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Hi all,

By convention, the *normal* tuning of the fiddle is :

E - A - D - G (mi-la-ré-sol)...

However, as you may know, there are different other ways to tune a fiddle.

This thread is about it..! Feel free to contribute.. ;-)


Tags: fiddle, tuning, violin

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Replies to This Discussion

Hello all,

I thought a nice tuning to begin with would be :

D - G - D - G ( ré - sol - ré - sol )

Not too stressfull for the fiddle, simply tune the two (2) smallest diameter strings lower by a full tone.

Here is a sample tune played with that tuning. Forgive about the quality of both sound and interpretation...! ;-)

Excuse me but the "normal" tuning of th fiddle is E-D-A-G it's the same for the violin isn't it?
What is a bit misleading is the fact the instrument (le violon) has two different (and common) names in English : violin and fiddle...

But as far as *standard* tuning goes, you are absolutely correct, Éric...
E D A G is by convention the *normal* fiddle / violon / violin tuning... so these instruments are conceived and builted to structurally support at the very least such tensions from the four strings tuned that way...

But loosing some strings by few half tones is not too dangerous... and can be great fun..! ;-)


p.s. The same applies when tighting a bit more than usual some strings... but be carefull and don't over thight..!!!
I have dabbled a bit with alternate tunings, The high mountain fiddlers seemed to use the dgdg a lot as it allows for lots of drones and double stops on the old modal tunes. There is music written for this tuning but I have a problem trying to read it as the music says F and my ear hears E and I end up getting all fuddled. Not so bad if I play by ear but even then I sometimes find it confusing.
I have a book called The Caledonian Companion which is about Scot music and it gets into that tuning as does the MelBay book Advanced Fiddling
Have you tried the tunings? How do you like them.
I can understand it could quickly gets quite a mixed up when *reading* a tune played in different tuning..! Playing *by ear* avoid such mixed up..! ;-)
I love to play in *non-standard* tunings..! But I don't know many of them... ;-)
What is a *double stops*..?
P.s. *reels en sol* is a little medley I've put up from two reels in the D-G-D-G tuning... and you are absolutely right when referring about drones...!
From NIta :
Here is a music question. How do you put together tune Sets. Deciding which tune will play well with which.
I have found that placing tunes in the same key or with similar openings makes it sound to the untrained ear like you are playing the same tune with variations.
I might play 2 em tune and then move to a different key and/or a different rythmn.

Good question, NIta..!
Very recently (like yesterday evening.!), I had to deal with similar concerns about tunes and keys... because when you play on stage and not being fortunate enough to have two (or more) violins, each one tuned in a different tuning, the last thing you want is to change your instrument's tuning after every tune..! It is never pleasant either for you or the public...!
And I agree with you : successive tunes in the same key, might sounds very similars one from each other for any *untrained* ears, like you said... and even for trained ears on a non-fiddle player head..! ;-)
Changing rythmns when playing in a specific tuning (for example A-D-A-D or A-D-A-E), might be an efficient solution... So you might consider playing a reel, then a jig, then another reel, after what you can play a waltz... doing so, untrained ears might stay in-tune with you...!!! And if you introduce
individually your tunes, that might helps too..! ;-)
But then, after few tunes, you will have to change tuning..! But at least, you were ok to play few successives tunes in the same key, before considering to switch your tuning... ;-)
P.s. What a treat to own as many instruments as many different tunings you play with, which is not my case yet..!!! ;-)
My solution, one of them anyway, to the tune set is to keep shifting key while playing in the same tempo. One of my favorite sets is to do the Orphan Jig and follow it with Apples in Winter.
Moving from minor to a major key finsh. Or going from a slide to a polka
I like to mix the familiar with the unfamiliar. This seems to get an audience engaged as people seem to get lost if they don't recognize anything.
Oh yeah, double stop is just a fiddlers name for playing two strings at once as in a chord. Different from a drone because you are finger both strings, hence the word double.
I have my old violin but it does not have as good a sound as my newer one. I like to keep that one tuned down a bit lower and use if for alternate tunings. It has a very sharp, nasal kind of sound so it works for those 'hoe down' tunes. But it is not a good solo instrument.
My newer one has a much warmer sound.
I have switched over to gut core strings as well.
I use different way tune only for G (sol) in F or E (down).


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