Rules & Standards for Missouri Fiddle Contests

General Information

Before the contest starts, the judges will be pleased to answer your questions. Judges’ decision is final. Any thing not covered in the Rules & Standards will be decided by the judges. Emcee will introduce the fiddlers and accompanists. Fiddlers will announce their tunes.

Divisions and Order of Play
Youth: Ages 15 and below. Adult: age 16-55. Esquire: Ages 56 and up. Fiddlers must compete in their own age group. If desired, the Adult Division may be replaced with an Open Division. Anyone of any age who wishes may play in the Open Division. Order of play is determined by drawing numbers. Contestants not on stage and ready within three minutes of being announced will be disqualified and next fiddler called. Contestants arriving after contest begins may enter; they will play following the fiddler then on stage.

Unless otherwise announced, fiddlers will play a hoedown (reel/breakdown, suitable for square dancing), a waltz, and a tune of choice for a total of three tunes. No tunes are banned, and all styles of old-time fiddle are welcome. Contestants may restart tune in event of a broken string or unavoidable problem. One false start is allowed. No sheet music is allowed in stage area. Violin may not be amplified by contact microphone. Time limit: 9 minutes.

Up to two accompanists are allowed on stage; fiddlers with more than two will not be scored. Accompanist may not duplicate the melody. Any acoustic instrument suitable for an old-time dance is welcome–for example, piano, guitar, mandolin, banjo (4 or 5 string), cello, reed organ, accordion, tenor guitar, bass. Electronic keyboard, if set in plain piano mode only, is welcome. Contestant may have a second violin as backup, but the second fiddler must play chords or backup (no melody or twin fiddling). Solo fiddling is welcome.

Judging Criteria
Performance will be judged using traditional old-time fiddling criteria, including intonation, skill, timing control, rhythm suitability for selected tune, danceability, and overall ability. Judging criteria include appropriateness of accompaniment. In the event of a tie, or at the judges’ discretion, callbacks will be held.

Other Notes
Rules & Standards are available to everyone at registration.
Sample score sheets are available.
Contestants are asked to conduct themselves with common courtesy and a spirit of fair play. Contestants exhibiting inappropriate behavior toward the audience, other contestants, officials, or sponsors may be excluded from future Network contests.

Suggestions for improving the contest are welcome and may be sent to:
Missouri Traditional Fiddle & Dance Network
c/o John White
203 Meadow Lane
Hallsville, MO 65255

Download the following forms for your fiddle contest: