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Alternative tunings

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  • Randy Scofield
    I m new to this group, so bear with me if this subject has been covered. Can anyone suggest some cajun tunings for the fiddle? Are there any standard cajun
    Message 1 of 9 , Jun 5, 2009
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      I'm new to this group, so bear with me if this subject has been covered. Can anyone suggest some cajun tunings for the fiddle? Are there any "standard" cajun tunings?
      Thanks, randy
    • william thibodeaux
      None. ________________________________ From: Randy Scofield To: cajun-fiddlers@yahoogroups.com Sent: Friday, June 5, 2009 6:14:03
      Message 2 of 9 , Jun 6, 2009
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        None.




        ________________________________
        From: Randy Scofield <randyscofield@...>
        To: cajun-fiddlers@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Friday, June 5, 2009 6:14:03 PM
        Subject: [cajun-fiddlers] Alternative tunings





        I'm new to this group, so bear with me if this subject has been covered. Can anyone suggest some cajun tunings for the fiddle? Are there any "standard" cajun tunings?
        Thanks, randy







        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • zydeholic
        The most common one is to tune every string a step down.  Instead of GDAE, it would be FCGD.  That is for playing with a C accordion. ... From: william
        Message 3 of 9 , Jun 6, 2009
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          The most common one is to tune every string a step down.  Instead of GDAE, it would be FCGD.  That is for playing with a C accordion.

          --- On Sat, 6/6/09, william thibodeaux <wjthibodeaux@...> wrote:


          From: william thibodeaux <wjthibodeaux@...>
          Subject: Re: [cajun-fiddlers] Alternative tunings
          To: cajun-fiddlers@yahoogroups.com
          Date: Saturday, June 6, 2009, 6:20 AM








          None.

          ____________ _________ _________ __
          From: Randy Scofield <randyscofield@ comcast.net>
          To: cajun-fiddlers@ yahoogroups. com
          Sent: Friday, June 5, 2009 6:14:03 PM
          Subject: [cajun-fiddlers] Alternative tunings

          I'm new to this group, so bear with me if this subject has been covered. Can anyone suggest some cajun tunings for the fiddle? Are there any "standard" cajun tunings?
          Thanks, randy

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
















          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • John A
          Alternative Tunings, some previous posts:   Sue ha scritto:           Ciao, Vincenzo! Not sure if this is the info you are wanting,
          Message 4 of 9 , Jun 9, 2009
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            Alternative Tunings, some previous posts:
             
