Fiddle Hell Schedule

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2019 Schedule

Sunday 12:30-1:30PM Minor Scale Jazz Improv for Swing Mandolin: M OM L3 L4 R346 KILBURN[M] MOULTRUP[G]

Eric's a fine swing mandolin player who also runs Wellspring Sound Recording Studio in Acton.  He'll use tunes such as "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen," "Minor Swing," and "It Don't Mean A Thing" to help you with minor scale jazz improvisation over Dave's solid rhythm playing.

Sunday 12:30-1:30PM Learn a Crooked Québecois Tune "William Gagnon Reel": F M L4 R36 FAVREAU[F]

William Gagnon (1901-1979) was a fiddler, step-dancer and carpenter from Jonquière-Nord, near Chicoutimi. Éric says: "Each tune I heard from him was unique and unpredictable in form, repetitions and variations. A sublime player. This tune is crooked. For those who like this, you are served!"

Sunday 12:30-1:30PM Learn Two of Laurel's Favorites from the Forget Me Not Collection (Irish): F L4 R345 MARTIN[F]

Seamus Connolly, a 10-time All-Ireland fiddle champion from County Clare, and Laurel Martin, a former prize pupil of Séamus and a highly respected teacher of Irish fiddling herself, have made Irish music thoroughly accessible to beginners and more advanced players alike in Forget Me Not: 50 Memorable Traditional Irish Tunes. Tunes are in both basic and more ornamented versions.

Sunday 1:35-1:55PM FLASH MARCH "Bonaparte & Moscow" (From CTL): Any (or just march along) L2 L3 R3 KAYNOR[F] VANDERSTEEL[F] ROBINSON[G]

Meet in Room 3. March to Lobby playing "Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine" in the key of D. March back playing "Trip to Moscow" in the key of Gm, by Ian Ball.  Both are on the Common Tune List (CTL).

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM Cool Secrets of Backing Up a Singer: F M C L1 L2 L3 R4 D. REINER[F] HARTY[V,G]

Hear and see exactly how it's done, and try it yourself. Examples in multiple styles, from bluegrass, blues, and folk to other styles. Helpful handout on back-up approaches and on chords.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM Easy Cajun Fiddle Workshop on "Devil on the Bayou": F C L1 R37 C. MASON[F] ARKIN [G]

Early Cajun music was all about the fiddle. There was no accordion nor guitar. These early tunes are sprightly, haunting and often quirky and involve twin fiddles. Cathy will teach "Devil on the Bayou," a haunting and fun tune as well as a seconding (back-up) part so students can trade leading and backing up.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM KIDS Fun New England Tunes: F C L1 L2 R35 SCHNECKENBURGER[F]

Anyone from New England? Lissa will cover fiddle and cello as you learn an easy New England tune or two.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM DROP-IN Ask Autumn Rose about Fiddle/Violin Technique: F L1 L2 L3 R349 LESTER[F]

Right hand, left hand, posture, stylistic techniques, bowing, and more. Bring your questions on this last day of Fiddle Hell. 

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM Mandolin for Fiddle Players (Bring Mandolin): M L2 R8 SURETTE[M]

Mandolin is a great instrument for fiddlers to double on. David's session will focus on the aspects that can be vexing for fiddlers: chords, pick technique, and tone.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM JAM Quintessential New England Jam: Any L2 R6 KAYNOR[F] BRYAN[G]

Westford’s the perfect place for your favorite New England tunes, and a few that might be new to you. Spend a happy hour with David and Art, having great fun with classic tunes.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM Learn "Reel de la Brouette," a Favorite Reel from Québec: F L2 R346 FAVREAU[F]

A nice and simple tune to do a introduction in the world of accentuation, rhythm patterns, and floating bowing. Look ahead to the Québécois jam at 5PM today.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM Five-String Fiddle Workshop F5 L2 R353 ALESSIO[F5]

A five-string fiddle adds a low C string, which helps with melodies and chords, and extends the range of the fiddle downwards in a pleasing, growly way. Bob will demo and teach examples of 5-string playing. Helpful handout, too. If you don't have a five-string, come to listen and maybe get a chance to try one out.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM Bill Stepp's "Ways of the World" in Cross Tuning: F L3 R31 MOLSKY[F]

