Fiddle-L Anthology 1999

A Tour 'Round The World Of Fiddling

Performer Bio


51.

Harry Gardner, (suburb of) Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (lng@pa.ausom.net.au / http://www.infoweb.com.au/gpt/)

Harry was born January 15, 1927, in Subiaco, Perth, Western Australia. He is a retired scientist.

HERITAGE, HISTORY, LESSONS, FAVORITE TUNE

Harry's heritage is English; both of his parents were born in Australia. Harry's son also plays the violin; Harry himself began to play violin at age 11, while in Perth. He took classical lessons and also "picked up a lot in an orchestra". He has participated in adult music camps and folk music festivals. He learned his first fiddle tune from Sevcik sheet music. His favorite tune today is "For the Love of Lori", which he wrote. He says he tries not to worship other players, so does not have a favorite fiddler.

TYPES OF TUNES, INSTRUMENTS, VENUES

Harry plays all types of fiddle tunes. He also plays viola, double bass, and button accordion. Favorite backup instrument? "Fiddles can do it all." Harry frequently plays for dances, and at clubs, in addition to performing at wedding parties, funerals, in schools and church, although not for services.

FIDDLE CONTESTS

Harry's first fiddle contest entry took place in Geelong, Victoria, Australia, in 1994. He played Australian folk tunes, with no backup. In 1996, he won a tune writing competition. Harry feels that a competent contest judge is one who plays the fiddle.

STYLE

Harry practices an Australian style of fiddling. His teacher, H. Dean, was influential to him in forging his style. While he states there are many, many styles of fiddling, Irish and Scottish styles predominate in his region.

THE INSTRUMENT

Harry lists two violins from his collection: a Homalka from 1825, and a Buckmaster from 1985. They are both Strad types, with clear sound and good bass. He uses a Willy Wolf shoulder rest, and Thomastik Dominant strings. His bow was made by W. Ernst.

WHY DO YOU PLAY THE FIDDLE?

"Pleasure and income."

For the tape, Harry recorded with his group, Harry Gardner's Fiddle Workshop, comprising of Ron Bell and Harry Gardner, fiddles, and Paul Price guitar. Harry has been running his fiddle group in Melbourne, Australia, for some years, and Ron and Paul are just two of the regulars. Ron, in addition to being a fine fiddler, has recently complete making a beautiful viola with back and sides in Australian Blackwood (an acacia or wattle) and belly of traditional spruce. Paul normally plays fiddle in the group but is recovering from a shoulder injury and provides backing on his Australian made Maton guitar.

THE TUNES

Compliments To Harry Gardner Of Heathmont - composed by Ron Bell in 1993 in the style of a Scottish jig.

Leaving Port Fairy - composed by Ron Clarke in 1983. Ron is a musician living at Yarra Junction in the mountains 70 km to the east of Melbourne. He wrote this tune when he was obliged to leave Port Fairy (on the southern coast, about 300 km west of Melbourne, home of the famous southern hemisphere folk music festival) to work in Melbourne.

For The Love Of Lori - composed by Harry Gardner in 1992 for his wife who was originally from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The tunes were played by Harry Gardner's Fiddle Workshop: Harry Gardner, fiddle; Ron Bell, fiddle; and Paul Price, guitar. Harry has been running his fiddle group in Melbourne, Australia, "for some years, and Ron and Paul are just two of the regulars. Ron, in addition to being a fine fiddler, has recently completed making a beautiful viola with back and sides in Australian Blackwood (an acacia or wattle) and belly of traditional spruce. Paul normally plays fiddle in the group but is recovering from a shoulder injury and provides backing on his Australian made Maton guitar."