|Using Computers to Assist Fiddling|
| Computers can be
with the fiddle to offer many appealing facets to those who love the
music and the instrument. It is especially motivating to play with
others, but even practicing becomes more interesting when playing along
to music. Several programs can slow down CD recordings without changing
pitch. This makes it easier to learn some tunes. You can choose from
programs like: Slow
Downer, CD Looper, Slow Gold,
Blast. But first, check the
software that came with your sound card. The Creative software
with Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS will slow down, or speed up your CD
playback very easily while keeping the proper pitch.
MIDI files are especially helpful as you can easily adjust both the tempo and key in which any tune is played using vanBasco's MIDI player (free) and Anvil Studio (also a free download). Many, if not most, familiar fiddle tunes are available in MIDI format and there are many MIDI music links below in "The Music" columns. To learn more about music files on the Internet, visit Jake Gibson's Page.
notation allows for
easy coding of fiddle tunes. Several traditional collections are
available on the Interent. ABC Player
will play any tune and allow easy management of the collection. It is
also very flexible and is freeware. Any
ABC tune copied in text format can be converted to
MIDI and sheet music at Concertina.net.
Enter the title, or part of the title of any traditional tune you
want, into the search window at JC's ABC
Tune Finder. Select its whole text file and copy it to the
Contertina site above. Press the "Submit" button and get the MIDI and
Sheet music. If you like it, copy the file and then play it on
you computer in the key, and at the speed you want. Anvil Studio ,
will also let you change the instruments used on any track in your MIDI
files so that you can select the type of "orchestra" you wish to
practice with. Other inexpensive
programs which can assist with music files and sheet music are: Melody Assistant (free) , Midi
Composer also could be of use in composing and playing back
songs, and is not very expensive.
MP3 fiddle files can be found on the net, but not as easily as ABC and MIDI files. Many artists have short samples in MP3 format which can be downloaded. Please abide by applicable copyright laws when using MP3 files.
Finally, when you are ready to record your fiddling, you can have your computer act like a four track recording studio. Download the free "Quartz Studio" from DSP. You can even record tracks at various times to add your harmonies or accompaniment.
There is an incredible wealth of traditional tunes available free at many Internet sites. Have fun with your practices!