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medieval fiddle

Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:10 pm
by kate/bob
I've been thinking about getting a medieval fiddle. I play the violin and wondered how similar or not they are to play. Any thoughts?

Re: medieval fiddle

Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:16 pm
by Tamsin Lewis
There are various ways of tuning, but you can tune it in 5ths like a violin.

The main differences is that it's not played under the chin, strings are gut, and you don't use vibrato.

I found it very easy to go from playing Classical violin to playing rebecs/medieval and renaissance fiddles.

Re: medieval fiddle

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:05 am
by Tom H
Tamsin, just curious - why don't you use vibrato.

I don't play violin/fiddle but do play various bagpipes and have recently been thinking about different approaches to ornamentation that various players use when performing historic music from different periods, and indeed regions. Just interested in a perspective from another instrument.

Re: medieval fiddle

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:26 pm
by kate/bob
thanks for the reply Tamsin.

I was thinking about a fiddle rather than a rebec as I'm not sure I could cope with having one less string!

How different is the bow to use? I held one and it seemed like the balance is very different from a modern one (please tell me it's very difficult as I'm doing increasingly badly at convicing myself not to buy one!)

Re: medieval fiddle

Posted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:06 am
by Foxe
It's totally different Kate. Moving from a classical bow to a fixed-frog bow is one of the hardest things I've ever done and it took me a long long time to be able to get a tune with an early bow.*

Does that help?







*Perhaps as long as three or four minutes. :devil:

Re: medieval fiddle

Posted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:59 pm
by kate/bob
:wink: Thanks Foxe

Re: medieval fiddle

Posted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:15 pm
by Handbag
Fixed frog bows can take a little getting used to , but I would say no more than when i changed from 3/4 size to full sized modern violin when i was a child.
My first early music instrument was a rebec and the change from violin to rebec was strange but fun at the same time with learning all the quirks and abilities of the instrument. the little rebec is so versatile it really is fun instrument to play.

Fundamentaly the process of playing a medieval fiddle can be the same, the resulting sound and tone is going to be different, but i adore the sound of gut strings!

good luck!

Re: medieval fiddle

Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:01 pm
by kate/bob
my other thought was about getting a small harp instead. I'm not very good at playing more than one note at a time, but figured that the opportunity to do that is limited with a small harp!

Re: medieval fiddle

Posted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 5:40 pm
by ceilteach_kitten
I recently bought a rebec and to be honest I'm really struggling with the gut strings. They don't stay in tune, snap easily and are uneven in diameter. They sound lovely but they're such a nightmare that I'm seriously considering re- stringing with modern violin strings. Just a word of warning!

Re: medieval fiddle

Posted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 6:51 pm
by Handbag
what make are your strings? - you can get really bad cheap ones which will do this - I have Chorda (Pirastro) strings and have found these fine compared to the strings I had sent with the instrument.

Re: medieval fiddle

Posted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:50 pm
by ceilteach_kitten
It's the strings the instrument came with so I'm not sure to be honest. I suspect they probably are from the cheaper end of the spectrum. Any recommendations for better quality gut string suppliers? Thanks!

In response to the original thread, I also have a small (12 string) harp and enjoy playing it. It didn't require a lot of learning! :)

Re: medieval fiddle

Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:17 pm
by Handbag
Ive got from Busy mole in the past and also Stringmail.co.uk

Re: medieval fiddle

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:04 pm
by kate/bob
having done some more research and some more thinking I'm starting a harp fund with some birthday money.

thanks for all your replies :D