After college, I briefly subscribed to the Journal of the
Society for Ethnomusicology and read this article:
Notes on the Teaching and Learning of Old-Time Fiddle
Vol. 31, No. 1 (Winter, 1987) , pp. 87-102
Published by: University of Illinois Press on behalf of Society for Ethnomusicology
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/852292
Augusta Heritage Center is where I first learned to play old-time music on the fiddle at a workshop with Gerry Milnes in 1988. Some of the people I met that week continue to have the greatest influence on my own playing: Bruce Greene, Melvin Wine, Clyde Davenport, Gerry Milnes.
I've been to visit with Clyde Davenport a couple of times at his home. I've learned several fiddle tunes from him, and I'm starting to learn some of the banjo tunes he plays. When I first visited Clyde, I played the tune Puncheon Camps which I'd learned from a tape of him. Afterwards he said to me "You got that tune, but you're playing it all wrong!" And he was right -- I had all the notes, but it didn't sound right. He proceeded to show me some of what I needed to do to play the tune.
What really matters here is the intervals between the strings. Many old-timers tuned their fiddles lower than A = 440 Hz, sometimes as much as 2 whole steps lower.
Heinrich Biber's 15
|G3--D4--A4--E5||P5--P5--P5||Standard Tuning||1. The Annunciation|
|2. The Visitation|
|A3--E4--A4--C♯5||P5--P4--M3||A||Black Mountain or Calico Tuning
(Jack of Diamonds)
|5. The Twelve-Year-Old Jesus|
|G3--D4--A4--D5||P5--P5--P4||G||Gee-Dad Tuning||10. The Crucifixion|
|A3--E4--A4--D5||P5--P4--P4||D||Old Sledge Tuning||14. The Assumption of the Virgin|
|A3--D4--A4--E5||P4--P5--P5||D||D Tuning||15. The Beatification of the Virgin
|E3--D4--A4--E5||m7--P5--P5||G||(Glory in the Meeting House)|
|A3--E4--F♯4--C♯5||P5--M2--P5||A||(The Original Grey Eagle
played by Marcus Martin)