The source for modern versions of this tune is Magoffin County, Kentucky, fiddler William Hamilton Stepp (1875-1947),  recorded by Elizabeth and Alan Lomax for Library of Congress in 1937. BTW, Stepp was also the source for the version of "Bonaparte's Retreat" that Aaron Copeland used in "Hoedown" in his ballet Rodeo.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM Intro to Comping on Jazz Guitar: G L3 R347 MOULTRUP[G]

"Comping" (an abbreviation of "accompanying" or possibly from the verb to "complement") is the chords, rhythms, and occasionally countermelodies that guitar players use to support a jazz musician's improvised solo or melody lines. Dave will show you some basic comping chords and rhythms on the guitar as an intro.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM JAM Traditional Scottish Session: Trad L3 R34 MCOWEN[F] EID-REINER[P]

Smith's a Gallant Fireman? The High Road to Linton? Atholl Highlanders? Join Barbara and Eric for some sets of classic Scottish session tunes. Be sure to bring some of your favorites, too! 

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM JAM No Holds Barred Oldtime Jam: Trad L3 L4 R245 A. REINER[F] ADAMS[C,B] KAUFMAN[G]

Pull those chairs in until you're knee to knee, change keys once in a while, and you're off. Shakin' Off the Acorns? Chinquapin Hunting? Garfield’s Blackberry Blossom? Benton's Dream? Forked Deer? Grasshopper on the Fiddle Case?

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM Play Through Original Tunes with Jay & Molly: Any L3 L4 R1 R2 UNGAR[F] M. MASON[P,G]

Ashokan Farewell, Lover's Waltz, Wizard's Walk, The Love of My Life, Popcorn Behavior, and more. Fantastic tunes from great composers! 

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM Learn a Traditional Creole Tune from the Playing of Canray Fontenot: F L3 R345 REED[F]

Starting with a medley called "Canray’s One-Steps," we'll include ornaments, slides, drones, and the chords. The Creole fiddle, and its contemporary moniker zydeco fiddle, arrived in South Louisiana in the seventeenth century, coming ashore with French-speaking Africans from Saint-Domingue, now Haiti.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM Irish Hop Jigs with Groove: F M C L3 R7 HEELY[F]

These types of Irish jigs are not played that often, but the groove they have is just addicting! Come learn a few amazingly fun hop jigs.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM A Favorite Tune from Pete's Posse: F M L4 R32 SUTHERLAND[F] SCANLON[M,F]

Pete's Posse has twin fiddles (Pete and Oliver) in tight, wild harmony over high-powered guitar and pounding foot percussion with mandolin, clawhammer banjo, jaw harp, rocking keyboards, and soaring vocal harmonies. You can bet that one of their favorite tunes will be mighty fine! Did you hear them play at the Friday night dance?

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM Cape Breton Set Workshop (March to Strathspey to Reel): F L4 R36 BEATON[F] RANDALL[P]

We’ll start with a Cape Breton setting of the march "Space Available," and then go into the Cape Breton settings of "Moxham Castle" strathspey and "Glasgow Session" reel. The excitement ratchets up as the tempo increases. 

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM Harmony/Voice Leading: F M C L4 R247 HARGREAVES[F]

Using harmony (chords) to help us improvise melodically. We will also work on diatonic harmony and the dominant 7 cycle.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM Oldtime C Tunes on Mandolin "Farewell Trion" & "East Tennessee Blues": M L4 R33 COLLINS-HILL[M] F. COHEN[G]

There is a great world of old time tunes in the key of C waiting to be explored. Come dive in and learn two of the best.

Sunday 2:00-3:00PM Learn a Fine Round Peak Tune, "Rye Straw": B L4 R3 COLLINS[B]

Learn this 3-part tune played by the Round Peak masters. Tom will first teach the tune, and then show you what the tune can teach you about Round Peak style in particular and excellent clawhammer technique in general. By ear, tab provided.

Sunday 3:00-3:30PM FLASH MOB Running Sound Systems 101: Any L1 L2 R3 SCANLON[Sound]

Microphones, mixer, speakers - what's it all about? Oliver will talk through a few of the basics. We might use a volunteer instrumentalist or two to experiment on if there's time. A more advanced version is offered as a full session by Colin McKinley at 6:30PM on Thursday.

