Original Tune in a Gypsy Scale

I wanted to share some music from our recent performances in Ohio:

This is an original tune, written by me and Mark Varelas, in a Gypsy style. We used an exotic scale that was introduced to me as the Greek Hitzaz scale.  Here are the notes of the scale in A:

A, Bb, C#, D, E, F, G, A

The G can also be sharped while improvising, which sounds especially good while going up the scale.

Sorry the camera is kinda shakey.  I handed my flip cam to a fan in the crowd who couldn’t seem to stop dancing.  Next time I’ll pick someone who seems to like the music less 😉

The inspiration to yell “hela!”  came from a very old recording I heard that sounded like it was in an actual hash den in Turkey.  You could hear the background noise of the room. There was a sparse instrumental intro but when the singer yells “hela” a cacophony symphony of flutes, drums, plucked strings and violins comes in.  The next time I heard that word was it was being shouted in the distance of a Ren Faire campground.  I followed it to investigate and found the whole crew of the Greek gyro booth trying to push a truck out of the mud.

I’ve since been told that it means “come on!” or “bring it!”

Would you guys like sheet music for this?  If I have enough interest I will write it out.


53 responses to “Original Tune in a Gypsy Scale

  1. Of course we’d want sheet music. 😀

  2. Love this song! It’s really no wonder that your fan couldn’t stop dancing 🙂
    Sheet music would be great!

  3. I love the new video! Too bad it is a little shakey… but the music is great! I love it! You guys definitely have a hit on your hands with this one. =)
    i have a request for you… as of yet I am not aware if you have covered this song or not (since I am a relatively new fan) but have you considered covering that violin song from the QUEEN OF THE DAMNED movie. The one where L’estate is on the beach playing violin with a gypsie. According to google it is: Gibbs Richard & Jonathan Davis “On The Beach”. I love that song and I think that it would be amazing coming from you. I don’t know the legality of it and all, but I think that you should cover it. =) Maybe a Youtube video or something.
    Thanks for sharing and I look forward to more videos of your performances.

    P.S. I love your bicept muscles in your newest video! 😉

  4. My son plays violin, and happens to be Greek as well! I think this would be a great piece to play at our next Greek Cultural Festival in Syracuse, NY.
    If you could write down the sheet music that would be great. We will let you know how it goes! And t6haks for sharing your music and talent with us all!

  5. whaw and the music isn’t bad either

  6. What a beautiful piece by a beautifull lady!! You & Mark hit a home run on this 1. Keep up the great work, your awesome!!!

  7. I would love shee music of this. Do you normally write this music out and then play it or is it an improv then written down?

    • It’s more common for me to improv or learn by ear first, and then write down later, for the folk music like this that I play. Even when I learn a tune from sheet music, it serves as more of a skeleton that needs to be fleshed out by listening to a recording of the style and ornamentation.

      • Interesting. I’m a bassoon player and classically trained so I’ve always been a bit curious on how these tunes come together. Love what you’re doing; kind of makes me want to learn and get out of my box and try something like this.

  8. Yes, I’d like the music!! 🙂

  9. Oisin would like the music too….so there’s 2 people 🙂

    • Well then, tell that Puffin to get his little feathered hot violinist behind over here and speak up… Just kidding, I’m on it! I got a version of Finale so that I can write things out more quickly and clearly.

      • Look forward to getting some more sheet music. 😀 Finale is a good program for writing down music.

        Still learning the ABC’s of fiddling though. Practice practice practice and one day I too can be an inspiring ‘Hot Violinist’.

  10. You’re wonderful Misses O’Connor… Just as I’d never seen before!

  11. I really like your playing , just awesome , waiting for your album ! this one was originated from greek music but it really sounds like the type in eastern music , like arabic , iranian and so , I think if you search among them you would find more fidlings similar , by the way i couldnt find your bio, where are you from and where do you perform ?

  12. Wow! I love this tune! I would love to have a copy of the music sheet. Can you also play the tune in Fiddler on the roof? “Tradition” 😀

  13. Yes Please send the music it is great
    Might take a while to get the song as I am only learning to play

  14. okay, I just found you! You are mezmerizing and need ta be on the world stage! Have watched and shared this many times and the chills (goosebumps) do not cease! ♥ ur playing!

  15. I would love a copy of the music too! What a gift! I’ve recently picked up my violin after setting it aside for twenty some odd years and am determined to learn to play the music I’ve been dancing to for the last 17 years! I’m surprised at how much I do remember as I’ve been practicing scales, vibrato, posture, etc every day and also frustrated at the parts I remember knowing how to do when I was young but isn’t coming back so easily. All in time… Very exciting anyway as I passionately re-learn.

    You and your music is very inspiring; exactly the energy and passion I love and aspire to in music!

