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May 18, 2024 - 3:24:48 PM
1714 posts since 1/21/2009

Can you guys give me some overview on how to get started arranging a triple fiddle harmony. Is there a method to it or is it just a matter of whatever sounds good.

May 18, 2024 - 5:21:33 PM

2497 posts since 12/11/2008

Harmonizing in thirds (playing the notes that are two pitches on the scale above the ones you want to harmonize with) works pretty well, but if you overdo it it'll quickly become cornball. If you play the note slightly flat it adds a happy, bluesy touch.

Something you can try when you and your partner are one or two notes from the end of a verse is to play the note that is either a full octave below or above the note you want to harmonize with. Then, for the final note in the verse, go back to the unison, i.e., what the other fiddler is doing. Think of it as doing "um pahs."

May 18, 2024 - 5:38:15 PM

DougD

USA

11931 posts since 12/2/2007
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Don't know if this will help, but I recorded one record with a track with a triple fiddle break: "Alcatatraz Blues" youtu.be/aN6FsNGacbk?feature=shared Maybe you can deconstruct it. You don't hear this much these days. That was emulating some of the great duo and triple fiddle work on some of Bill Monroe's early 1950's records, which you could also study. Sorry I don't know more.

May 18, 2024 - 5:48:37 PM
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DougD

USA

11931 posts since 12/2/2007
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PS - Here's a clip of Bill Monroe with three of the greatest - Red Taylor, Gordon Terry, and a very young Bobby Hicks, where you can see what they're doing: youtu.be/eMHemxarjyc?feature=shared
Also, the Quebe sisters were very good at this, and there's plenty of them on YouTube. I once asked Hulda which of them was the best fiddler, and she replied, diplomatically, "We each have our strengths."

May 18, 2024 - 6:14:19 PM

DougD

USA

11931 posts since 12/2/2007
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BTW - The third comment on that Bill Monroe clip echoes what I saw too. Its practically a lesson in how a really good band works.

May 18, 2024 - 7:12:31 PM
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3369 posts since 10/22/2007

Another vote for listening and watching the Quebe sisters. Three parts is much more than twins fiddles. Two fiddles is one playing the high register, and the other playing the low. Staying a third apart is pretty much fantasy. Melodies don't generally march along as such. This is a good place to take a deep dive into chord theory. Understanding chord voicings. Don't be discouraged, because the double stop you want, chances are, is right there.

I've recently dove into looping. Looping with a fiddle. Two layers, three layers, the more one experiments, the clearer it becomes.  

Edited by - farmerjones on 05/18/2024 19:16:47

May 19, 2024 - 5:35:40 AM
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3369 posts since 10/22/2007

youtu.be/IKYwdZrs1GE?si=3AryR3iw8fSGSvGD

And of course, The Time Jumpers.

May 19, 2024 - 7:03:12 AM

DougD

USA

11931 posts since 12/2/2007
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Great video. Thanks for posting that, Steve.

May 19, 2024 - 2:53:39 PM

3641 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Peghead

Can you guys give me some overview on how to get started arranging a triple fiddle harmony. Is there a method to it or is it just a matter of whatever sounds good.


End of the day, it's just a matter of what sounds good. Keep in mind that "sounds good" is subjective.

That said, there are methods you can use; that can help... It depends on what sound you are after. Such as the mentioned parallel movement harmonizing in thirds; or triad idea... at least as staring point; but might need to diverge slightly here and there. But the are other ways to have three parts harmonize that aren't parallel movement; voice leading, stable note, line cliches.

May 19, 2024 - 3:37:17 PM

2626 posts since 8/27/2008

On fiddle it's sometimes easier to play harmony beneath the melody so you can stay in 1st position. It might be just me but I tend to hear harmony intervals as being above the melody even when they're below which I think makes it easier because I hear them the same (more or less) either way.

Rather than strictly parallel harmonies I sometimes use use a technique of keeping the note I'm on as long as possible as the melody changes, and changing to the note as close as possible when changing. I'll also use what I call an "anchor" note at the beginning of each phrase of the tune, which is the interval you memorize to deliberately begin that phrase with. Often the other notes will follow easily from anchor notes.

With 3 part it is harder to not double notes, and I will make sure everyone involved is using separate anchor notes. With 3 part I more or less break it down into melody, which is set, and tenor and baritone that don't conflict with each other (in whatever octave).

This all works with vocalizing too.

May 19, 2024 - 6:32:40 PM

3369 posts since 10/22/2007

Given the exercise:
1st track of fiddle -Melody/Lead
2nd track of fiddle - the chords. "swell", ala Hamond B3.
3rd track of fiddle - the chords. pent. chord arpeggios.

Tweek to taste. But you gotta start somewhere.

May 20, 2024 - 6:23:47 AM
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275 posts since 11/26/2013

For 3 part fiddling, its hard to beat Fiddle Fever, Jay Unger, Matt Glasser and Evan Stover. They used to be part of David Brombergs big band, man that was band to remember!

youtube.com/watch?v=81Tileyb4YA

May 20, 2024 - 8:10:10 AM
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DougD

USA

11931 posts since 12/2/2007
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Lately I've been watching and enjoying the more recent video of the members of Fiddle Fever performing "Ashokan Farewell." youtu.be/QDwoSRHy-0A?feature=shared
Also, the link I provided earlier to the recording of "Alcatraz Blues" is Evan and Matt, but with Kenny Kosek instead of Jay. Tony Trischka on banjo too.

May 20, 2024 - 1:45:29 PM
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2522 posts since 4/6/2014

There is a method.

And it is the arranger/composer's job to define it. Using the knowledge and skills acquired on their musical journey.

