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Judy Hyman

Old Time Fiddle

For decades Judy has taught at music camps throughout the U.S.; she is honored to be returning to Falling Waters. With roots in classical violin, Appalachian fiddle music, and modern rock, Judy is a founding member of alt-trad band, The Horse Flies, who have toured extensively throughout North America and Europe and recorded many albums, including releases on MCA and Rounder Records. Judy also composes music for film and received an Emmy Award for her score for the documentary The Cultivated Life: Thomas Jefferson and Wine. Judy toured and recorded with the remarkable Natalie Merchant several times, appearing on Merchant’s albums, The House Carpenter’s Daughter, Leave Your Sleep, and Retrospective.  A project emotionally special to Judy is Late Last Summer,  an album of her original waltzes, which she recorded with her dad, jazz pianist/composer Dick Hyman. Judy has been featured in Electronic Musician Magazine and twice in Fiddler Magazine.  She was also included as one of 20 master fiddlers in a booklet/cd set celebrating Fiddler Magazine’s 20th anniversary.  She has been commissioned to create a new waltz to celebrate Fiddler Magazine’s 25 anniversary in 2019.

Judy's Workshop Descriptions

Teaching Approach: In Judy’s classes you’ll learn a tune (or two?). Judy will teach the basic notes and then focus on bowings for achieving the danceable rhythm and fluid sound characteristic of old-time Appalachian music. You’ll also learn about alternate tunings, phrasing, and ornamentation. The tunes and techniques will be broken down and clearly taught so that you can learn by ear. All levels are welcome to attend. Less experienced fiddlers can stay with the notes of the tune. More advanced players will learn stylistic details. Be sure to bring an electronic tuner, a recording device, and extra strings.

Making the pulse on your fiddle:  working your bow and strings
Appalachian fiddling is all about pulsing, fluidity, ringing and roll; these are our lifelong pursuit. Let’s learn fun ways to use our bow (our paintbrush!) to work the strings so we make a groove and keep the instrument singing.  We’ll apply these ideas/techniques as we learn a tune.

Fiddle technique for violinists and violin technique for fiddlers
Judy and Rosie will help violinists get a more fiddle-y sound and fiddlers improve their violin technique. There will be lots individual attention and opportunity for dialogue.  Along the way everyone will learn different perspectives on playing the instrument. 

DDAD (pronounced Dee Dad), one of the greatest open fiddle tunings
Let’s learn a tune (or 2?) in DDAD.  We’ll experience the glorious, droning low string (yes, the G gets tuned to a D) and open ringing harmonics (bliss).  Don’t worry if you’re not experienced playing in alternate tunings; Judy will help you get in and out of the tuning, and tuning strings down is not stressful for your violin.  If this is your first experience with an open tuning, it’s guaranteed not to be your last.

Open tunings: Appalachian fiddlers play with the fiddle tuned many different ways. When you tune your strings to notes that are sympathetic to each other, your finger patterns change, the sound rings like mad, and your instrument vibrates in new ways ... it’s exhilarating!  Let’s learn a tune (or two?).