Tune-learning strategy | Bowing Down Home


File: macleanclarence06-oh-learningtunes_M.mp3


CM – Clarence MacLean

KP: How did you go about learning tunes? Did you have them in your head?

CM: Yeah.

KP: Some fiddlers said they'd wake up in the middle of the night…

CM: Yeah, I do too: in the morning. But by the time I'd get to the fiddle it was gone, just that quick. Oh lovely tunes B But then [before] I get them, gone! And the more I think about them, the farther it gets away from me. I've got to leave it before I come back. I can't think of them. They don't come.

KP: The times you did get it, how did it happen?

CM: Oh, I'd just keep it goin' and gnawin at it, little by little. But sometimes I had two or three tunes mixed up, but I'd have to sort them out. It wasn't one tune, it was three all mixed up. But I sorted them out and got the right tune.

KP: How did you go about sorting them out? Would you listen to…

CM: On the radio, that's how I learned: on the radio, long ago. I learned more on the radio than I did any other way.

KP: What radio programs did you listen to?

CM: Don Messer for one; he played for years. And all them from Cape Breton every evening. Yep, in the evening.

KP: Who were some of the Cape Breton fiddlers you liked to listen to.

CM: Winston, Winston Fitzgerald, and Buddy MacMaster. oh, a whole lot of different ones.