Sunday 3:00-3:30PM FLASH SING ALONG Stephen Foster Songs: V L1 L2 L3 R32 M. MASON[V,G], UNGAR[F]

Known as the "father of American popular music," Stephen Foster (1826-1864) made his living by selling his sheet music in the days before records and radio. During his career, Foster penned over 200 songs, including the lyrics for "Oh! Susanna," "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair," "Camptown Races" and "My Old Kentucky Home." Many are popular to this day, although some songs contained hateful racial lyrics that are never sung today.


This 3-part concert features Swedish tunes from lydia ievins and David Kaynor, then Northern and Celtic tunes from David Surette and Susie Burke, and finally oldtime and New England tunes from Alan Kaufman and Dave Neiman. Relax and enjoy this last concert of Fiddle Hell.

Sunday 3:30-4:30PM Very Easy Oldtime Fiddle Workshop: F L1 R31 Bruce Molsky [F]

If you’re new to oldtime fiddling, or newish to the fiddle, Bruce will lead you through the basics, including what to listen for and how to find your way into a simple tune. FYI, at 8PM tonight, Bruce Molsky will perform at Club Passim in Cambridge.

Sunday 3:30-4:30PM Learn an Easy Cajun Two-Step Including Seconding: F L1 R32 KAMINSKY[F]

One of the lovely and distinctive things about Cajun music is having twin fiddles, exchanging leads and "seconding" (backing up) each other. We'll learn about rhythm patterns and chord shapes that will give your fiddling that Cajun feeling, with combined influences of music from Louisiana, Texas, Québec, and Cape Breton.

Sunday 3:30-4:30PM Beginning Bass Runs on Guitar: G L2 R34 WYSLOUCH[G]

Bass runs are a quintessential part of the folk-guitar vocabulary. They expand on the basic boom-chuck rhythm heard throughout the world and propel tunes and songs forward. Come to this workshop to get your bass runs going with a few quick tricks to get from chord X to chord Y.

Sunday 3:30-4:30PM Deceptively Simple: Bringing Irish Trad Tunes to Life: F L2 R4 MARTIN[F]

It’s deceptively simple!...or is it deceptively challenging? Come and find out! We’ll explore some of the secrets of making even the simplest traditional Irish tunes sound enthralling. We’ll learn a barn dance by ear and will explore some subtle bowing and variation techniques to add nuance and musicality.

Sunday 3:30-4:30PM The Beauty of the Slow Air: F L2 R8 HEELY[F]

How do you make your slow tunes gorgeous and haunting? Learn the practice techniques to develop tone and control over dynamics and phrasing to make your Slow Airs legendary. We will study different instruments like the voice and the pipes and learn how to incorporate those elements on the fiddle.

Sunday 3:30-4:30PM Sing with the Banjo "Stay All Night": V B L2 R35 COLLINS[B]

As a culmination of all of your hard work, Tom will show you how to put it all together in this Round Peak classic: “Stay All Night”. By ear, tab provided.

Sunday 3:30-4:30PM KIDS Amazing Kids' Session: Any L3 R37 ADAMS[C,F,B,V]

Learn to play "The Wren," a moody groovy Breton dance tune also known as "An Dro."

Sunday 3:30-4:30PM JAM Cajun House Party: F M C G Bass V L3 R7 C. MASON[F] HARTY[G] KARLSON[Bass]

Cajun music is emblematic of Louisiana. If you have a Cajun tune that you would like to share, come on in, or if you would like to learn a little back-up to play along while someone else is taking the lead; come on in.

Sunday 3:30-4:30PM Learn "Big John McNeill" (Scottish Reel from CTL): F L3 R36 BEATON[F]

Some think "Big John McNeill" came about to distinguish this tune (with 8 bar parts) from Peter Milne’s original "John McNeill’s Reel." John McNeill was a famous Highland dancer at the turn of the 20th century, who "...threw a fine leg!” A great tune, once in a while played with a mischievous chromatic ending.

Sunday 3:30-4:30PM Learn "St. Anne's Reel" on Fiddle or Cello (Canadian Tune from CTL): F C M L3 R6 SCHNECKENBURGER[F] JAMES[C]

A fine New England tune from our Common Tune List, perfect for listening or dancing. Lissa will teach fiddles and mandolins; McKinley, cellos.  Then, we'll arrange the tune and play it all together.

Sunday 3:30-4:30PM Double Stops on Fiddle: F L4 R33 HARGREAVES[F]

Application of diatonic and dominant harmony on the fiddle. All genres welcome. L4 session, advanced, fast paced, and very helpful.

