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  • Writer's pictureLisa Rosa

Fiddle Contest Rules

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

CALIFORNIA STATE OLD TIME FIDDLERS ASSOCIATION, DISTRICT 3 FIDDLE CONTEST RULES

Divisions:

  • PeeWee (8 years and under) Twin Fiddle (all ages)

  • Junior-Junior (9-12 years) Cello/Bass (17 years and under)

  • Junior (13-17 years) Junior Picking (17 years and under)

  • Adult (18-54 years) Open Picking (all ages)

  • Senior (55-69 years) Junior Band Scramble (17 years and under)

  • Senior-Senior (70 years and over) Adult Band Scramble (18 years and over)

  • Open (any age) Accompanists


1. All contestants must be registered 20 minutes prior to their scheduled division’s starting time. Lateregistration is at the discretion of Registration/Traffic. Order of appearance will be computer-generated and will be posted at Traffic. First round scores will be posted at Traffic, as well as second round order of play. Second round scores are not posted. Contestants must be in the auditorium ready to play when called, or they will be placed last in play order and will be docked 10 points.


2. A contestant may not enter their age division and the Open division.


3. Any contestant winning 1st place for 3 consecutive years in a regional contest, state contest, or the National Old Time Fiddlers Contest will move into the next higher division (PeeWee move to Junior-Junior, Junior-Junior move to Junior Division. Junior, Adult, Senior and Senior-Senior contestants who win 3 consecutive years will move into the Open Division. A contestant winning 3

consecutive years in the Open Division must sit out the next year’s contest, or may be asked to judge.


4. Accompanist awards will be determined by how many times the registered accompanist plays during the competition, excluding entertainment.


5. Any contestant or accompanist that acts in an unsportsmanlike manner, is intoxicated, or under the influence of drugs, will not be allowed to perform. They will forfeit their entry fee and prize money and will be escorted from the contest.


6. Only acoustical instruments are permitted. No instrument with electrical amplification will be allowed.


7. No sheet music shall be displayed or vocals allowed while contesting. Accompanists may use sheet music. Only Band Scrambles will allow vocal accompaniment.


8. No trick/fancy fiddling or exhibitions will be allowed. Tunes such as Mockingbird, Black Mountain Rag and Orange Blossom Special are not acceptable. No cross-tuned instruments are allowed.


9. Any danceable folk tunes played in the old time fiddle fashion are acceptable.


10. Contestants may play without an accompanist, or with no more than 3 accompanists. Accompanists may not play the melody of the tune.


11. Contestants at each appearance must first play a hoedown, followed by a waltz, and then a tune of choice (a tune other than a hoedown or waltz). The time limit for all 3 tunes is 4 minutes. A deduction of 10 points will be made from the total score for play exceeding 4 minutes. An additional 10 points will be deducted if exceeding 4 minutes and 30 seconds. No tune should be played more than once by a contestant within a division.


12. The top 5 contestants from each division will compete in the 2nd round. The same rules from the first round will apply. In the event of a tie in the 2nd round, the 2nd round score will determine the final place. If a contestant does not play a 2nd round, they will be moved to the bottom of the top qualified round and will forfeit their place in the top round. The next contestant will move up and play in the 2nd round.


13. If a string breaks, the contestant will have the option to continue or stop at that point. If the tune is completed, it will be judged as played. If the contestant stops play, they will be allowed to begin with that tune and complete their round.

14. Judging: Old-Time Fiddling Style-25%, Rhythm/Danceability-25%, Clarity/Tone-25%, and Difficulty Level-25%. All scores will be cumulative. Contestants can pick up their score sheets at Traffic after the awards ceremony.


15. Any protest must be submitted in writing to the contest chairperson and signed by a minimum of 3 contestants of the same division within 1 hour of the protest occurrence. All decisions of the judges and contest chairperson/committee are final.


16. All commercial recording rights are reserved and shall become the property of CSOTFA District 3.



Twin Fiddle Rules

(in addition to general contest rules)


1. In order to compete in Twin Fiddle, a contestant must be registered in a fiddle division and compete as scheduled.


2. Contestants must play 2 old-time fiddle tunes, a fast tune and a slow tune. Contestants may use tunes they played in another division. In the event of a tie, they will play another tune of their choosing.


3. Twin fiddle is one round only with no time limit.


4. Judging: Harmony-25%, Rhythm/Danceability-25%, Clarity/Tone-25%, Difficulty Level-25%.



Picking Rules

(in addition to general contest rules)


1. Picking instruments for this contest are guitar, mandolin, and banjo.


2. Contestants must play 2 old-time fiddle tunes, a fast tune and a slow tune. Contestants may use tunes that they played in another division. In the event of a tie, they will play another tune of their choosing.


3. Picking is one round only with no time limit.


4. Judging: Picking Ability-25%, Rhythm/Danceability-25%, Clarity/Tone-25%, Difficulty Level-25%



Band Scramble Rules

(in addition to general contest rules)


1. Bands will be selected by drawing names from the categories designated at registration.


2. Contestants will be notified when registration for Band Scramble closes and when bands will be announced, at the discretion of the chairperson.


3. Bands must play 2 old-time fiddle style tunes: a fast tune and a slow tune. Vocals are allowed. The time limit for both tunes is 8 minutes. A deduction of 10 points will be made from the total score for play exceeding 8 minutes. An additional 10 points will be deducted if exceeding 8 minutes and 30

seconds. In the event of a tie, bands will play another tune of their choosing.


4. The contest judges will be seated in the audience.


Fiddle Contest Rules Dist 3 (1)
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