Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes someone’s sound unique. You can listen to the same tune from different players and even though they are playing the same melody, each version is slightly different depending on the player.
My experience with learning tunes by ear is that I find a version I like and learn it note for note from that player’s recording. It’s been a challenge to try to make the tune my own for some reason. It’s improvising in a way, and that is a totally different discipline.
I’ve been practicing taking bits and pieces of ornamentation from various players and versions of the same tune and putting them in where I see fit. It’s a definitely a skill I need to work on if I want to sound like my own version of me.
This week I learned a hornpipe called The First of May (it would have been cooler had I learned this on the first of May – Oh Well).
I love hornpipes because they are usually hoppy (and happy), a little slower than a reel, and they usually repeat some of the A-part in the B-part, which makes them easy to learn and a little easier to come up with some sort of variation. I listened to different fiddlers play slightly different versions of this week’s tune, and tried to grab some of the ornamentation that I liked from each. I hope you like it:
Join me next week for tune #27 from A Tune A Week.
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