    Any advice for a newly beginner gypsy violinist? I’ve been bellydancing for almost twenty years so I have a good grip on the music and rhythms. As a child, I played classical violin for 7 years but lost interest as a teenager; not enjoying the music much. Improvisation is a goal and what I’m least familiar with. Is it much different than improv dancing? I specialize in that!;)

  16. Hey Jenny,
    I’m trying to learn how to play the violin a little, I already play classical and modern guitar, bass, piano, ukulele, and the mandolin. But, I’ve never really gotten that good at reading music, so I do most of it by ear. I wanna learn how to read music good enough to play “The Kiss” sheet music you gave us. I would love any advice you could give me. And is there anyway I could get your email address?

  17. As to “Hela!” Bulgarians use the similar expression “Aida!” and you can find this expression in song lyrics and shouted out at dance and drinking parties. Turks use the similar expression “Hoida!”, When Turks try to sound traditional and folk-sey, they’ll say “Haida!”. Many cultures have similar expressions, and often associate them with rural fun such as “YeeHaa!” in America and “Aaeeee!” in Cajun country. I love these, they are so primal! Thanks for mentioning “Hela!” (Some fencer’ also shout that out when lunging in to an attack, I think as a French decended expression.)

    Denys / Psychedelic Chameleon / Karadeniz

  18. You’re wonderful. What fun. And I have present for next time I see you: a tripod!

  19. Michelle Liebgott-Osinga

    Hi Jenny, I’m wanting to dress as a gypsy and play my fiddle for halloween, but I need some easy fiddle music I can learn before then. Can you tell me where I might be able to find some easy gypsy tunes?

  20. The fiddler is hot

  21. Good job, but wow, that drummer is a talented percussionist. Seriously! he makes the song.

  22. Great work there 🙂 Found you today on youtube. And as a “sunday fiddler” may I ask you for a music sheet?
    Thanks and greetings!

  23. YES! Of course music would be great. I would like it as a way to learn this scale. Scales are the dullest way to learn a new scale but a great piece of music is always fun.

    Just for fun, if you continue to post, you could maybe tell us fiddling geeks something about the equipment such as the fiddle, pickup, strings, etc.

    Good luck in your travels.

  24. Very impressive! Love listening to it, Please send me a copy also.

  25. Id love to have the sheet music for this! Circa Paleo is amazing!

  26. Sheet music would be awsome!

  27. I would love to get the sheet music for your gypsy piece. I am in the process of writing a method book on scales and tunes which gudes individuals to improvisation, and the gypsy scale is a dimension I want to add. I have enjoyed your playing style on utube and look forward to joining your fiddle group. This sounds like it could be a lot of fun. Thanks for your enthusiasm.

  28. Yes please!

  29. I would love sheet music on this! I once bought a gypsy sheet music book for violin but it had more of a polka sound which was disappointing.

  30. Love listening to it, Please send me a copy also.:) Your a great violinist and am so happy I join ur site thank you Jenny for ur time.

  31. Robert McPHail


    I would love sheet music for that! !!

    This song is fierce!

  32. hi, i had been looking for this song´s sheet music the last 3 months until today (i just seen your tutorial of the last of the moicans)
    can you please share the sheet music?

  33. Sheet music!! Yess!!! 😀

  34. Would love the sheet music!

  35. Great song, I would love the sheet music too!

  36. de moura sandro luis

    eu tambem!!! shuift…

  37. Guy (Vadi - in Hebrew)

    I really like this genre, and it’s pretty much the “European Sister” of Eastern music. Right now, I’m learning playing Gypsy and Eastern scales in Violin. I would like if you will post some Eastern Music (what that some might call “Arab” – Othentic- Music)

  38. sheet music purty peas!

  39. isn’t that scale Phyrgian Dominant too? 5th mode of D Harmonic Minor…
    I’d love sheet music to learn on guitar

  40. It’s really a cool and useful piece of info. I am happy that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  41. Amazing music, would love to get the sheet music to play it

  42. Love this, yes I would really like the sheet music.

  43. Hello! This tune is amazing! It’s extremely lively and colorful. I’ve been studying eastern music (most of it Gypsy) and this would be amazing to play and consider a folk tune to study. But I signed up and did not get the sheet music for it. Has anyone else got it? I would really enjoy having it.
    Thankyou and congrats on the song

  44. I’m really hoping you haven’t drifted from the online world, as your stuff is amazing!! I too would LOVE the sheet music for this song. It’s a beautiful piece! Your educational videos are fabulous as well. Keep it uuppppp 🙂

  45. This is really nice. In case you are interested, the Arabic name for this scale is Hijaz Awji (usually played at d). My ensemble will be using it quite a bit in our autumn Sephardic performance.

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