Traditional Music Sessions – Playing Fiddle Tunes on Harmonica
At any time, in thousands of festivals, homes, bars and other places, people will be gathered for traditional music sessions. These are social events, but often feature players with extraordinary skill. Closely related to a session is a gathering of American "bluegrass" players, known as a "pick". Playing fiddle tunes on harmonica at is a way to enter this community.
The defining feature of sessions is a common set of tunes, which are known by most of the players. These tunes are sometimes hundreds of years old, and are the result of a unique form of musical evolution. Quite simply, the boring tunes are not played, and quickly die away. The great tunes remain, and form the core repertoire of session players. Hence it is possible to walk into a traditional music session on the other side of the world and immediately join in, due to the common repertoire of great tunes.
A generic name for this music is "fiddle tunes", as they are often played on the fiddle. Harmonicas are less common, perhaps because the tunes can be hard to learn. The articles on this page provide insights into the process. Methods for developing the technique needed to play these tunes are at Harmonica Academy.