Fiddle practice log 9/28/2021

Time practiced

10 minutes

Scales and arpeggios practiced

  • Scales: one octave G, D, A
  • Arpeggios: lower octave G, upper octave G, also D and upper octave A

Techniques practiced

  • Placing multiple fingers down to hit the G and B on the upper G arpeggio, then placing multiple fingers down to hit the D and high G
  • Same thing in reverse coming back down the arpeggio
  • “Left hand rehearsal” where I just step through the fingering patterns of a thing, to train my fingers what they need to be doing

Tune practiced

More Feller from Fortune. Mostly focusing on the B part and trying to make sure I have the fingering down.

However, I also experimented a little bit with where the slurs might be interesting. Can’t really commit to that quite yet just because I am not comfortable playing the full A and B part of this tune all the way through yet. And I feel like I need to get that down before I can start thinking about how to dress up the tune and take it out for dinner.

Fiddle practice log 9/27/2021

This is going up on the 28th, but it’s actually for the practice I did on the 27th.

Scales practiced

  • One octave G
  • One octave D
  • One octave A
  • One octave C

Techniques practiced

  • Double stops on open strings, playing lower string, then upper, then both
  • Also working on trying to sense when the bow is properly parked on both strings to do that double stop
  • (Reminder to self: that angle change to hit both strings at once is not as big as you think it is)

Tunes practiced

Worked more on Feller from Fortune, and specifically the B part. Tried to work on learning it from memory, because I can hear it in my head, and I wanted to see if I could work on training my ear and my ability to reproduce notes.

But apparently this is a three stop process for me:

  1. Can I reproduce the tune I hear in my head? Can I whistle it, hum it, or otherwise vocalize it from memory?
  2. Can I parse what notes I’m hearing? Do I know, say, a B when I hear one?
  3. Can I take each note out of memory and find it on the instrument? Particularly if they are tricky intervals between notes?

There’s a particular bit of the B part of this tune that dips pretty low on the melody, and it took me quite a bit of mental work to realize it was going all the way down to open D. And a lot of work in general just trying to pull up the memory of the Great Big Sea recording in my head, then whistling it slowly, and then trying to reproduce the same notes on the fiddle.

I do more or less understand how the A part works, but the B part still needs some work. And I want to get to the point of playing both of them in a nice flow together before I start trying to dress it up and make it sound cooler.

Fiddle practice log 9/20/2021


  • Time practiced: 10 minutes
  • Scales practiced:
    1. One-octave G, D, A
    2. Two-octave G
  • Techniques practiced:
    1. Up-down-both double stops, all string pairs
    2. Down-up-both double stops, all string pairs
    3. Trying to be mindful of a steady bowing pace for purposes of keeping a scale flowing
    4. Trying to be mindful of keeping my elbow swinging smoothly when doing string crossings
    5. Trying to be mindful of finger placement and specifically consciously telling myself “I’m putting my finger right there next”
  • Tunes practiced: Fortune set by Great Big Sea, A part of the first tune


Finding those angles on my double stops is still a damn problem. And it’s still entirely a matter of not being able to find the proper intermediate angle to hit both of those strings at the same time, at least in a timely fashion. If I do it slowly, and do the thing where you judge where the bow is resting so that you can actively tell “yes, I am on both strings”, i can do it.

But not if I try to do it quickly. Therefore, as with just about everything when it comes to the fiddle, more practice is required.

Today’s tune was the Fortune set from Great Big Sea just because I listened to that again recently, and it’s stuck in my head! Also because the A part of the first tune is pretty easy. I already knew I could kind of play it on the fiddle, but I also wanted to see what I could learn by dropping some slurs in it.

First immediate thing I learned: “do slurs on descending notes” is not quite enough for my satisfaction for this tune. It’s very obvious that if I want to try to emulate what Bob Hallett does on the recording, I need to slur the first few notes that start the A part of this thing.

After that, it becomes a question of where else to slur, and I think I did figure that out easily enough—there are parts with descending notes where yeah, I can slur those easily enough and make the A part come out… well, if not exactly rocking quite yet, then at least beginning to sound like I might actually know what I’m doing. Lol.

Also spent a little time trying to see if I could play the B part by memory, but I don’t have that bit of the tune as well engrained in my head quite yet. Clearly I’m going to have to listen to the recording a few more dozen times. Oh darn whatever shall I do.

Side note for the Great Big Sea fans who may be reading this: this A and B part I’m talking about is specifically for the first instrumental bit of the Fortune recording, which comes before the B’ys jump in with the vocals and start singing “There’s lots of fish in Bonavist Harbor!”

After that vocal bit there are two more tunes to round out the set and I do have eventual aspirations of getting to those, too. But for now I’m focused just on the first tune. :D