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Nov 9, 2023 - 6:28:08 AM
849 posts since 9/3/2022

Hi Fiddle World.

At age 46, I resisted the dots for this long. My teacher insists that I at least learn and discover the tool of reading so when I get to a part in a tune that I'm trying to get, I can refer to the music "Dots" to figure out the notes. I played my first show in 97 and besides the standard theory, I've learned and taught myself everything by ear/chords/etc. In bluegrass, I've used the number system but never the "Dots" Last night, this all changed.

It completely baffles me to look at a sheet of music. It's like starting over. It's like falling into another country and having no way to communicate. I was pretty persistent, even during last nights lesson that I was not a fan of this method. I get why it's important. Some people read and some don't. ME, I just want to become a fiddler!!

So, I don't think I touched my violin last night besides holding it, waiting to learn Saint Anne's Reel. I did however leave the lesson that went a little over, knowing how to read music. Not the timing, and not a lot of the details on the staff but I can tell you what each note "dots" is. Even the sharps and flats. Now, some of it I can't tell or decide yet which note needs played for said song but I can identify the note. So that's pretty cool. I'm super slow. Like, dumb slow. At first, I may write the note by the dot until I get used to seeing them. I can't admit anything yet but it might be kind of cool.

Wish me luck!

Nov 9, 2023 - 6:52:58 AM
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1356 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Erockin

Hi Fiddle World.

At age 46, I resisted the dots for this long. My teacher insists that I at least learn and discover the tool of reading so when I get to a part in a tune that I'm trying to get, I can refer to the music "Dots" to figure out the notes. I played my first show in 97 and besides the standard theory, I've learned and taught myself everything by ear/chords/etc. In bluegrass, I've used the number system but never the "Dots" Last night, this all changed.

It completely baffles me to look at a sheet of music. It's like starting over. It's like falling into another country and having no way to communicate. I was pretty persistent, even during last nights lesson that I was not a fan of this method. I get why it's important. Some people read and some don't. ME, I just want to become a fiddler!!

So, I don't think I touched my violin last night besides holding it, waiting to learn Saint Anne's Reel. I did however leave the lesson that went a little over, knowing how to read music. Not the timing, and not a lot of the details on the staff but I can tell you what each note "dots" is. Even the sharps and flats. Now, some of it I can't tell or decide yet which note needs played for said song but I can identify the note. So that's pretty cool. I'm super slow. Like, dumb slow. At first, I may write the note by the dot until I get used to seeing them. I can't admit anything yet but it might be kind of cool.

Wish me luck!


Good luck!

It takes a while to develop music reading ability. It can be daunting at first, especially as you're trying to read notes that aren't even on the staff (higher positions), but it does become easier!

Some people find it easier at first to notate everything. You can treat it like a quiz where your job is to correctly identify the name of each note in the line. It's a bit of a cheat, but some early readers also use the open strings as reference points to help recognize notes near them (e.g. if you know where D belongs, you can easily identify the notes around it quickly).  It helps to just spend time drilling yourself on the notes by reading a piece of music without even trying to play it.

In time, you'll start to associate the sound of the notes with their locations on the staff. Eventually, you can hear the music in your head when you look at the page.

Fiddle tunes are great sight reading practice because they're so easy and short. Find a book of tunes and read through it for fun as you start to develop the ability to play back what's on the page.

To really hone your sightreading ability, there's one thing that helps better than anything I've ever found: play in an orchestra. It doesn't have to be a large orchestra or even a very good one, but playing in an ensemble will take your skills to a higher level in short order. I could sight read well enough before playing in my first orchestra, but it opened my eyes when I sat in the first rehearsal.

When you develop the ability, it will become a joy to read new music. Imagine how dull life would be without being able to read!

Nov 9, 2023 - 7:37:03 AM
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1111 posts since 7/30/2021

Yes DOTS!! Yes DOTS!!!

