VHS or Pal
A Fiddle Lesson:
Beginning with an introduction on grace notes and bowing and followed by the teaching and performance of five traditional tunes, this one hour lesson highlights some of the technical aspects of the Cape Breton style while providing a mini-repertoire.
- On-screen musical notation.
- Close up views of the fingerboard /
- Performance of tunes /techniques at slow and regular tempos
8 page booklet includes musical notation for the music being taught.
last upddate 6/3/00
Natalie MacMaster, A Fiddle lesson. 70 mins.
review by James Cameron
This is an excellent instructional video for the fiddler intent on exploring the Cape Breton style. Natalie MacMaster is a leading exponent of this style. She has performed widely and has several recordings to her credit, including Fit as a Fiddle (1993) and No Boundaries (1996). Her vigorous and expressive approach has broadened the appeal of this rich fiddle tradition to audiences beyond her native region.
Natalie's video, produced by Paul MacDonald, is designed for the intermediate student. A short but useful booklet accompanies it and supplies biographical information on Natalie, an explanation of basic left and right hand techniques, the music for eight tunes, and a listing of the tune collections crucial to the Cape Breton repertoire.
The video opens with a rousing performance of a medley of traditional tunes. The first section addresses grace notes (single and double gracings, the warble, pull-offs and hammer-ons) and bowings (the cut, drones, double-stops, staccato, various types of slurs, the loop and the up-driven bow).
After discussing these basics, the lesson covers a march, strathspey, reel, jig, and clog. Each phrase of each tune is analyzed, first with a demonstration ofthe ornamentation, and then of the bowing. On-screen musical notation, split screens, and close-ups of the fingerboard add greatly to the instructional value of this video tutor.
Natalie performs the tunes at both slow and standard tempos. One section discusses foot tapping and the patterns followed for each distinct rhythm. She also groups the tunes and plays them as medleys, a practice central to Cape Breton fiddle playing.
This video is a superb learning tool for the fiddler who knows the basics of fiddling and music notation. It is well-planned and clearly and methodically presented. As the first really good instructional video on Cape Breton fiddling, I highly recommend it.James Cameron