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Libby

Theme tune

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OK, this probably seems a silly question to any musicologist but:

I'm currently listening to the extended theme tune (can't remember where I downloaded it from - a pity, because it's an excellent recording) and I just can't work out what instrument is being used. Obviously a stringed instrument, but is it the lower notes on a violin, or a viola, or a cello, or what? This is a subject that I'm woefully ignorant about.

I'm sure I read somewhere that Mark Snow uses recordings of real instruments and then he manipulates those recordings using some kind of synthesizer. I understand a little about the sounds that musical instruments make - that it's the "attack" that gives the clue as to what the instrument is (i.e. in this case a stringed instrument); and I'm aware that there is a technique that players of stringed instruments use to sustain the note (a.k.a. that wobbling thing they do with their left hand - well, I did say I'm ignorant :)) and I can't hear that effect on this recording, perhaps because of the synthesizing aspect, and maybe that's what's confusing me.

So, can anyone advise? It's perhaps only a little question but the answer has evaded me for so long and I'd like to know. :)

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......if i remember correctly it's actually a fiddle,of all things. all i know is it's wonderful!

                                            ~se7en :ouro:

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As Mark Snow once noted during an interview, "I had a live violinist play over my electronic track."  Unfortunately, I don't have anything more specific regarding a piece by piece breakdown of the theme's numerous layered components.  (Snow seems a man of few words.)  The violin used for the melody, however, is certainly not synthesized.  It may have been tweaked or altered, but Snow recorded the instrument in his studio.

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..pretty funky sounding for a violin.  if he used the same violin/fiddle,whatever ,recording for all 3-seasons then he definately did electronicly enhance it as they do NOT sound the same in all 3-seasons' theme songs,especialy S3, in my view. the pitch the tone is different throughout.

                                     ~se7en :ouro:

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....i stand corrected. the poster was correct,it was indeed a violin and not a fiddle. albeit a violin played to produce a strangely hypnotic sound/vibe!

                                      ~se7en :ouro:

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I thought a violin and a fiddle were the same thing. It's just how it's played. A violin is used in classical and when country/bluegrass is played it it refered to as a fiddle. Very different styles and playing techniques.

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You're absolutely right, Second Coming.  The violin and the fiddle are the exact same instrument.  It's all in how the instrument is played.  A violinist could play on a fiddle and a fiddler could play on a violin.  It's all the same.  (If I'm not mistaken, the fiddle only existed as a separate and unique instrument centuries ago and has since been abandoned.  Today, they're identical.)

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.....actually fiddles have a less hollowed out body than the typical violin which explains the many differing sounds and techniques of fiddle playing. a violin can certainly sound like a fiddle if played like a one but they are 2-different instruments. one of my favorite performers,john mellencamp,uses fiddle playing extensively in his music and live performances and there have been many very interesting interviews with "miriam sturm" who currently plays fiddle with the band. this woman has one of the most amazing collections of violins and fiddles that i have ever seen! really cool stuff.  i did not think there was a difference in the instruments either till around 14-years ago.   ~miriam sturm is VERY capable of playing both beautifully.   in fact there is a bluegrass festival up here in the northeast kingdom of vermont and every year they have a "freestyle-playing" contest with the express warning of: "VIOLINS ARE NOT WELCOME HERE!!! :p  :rofl:-(I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE LOCALS HAVE AGAINST VIOLINS UP HERE ? :suspect: )                         ~PEACE,

                                                          se7en :ouro:

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Thanks for the responses, everyone.

Now I not only know for sure what the instrument is, but I've learned something about fiddles/violins that I didn't know. I've always thought it rather strange that the violin is seen to be such a difficult instrument to learn that if you don't start before you're 5 years old, you'll never be any good. :p And yet there seem to be plenty of people in folk music groups who can produce good music using what seems to be the same instrument (I'm thinking particularly of Steeleye Span), which seemed a bit odd since folk music was (almost) by definition music played by ordinary people, and who I guess at one time were people who never had access to formal violin lessons.

 

I don't listen to a great deal of music, but I like some bits of every category. I've always quite liked the idea that folk music is a kind of samizdat with rhythm.

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......LOL,i have a hard enough time "attempting" to play my bass! i could not even imagine attempting to play a fiddle or violin. i do enjoy listenning to the instruments,though i'm not too much into classical. they do produce the most beautiful sounds imaginable though!

                                        ~se7en :ouro:

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