Revival of ‘crooked’ fiddle tunes in the performance of contemporary Quebec traditional music

Jean Duval

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

12 Downloads (Pure)


The instrumental music of Quebec shares several traits with other music traditions such as old-time music in both Canada and the USA and traditional music in Great Britain and Ireland. A characteristic strongly associated with the music of Quebec that helps to distinguish it from these other traditions, however, is the frequent performance by many musicians of asymmetrical tunes – so-called ‘crooked’ tunes – up to the present day. Asymmetrical tunes
are played, or were played, in other musics to various extents as previously shown in several NAFCo papers and articles.1 But, the performance of crooked tunes in Quebec was, and still is, very much alive, forming an essential and continuous part of the traditional music soundscape, probably to a greater degree than in other music traditions. This article will first present a broad picture of asymmetrical tunes in Quebec. Then, with references to the work of other researchers, I will explain the typology that I developed to describe the
asymmetrical musical system associated with them. I will also show how this tradition has been brought up to date in the last thirty years through the composition of new tunes, and, in conclusion, how asymmetries are used to create variations and improvisations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationÓn gCos go Cluas
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Dancing to Listening
EditorsLiz Doherty, Fintan Vallely
PublisherAberdeen University Press
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)978-1-85752-073-6
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventNorth Atlantic Fiddle Convention Conference - Northern Ireland, Derry/Londonderry, United Kingdom
Duration: 27 Jun 20121 Jul 2012

Publication series

NameFiddle and Dance Studies from around the North Atlantic 5


ConferenceNorth Atlantic Fiddle Convention Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


Dive into the research topics of 'Revival of ‘crooked’ fiddle tunes in the performance of contemporary Quebec traditional music'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this