Sheet Music / Transcriptions
Under construction. My goal is to provide transcriptions here for all the tunes I've recorded on my albums, and most of the other tunes that appear in audio or video form on all pages of my website, as a start. Maybe I'll go on to include other tunes as well. I'd like to repay my debt to the musicians all over the world who have kept tunes alive for generations, inspired me, played with me, taught me, composed, recorded or shared sheet music with me, in person or on great websites like thesession.org, tunearch.org, folkwiki.se, spillefolk.dk, bluerose.karenlmyers.org, and to pass on my life's work of collecting great tunes to my students, to the wide world, and to the next generations of musicians who are discovering the beauty and fire of traditional fiddle music.
Note that tune transcriptions are always a snapshot, never the ONE authoritative way the tune has to be played forever more. The more I learn and play and hear, the more I realize that fiddle music is improvisational, personal, mysterious and elusive. All the details of rhythm, drones, ornaments, bowing and nuance CANNOT be accurately captured on paper or screen, hard as one might try. Our notation system is simply inadequate to the task. I've learned to embrace the variations and the ambiguity!
Even when I try to align my own my transcriptions with my own playing, which you'd think would be easy for me, I often find myself tweaking my own versions to my taste/mood at the moment, to a student's needs, or after hearing a cool variation played by someone else, or even changing the key to fit a certain instrument or medley or purpose. Some of these transcriptions are full of detail...feel free to strip the details away to get at the essence of the tune. Some are skeletal, just the basic frame of the tune....feel free to decorate or bend that frame to your liking. As always, listening listening LISTENING is the way to really learn a tune, both listening over and over to one great player playing the tune beautifully one time through to emulate a version you love, and listening to many different players and many times through to get a sense of the infinite possibilities.
The greatest mystery of all is that even with all I've described here, we recognize and can usually play along when someone starts a tune we know. We adjust our playing the way we'd adjust our gait when we walk next to people of different ages and abilities. Enjoy the journey!
Transcriptions are free to download, but tips are helpful to cover the annual cost of this website and Sibelius (my transcription app). Thank you! Tack! Merci!
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