Fiddle-L Anthology 1999

A Tour 'Round The World Of Fiddling

Performer Bio


 

6.

Thomas Alexander (Tom) Gilland, West Calder, Scotland (tomgil@hotmail.com / www.geocities.com/Nashville/8203)

Tom was born April 22, 1953, in Edinburgh, Scotland. He attended college and is currently a computer consultant. He is a member of Livingston Fiddlers, and the Bathgate Concert Orchestra.

HERITAGE, HISTORY, LESSONS, FAVORITE TUNE

Tom's heritage is Scottish; his father was born in Motherwell, Scotland, and his mother in Camelon, Scotland. No other family members previously played the violin. Tom began playing in 1995 and has been taking formal lessons for the last two years. He has also learned from playing with the Livingston Fiddlers and the Bathgate Orchestra. The first tune Tom learned was a Swedish tune called Sorgmarschen. He got it from listening to a recording and also looking at the sheet music. His favorite tune today is Music of Spey, best played by Aly Bain, who is his favorite overall fiddler.

TYPES OF TUNES, INSTRUMENTS, VENUES

Tom enjoys playing a variety of tunes, including jigs, schottisches, marches, strathspeys, airs, two-steps, gånglåt, polska, polka, and classical. Fiddle is his sole instrument, and he prefers accordion accompaniment. He is in a band, has played for dances, often plays in a church hall and has also played at a wedding party.

STYLE

Tom says that it's "too early to have a style and I may never have a recognised one as my musical tastes are so wide. I think it would be too restrictive to stick to one style such as [Cape Breton]." Tom feels there are hundreds of fiddle styles overall, and in his region there is a general Scottish style predominating.

THE INSTRUMENT

Tom's violin was made by Felice Haber in the workshop of Robert Gasser and Luca Maria Gallo in Cremona, Italy in 1997. It is modeled after a 1715 Stradivarius, has a very clear ringing sound and is "still getting a personality". Tom uses a Wolf Forte Primo shoulder rest, uses both Dominant and Spirocore strings, and a Dorfler bow.

WHY DO YOU PLAY THE FIDDLE?

"For many years I have liked Swedish fiddle music and one day when listening to recordings I decided 'I am going to do that'."

THE TUNES

The Tom Gilland Hornpipe was written for Tom a year ago by his teacher (Alex J. Lawson), who has published several books. He learned Spelmansvals and Christmas Day Ida Morning a month before the time of recording, and Dal-Johans Vals two years ago. Tom learned the tunes from a combination of recordings and sheet music.