brushyrun.farm/oldtimefiddle


Welcome, friends and fans of old-time southern Appalachian fiddle & banjo (stringband) music. I have been working to "crack the code" of the best old-time fiddling since 1990, for my own satisfaction and in an effort to bring these wonderously upbeat, danceable and "heroically anachronistic" sounds to my home area in Kansas. Bands I have performed with in the past include the Alferd Packer Memorial Stringband, Euphoria Stringband, Peghead, Goin' to Town and Hell in the Holler.

I have been inspired and mentored by many of the best players of the genre, and am happy to share my knowledge with others on the same path. I am a luthier at J.J. Hanson's Beautiful Music Violin Shop in Lawrence, KS, and am available for private instruction.

This site was previously hosted at www.oldtimefiddle.us, but I've abandoned that domain and have tacked the site onto brushyrun.farm. It is primarily a portal for my lesson materials and the library of fiddle tunes I have transcribed in my fiddletab notation system. These materials are here for anyone to use for free -- I hope they are as useful to emerging old-time fiddlers as they would have been to me decades ago!

To inquire about beginning through advanced-level lessons, feel free to write me at:

 

ENTER THE FIDDLETAB ARCHIVE

 

 

What is old-time music?

Old-time music -- it's unmistakable, and you know it when you hear it. But where did it come from, and where did it go? Describing this rich and multi-faceted musical genre can be a lot like trying to nail jello to the wall. This essay (click here) by Mark Humphrey, hosted on David Lynch's oldtimemusic.com, is a really good start.

 

More about Doug's instructional style and fiddletab system

Doug DuBois has been immersed in southern old-time fiddle styles since 1990, when he began making regular pilgrimages to stringband music festivals in the southeast US. He has been inspired and mentored by a number of the best "revivalist" masters of the instrument, and has developed a deep appreciation for the subtle intricacies of their playing, especially in their bowing. A founding member of several stringbands in Lawrence, KS, Doug hosts barn dances and occasionally plays fiddle in dance bands.

Doug uses insights from his own learning process to help keep his fiddle students motivated and productive. He strives to help beginning and intermediate players avoid the pitfalls and ruts that plagued his own early playing, so they can learn how to listen and "learn how to learn," hopefully providing a shortcut to the path that leads to efficient life-long progress. He disagrees with the way beginners are commonly taught, and intentionally avoids emphasis on the basic shuffle which can actually interfere with one's future assimilation of advanced old-time bowing. He knows from hard experience that it is much easier to learn good habits early on than to break bad habits later, and this knowledge informs and enhances his teaching.

Doug's approach is less about holding up his own playing as an example for students to learn as it is about teaching how to scrutinize, understand and apply the intricasies inherent in the playing of advanced old-time musicians. He evaluates where each student is in their old-time musical development, and adapts his instruction to the task of helping them discover and apply the techniques that produce the sounds that inspire them but seem to be just out of reach.

For advanced students, Doug teaches advanced techniques with emphasis on bowing patterns, rhythmic emphasis, melodic ornamentation, and advanced tunings. His detailed approach helps the student both hear and assimilate subtle but important details in the playing of the masters, and of course, helps them recognize and eliminate bad habits.

Although Doug is mainly interested in teaching how to play by ear, his instruction includes written notation that plays a powerful role when one is learning a new tune or "burning" a new technique into one's nervous system. Initially for his own learning and reference, he developed a notation system that captures on paper not just melodies but more importantly the intracacies of technique that make a tune's performance compelling and true to the desired style. Doug believes that the standard "black dot" form of musical notation (needed for orchestral use but not for fiddle music) puts unnecessary layers of translation and interpolation between the player and playing music. His "fiddletab" system cuts out the added complexity, offers a much more direct and accessible path from paper to music, and is especially well-suited to those who can't or don't wish to read the black dot system. Doug's fiddletab library can be found at www.brushyrun.farm/oldtimefiddle, and is offered without charge.

 

fiddletab archive