When most fiddlers are first learning to play, their primary focus is on performing the proper notes of the tune, intonating those notes correctly, and producing a generally pleasing sound. However, as students of the fiddle progress, they quickly discover that there are a plethora of ways in which they can create various sounds and tonalities on their instrument that greatly expand the realm of expressive possibilities.
In this online fiddle lesson, master fiddler, ArtistWorks bluegrass instructor, and founding member of the popular string outfit Hawktail, Brittany Haas, discusses the concept of tone on the fiddle and provides a handful of techniques that you can employ to create a wider range of expressive sounds on the instrument.
“At the beginning of your journey with the fiddle, you might be thinking about just sounding ‘good’ or making a ‘pretty’ sound,” Brittany explains. “But, I always want my students to keep in mind that it’s so much broader than just that. There’s such a wide range of sounds that you can produce on this instrument, and tone can be really personal.”
If you’re in the early stages of your musical journey on the fiddle, try your best not to let the broad concept of tone overwhelm you. It’s an important facet of your playing to always keep in the back of your mind, but it’s also an element of your playing that will constantly evolve and grow. Your tonal preferences will naturally ebb and flow, and your ability to produce a wider variety of tones will grow as you continue to explore the fiddle.
“It’s important to be aware of the range of tonal capabilities on the fiddle,” explains Brittany. “I always recommend listening to a lot of different styles of music, because then you can take in more ideas and decide what you want to use when you’re creating your own sound.”
The Concept of Tone with Brittany Haas:
Have you always wanted to learn how to play the fiddle? Through our comprehensive fiddle lessons online and Video Exchange Learning platform here at ArtistWorks, you can learn from internationally renowned players, like Brittany Haas, and get personal feedback on your playing.
Brittany’s course starts with the basics and teaches everything from beginner fiddle to advanced performance techniques, improvisation methods, classic old time and bluegrass tunes, and Brittany’s unique and critically acclaimed approach to the instrument. So, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player, all levels are welcome and all students will grow and improve their skills as fiddle players and musicians.