April Verch

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Canadian Fiddle Styles

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About the book

The American Fiddle Method : Canadian Fiddle Styles (2008) Expert fiddlers Brian Wicklund and Canadian fiddle master April Verch teamed up to delve into the dynamic world of Canadian fiddling. This intermediate-level book explores Canada’s rich fiddle traditions including Old Time Canadian, French Canadian, Cape Breton and Métis. More than just a collection of great tunes, this book demystifies common ornaments and bowing patterns used in Canadian fiddling. The authors teach the simple melody to reels, jigs, hornpipes, waltzes, schottisches, airs and strathspeys, and demonstrate how to create variations using the skills in the book. An online download for great play-along audio is included with the purchase.

More details…

This project is more than just a book of fun-to-play standard Canadian fiddle tunes. It digs deeper into Canadian styles and teaches players how to come up with their own variations using classic ornamentation and bowing patterns. In other words, April Verch and Brian Wicklund bring us not just a “tune book” but a method book.

Canadian Fiddle Styles was written to include both beginning/intermediate and advanced fiddlers. Each tune is presented with its basic and easiest melody first. This version has the simplest bowings and little (if any) ornamentation. Following the basic melody, each tune is notated a second and third time demonstrating more advanced ornaments and bowing patterns that are traditional in the region of Canada where the tune originates.

This highly anticipated book features traditional tunes from each regional style of fiddling in Canada including Old Time Canadian, French Canadian, Cape Breton and Métis, as well as examples of the various types of tunes in the Canadian fiddling repertoire: reels, jigs, hornpipes, waltzes, schottisches, airs and strathspeys.

An extremely exciting bonus to this method is the 60 minute play-along audio that is included with each book. The recording enables players to play along with April and the accompanists (guitar & bass), or to pan the recording so that they are playing along with the accompanists themselves!

Reviews from fiddlers you know!

“An amazing volume of great tunes and techniques by two of my favorite fiddlers.” Matt Glaser

“The concept of this book – Ten Tunes, Ten Ornaments – is great! Fantastic organization, great tunes and a systematized approach… Overall a magnificent effort!” Richard Greene

“April Verch adds another exciting fiddle genre to the method books begun by Brian Wicklund. Classic Canadian tunes give the student a solid foundation in the tradition while clearly notated melodies and ornamentations combine with recorded audio to allow for a well rounded approach. April’s book addresses the common querie: “I’ve learned the melody, now how do I begin to improvise and make this tune my own?” Casey Driessen

“I’ve always said that sheet music is just a road map…this book is more of a GPS because it gives you alternate routes to take. It shows you that there isn’t just one way to play a tune. A great music book, indeed.” Calvin Vollrath

“I love this book! April and Brian- two wonderful fiddlers (one Canadian!) and teachers- have written a perfect guide to Canadian fiddle music, with all the tools to play it right. They present the history of the tunes, the barebones versions of the tunes, and then the traditional bowings and ornaments to challenge any fiddler. I think present fans of Canadian fiddling are going to find themselves joined by a new legion of fiddlers who’ll have started with this book. With such a good start- they’ll be welcome.” Liz Carroll

“When two of my favorite fiddlers turn their attention to the great constellation of Canadian fiddle styles, the results are bound to be special. And this book is not only special but important: pretty much every detail you¹d want to know about these styles, presented clearly and in good order, with some of the best-recorded versions of these tunes too. This book, I think, will be the classic reference book for Canadian fiddling for a very long time.” Darol Anger

“I have had the honor of performing and teaching alongside April and Brian. I can tell you they are both amazing players and gifted instructors. It’s one thing to perform at the level these two can, but it’s very rare that you find players that can teach what they know. This book is a “must have” for any serious student of the fiddle.” Bobby Hicks

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
About the Authors
Foreword
Chapter 1: An Overview of Canadian Fiddle Styles
Chapter 2: Types of Canadian Fiddle Tunes
Chapter 3:Canadian Style Variations

The Tunes…

  1. On the Road to Boston
  2. Good Neighbour Waltz
  3. Andy’s Jig
  4. Whalen’s Breakdown
  5. Hi-Lo Schottische
  6. Heel Toe Polka
  7. Waltz Quadrille
  8. Jonah’s First Change
  9. By the Fireside
  10. Maggie Cameron’s
  11. Seven Step
  12. Londonderry Hornpipe
  13. Walking Up Town
  14. Memories of Father Charles MacDonald
  15. Silver and Gold Two-Step
  16. The Old Red Barn
  17. Valse Clog
  18. Swamplake Breakdown
  19. Black Velvet Waltz
  20. Old French
  21. King of the Fairies
  22. Patronella
  23. Joys of Wedlock
  24. Minstrel’s Fancy
  25. Arcand-saw Traveler
  26. Birch Hills Waltz
  27. Little Burnt Potato
  28. Le Bonhomme et La Bonne Femme

Chapter 4: Constructing a Medley
Chapter 5: Exciting Endings