Learn a tune and all the fiddle techniques behind it to get the style and groove of the music into your playing. Three fabulous tunes associated with the North East of England, each taught in a workshop aimed at a different level of fiddle player. These live workshops will be delivered on Zoom, with notation and audio files provided in advance.

Saturday 25th July: 10:00 – 12:00
Lower Intermediates
: Little Fishie (from the Northumbrian Minstrelsy)

Saturday 25th July: 14:00 – 16:00
Upper Intermediates
: Neil Taylor’s Jig (a superb Northumbrian jig by Willie Taylor)

Sunday 26th July: 14:00 – 16:00
Advanced
: Blaydon Flats (a North East reel by A. Mackintosh associated with the fiddling tradition of James Hill)

For help with choosing the appropriate workshop for you, please see the the further descriptions of what is being covered for each tune below.

Each workshop is £15 (additional donations welcome)
This includes pre-workshop material of the notation and audio files of the tunes.

If you know the tune already, that’s great! Use this opportunity to get much deeper into the music. Learn suggested bowing patterns to make things easier, learn which ornaments can bring the tune to life, and discover exercises to improve your left hand technique for any tricky passages.

Notation is provided, but the tunes will be taught ‘as if by ear’, making sure there is enough break down and repetition of phrases to build the tune up confidently.

The workshops will include regular short breaks to stretch the legs, and rest the ears and eyes. Months of running workshops on Zoom has provided us with enough insight to create a good online learning experience during lockdown.

If you haven’t attended a music workshop on Zoom before, here is a page of Zoom Workshop Tips to get the most out of your experience. A strong and reliable internet connection, plus headphones or an external speaker are highly recommended.

Tune & Level descriptions

  1. Little Fishie (Lower Intermediate): a beautiful and lyrical triple hornpipe from one of the great nineteenth century collections of Northumbrian songs and tunes, Northumbrian Minstrelsy. This is an ideal vehicle for exploring triple time grooves – the notes don’t zip by and a dance tempo is achievable for players who struggle with jigs and reels. It is in the key of G major but includes C sharps and F naturals to challenge our fingering technique. The melody points fiddlers towards mastering the technique of ‘broken thirds’ and we will also look at some basic ornamentation.
  2. Neil Taylor’s Jig (Upper Intermediate): a wonderful bouncy jig from one of Northumberland’s most celebrated fiddlers, Willie Taylor. This is a great tune for looking at the bouncy, spiky, dotted jig groove preferred by many Northumbrian musicians and exemplified in the playing of Willy Taylor and his colleague Will Atkinson. It requires some discipline with the bow and the workshop will look into the mechanics of the technique and the benefits that it gives. The tune is in G major with a clear structure. Participants should be comfortable with playing jigs at dance tempo. Ornamentation will include rolls, mordents and slides.
  3. Blaydon Flats (Advanced): a classic D major reel, long associated with one of Tynesides most famous fiddlers, James Hill. The tune spans all four strings and an ability to play at speed across this range is needed to get the the full effect this fiddling masterpiece. We will look at various bowing patterns which both enhance the groove of the tune as well as helping to facilitate its speed. In addition we will look at ricochet bowing and the folk fiddler’s version of ‘double stops’ – ringing strings and lazy bows.

These three tunes are all fabulous examples of the North East English tradition. Although the technical demands are appropriate to the level of expertise at which they are aimed, they all have a great deal to offer players of any ability. The pace and depth of tuition will be adjusted for the level to which it is being offered.