Wait Till You Hear This One

Old-time fiddle tunes and sources

Archive for the category “GDAE tuning”

Tune diary: “Turkey in the Straw,” Bob Walters

Hi gang, I’m back. I thought I’d try something different and post a tune I just learned, while it’s still at the exciting stage, even though I’m still working on it. “Turkey in the Straw” is a common, fairly simple tune, but Bob Walters’ version in A really grabbed me when I was listening to the The Champion the other day. If you don’t have the CD, you should get it. But you can hear a rough version of the same recording at the 5-minute mark in this audio-only video, part of the Gordon McCann series at Missouri State University Library. And here’s a slowed-down version, with the pitch corrected.

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“Old Dubuque,” Bob Walters

Key of D, standard tuning. Learned from the 2-CD set, “Bob Walters: The Champion” and used with permission. The tune can be played fairly simply and still sound close to the source—that’s how I played it when I first learned it. But trying to capture the nuances makes it more difficult, and lately I’ve been working on adding those in. Here’s a slowed-down version of the source recording:

And here’s a video of me playing the tune, first with piano backup (by Martha Thompson), then once slow, then with some comments about style. Sorry that my voice is a little quiet at points: I shot this all on my new ipad with no external mic. I’ll either use an external mic next time, or shout.

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“The dark-haired girl,” Bob Walters

Key of G, standard tuning, as played by Bob Walters. Here’s the recording I learned it from, on Larry Warren’s Slippery Hill site (used with his permission). And here’s a slowed-down and pitch-corrected version I made of that same recording. It starts off very quiet, but the volume comes up quickly:

I strongly associate this tune with festival season, and as I was packing for Weiser a couple of weeks ago, it was constantly running through my head. It’s one of those that’s easy and hard at the same time: most fiddlers will be able to come up with a satisfying version pretty quickly, but once you start trying to get all the details right, it can seem more and more elusive. The video below is my best shot at it, with backup by my wife, Martha. There are four parts, and the links will take you directly to whichever ones you’re interested in:


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“Dance all night”: a sure-fire dance tune

Tuning: GDAE. Source: “Dance to the Music and Listen to the Calls.” Here’s a link to the movie, cued right to where the tune starts.

In the video below, I play the tune once at a moderate speed, then I break into short phrases (starting here) so you can pause if you want, then I play it once slowly all the way through (here). Near the end I give some tips on style (here).

This a simple, accessible tune I love to play at dances, and one that other fiddlers often ask me about.  Read more…

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