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The Fiddle Sessions Jazz Violin Project: Go Tell Aunt Rhody – #2 Tim Kliphuis

April 2011 One Comment

Tim KliphuisBy Tim Kliphuis

My name is Tim Kliphuis, a jazz fiddler from Holland. My style is based on the playing of French jazz fiddler Stephane Grappelli, who in the 1930’s with his partner Django Reinhardt, founded the style of Hot Club Jazz, nowadays called Gypsy, or Manouche, Jazz.

Here is my solo. (The numbers refer to fingering):

Solo Kliphuis Go Tell Aunt Rhody

In the first 4 bars (the pick up measure doesn’t count as a bar), I have used the melody of the song as a starting point (bar 2 has only two notes, as in the original). If you look at the longer notes in my solo (first note of bar 3, 3rd and 4th notes of bar 4) they are taken from the original melody.

Then, in the second 4 bars, I let go of the melody and just put together some jazzy ‘licks’ or short phrases. Also notice the upbeat of three 16ths – This changes the square feel of the melody and connects the solo to what went on before.

The incidentals indicate that there is something going on beyond the pentatonic scale of the original melody. Here is the pentatonic scale of Bb:

Pentatonic Scale of Bb

And here is the ‘blues’ pentatonic scale I use in the solo:

Blues Pentatonic Scale

As you can see, there are two flats, Ab and Db, which can be found in first bar of my solo. They are called ‘blue notes’ and originate from the blues, which is a big influence in gypsy jazz through American players like trumpeter Louis Armstrong and fiddler Joe Venuti.

The other ‘strange’ notes are what I would call passing, or chromatic, notes. They are non-scale notes that give the solo a more ‘jazzy’ sound. See bar 3 for the effect: as long as you finish on a logical phrase note, you can use any chromatic notes you like in the middle.

The rhythm in bar 6 is called ‘syncopation’ – you can see the slur connecting the 1st and 2nd beats of the bar, which makes the Bb go against the beat. Syncopation is one of the things that make it swing – this note is played with an accent.

about the author

Dutchman Tim Kliphuis is fast gaining a reputation as one of the most imaginative, exciting and entertaining violinists on the acoustic scene. He combines Gypsy, Classical, Folk, Tango, World music and Grappelli jazz to create an inspired and daring fusion. Tim has recently written the definitive book on Gypsy swing style violin, “Stephane Grappelli – Gypsy Jazz Violin” (published by Mel Bay) and his DVDs (HyperHip Media) are acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic.


For a sample from the dvd, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tebg9qQh0U&feature=fvw

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One Comment »

  • guitar picks said:

    It sure is good to know that you are bringing to life the legacy of Grappelli and Reinhardt. Of course, it is important to note that it is both Django and Staphane who started gypsy jazz. And thanks to talented and passionate musicians like you, their legacy live on.