Play the Melody to "Queen of the Earth, Child of the Stars"

Posted by Scott Nygaard

Although slow airs are common in Irish traditional music, very few of them seem to have survived the journey across the pond. One exception is “Queen of the Earth, Child of the Stars,” a beautiful tune that comes from West Virginia fiddler Edden Hammons. It can be played with a measured tempo, as a slow march, or, if you’re playing it by yourself, with a less-regular beat, drawing out the poignant phrases to give it a freer feeling.

Queen of the Earth Music Excerpt
Click to enlarge.

When playing fiddle tunes, it’s usually important to use an alternating-picking style, but with a slow tune like this the alternating down-up style is not as critical. There’s another picking technique that can help you play clear melody notes and bass notes: the appropriately named “rest stroke.” To play a rest stroke, you play a downstroke and then “rest” your pick on the string below it momentarily. One of the advantages of the rest stroke is that it stops that string from ringing, allowing bass notes and melodies to sound cleanly and clearly. Rest strokes can be used on melody notes whenever the melody note is longer than a quarter note, as long as you don’t want the string or strings above the melody note to ring.

Excerpted from Fiddle Tunes and Folk Songs

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