Fiddle Sessions®
A Mel Bay Publications, Inc. Webzine

August 2006 · Bimonthly

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From Mary Ann Willis:
The intention of this series of articles is not to present the tunes as they are traditionally done. Instead the goal is to use easy, popular music as a vehicle for the student to practice and learn more advanced techniques.

I created these versions of these tunes for my students, who enjoy them and their increased mobility around the fiddle with both left hand and bow as a result of learning them. This series is an alternative to the drudgery of Sevcik, Mazas etc. - to help inspire the beginning student to tackle intermediate techniques.


We get to rock the bow on quarter notes in this popular tune. Start section A, after the two pickup notes, with your right arm and bow positioned as though you were going to play the E and A strings together. Put your 1st finger on the E string but clearing the A, so the open A will sound. Leave that 1st finger down throughout the measure. Rock the bow slightly over to the E string (just enough to clear the A) and play the F#. Now rock it back to the open A. Repeat.

In rocking the bow, leave the upper arm stationary and move only the forearm or even hand, for maximum efficiency.

Use the same arm motion in bars 3 and 5. Note that bar 3 is simply a transposition of bar 1, up a step (same melodic fragment, only higher). Prepare this bar by positioning the 1st finger on the A string and 2nd on the E simultaneously. Leave them down throughout the entire bar for a smooth sound.

Four of the measures of section B begin with the Nashville shuffle bowing (see my webzine article on "Boil that Cabbage Down") in order to keep most measures starting with a downbow.

Thanks to Kelly Lancaster for the backup guitar tracks, and Dan Lewis for the audio engineering.

I'll show you a twin fiddle harmony for this tune in my next installment!

©2005 Mary Ann Willis

About the Author:

  • Professional violinist, performing and teaching in Houston Texas
    1977-1999 with The Gypsies. 2000-present with Moodafaruka
  • Author of eight book/recording volumes of ethnic and classical music for Mel Bay Publications (5 published to date under Mary Ann Harbar)
  • Played with numerous symphony orchestras throughout the United States, and the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy
  • Houston Community College faculty member starting in 1988
  • BA in music from University of California

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