Octaves

Sep 06, 2016

Hi! I’m Mitch Reed. Welcome to my fiddle vlog. Today I’m gonna talk about a little exercise that you can work on for your octaves because octaves are used a lot in Cajun fiddle. I’ll give you an example of some tunes that have heavy octaves and then show you how you can practice them. The first one…I love this tune and it’s a… I think the octave really makes a tune, it’s called Pointe aux Pin and it goes…[00:29]…

Alright. So the octaves there, right away you have two. So, sometimes people say “What is an octave?” An octave is the same note but a high version or the low version of the note…that’s the low version…[00:54]…that’s the high version…[00:56] so play it together…[01:00] Sounds kind of powerful. It’s like this double note, you know? And you go to the next octave which, this seems kinda tricky if you’re just starting out with the fiddle: It’s a first finger on the A and a fourth finger on the E…[01:14]…and it’s hard to get in tune sometimes and I have two fiddles, one tuned up and one tuned down, and I have to make little adjustments to get those octaves in tune.

What I wanted to show you today is an exercise that you can do to find where the intonation is on your fiddle, because all fiddles are different. So it basically goes like this: you start on the E and the A string, and start with the first octave which I call the fourth finger octave. So you got your first finger on the A and a fourth finger on the E…[1:52]…Then these are easy, it’s the third finger on the E and open A…[1:58]…okay, so you have those. The two together is the fourth finger octave…[2:03]…then you go the third finger with the open A…[2:07]and then really just jump down a string and do the same thing…[2:13].  Okay? Then you can go up. So you can go from that third finger on the D string with the open G…[2:25]…to the fourth finger on the D with the first finger on the G…[2:30]…and go all the way up…[2:33]

This a good way to practice your octaves. You can mix it up; you could do it with a waltz bow rhythm, so you could do something like this…[2:45]…kinda sounds cool. And then you could do it with the shuffle rhythm for like two steps, so you could go…[3:15]: Alright, so that’s a good little practice there to practice your octaves.

When you’re playing tunes like The Kaplan Waltz…wait, not the Kaplan Waltz, what am I thinking? Maybe Chere Bébé Creole…[3:55]. Or Viens Me Chercher, Come & Get Me…[4:14]… They’re used a lot in waltzes and two-steps as well.

I hope you enjoyed a little example of what you can do to get your octaves more in tune. But it’s tricky and it takes time and I’m not gonna touch on it today but there’s another way that octaves are used. If you listen to old-time fiddle players like Dennis McGee and Wade Frugé, they would actually slide the octaves. So Dennis had a song called, I’ll just show you real quickly, Dennis had a song called Courville & McGee Waltz and it was like…[5:47]. Wade Fruge had one he called The Little Calf is Dead and on the B part he slides an octave…[6:30].

So it’s kinda tricky but that would be the next level if you wanna work in those octaves…[7:00]… honestly, some days I can hit these, and some days I can’t. So it’s just one of those things you know… but definitely, practicing them helps.

So good luck with that and hope to see you soon. Thanks for joining me today for my vlog on octaves and exercises for the octaves. So hope to see you soon, stay inspired, keep on fiddling, and have a great day. Bye-bye.

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