>He quotes the late Tom Anderson of 
>Shetland who 'rightly' said 'Never try to learn a tune you don't 
>already know'.

I think what he probably meant is "don't try to play a tune on the fiddle (or 
any other instrument) unless you've already got a good idea in your head of how 
it goes". In other words, don't rely on the instrument to teach you the music! 
I gather certain classical players, such as Anne-Sophie Mutter, will learn a 
new concerto by heart (including the orchestral parts) before touching the 
violin. Would that we all had such discipline!

>as there was no one alive 
>who had those old tunes in their repertoire that they had 
>learnt from a 
>previous generation. This narrow view in my mind would prevent any 
>advantage to be taken from Matt's recent publication of the 1777 
>Vicker's MS.

This is a very serious point that the "anti-written-music" faction are ignoring 
at their peril - or at least at the peril of the tradition that they profess to 
support. If a tune is not passed down orally and not written down either it's 
vot in my cauntry ve call "lost".

>as the style of playing from the various players would be imprinted on 
>learners which could be a bad thing in some ways as suggesting that 
>this was the 'right' way to play the tunes.

Another excellent point.

>Maybe a neutral instrument 
>should be used to just demonstrate the way the tune may be played.

Far be it from me so say anything in favour of midi files, but they could be 
useful here. No one with an ounce of musicality would be tempted to imitate 
them stylistically.

All the best!

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