Fiddle Sessions®
A Mel Bay Publications, Inc. Webzine



October 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.

Click here to hear an mp3 of the harmony line for "Liberty"

6. Liberty Twin Fiddle Harmony

In my last webzine article (August 2006) I showed you a basic version of Liberty. You may enjoy this twin fiddle harmony to go with it, if you have a friend who plays mandolin or fiddle.

You can play this entirely in the first position, or take this opportunity to venture into second position.

Bars 3 and 4 are a modified transposition (see the "Liberty" article) of bars 1 and 2. By shifting your left hand up a step at bar 3 you can use almost the same fingering as bars 1 and 2. To shift, release your left thumb. Slide it and the hand as a unit up the fingerboard a step (about an inch). Don't wiggle, collapse, or protrude the wrist; keep it still, as you slide the hand by closing the elbow hinge. Keep your 1st finger in contact with the string as you do this, so you can feel the shift along the way. It serves as an anchor for the rest of your hand in 2nd position, when it arrives on G (leave it down for bars 3 and 4). This will position your 3rd finger over B. You are now ready to play bar 3.

Reverse at bar 5. Release the thumb. Let your 1st finger guide the hand down, and anchor it on arrival back at the first position F#. Be careful not to scrunch your shoulder or clamp your jaw as or after you shift back down, although the fiddle may be momentarily secured by only this combination. The rest of the song (except the repeat of A) can be played in first position.

This harmony pretty much follows the melody line, for a real pretty twin fiddle effect.

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

©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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