April 2018 Fiddletter

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easter-bunny-violinPresident’s Remarks

Contributed by Tom Bailey

Welcome to our new Fiddletter presentation. Yes, it is a work in process but the Board wants to thank Mike Deniz for all the hard work he has done in bringing this together. It will continue to evolve as we realize the program’s capabilities, but the best part about this program – we are not required to have an editor. Each Board member can go into the program and insert their info. For now, Mike will serve as the coordinator/developer to do a final check of the newsletter before it is e-mailed out. We are working out the process so that this can be printed and mailed to members who do not have email access.

Everyone is aware for the first time in FOG’s history, we had to cancel the gig at Baywinde on the 11th of March. Mike was the only remaining fiddler who could be there and he didn’t feel comfortable carrying every tune – sure can’t blame him for that. A few of our fiddlers have decided to stop performing for personal reasons; many have taken on family responsibilities which limits their time to participate. Some have retired and are busier now than before. We have three COP’s gigs left through April and it looks like we should be OK for those. But, as a group we are looking at ways to pass the word to entice more fiddlers to join our ranks. I hope you all can help us reach out to folks as we pull this effort together.

As a reminder, the Board will be setting a new password for the webpage at the meeting the first week in April. All those who have had their dues will receive an e-blast with the new password. Why a password you might ask? The main reason is to keep the music sheets from being available to the public. The Music Committee works very hard to decide on six new tunes a year and prepare the shee5t music for distribution to the members. They also provide tune “fixes” to tunes which have determined to need some revisions. Granted, most of the music we play is in the public domain but when the Music Committee re-writes certain phrases or writes harmonies to some of the tunes, we would like that to be available to members only.

Ray has obtained re-usable name tags for folks to wear at the jams. We have several new members and this will help them to know everyone. It will also help us old folks who can’t remember names as well! It would be the easiest to keep this up if everyone at the jams would leave the nametags with Ray when packing up. If you take them home, maybe you can put them in your cases so they will make it back to the next jam!

Sorry to say one of our long standing (and outstanding) members, Dick Pierce, lost his sister on March 11th. The family was with her at the time of her passing. Thanks to Irene and Jane for getting a card together at one of the recent jams for all to sign and give to Dick. We have such a great, supportive group of friends. I am sure Dick knows we are all here to support him through this difficult time.


Tempo Slow App Review

Contributed by Mike Deniz

IMG_0291If you’re like me, you download some tunes to your computer or mobile device that you dream of figuring out how to play one day – even if it’s only the base melody or a particular “riff”. The logical place to start is trying to find the sheet music online, but that often doesn’t pan out.  Another option is to use an app that can slow down your music sufficiently for you to play by ear.  There are many such apps out there; some free, some requiring purchase. One such free app that I use is Tempo Slow – also called Tempo SlowMo. It is available for iOS and Android platforms (I use mine on my iPhone).  The user interface is fairly easy to figure out as you start to work with it.

IMG_0290Once installed, you can select a song from your device playlist, Dropbox, WiFi connection, or even record ambient audio from your device’s microphone. From there a touch sensitive “turn wheel” lets you select the speed of play based on a percentage of the original tempo (100%).  If you’re in a masochistic frame of mind, you can even speed up the tune by cranking the wheel over 100%.  It should be noted that at some threshold the sound becomes increasingly “muddy” the more you decrease the speed. The percentage where this starts to occur depends on the tune. For songs with one or a couple of instruments, you can crank the percentage lower before you reach a point of diminishing returns. I find I can go down as low as half speed (50%) on my fiddle-only tunes, but for all others I can still get decent resolution at 65% tempo.

IMG_0292A swipe of the screen brings you to another screen which displays your song’s time track in the same turn wheel format. From here you have the ability to insert three different types of markers anywhere along the song’s duration.  One type of marker set lets you identify a start and end point anywhere along the song, so you are not relegated to playing it from the beginning each time or manually pressing “stop”. Another set of markers lets you play-loop any segment of the song over and over. This is particularly useful when you are trying to hammer out a difficult part so you don’t have to put your instrument down. The third marker lets you quickly return to a specific point in the track. To remove a marker, just touch it and hold for 2 seconds.

If you need help using this app, feel free to corner me a jam session. Enjoy!


Upcoming Festivals

Contributed by Tom Bailey

New York

  • Ashokan Fiddle & Dance, Catskill Mountains  *  **ashoken
    • Traditional String Fling, May 4-6
    • Appalachian, Old Time Aug 12-18
    • Bluegrass Camp, Oct 26-28
  • Thousand Islands Bluegrass Festival, LaFargeville, NY  Jun 8-10 *
  • Tug Hill Bluegrass Festival, Lowville, NY, Jun 14-15
  • Old Time Fiddle Gathering, Watkins Glen, NY, Jun 16-17  *
  • Busy Bird Bluegrass Festival, Berkshire, NY, Jul 5-8,
  • Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Oak Hill, NY, Jul 19-22  *  **
  • Brantling Bluegrass Festival, Sodus, NY, Jul 26-29 *
  • Pickin’ in the Pasture, Lodi, NY, Aug 23-26 *
  • Old Tone Roots Music Festival, North Hillsdale, NY, Sep 6-9 **


  • Del Fest, Cumberland, MD, May 24-27 **


  • Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival, Gettysburg, PA *  **Gettysburg
    • May 17-20
    • Aug 16-19
  • Wind Gap Bluegrass Festival, Wind Gap, PA, May 24-27 *
  • NEPA Bluegrass Festival, Tunkhannock, PA, May 31-June 3
  • Smoked Country Jam Festival, Cross Fork, PA, Jun 14-16
  • Remington Ryde Bluegrass Festival, Centre Hall, PA, Jul 4-8 *
  • AFBA Bluegrass Festival, Wind Gap, PA, Aug 2-5


  • Northeast Heritage Music Camp, Starksboro, VT, Jun 17-23 **virginia


  • Old Fiddlers Convention, Galax, VA, Aug 6-11 ***

* Recommended by FOG member
** Nationally acclaimed
** * Granddaddy of all Fiddlers Conventions

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