Sunday FOOD and DRINK at Old Joe Clark's Pub 4PM-10PM Sunday

Hungry? Thirsty? Food and drinks available at Old Joe Clark's Pub off the Lobby. Limited menu for Fiddle Hell, leisurely paced.

Sunday 5:00-6:00PM Konnakol - The Alluring Art of South Indian Spoken Percussion: V L1 L2 L3 R35 FLAX[V]

India is home to the most advanced rhythmic system ever created by humans. In this class we’ll scratch the surface of “konnokol,” aka rhythmic solfege, and learn to apply the basics to fiddle rhythms and more. You’d be amazed how useful this is for your grooving!

Sunday 5:00-6:00PM Norwegian Fiddling 101: F L2 R37 VANDERSTEEL[F,Hardanger]

It's not too late! Learn a unique Scandinavian tune from Mariel’s repertoire from her time studying the hardanger fiddle in Norway, or perhaps her time in the Oldtime/Scandinavian fusion band, Blue Moose and the Unbuttoned Zippers.

Sunday 5:00-6:00PM Learn One of McKinley's Favorite Irish Tunes on Cello: C L2 L3 R8 JAMES[C] F. COHEN[G]

Learn "Boy in the Boat," a wonderful Irish reel which sounds great on the cello.

Sunday 5:00-6:00PM Klezmer 201 - Going Beyond the Basics: Any L3 R31 AISENBERG[F,M]]

Klezmer is a rich musical tradition, with the fiddle (aka fidl) playing a prominent role in late 19th and early 20th century Eastern European ensembles. To bring FH to a dynamic close, we’ll learn an exciting tune, “Goldenshteyn’s Bulgar,” from the repertoire of Romanian-born klezmer musician German Goldenshteyn. 

Sunday 5:00-6:00PM JAM Last Québécois Session at Fiddle Hell: Trad L3 L4 R6 FAVREAU[F] COLLINS-HILL[TG]

This happened informally two years ago in the lower hallway, with great happiness and excitement. So we made it official. Éric Favreau will lead, and the betting is that Oliver Scanlon will sit in for all or part of this Québécois farewell to Fiddle Hell for another year.

Sunday 5:00-6:00PM JAM The Last Bluegrass and Western Swing Jam at Fiddle Hell: Any L3 R7 HARTY[G,V] SCHATZ[F,V]

Do you like Del McCoury, Bill Monroe, Kenny Baker, Laurie Lewis, Sierra Hull? What about Bob Wills, Asleep at the Wheel, Milton Brown and His Musical Brownies? Jam on some of your favorite tunes to round out the weekend with Paul and Art.

Sunday 5:00-6:00PM Inventive Advanced Bass Runs on the Guitar: G L3 L4 R4 WYSLOUCH[G]

Take your bass runs to the next level. Surprise yourself and those around you with inventive new ways to get from chord X to chord Y. This will change your life! Basic knowledge of playing single note lines and scales on the guitar assumed.

Sunday 5:00-6:00PM JAM Last Up-To-Speed Irish Jam: Trad L3 R1 R2 A. REINER [F,OM]

Reels, jigs, and the occasional hornpipe. You could be in the Cobblestone Pub in Dublin, Ireland. Or The Burren in Somerville, MA. Slán agus beannacht!

Sunday 5:00-6:00PM Waltz Playalong 3 of 3 Music Provided: Any L3 R36 ALESSIO[F] KAYNOR[G]

A warm, welcoming, waltz wonderland to close off Fiddle Hell. Read the music or play by ear to drift along through a 3/4 landscape for an hour. Actual waltzers welcome.

Sunday 5:00-6:00PM A Cajun Reel from Dennis McGee: F M L3 R33 REED[F]

We will learn "Reel de DesHotels" including ornaments, slides, drones, and the chords. Master Cajun fiddler Dennis McGee (1893-1989) started playing at 14 and was playing for dances within 6 months. 


Our Fiddle Hell Store is closed until next year. Fiddle Hell Massachusetts is officially over. Go to dinner, take in a live performance, make your way to Boston or Cambridge. Or head home, glowing with the aura of new friends, new tunes, and new experiences.

Plan ahead for Fiddle Hell next year! It'll be on Nov 5-8, 2020.