Today in Music History
A Daily Look at Music History For Violin Students
A Look at What Happened on Today's Date
Long, Long Ago . . . Or Maybe Just Last Year
November 20
Can You Guess?
We don't see tuning forks used to help tune instruments much any more.  But certain types of doctors use them.  I said certain kinds of ... I said certain, oh never mind. Can You Guess what kinds of doctors use tuning forks?
Look at the Bottom of the Page for the Answer.
What Else
1752 - John Shore, who invented the tuning fork in 1711, died.  By the way, he jokingly called it a pitch fork.

1776 - Austrian violinist and conductor Ignaz Schuppanzigh was born in Vienna.

1805 - Premiere of Beethoven's opera Fidelio with its overture now known as Leonora No. 2.  CD-here.

1879 - Premiere of Brahms's Violin Sonata in G. in Vienna, with violinist Joseph Hellmesberger.

1889 - Premiere of Mahler's Sym No 1, in Budapest, with Mahler conducting.

1952 - Premiere of Roy Harris's Symphony No. 7 original version, Chicago Symphony.

1885 - Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton, jazz pianist, composer and singer, was born in New Orleans.

1964 - Premiere of Dimitri Shostakovich's String Quartets Nos. 9 and 10. The Beethoven Quartet, in Moscow.

1966 - Cabaret opened at Broadhurst Theater NYC.  It ran 1166 performances.

1987 - Premiere of John Harbison's String Quartet No. 2, by the Emerson String Quartet at Jordan Hall in Boston.

2009 - Musicologist Howard Chandler Robbins Landon, born March 6, 1926, died.
Eck was never content to stay with the traditional, repertoire.  He did not want to play the same tunes over and over.  He constantly experimented with styles and new tunes.  He was quick with a joke and told stories as he played.

June 29, 1922 Eck had his big break.  He and fellow fiddler Henry C. Gilliland had travelled to New York to seek an audition with the Victor Talking Machine Company.  He went into the office and, a man came into the room, and in Eck's words,
"He said `Young man, get your fiddle out and start off on a tune.' Said `I can tell that quick whether I can use you or not.' Well, I said back to him just as honest as I could `Mister, I come a long ways to get an audition with you. Maybe I better wait and come back another time. You seem like you're in an awful hurry.' `No,' he said, `Just start off a tune...' Well, I didn't get to play half of Sallie Gooden; he just throwed up his hands and stopped me. Said, `By Ned, that's fine!' And just smiled, you know. Said, `Come back in the morning at nine o'clock and we'll make a test record."   (Quote from

With this recording for Victor, June 30, 1922, Eck became the first Southern country artist make a commercial recording. The first recording was actually Eck and Gilliland playing Turkey in the Straw and Arkansas Traveler.  The next day Eck returned alone and recorded Sallie Gooden and Ragtime Annie solo, and then two additional tunes accompanied by a studio pianist. Sallie Gooden and Arkansas Traveler were released in April, 1923. Click this link to hear Eck Robertson play Sallie Goodin at the Old-Time Music site, where he is listed in the Old-Time Fiddlers Hall of Fame.

Eck was a consumate entertainer.  Jokes, stories and tricks filled his shows.  He promised people who came to see him that, "If you don't laugh we will call the doctor." 

Eck was a joy to watch.  He performed Pop Goes the Weasle as he fiddled behind his back, did somersaults, tossed his violin into the air and caught it without missing a beat and played while "laying down." 

He also had a special trick that amazed the children.  He would make his fiddle "talk." 
"I used to do it on the stage in theaters and take the house down. I offered a dollar to any child in the house who didn't understand what the violin said...And I made that dad-gummed fiddle talk just as plain as anybody could have said the words...I generally wind up on that by playing Sallie Gooden. I'd wind up on the last of it by making that fiddle talk, representing Sallie Gooden going to the cowpen to milk the cow. You'd hear her calling the calves, and then you'd hear the calf bawl. About that time her baby woke up and began to holler `mamma oh mamma. I want my mamma!' And just say it as plain as anybody could."  (Quote from

Eck continued performing through the early 1960's, but after that things turned hard.  His house and shop in Amarillo nearly burned to the ground.  His favorite fiddle was stolen. 

He moved to a nursing home, where he carried a fiddle with him everywhere he went.

Eck Robertson died February 15,1975. Inscribed on his tombstone in Fritch, Texas, is the epitaph "World's Champion Fiddler."
Alexander "Eck" Robertson
November 20, 1887 - Early country fiddler Alexander Campbell "Eck" Robertson was born.  He started fiddling when he was 5 years old, and had turned professional entertainer by 1910.

Although he fiddled, rather than played classical violin (just a style difference), he actually did have very good technical command of the instrument, and would play in second and third position in many of his song, which most fiddlers at the time did not do.
Look inside this title
Christmas Solos for Beginning Violin - sheet music at
Christmas Solos for Beginning Violin by Craig Duncan. .
See more info...
If you have never seen these concerts, you owe it to yourself to get these videos.  Great gifts, and a great donation to your school or public library.
Christmas Ornaments make great gifts for your student or teacher.
See More Ornaments Here
See All Christmas Sheet Music Here
Did You Guess?
Otologists . . .I said Otologists . . .
I said Otologists.
Ah, gee . . . Ear Doctors use tuning forks.
circle of keys practice magnet
Key Signature Reminder Magnet
Great Stocking Stuffer!
NO L Christmas Ornament