Greek Fiddler (The) Book - Edward Huws Jones

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Complete edition for violin and piano with optional violin accompaniment, easy violin and guitar. Selected and arranged by Edward Huws Jones

The Greek Fiddler (Vl): for Violin; Corfu and Cefalonia, includes The sultan's wife, All the water in the sea, Arcadian dance, The willow tree, Pentozali, Lament, Night calls, The girl from Samos, Karpathian song, Nobody else but me, Zeibekikos, Syrtos, Magkiko, To the ends of the earth, Kozanis

42pp plus 71pp accompaniment music book Illus.  Soft cover 305mm X 230mm

Greece is a kaleidoscope of different communities, cultures and historical contexts, and this variety is reflected in its diversity of musical styles. The music of Macedonia in the north has a pronounced Balkan flavour, whereas the lyras and lutes of Crete hint at the closeness of North Africa and Egypt. A highly sophisticated near-Eastern style is found in the music which originated in Constantinople and Asia Minor (as Greeks still tend to call Istanbul and Turkey), while the music of Corfu and Cefalonia, just across the sea from Italy, has a definite Mediterranean feel. These and other musical idioms are all found in this collection, The Greek Fiddler.

The violin is one of the most popular and long-established instruments for Greek folk music. It is found in many traditional ensembles, often in the company of clarinet, hammer dulcimer or guitar. Its close cousin is the lyra: pear-shaped, tuned in fifths like a violin but played down on the knee, the lyra is extraordinarily popular in Crete as well as in some of the music which came from Constantinople. One of the stock images of Greek music is the longnecked, wire-strung bazouki but this is actually a fairly recent arrival and is often less appropriate in rural folk music.

It is fascinating to explore the musical continuum which runs from Greece up through the Balkans to central and eastern Europe, and there are strong musical links - in rhythms, modes and more indefinable musical flavours - with other books in the Fiddler series. We find many affinities between Greek music and the Bosnian music in Sevdah, the Jewish music of The Klezmer Fiddler and the gypsy music of Hungary and Romania in The Gypsy Fiddler.

The arrangements in this collection follow the same flexible format as other books in this series and can be performed as solos, duets or larger ensembles. Accompaniment can be provided by piano (hardly a traditional Greek instrument, but standing in bravely for the hammer dulcimer!), accordion, violin or guitar. Percussion is always welcome, particularly hand-held instruments such as tabor and tambourine. The violin accompaniment (contained in the complete edition of this book) adds a further authentic flavour with its drone-like double stops and incisive rhythms.

My thanks to Jane Ewbank, who has made a huge contribution to the overall shape of The Greek Fiddler and to innumerable small details as well. Thanks also to Aki at Trehantiri Music in Harringay, North London, for his great stock of Greek CDs and for his advice on Greek history and traditions. I am grateful to Katerina Dimopoulou for acting as Greek language consultant; she corresponded from her home in Kozani, a town which is celebrated by one of the most exciting tunes in the book. I am indebted to Robert Mason, Hellenist, musician and friend, for his recordings and books and for playing through these arrangements with me as they were being written.

Thanks also to the musicians of the Cafe Kriti in Hania, Crete, where you can just walk in off the harbour to hear authentic traditional music, youthful and vibrant.
Edward Huws Jones

This sequence of pieces takes us on a rambling journey around Greece in a mainly anti-clockwise direction, starting in the Ionian Islands in the northwest, moving down through the mainland and the Peloponnese and across to Crete. From there we travel up through the Aegean Islands to the old Greek communities of Asia Minor (now Turkey) and finally to Thrace and Macedonia in the north.

Corfu and Cefalonia
The islands of Corfu and Cefalonia are situated off the western coast of Greece. (Cefalonia is the setting for Louis de Bernieres's Captain Corelli's Mandolin.) Despite the innocent and delightful character of the melody the words of the song are dramatic: sailors, caught in a storm at sea, are wondering whether they will ever see their beloved Corfu and Cefalonia again.

The sultan's wife
The Greek title Soultana also carries the colloquial sense of a high-spirited girl, perhaps a bit of a flirt - attributes which can be brought out in performance. The tune is perfect for the violin, inviting double stops and open-string drones.

All the water in the sea
This tune is popular in the Aegean Islands as well as on the mainland. It needs a lively tempo and works well with several verses and increasing exuberance - or, as they say in Crete, keph.

This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 06 August, 2008.


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