            Sue <skb@...> ha scritto:
                      Ciao, Vincenzo! Not sure if this is the info you are wanting, but
            here's what I have heard about tunings, mostly from Mitch Reed. In
            Louisiana, many or even most fiddlers "tune down", which is F-C-G-D.
            This puts all the strings at the same intervals apart as "standard
            tuning", which is G-D-A-E. It is only called standard because it has
            been the accepted classical tuning for three hundred years at least.
            Tuning down makes it easier to finger and play drones in the common
            Cajun keys. Some people don't tune down at all, they just finger to
            sound in whatever key is called for. This does change where and with
            what ease they can play drones and doublestops. Mitch told us that
            some Cajuns used to use lots of different tunings, the way they do in
            old-time or Appalachian fiddling, but that has all died out. Even
            listening to the earliest field recordings, it is difficult to
            determine if the player was using something other than strings a fifth
            apart. Once in a while it's possible to guess from the lowest pitch
            you can hear or from what's included in a doublestop that maybe some
            other tuning employed. Mitch taught me a version of Blues a'Bebe with
            tuning G-D-G-D. The A part is played on the top two strings. The turn
            is the same melody on the bottom two strings. By using this tuning,
            you finger exactly the same way both high and low parts. Sue
            In cajun-fiddlers@yahoogroups.com, "tcplayboys"
            <kevin.anthony@...> wrote:
            >
            > Jean,
            >
            > hi. you could use a standard tuned fiddle or if you're comfortable
            > playing on a tuned down fiddle that would work too.  Playing in Am
            > will be easier on the standard tuned fiddle than on the down tuned
            > fiddle due to the strings you'll have to stop with your fingers.
            >
            > You can get some cool sounds playing in different positions while
            > tuned non-standard as well.  As, the key would be dependent on who
            is
            > singing the song.
            >
            > Personally, I like to play the song in the key of G and use a tuned
            > down fiddle. F C G D. I can get the strings ringing together more
            than
            > I can with a standard tuned fiddle and it's easier to sing.  The
            > guitar chords would be G Bb D.  The Balfa brothers have a great
            > version of this on The Balfa Brothers Play Traditional Cajun Music
            > Volumes 1 & 2
            >
            > Hope that is of use you!
            >
            > merci!
            >
            > kevin anthony
            > the twin city playboys
            > http://www.tcplayboys.com
            In cajun-fiddlers@yahoogroups.com, "hyldemoer" <hyldemoer@...>
            wrote:
            >
            > Bonjour Jean,
            > Like you, I am trying to learn Cajun tunes on the fiddle without a
            direct contact to the
            > culture.
            > No one has answered your question yet, so I thought I might try.
            If I'm wrong, hopefully
            > someone will correct me.
            >
            > When fiddle tunes are usually played with a tuning other than GDAE
            they write the tune out
            > as if the fiddle is tuned that way, GDAE,
            > and then tell you what unusual way the strings are actually meant
            to be played
            >
            > or write the song out with normal tuning but mention that the
            whole fiddle would normally
            > be tuned down a whole step so the tune would actually actually in
            the the lower key
            >
            > or write the song out with normal tuning but mention what key the
            song was usually
            > played in and let you figure out that the fiddle gets tuned down.
            > A fiddle tune written in D played on a tuned down fiddle would
            sound in the key of C
            > A fiddle tune written in A minor played on a tuned down fiddle
            would sound in the key of
            > G minor.
            > Et cetera...
            >
            > Chords tend to be a judgement thing of whoever is playing them or
            writing the song
            > down.  Their choice is part skill and part what is currently
            culturally acceptable.
            >
            > In Ann Savoy's "Cajun Music" she gives the "Danse de Mardi Gras"
            in A minor and
            > suggests the chords Am and Em.
            >
            > In Raymond Francois "Ye Yaille, Chere" he gives "Danse de Mardi
            Gras" in Am and
            > suggests the chords Am and G.
            > He also mentions that the song was played in G minor
            > which means play it as it is written but tune the strings down one
            whole note so it sounds
            > a whole note lower than written. I imagine that changes the chords
            used to accompany it.
            >
            > He also says in his book that "Danse de Mardi Gras" is related
            to "Chanson de Mardi Gras"
            > which he gives in the key of A minor, suggests the chords Am and G
            but also tells us its
            > played in G minor (fiddle tuned down a whole note).
            >
            > In Craig Duncan's "The Cajun Fiddle" there's a song called "Mardi
            Gras Song" that is given
            > in Am and he suggests using the chords A, C and E to accompany it.
            He doesn't mention
            > tuning the strings down so it sounds like A minor.
            > He does suggest tuning down the fiddle with other songs in his
            book.
            >
            > I think a very important thing to remember is these are tunes that
            were most usually
            > learned by ear, not by reading music. People putting the music
            into notation tried to come
            > as close as they could to what they heard, but how often is a song
            caught by ear ever
            > played the same way twice?
            > Everyone leaves a piece of their soul in it, especially Cajuns.
            >
            > Penel


            --- On Sat, 6/6/09, zydeholic <zydeholic@...> wrote:


            From: zydeholic <zydeholic@...>
            Subject: Re: [cajun-fiddlers] Alternative tunings
            To: cajun-fiddlers@yahoogroups.com
            Date: Saturday, June 6, 2009, 10:31 AM


            The most common one is to tune every string a step down.  Instead of GDAE, it would be FCGD.  That is for playing with a C accordion.

