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Fiddle accompaniment like in the songs & What is the Family Tradition Big Print Songbook?

Hi, I just discovered this site and I've been hooked. I have two questions - the first is I'd like to order the Big Print Songbook (in addition to the Toneway Method book). I'm in France, and Amazon.fr only has the “Family Tradition BIG PRINT Songbook” which has 350 songs. I'm not sure what the difference is between this and the Big Print Songs book on your site that has 222 songs. It seems the Big Print Songs book is newer, but on the other hand it has less songs so I'm confused about which one to get.

My second question is if you have any material on the fiddle accompaniment like in the songs on your site. I'm not sure if it's Kyle but whoever it is, I really love the fiddle parts. The chopping is straight forward, but what I love is the longer notes that are played and then connected with some faster notes. I don't know if these are “licks” or what they're called but I would really like to learn how to do that. Any tips on where to start?

Thanks for a great site, especially the workshop. I went through it twice and I love the jam at the end. I hope I can get my family into music like yours.

Cheers,
Michael

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Dave and Michael,

You've hit the nail on the head. Pentatonic scales will let you solo or play fills over any song, at least any song in the Toneway repertoire.

In my mind, there are two ways to figure out which notes you can play when. For the first, you pick notes that are in the scale that matches the chord being played. So, if the band is playing a G major chord, pick notes from the G-major scale. This works great, until the chord changes. For example if the song goes to a C-major chord, you need to switch to notes in the C major scale. That's great if you know your scales, but not so great if you don't, or if the changes are really quick. What to do?

Well, turns out most of the notes in the G-major scale also fit C major, but not all. The troublemakers are the 4th tone and the 7th tone. So throw them out. The “normal” G major scale has 7 tones: G A B C D E and F#, then back to G. Throw out C and F#, and you get five tones: G A B D and E. Pentatonic means “five tones”, and that's why. So with those notes, you can play over any chord in the song without worrying about what chord is being played. Even if its a minor chord like Am or Em.

Sorry if that sounds complicated, but it's actually quite simple. It's possible to go into much more detail than this. But I think the easiest way to apply all this in a practical way without making your brain explode is to learn the simplified Toneway picking patterns from the books or the “simplified picking pattern” PDF available once you register your book. You'll see that these patterns are really pentatonic scales (Major pentatonic, really. There are other versions, but let's leave that for another day).

Edited 2 times; last edited Mar 13, 2014 by Ralph Lange
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Ralph, thank you for your explanation. Yo have written easy to understand. I'm excited to give it a try. I could tell as I was practicing earlier today that the F# wasn't fitting. For whatever reason I didn't bow the C.

What I have been practicing is bowing the chords during the verse and then combinations of short/long maybe a little shuffle on the notes of the scale.

I will now try the same thing but using the pentatonic scale (notes 1,2,3,5,6,8 or 1 again) only. I think I understand it!

Thanks Ralph and Michael (and of course ToneWay)

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On the way to/from work I often listen to the songs in the “Core Songs Series”, this morning I was listening to “Don't this road look rough & rocky” (http://toneway.com/songs/dont-this-road-look-rough-and-rocky) and I love the fiddle accompaniment. So I'm going to learn this song and study the fills. I figure it's a good place to start because the song seems simple and more importantly, it's slow. :) If others are interested in collaborating on this we can share our ideas here. I'll have some time this weekend to study it.

I use Transcribe to slow down tunes. Amazing Slow Downer is another popular one. I like Transcribe because it will guess notes and chords which is nice.

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Dave and Michael,

You've hit the nail on the head. Pentatonic scales will let you solo or play fills over any song,

Well, turns out most of the notes in the G-major scale also fit C major, but not all. The troublemakers are the 4th tone and the 7th tone. So throw them out. The “normal” G major scale has 7 tones: G A B C D E and F#, then back to G. Throw out C and F#, and you get five tones: G A B D and E. Pentatonic means “five tones”, and that why. So with those notes, you can play over any chord in the song without worrying about what chord is being played. Even if its a minor chord like Am or Em.

Another way to say this is a pentatonic scale has no half steps, or no fingers touching. A visual example of this are the black keys of as piano. They all have at least one white key between, and in two places are steps bigger than that.

If you play a pentatonic scale beginning on the D string of your fiddle/violin, you'd play D, E, F#, A, B, D. At no point do your fingers touch as they would if playing all seven notes as Ralph mentions above. This pattern may be used beginning on any open string, and only two strings would be involved.

Edited Mar 13, 2014 by Craig Hawkins
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If you play a pentatonic scale beginning on the D string of your fiddle/violin, you'd play D, E, F#, A, B, D. At no point do your fingers touch as they would if playing all seven notes as Ralph mentions above. This pattern may be used beginning on any open string, and only two strings would be involved.

Thank you, Craig!

You just made me have a “AHA” moment and the light bulb turned on.

Thank you for simplifying it!

Delta

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