Intermediate Old Time Fiddle with Gabrielle Macrae

Gabrielle Macrae.jpg

I will be teaching a number of tunes over the course of the week, in a variety of keys and tunings, with an emphasis on rhythmic Old Time bowing technique. Everything will be taught by ear, in a call-and-response format, with every phrase broken down to an approachable length and speed. We will talk a lot about bowing patterns and rhythmic devices within the context of learning the tunes. Other things we'll touch on are regional flavors in Old Time fiddling, playing for square dances, using drones and rocking to your advantage, Old Time "groove", playing with another fiddler, and the role of the fiddle in Old Time and Bluegrass.

Students who sign up should be at a level where they are able to hear a simple phrase or melody and find the notes on their instrument. We will be going to alternate tunings, so if you've never strayed out of standard tuning before, you may want to check that your pegs aren't frozen in one place and get them serviced if they are. I don't read music and I won't be handing out any notation, so I encourage students to bring a recording device. My approach is more intuitive than theory-based, though I am happy to answer questions about theory if I have the answers. I encourage students to share recordings with each other but I respectfully ask that none of it is posted online. I'd like students to ask as many questions as they want and hopefully spark some discussions, so that the class is fun and relaxed. Like playing music should be.

Gabrielle Macrae hails from the Old Time music hotbed and rain capitol of the country, Portland, Oregon. She grew up in a musical family and her earliest musical memories are of singing in the church children's choir which her mother directed and falling asleep under the kitchen table while her parents and their friends played music late into the night. She played a variety of instruments a a child, but didn't become interested in Old Time music until she started going to square dances as a teenager. There she was exposed to Appalachian music and dance at the hands of Foghorn Leghorn and the infamous square dance caller Bill Martin. She started playing banjo at age 17 and fiddle shortly after. This was the beginning of a lifelong obsession which brought her to North Carolina where she lived for several years in her late teens and early twenties while learning from and playing with some of the great local players of the region. She began performing with her sisters in The Macrae Sisters in 2008 after they released their debut album Old Sledge. Since then she has been performing and teaching at camps, festivals and venues across the US and the UK . While on tour in England with her sisters in 2012 she met Liverpudlian Barry Southern of The Loose Moose Stringband. The two began playing music together and formed The Horsenecks. They now split their time between Liverpool, England and the second rainiest city in the country, Astoria, Oregon. Gabrielle can be seen playing fiddle with The Horsenecks (which includes her husband Barry Southern who is also here this week teaching ) and Hook and Anchor, banjo with The Macrae Sisters, and guitar with The Waysiders.

The Horsenecks