            --- On Sat, 6/6/09, william thibodeaux <wjthibodeaux@...> wrote:


            From: william thibodeaux <wjthibodeaux@...>
            Subject: Re: [cajun-fiddlers] Alternative tunings
            To: cajun-fiddlers@yahoogroups.com
            Date: Saturday, June 6, 2009, 6:20 AM








            None.

            ____________ _________ _________ __
            From: Randy Scofield <randyscofield@ comcast.net>
            To: cajun-fiddlers@ yahoogroups. com
            Sent: Friday, June 5, 2009 6:14:03 PM
            Subject: [cajun-fiddlers] Alternative tunings

            I'm new to this group, so bear with me if this subject has been covered. Can anyone suggest some cajun tunings for the fiddle? Are there any "standard" cajun tunings?
            Thanks, randy

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            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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          • cmlejeune04
            hey randy, christian here. the standard or most common tuning youll find people playing cajun fiddle in is tuned one whole step down from standard FCGD. Mind
            Message 5 of 9 , Jun 11, 2010
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              hey randy, christian here. the standard or most common tuning youll find people playing cajun fiddle in is tuned one whole step down from standard FCGD. Mind you however that playing standard tuned (GDAE) is very common as well, and in fact if you don't know how to play in the keys of C or G on a standard tuned fiddle I encourage you to learn how to do so. alot of people think that tuning down is cheating and you dont get a good sound, or that tuning down is THE best sound. just personal preference really. In the old days (1700-early1900) cajun fiddlers used a shitload of different tunings just like other old time fiddlers ADAD GDAD DADA crap like that. to get alot of drones in there you know and you can play the same runs on the bass strings as on the treble strings. in fact according to dennis mcgee the alternate tunings where reserved for the lead fiddle only while the segondeur (accompany fiddler) always played tuned standard just bassing the chords and sometimes mimicking the melody on Les Gross Chords (the big strings). hope this helps.

              --- In cajun-fiddlers@yahoogroups.com, "Randy Scofield" <randyscofield@...> wrote:
              >
              > I'm new to this group, so bear with me if this subject has been covered. Can anyone suggest some cajun tunings for the fiddle? Are there any "standard" cajun tunings?
              > Thanks, randy
              >
            • karpdiem2
              I play in 3rd position if I have to. It s ez enough for me & lots of times it enhances the tone. But I have no problem with the concept of tuning down. I
              Message 6 of 9 , Jun 12, 2010
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                I play in 3rd position if I have to. It's ez enough for me &
                lots of times it enhances the tone. But I have no problem with
                the concept of tuning down. I just wish I could find some other
                fiddle players around here that knew what they were doin'.


                Ann Smith
              • fiddler2010
                Hello Ann, you probably live in the USA, alas i in Europe ... ? As for down tuning a fiddle i posted these message once elsewhere in a discussion about
                Message 7 of 9 , Jun 12, 2010
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                  Hello Ann, you probably live in the USA, alas i in Europe ... ?

                  As for down tuning a fiddle i posted these message once elsewhere in a
                  discussion about suitable fiddles for that job, maybe useful:

                  1) Found that most fiddles can't handle down-tuning, but about 10% does
                  it well and sometimes even very well. Done a recent search for a good
                  one by buying several more or less "wrecks" of quality fiddles on ebay,
                  and after restoration and new strings, tuners, tailpieces, bridges,
                  soundposts, fixing cracks, i got two behaving really well tuned down. PS
                  got a few for sale now, all German stuff from around 1900, no Chinese
                  stuff thus. All set up for fiddling, with steel Tomastik strings and
                  slightly flattened bridges ....