Good luck! :-)

It is just like learning to read…how hard and awkward it first seems, to match a sound to a letter. Now your brain needs to match sounds ( and finger/string) to notes on a staff. But once you get “fluent”, it feels as comfortable and natural as reading and opens new musical possibilities…

Nov 9, 2023 - 7:42:45 AM
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1111 posts since 7/30/2021

And just remember that…

Every Good Boy Does Fine

EGBDF = notes corresponding to the five lines of the staff, going up (I am not telling you to be a good boy, LOL!)

Nov 9, 2023 - 8:38:07 AM

Erockin

USA

849 posts since 9/3/2022

quote:
Originally posted by NCnotes

And just remember that…

Every Good Boy Does Fine

EGBDF = notes corresponding to the five lines of the staff, going up (I am not telling you to be a good boy, LOL!)

 

And those in between ones get FACE

and I know to look at #, b for my sharps and flats. It's all a bit much. His focus was mainly for me to have a tool to figure out how a song goes in parts where I'm stuck. 

For instance, a lot of these tunes I've learned/learning are some times the "simpler" version and after I know how a song goes, I can reference the notes on adding more to them or playing them correct with all the notes. I'm trying to talk myself out of enjoying this. It's all just bad timing too because I'm in the middle of preparing for a huge show Sunday recreating a Grateful Dead show on electric bass. Then, I was just asked to fill in for an incredible band on upright bass in less than 2 weeks playing mostly original music. 

No dots for bass. No way, Jose!

Nov 9, 2023 - 8:59:44 AM
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1111 posts since 7/30/2021

Ooo I never learned FACE…

You sound really busy, that’s exciting!

Nov 9, 2023 - 11:50:17 AM
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2536 posts since 8/27/2008

I read fiddle tunes moderately well these days. I found that I gradually eliminated the translations as I was playing. Just like you stop seeing letter groupings and punctuation when you read text you can find yourself reading note groupings without thinking about much about translating the symbols. It just takes doing it a lot. In some ways I am glad I learned to play instruments by ear first if only because learning sheet music has no soul in itself. In other words starting with symbols and translations only gets you that. But whatever order you learn things reading is very useful.

Nov 9, 2023 - 12:08:59 PM
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2377 posts since 4/6/2014

Yes dots!

Well simple ones anyway, like in O'Neill's etc. I find i can look at a tune in there, and it just comes into my head straight from the page nowadays. Good for those tunes that i just can't remember, Or ones that are a bit tricksey. Sort of half, by ear, and when i need a bit of help there they are on the page....Dots!

Sight reading is a different thing i think.

Nov 9, 2023 - 1:56:50 PM
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11380 posts since 3/19/2009

Learning to play along with sheet music takes TIME.. A couple of things to remember are, 1...you can do this. 2, it only looks hard until you Understand it. 3. You CAN understand this.  4. Countless numbers of us 'dolts' have figured this out and you are NOT a dolt... age doesn't matter.   

Now, start learning to read sheet music.. You can than us later.. or not..laugh

Nov 9, 2023 - 6:58:17 PM
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3267 posts since 10/22/2007

You're blessed you chose the violin/fiddle. Straight forward lines of melody. Like anything, it takes a bit of time. Like any other language, the more one uses it, the better it sticks. (I don't use it nearly enough)
Be glad! Take a glance at a piano book, where one plays a bass line in one hand, and chords, arpeggios, and melody in the other. Yikes!

Nov 10, 2023 - 4:24:20 AM

Erockin

USA

849 posts since 9/3/2022

So, I found this version of St Anne's Reel. I'm going to stare at it for awhile. Is this a pretty standard rendition? I'm ok with any version honestly. But I'd like it to be a common version so I don't don't have someone say "you're not playing that right" hahaha


 

Nov 10, 2023 - 5:35:27 AM
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3267 posts since 10/22/2007

Fiddler's Fakebook has a good version.

Edited by - farmerjones on 11/10/2023 05:35:47

Nov 10, 2023 - 6:21:38 AM
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1111 posts since 7/30/2021

It’s basically ok…
but pretty stripped down…

I am no authority on St Anne’s reel - but I think you would be able to play along harmoniously with a group with this version.

Hmm, In measure 8 I would contemplate playing a c# instead of f#? (that’s just the setting I learned, though..dunno how standard that is)?

