Thursday, December 27, 2012

Old-Time Fiddle Music

Unlike classical music, where we have composers, conductors, musical scores, and musicians, in old-time fiddling a tune's composer is very seldom known.  No musical notation is definitive; there is no score, no composer's intention, no written down single source, no conductor.

Old-time tunes live in memory and performance; they pass from one fiddler to another.  There are only the fiddler, the idea of the tune, and the way the fiddler brings it out, or sets it.  An old-time fiddle tune is a little like an empty room:  the dimensions are pretty much fixed, and the doors and windows are in place, but the fiddler furnishes the room with a setting according to individual taste.

Over the years, the fiddler changes the setting, improving it a little, making it his or her own.  Just as there is no single "correct" way to furnish a room, there is no one right way to play a fiddle tune.  There are many right settings, some more satisfying than others.


The above content comes from Old-Time Kentucky Fiddle Tunes by Jeff Todd Titon.  

1 comment:

  1. Old-time tunes live in memory and performance; they pass from one fiddler to another,

    ReplyDelete