am not looking for free material.

Dec 20, 2020 - 4:04:33 PM

1904 posts since 12/11/2008

I've never come across or even searched for written transcriptions. Why not try one of David Bragger's videos? I took years of face-to-face lessons from him. He's the person who taught me probably every scordatura/cross tune I know.

Edited by - Lonesome Fiddler on 12/20/2020 16:05:00

Dec 20, 2020 - 4:35:11 PM
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2303 posts since 8/23/2008

'The Fiddle Book' by Marion Thede has a few cross tuned versions.

Dec 21, 2020 - 5:05:41 AM

72 posts since 9/4/2007

Jody Stecher has a great column in Fiddler Magazine. For years the column was on cross-tuning with great transcriptions. You can probably find back copies on the Fiddler Magazine website. I was not a subscriber in the early years of that column and often wish he would put out a book with all those columns and transcriptions. A hard-copy, or even an online version, of those would be well worth the money for anyone interested in cross-tuning.

Also, don't forget to look at the Millner-Koken collection. There are many cross-tuned transcriptions in there.

Dec 23, 2020 - 5:33:57 AM

514 posts since 9/1/2010

A lot of transcriptions here.  The list are separated by key so you can find quite a few in the A tunes.  The tuning will be written at the top left of the transcription.

 

Tater Joes Old-Time Fiddle

Dec 23, 2020 - 6:49:39 AM

Snafu

USA

111 posts since 2/2/2014

I own the Millner-Koken collection and am always confused when I see a tune with an alternate tuning noted in the beginning. Does that mean tune it like indicated but play it fingering wise like it was in “standard” GDAE tuning and it will sound right? Said another way: Is it ok to play tunes indicated to be in nonstandard tunings assuming that they are written in standard. That is say an A note in the written notation means play an A note and not some other note shifted to the A note position by using the alternate tuning requested. I’m not sure if this makes sense, let me know and I’ll give it another try.

Dec 23, 2020 - 8:55:34 AM
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Players Union Member

carlb

USA

2372 posts since 2/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Snafu

I own the Millner-Koken collection and am always confused when I see a tune with an alternate tuning noted in the beginning. Does that mean tune it like indicated but play it fingering wise like it was in “standard” GDAE tuning and it will sound right?.


No, notes are how they'd sound on any instrument irregardless of the fiddle tuning that's indicated.

Dec 24, 2020 - 9:35:53 AM
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18 posts since 7/18/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Dick Hauser

Will any "Old Time" fiddler aware of where I could obtain scordatura versions for commonly played tunes let me know where I can obtain it. BTW I am not looking for free material.


There is an excellent Mel Bay booklet by Bill Shull called "Cross-Tuning Your Fiddle" that contains around 30 well known old-time tunes in several cross tunings such as "saw mill" -- i.e. AEAE, GDGD, etc., as well as AEAC#, DDAD, and several others. 

Many of the tunes are Missouri old-time examples (Bill Shull is a Missouri fiddler) but most are known around the country.  The booklet also explains cross tuning in a general introduction (including how to read and correctly finger cross tuned scores). Recorded versions of most of the tunes are available on the Mel Bay website when you purchase the booklet.  It is well worth buying IMO if cross tuning is of interest.

Dec 24, 2020 - 11:55:13 AM

Snafu

USA

111 posts since 2/2/2014

Not meaning to be difficult, just confused even more. I thought I understood the whole cross tuning topic based on Carl’s succinct and clear reply.

I was at this place of understanding: the notes are the notes regardless of the tuning used and if one wants to alter the tuning on their fiddle to somehow make it easier to play, then go ahead. Now I see books with transcriptions especially written for cross tuning. Why? What’s different between a tune noted for regular tuning and one written for a specific tuning?

Dec 25, 2020 - 9:42:38 AM
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5501 posts since 9/26/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Snafu

Not meaning to be difficult, just confused even more. I thought I understood the whole cross tuning topic based on Carl’s succinct and clear reply.

I was at this place of understanding: the notes are the notes regardless of the tuning used and if one wants to alter the tuning on their fiddle to somehow make it easier to play, then go ahead. Now I see books with transcriptions especially written for cross tuning. Why? What’s different between a tune noted for regular tuning and one written for a specific tuning?


These books notated in "scordatura" are written for people who only read notes, classical players really, and they do not show the sounded note (pitch) but some abomination that equates the fingering of standard tuning.

Seems incredibly unnecessary if one would just spend as much as a few minutes running a scale (the scale of the running) and pay attention to where the notes actually lie on the strings. 

Your understanding was and is correct. A note is a note is the note in the vast majority of transcriptions. 

Dec 26, 2020 - 9:30:03 PM

18 posts since 7/18/2020

It should go without saying that books of written musical notation assume that the reader can read musical notation. In writing a cross tuned piece the notes that sound will be different from the usual notation. Here is what Bill Shull wrote in his cross tuned book mentioned above:

"There are two basic approaches to notating pieces for a cross tuned fiddle. The first is best termed as "sounds-like" method, the notes appearing in the score are those that are actually sounded as the tune is played. This method is handy for those interpreting the score visually and for players of instruments other than the fiddle.

"The second approach is aptly termed "finger-placement." In this method, the score reflects where the fiddler should place his fingers, NOT the actual pitch being produced by the instrument. When this method is used it is absolutely essential for the score to indicate the required pitch of each string.

"I, like most transcribers, have chosen the latter practice. Most note readers have their hands and minds set to finger placement rather than pitch, at least when playing in first position, and trying to translate "backwards" from sound indication to fingering is very awkward. Note that Thede in her 1967 classic, The Fiddle Book, undertook to provide both a "sound-like" and a "finger-placement" transcription for the discorded tunes. As you seek out further transcriptions .... be aware that at least a few transcribers have inadvertently combined the two methods, creating an unplayable score.

In short, the tunes as written in most editions are the notes to be played (i.e. where you place your finger) As IF the fiddle were tuned normally (G,D, A, E). For this to work, as Shull noted, it is essential the tuning of each string be noted at the start of the tune. So in Blk. Mt, Rag for instance, the fiddle strings are tuned, A, E, A, C# but the instrument is played with the same finger placement as if were tuned normally. This is as simple as it can be made.

Edited by - Evermore on 12/26/2020 21:32:44

Dec 27, 2020 - 7:03:45 AM
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DougD

USA

10334 posts since 12/2/2007

Bill Shull may know more than I about this (since he's actually published transcriptions), but in my experience most transcribers, from Scott Skinner to the M-K Collection have chosen the "sounds like" approach, with Marion Thede being one notable exception. I think this can quickly be used by someone in a different tuning, just by learning where the notes are on their instrument. Think about it - you might easily play those tunes on a guitar or tenor banjo, and they're certainly not tuned like a violin (or even a piano, flute or clarinet). You just need to learn the layout of your instrument, which is basic.
However, the "finger placement" approach is what Dick Hauser was asking about in his initial post. The fact that he asks this question periodically, even thugh he has a lot of music books, suggests to me that its not a very common approach.

Edited by - DougD on 12/27/2020 07:05:58

Dec 27, 2020 - 7:36:01 AM
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DougD

USA

10334 posts since 12/2/2007

Jeff Todd Titon's book "Old Time Kentucky Fiddle Tunes" is another one that uses the "sounds like" method.

Dec 28, 2020 - 5:39:41 AM

31 posts since 6/12/2015

Pete Cooper's American Old Time Fiddle Tunes book has some "finger placement" arrangements for the cross tuned pieces.

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