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Fiddle - Michael Willis - 10-11-2016

Does anybody here have experience writing a fiddle part?  I've been told that the difference between a violin and a fiddle is the style of playing, and a few thousand dollars. I'm not sure how much of that is joke or not. Can I use solo violin samples for a fiddle jig, or should I set about looking specifically for fiddle samples?

RE: Fiddle - Mattias Westlund - 10-11-2016

Well I can't claim "experience" other than that I have tried to emulate a more folky style using orchestral violin samples on more than one oaccasion, with mixed results. My grasp of actual fiddle playing is weak to say the least even though I do listen to various kinds of traditional music that features fiddle quite heavily (e.g. ITM). All I've been able to do is approximate a general "fiddly" feel, which is all you can hope for if you don't have proper fiddle samples. There's just so much going on in traditional playing, all those little slurs and slides and whatnot, that makes me think that it must be a tough instrument to mimic even WITH a dedicated fiddle lib.

This is one example where I used a non vibrato violin to simulate droning open strings together with the played melody. And in this one I found that using a long detache violin worked fairly well for a more up-tempo fiddle melody (the hoedown type of part at 0:55), as it didn't dig into the note same way as a sustained orchestral violin does. Then again, it's masked by everything else which makes it easier getting away with.

So I dunno really, what solo violin samples do you have? I'd say give it a shot, you'll find out if it works or not quickly enough!

RE: Fiddle - Michael Willis - 10-11-2016

(10-11-2016, 05:22 PM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: So I dunno really, what solo violin samples do you have?

Oh, just the usual suspects, SSO, VSCO, NBO, and a couple of old soundfonts of undefined origin called aaviolin and campbell violin. I'll have to make a go of it and see how it turns out.

For what it's worth, The Winding Path is one of my favorites that you have written, but mostly for the part with the harp and flute doubling the melody, backed up by the string sections doing staccato harmony.

RE: Fiddle - Otto Halmén - 10-11-2016

There are a bunch of different fiddle traditions and styles. For faking it in MIDI, crisp note attacks, portamento, grace notes and double stops are some musical devices that can give a violin part that certain fiddle feel.

Here's a small fiddle part from one of my songs. Also, the violin in Rollin' The Dice sounds a lot like a fiddle as well. Smile

Masking, which Mattias already mentioned, helps a lot when you're trying to fake it. Smile

RE: Fiddle - Mattias Westlund - 10-12-2016

(10-11-2016, 06:52 PM)Otto Halmén Wrote: Also, the violin in Rollin' The Dice sounds a lot like a fiddle as well. Smile

Haha, I didn't even think of that myself. TBH I don't remember what samples I used on that one.

RE: Fiddle - Mattias Westlund - 10-12-2016

Come to think of it MSLP's "Violin Folk Lofberg" is, as the name suggests, more folk oriented and might be something worth checking out. I haven't really used it for anything since I scavenged it for staccato samples for SSO, but it is definitely more fiddly than orchestral.

RE: Fiddle - Kev Adams - 10-16-2016

As a fiddle player myself, this is a question that I'm hoping to find an answer to as well, now I am unable to play.
First, the instrument is the same whatever music is played on it. 'Fiddle' is just a nickname.

As Otto says, there are many different styles of traditional fiddle playing, and they all have their own distinctive sound, so you should try to decide what you're aiming at a bit more closely and listen to some examples to get a feel for the phrasing and decoration. It is all in the decoration. I'd be happy to help further if you like.

I suspect most people think no further than either 'Irish/ Celtic' or 'American /Bluegrass'.  Think of the band playing at Frodo's party in Lord of the Rings. A fake Celtic style (and completely wrong if you believe that Tolkien's Shire represents rural England.)

I've tried using GPO solo violin for a tune of mine, ( ) but I'm not convinced by it, even though I can write in the sorts of decoration and intonation I would have used myself. There's so much that goes on with the bow at all stages of making a note and moving to the next one that it is very difficult to make it sound authentic.

By the way, I recently bought the new Orange Tree Mandolin and it is excellent ( I used to play mando as well). I wrote to congratulate them and asked about the possibilty of doing  a fiddle ; this was the reply:

>Wow, thank you for your kind words, I really appreciate it! I'd love to sample a fiddle--it would definitely be a challenge, since the instrument is capable of so much expression. We're working on a cello library for pop/rock, so that will let us test some of the technology that could potentially be used for a fiddle library in the future as well.