Edited by - NCnotes on 11/10/2023 06:22:03

Nov 10, 2023 - 8:48:14 AM

Erockin

USA

849 posts since 9/3/2022

Ha, NCnotes...you're blowing my mind already hahaha. Next week when I'm reunited with my fiddle, I aim to look closer at this.
For now, I', just looking songs up and seeing if I can dictate what all the notes are.

I have a little sheet in my case though that will help me decide where on the fiddle I should be playing the said note. But for now, just looking over songs is getting me used to looking at it.

Nov 10, 2023 - 8:52:52 AM
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1111 posts since 7/30/2021

Yea I don’t mean to be schizophrenic but I learned St Anne’s by playing it at 50% speed over and over with a YouTube… honestly I find this dots version to be a little unsatisfying…I mean, I am like "yes DOTS!!" but I had to get away from them a bit for fiddling... 

argh I don't know what I am saying! 

 

 

 

 



 

Edited by - NCnotes on 11/10/2023 08:57:22

Nov 10, 2023 - 9:12:09 AM
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2659 posts since 7/12/2013

Another way to try learning is to pick a song you already know and then find sheet music for it. It might help you approach learning from another angle.

Nov 10, 2023 - 9:18:59 AM
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1111 posts since 7/30/2021

Here is what those St Anne’s dots sound like…

...so I thought, basically ok! Yet lacking a little something ( typical dots scenario)


Edited by - NCnotes on 11/10/2023 09:22:28

Nov 10, 2023 - 9:42:30 AM

Erockin

USA

849 posts since 9/3/2022

quote:
Originally posted by NCnotes

Here is what those St Anne’s dots sound like…

...so I thought, basically ok! Yet lacking a little something ( typical dots scenario)


So this is my version? ^^^

Nov 10, 2023 - 9:49:19 AM
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1111 posts since 7/30/2021

Well, that is how the sheet music you posted sounds, if played straight from dots ( except I put in some slurs without thinking). I dunno…what do you make of it?

If I find dots I personally like better, I will share! ( couldn’t find the fiddlers Facebook dots online, just looked…gotta buy the book, which makes sense :-)

Nov 10, 2023 - 10:20:19 AM
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1111 posts since 7/30/2021

Ok strictly personal opinion ( based on setting I learned) but I kinda like these dots better? (If we must have dots :-)

Sorry if I made everything complicated - will be quiet now!


Nov 10, 2023 - 10:45:56 AM
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2377 posts since 4/6/2014

Saint Anne's smileywinklaugh

Nov 10, 2023 - 11:00:45 AM
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Erockin

USA

849 posts since 9/3/2022

Don't be quiet!!! I appreciate the insight! and the dedication all of you take with your playing, knowledge and generosity...It's greatly appreciated

Nov 10, 2023 - 11:45:23 AM
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1111 posts since 7/30/2021

Pete, thanks for sharing the One and only True to Goodness version**! laugh I like it! 

** more seriously for the record...dots can never capture all the fun variations, melodic and rhythmic possibilities that I hear fiddlers do on this tune...

...but being an ear player/songwriter Erockin, I think you'll be good at the creative aspect of playing! 
 

Nov 10, 2023 - 11:53:37 AM

Erockin

USA

849 posts since 9/3/2022

quote:
Originally posted by fiddlinsteudel

Another way to try learning is to pick a song you already know and then find sheet music for it. It might help you approach learning from another angle.


Yes! I def have focused on learning songs that I know. So the melody is easier to identify. 

Nov 10, 2023 - 12:03:28 PM
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2377 posts since 4/6/2014

It was given to an ancestor of mine, "Jacobus_Fiddle" a ship's fiddler, by Saint Anne herself while he was on board the Ganymede out of Deptford, bound for Jamaica in 1687.

Nov 10, 2023 - 12:26:41 PM
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DougD

USA

11720 posts since 12/2/2007

Actually, the "One and only original and genuine true version" of this tune is this recording by Joseph Allard, from about 1930.
You can tell its the same tune, but there would probably be some raised eyebrows if you played it this way at your local jam session.


Edited by - DougD on 11/10/2023 12:31:18

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