I had the pleasure of making some free fiddle lessons for the Montana State Old-Time Fiddlers Association. This is a great tune called Redwing. Enjoy!
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Hi I’m Vi Wickam, and this is a myTalentForge.com lesson for the Montana State Old-Time Fiddlers Association book.
A pleasure to be a part of that program! And I thank you for learning this tune with me.
Redwing is one of my all-time favorite fiddle tunes. It was written by Kerry Mills in 1913. And the melody of the A-part is a tune that was taken from an earlier classical composition.
You will recognize the B-part as a common tune that is used for ice cream trucks!
It’s a great tune, really catchy. I think you’ll recognize it when I play it. So I’m going to play it for you once, and then I’ll break it down for you and learn it a phrase at a time.
So that’s Redwing. Now let’s break it up and take it a piece at a time.
We’ll start on an upbow- this is a pick up note. Then we start the downbow. Downbow on the down beat, 3 on the B string, G note…
[Up, 3, 2, 3, 1, 3…]
So we are in the key of G, that means we have a low 2nd finger on the A string, and on the E string. [2, 0, 2, 0, 3…]. So low tows on both the A and B…
The next phrase […]. We will then repeat that phrase- down 1 step. [2, 3, 2, 1, 0, 2, 1, 2, 1, 0, 3, 1].
Let’s put that together. […]
Now let’s go to the next phrase […0, 1, 2, 3, 0, 1, 0, 3, 2, 1, 0, 2]. We have a little scale pattern…
And that leads us back into the main theme of the A. […] That part is all the same the second time through. It changes in the second ending.
The first time gets us ending on a D note, which is the 5th note of G. We’re in the key of G. And landing on the 5th note at the end of the phrase, or that “thing”, makes it sound unfinished.
So the second time we come around and get that same ending, that gets us ending on a G note, which is the root, or the “1” of the key we’re in. So it sounds resolved or finished.
And we can move onto the B part. Let’s play that A part together again. […]
I added an extra note in there… and that’s something that we do in fiddle tunes a lot! So the ending that is written in the book is […]. That is our simple melody, but when you expand a fiddle tune, that’s really fiddling! So learn the melody first, and then you can expand it on your own.
You’ll notice that we have a hooked bowing… We have a slur here to start out […]. Notice the 2 upbows in a row. Give it a little lift, or a little stop in the middle. [2, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 2, 1, 0, 3, 1…]
We’ll have to do this a lot, where we’ll have a long note followed by another upbow.
The count on most of these is going to be 1, 2, 1, 2, 3…1, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4… […]
You’ll notice in the B-part that we have the same kind of pattern, where we have a split in the middle, and we have the same thing repeated twice. Here it is […]
The first time through, we end on a B note, which is not our root. The root is what tells us the phrase is done. So ending on a 3rd sounds unresolved, so we do it again.
Then the second time we end on the root- we end on G. And ending on that G note makes it sound finished. It sounds final because we resolved it.
I’m going to play it one more time for you up to speed. I hope you’ve enjoyed this lesson! It’s Redwing in the key of G. It’s a fun old fiddle tune!
Have a great day! I’ll see you next time!