Other than that, one could use a formulaic approach to get a formulaic outcome. This would require studying another composer/arranger's work to achieve a similar outcome to theirs...... A bit like following a Recipe?

Good luck.

May 20, 2024 - 2:46:44 PM

2626 posts since 8/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by pete_fiddle

There is a method.

And it is the arranger/composer's job to define it. Using the knowledge and skills acquired on their musical journey.

Other than that, one could use a formulaic approach to get a formulaic outcome. This would require studying another composer/arranger's work to achieve a similar outcome to theirs...... A bit like following a Recipe?

Good luck.


What have you got against learning from other composers and arrangers? That's where knowledge and skills come from, no? They didn't produce in a vacuum either. The idea of utter originality is a myth.

Edited by - Brian Wood on 05/20/2024 14:47:09

May 20, 2024 - 3:16:27 PM
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2522 posts since 4/6/2014

"What have you got against learning from other composers and arrangers? " . ..Nothing?

May 20, 2024 - 4:36:32 PM
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2626 posts since 8/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by pete_fiddle

"What have you got against learning from other composers and arrangers? " . ..Nothing?

 

Oh, good. I misunderstood your comment about being formulaic maybe.

May 20, 2024 - 5:54:16 PM

2497 posts since 12/11/2008

If you have a keyboard instrument handy, you can just randomly press two notes simultaneously and see how the combination sounds.

It's probably easiest to start with C, the white key just to the left of the Two Black Key Group . Press the C, and then add the third tone on the do-re-mi scale -- an E. Ah, a lovely third! Pressing the C key and the Eb key gives you an even more lovely Minor Third. ...Shades of the Blues! Pressing a C and G simultaneously gives you a slightly mysterious, something's-gonna-happen-soon Fifth.

Before long, you'll be recognizing the sounds of these "Intervals." Let 'em carry you away.

Edited by - Lonesome Fiddler on 05/20/2024 17:57:43

May 20, 2024 - 8:09:09 PM
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6483 posts since 9/26/2008
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If harmonies don't come to you naturally, study what's out there. It's very tricky to make even one harmony line, let alone two. A "short cut" I've found: you can incorporate different drones or double stops to create fuller, richer voicing, making two fiddles sounds like three or four at times. I'd recommend Spencer and Rains for some tight fiddle harmony playing. Trisha seems to be a natural.

Edited by - ChickenMan on 05/20/2024 20:10:31

May 21, 2024 - 12:11:45 AM

2522 posts since 4/6/2014

One way i have found for simple fiddle tunes, is to limit the harmony part strictly to the pentatonic scale. Then when you need a note outside the pent scale use a 3rd or 6th above or below that note instead. i try to keep the melody on top. and allow my self an added blue note sometimes.

Also I have been experimenting lately with tuning one of my fiddles down a tone, and playing tunes in the key (shapes), a tone higher eg C on the standard tuned fiddle and D on the low tuned fiddle. This effects my note choices double stops and drones etc but keeps me in the melody key.

I did this yesterday with my uilleann pipe player friend. we played" Farewell Trion". i played A shapes on the tuned down fiddle and he played on his newly made D chanter in the key of G ...All sorts of harmonies where popping out, especially when he used his regulators ..Great fun..

Edit: i think this type of harmony is/was used knowingly or unknowingly by folk musicians through time. ...When A wasn't 440hz, and pipes etc  where made by folk out of Elder trees.

Edited by - pete_fiddle on 05/21/2024 00:21:01

May 22, 2024 - 6:34:49 AM

14974 posts since 9/23/2009

Sounds like a buncha good advice...and I know I'm bored when I turn the the music theory forum...lol...although music theory is not boring to me...but maybe trying to discuss it might be somewhat.

But seems to me there are just different harmonies for different styles...like...with something like Faded Love...a pretty much parallel harmony works...and to me, those types of harmonies on the fiddle just sound like Texas. I've never been to Texas and don't think I've even known anybody from there, but somehow...the moving parallel fiddling parts sound like Texas. Although BG players use some parallel stuff that would sound bad in other places but works out pretty good Bluegrassy...I have no examples...just sitting here waiting for time to go someplace.

But for other things...harmonies can work out pretty well if one might sorta be a parallel sort of contour using mainly 3rds, I believe, if I can think it outside of an instrument correctly...and then there's the melody line going, plus a third one that might be somewhat static...like taking whatever note is being left out of the chord the other two are dancing around, and sticking with that. That's more of a choir sounding harmony...to my ear. Yet I think I have resorted to playing that way to get me a "string quartet" sound except with three parts.

Then there's the cool approach to my ear where their are lines going in opposite directions...not constantly, but here and there...which just gives the whole thing a little punch, to my ear.

Ok...thanks for that little retrieve from the boredom of waiting...lol. My contribution was pretty sorry but maybe at least it could stir up some folks who will jump in to correct me on all accounts...lol...ok that'll be good. But good luck with your harmonies...harmonies are powerful and fun.

May 22, 2024 - 7:47:45 AM

3369 posts since 10/22/2007

Yesterday, I tried Panhandle Rag with my looper. The first loop was the very recognizable melody. Then I honestly never knew the chords, so I went to the keyboard and figured it out. (Key of A) So, the second loop was the chords. The third loop, no matter what I did, seemed to clutter it up. Then I remembered the first two loops had plenty of double stops, so between the two loops, I had as many as four voices.
I don't know if this pertains to the OP, but it was a fun learning thing for me.

May 22, 2024 - 10:14:39 AM
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215 posts since 12/30/2008

I use Twin Mandolin Method by Niles Hokkanen as reference when I need to write a harmony part.

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