Country fiddle is played throughout North America, but it has developed over time to be a distinctly American style. It began with the early settlers who found that violins were portable and rugged enough to survive the trip west.
The genre originated from Irish and Scottish fiddle music as well as Classical Violin. Over time those styles Americanized with local variations developing in the Northern and Southern colonies. In contemporary American fiddle styles, the New England states were heavily influenced by Celtic styles, including Cape Breton fiddle-playing; whereas Southern or "Dixie" fiddle styles tended to develop their own traditions, which emphasize double stops and in some instances the incorporation of dance calls or simple lyrics.
Texas Swing fiddle evolved as an interesting amalgamation of two distinctly American genres and lends itself to the “twin fiddle” sound that emerged in the early and mid 20th century.
Bluegrass also emerged mid century and bluegrass fiddlers are among the most technically skilled musicans in any style rivaling jazz musicians for speed and accuracy.
Country Fiddle playing generally avoids vibrato except for occasional slow tempo pieces and even then uses only minimal vibrato, often using double stops and open tunings.. Shorter bow strokes are also consistent with the fiddle players' tendency to use less legato and more detache bow strokes.
Since country was traditionally played in smaller ensembles without drums, country fiddlers often play rhythm parts by “sawing” and “chopping” with the bow when not carrying the melodic line. They also employ cross bowing techniques (Orange Blossom Special) to add counter rhythm drive.
Characteristics of Country Fiddle:
Sliding into notes and using minimal vibrato
Rhythmic sawing and chopping when accompanying singers or other instruments
Dragging strings adjacent to the melody note and using double stops
The Free Country Fiddle Loops below were selected from the extensive ViolinLoops Loop Library. All of the ViolinLoops available from our Loop Library are AppleLoops. This means they are high quality AIF and will automatically snap to your session key and tempo settings if you are using Apple Logic or Garage Band.
No worries if you’re on PC and using a different software DAW, AIF files import as high resolution audio in to all current recording software, regardless of platform. The embedded AppleLoop meta data doesn’t apply on PC, but the Original Key and Tempo of all the loops appears at the beginning of every file name making it easy to stay organized.
If you do want to easily convert these files to any other format, there is a brilliant free audio conversion utility called Audacity. This free app is awesome and has a built in batch processor for converting multiple files in one go.
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String players intonate notes precisely while liberally applying vibrato which typically rolls below the intended pitch. This gives ensembles that lush chorus effect.
The defining characteristics of Celtic Fiddle are the rapid, rhythmic bow articulations and rolling note ornamentations on either side of the melody note.
Gypsy Violin often uses harmonic minor or double harmonic minor Byzantine tonalities combined with wider emotive vibrato.
Country Fiddle is unique stylistically because the players often slide into the intended notes. Rhythmic sawing bow paterns give this style it’s characteristic propulsion.
Cajun music is dance music plain and simple. This style is all about bow rhythms and open notes are often dragged along with the melody notes to add gumbo.