For more information or if you have any questions, send us an email at this link: Judging Questions or call Boge Quinn at (931) 647-7261

General Rules

1. Due to our physical event being cancelled by the continuing Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 State of Tennessee Old-Time Fiddler's Championships will be a "Virtual" contest, consisting of Fiddle contest ONLY. Entry will be by Video Submission. All entries to be submitted by 6:00 PM Central time, August 21st, 2020. Entries will be judged by a qualified judging panel on Saturday, August 22nd, 2020, and winners will be announced on Monday, August 24th, 2020. 

2. Entry videos can be submitted to our Facebook page ( or Emailed to

Players may perform unaccompanied, or with no more than two (2) accompanists. Players may use backing tracks if desired.

Videos must be created especially for the State of Tennessee Old-Time Fiddlers' Championships, and be indicated as such verbally at the start of each video, along with the contestant's name, age, and the names of the tunes to be played.

No electric amplification, recording effects, or tone modification devices may be used. The use of any device that modifies or enhances tone may result in disqualification.

Each tune should be less than three (3) minutes in length.

Video submission indicates permission for the videos to be used by the State of Tennessee Old-Time Fiddlers' Championships, the Clarksville Rotary Club, or affiliated agencies for promotional purposes.

For Best Results:

Hold Your Phone/Camera Like This:

And NOT Like This:

3. Contestants will perform two tunes, to include a waltz* and a breakdown**. 

* A Waltz is obviously in 3/4 time.

** A breakdown - or hoedown as they are called in some parts of the country is played in 2/4 time or cut time.  This would apply to hornpipes, reels, or any related genre of tune that is played in 2/4 time. A breakdown also has at least two 8 bar sections, maybe more, with repeats. Some tunes (certainly of the Blue Grass flavor) may not follow the 8 bars per section formula exactly. However, they will be perceived as 2/4 or cut time. Breakdowns are traditionally for square dancing, which requires 8 measures to each set of calls for the dance.  

4. Contestants will be divided by age as follows*: 

Youth Fiddle (Age 17 & Under)

Adult Fiddle (Age 18-49)

Senior Fiddle (Age 50 & Over). 

*2020 Tennessee State Champion Fiddler will be chosen from the winners of the three Fiddle categories. There WILL NOT be a Final round for judging.

5. Medleys will NOT be allowed.

6. No monologues or singing permitted.

Judging Criteria

1. Rhythm and Timing - The judges will look for even, consistent rhythm. Rushing, dragging, or unevenness in performance will result in lost points in this category.

2. Creativity - The judges will look for variations, improvisations and "good licks". Repetitious performance (i.e., using the same "licks" over and over in the same tune) will result in lost points.

3. Authenticity and Taste - The judges will look for selection of authentic performance styles in each category. Indiscriminate use of variations that make the base tune unclear (for example, use of "hokum" bowing or "double shuffle" in the fiddle categories), and inappropriate modern licks will result in lost points.

4. Expression - The judges will look for the feeling that the contestants put into their performance. Flat, mechanical, unfeeling performances will result in lost points, as will excessive "showmanship".

5. Execution - The judges will look for tone quality, clarity, and general command of the instrument(s). Bad tone and muffled notes will result in lost points.


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Last modified: August 20, 2020

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