                  2) General remark: the construction of a fiddle is a balance of down
                  forcing powers from the strings through the bridge, and the push-up
                  force from the back with the whole construction from neck heel trough
                  the back plate to the end pin block, involving very much the right
                  thickness and configuration of the sound post. The whole caboose should
                  end up that the top plate of a fiddle vibrates as freely as can be, with
                  it's own acoustic properties. This is the secret of a really projecting
                  fiddle, as an expert fiddle maker explained to me. He set up one of my
                  fiddles fine-tuning all those factors, experimenting with sound posts,
                  bridges etc, calling it freeing up the fiddle, and it now sounds really
                  well especially at a distance. Funny enough a bit sharpish and edgy when
                  you play it yourself. But i heard him play it from some 10 meters
                  distance, it really has the sound of a top class quality classical
                  instrument now, even fitted with steel strings.

                  3) In case you need to experiment with string tension,
                  some interesting violin- and fiddle string related links:

                  https://www.fisherviolins.com/Violin_Music/Buy/Strings/StringBuyersGuide\
                  .aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1
                  <https://www.fisherviolins.com/Violin_Music/Buy/Strings/StringBuyersGuid\
                  e.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1>

                  http://www.rdebey.com/string_tension.htm
                  <http://www.rdebey.com/string_tension.htm>


                  - Nout

                  --- In cajun-fiddlers@yahoogroups.com, "karpdiem2" <KARPDIEM2@...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > I play in 3rd position if I have to. It's ez enough for me &
                  > lots of times it enhances the tone. But I have no problem with
                  > the concept of tuning down. I just wish I could find some other
                  > fiddle players around here that knew what they were doin'.
                  >
                  >
                  > Ann Smith
                  >



                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • karpdiem2
                  You know, this is helpful. You re right most fiddles/violins do not handle down tuning well. But I think I ll save this post, as I play other genres & some
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jun 13, 2010
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                    You know, this is helpful. You're right most fiddles/violins
                    do not handle "down" tuning well. But I think I'll save this
                    post, as I play other genres & some of the keys are difficult
                    to play in. Do you know a fiddle player that loves to play in
                    the key of b flat? I don't really. I don't mind the key of
                    b but fortunately, you don't see it much in Cajun music. The
                    only complaint I've heard from accordion players that sing is
                    "gee, I sing in the key of b, as do many singers, so it's a bit
                    of a challenge. It would be nice to tune up too! Same issue.
                    Good point made -

                    Where are you from?

                    Ann
                  • fiddler2010
                    Hi Ann, Bb is not a bad key, so is F; you have quite a few open strings to fiddle with. Pretty common keys for Bluegrass and Jazz, even Irish tunes like the
                    Message 9 of 9 , Jun 13, 2010
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                      Hi Ann,

                      Bb is not a bad key, so is F; you have quite a few open strings to fiddle with. Pretty common keys for Bluegrass and Jazz, even Irish tunes like the Moving Cloud reel (in F). Relative minors are G - and D -. Key of B is a different thing, like F# and C#. Almost no open strings. To solve this dilemma: Lets Ban them "B-singers", just call for a general fiddler boycott and strike, charge them financially, or even shoot at first sight; you can spot their arrogance & false play by the capo's or cheaters at the 4th fret. It will make any fiddler's life and times so much better. Bass players will love you too i guess.

                      Nout, Netherlands.

                      --- In cajun-fiddlers@yahoogroups.com, "karpdiem2" <KARPDIEM2@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > You know, this is helpful. You're right most fiddles/violins
                      > do not handle "down" tuning well. But I think I'll save this
                      > post, as I play other genres & some of the keys are difficult
                      > to play in. Do you know a fiddle player that loves to play in
                      > the key of b flat? I don't really. I don't mind the key of
                      > b but fortunately, you don't see it much in Cajun music. The
                      > only complaint I've heard from accordion players that sing is
                      > "gee, I sing in the key of b, as do many singers, so it's a bit
                      > of a challenge. It would be nice to tune up too! Same issue.
                      > Good point made -
                      >
                      > Where are you from?
                      >
                      > Ann
                      >
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