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soppinthegravy

209 posts
since 7/26/15

04/18/2017 15:00:54 View soppinthegravy's MP3 Archive View soppinthegravy's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

This may be a bizarre question, but, what are some things that can be done in starting a country fiddling contest welcoming both Old-Time and traditional Bluegrass, but not contest style, to ensure that contest style stays out of the finals? 

MikeyBoy

United States
838 posts since 1/26/08

04/18/2017 15:38:54View MikeyBoy's MP3 Archive View MikeyBoy's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Tasers.



Also, clearly defined rules and knowledgeable, sympathetic judges could help. 


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DougD

United States
8215 posts since 12/2/07

04/18/2017 16:00:50View DougD's MP3 Archive View DougD's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

That doesn't seem to be a problem around here. There are contests probably every weekend throughout the season where old time and Bluegrass coexist peacefully, with no sign of "contest style," although you might hear some good "swingy" stuff in the parking lot. Our convention here in Laurel Bloomery is just old time - no Bluegrass competition.



Here's one coming up soon:. http://www.otfiddlersconvention.com/#home  I'm scheduled to be a judge and I plan on setting up a ducking stool so if somebody plays a version of a tune we don't like we can soon discover what jam session they "learned" it at. Should be fun!


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Old Scratch

Canada
115 posts since 6/22/16

04/18/2017 17:04:26 Reply with Quote

This may be a bizarre question: but why not make it a fiddle festival, rather than a contest? Right away, you would discourage those who believe that contests are the be-all and end-all.

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soppinthegravy

209 posts since 7/26/15

04/18/2017 17:42:32View soppinthegravy's MP3 Archive View soppinthegravy's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

It probably wouldn't be a standalone fiddle contest, but a Bluegrass and Old-Time festival with contests for all instruments.  

quote:
Originally posted by Old Scratch
 

This may be a bizarre question: but why not make it a fiddle festival, rather than a contest? Right away, you would discourage those who believe that contests are the be-all and end-all.


 

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soppinthegravy

209 posts since 7/26/15

04/18/2017 17:44:28View soppinthegravy's MP3 Archive View soppinthegravy's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

What would be an example of those rules? 

quote:
Originally posted by MikeyBoy
 

Tasers.

 

Also, clearly defined rules and knowledgeable, sympathetic judges could help. 

 

 

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ChickenMan

United States
3092 posts since 9/26/08

Online

04/18/2017 19:00:59View ChickenMan's MP3 Archive View ChickenMan's Photo Albums View ChickenMan's Blog Reply with Quote

Cross tuning - allowed, as well as retuning if multiple tunes in contest round
OBS, Back Up and Push and other hokum bowing tunes not allowed
Tunes imitating animals not allowed (Mockingbird, Mules, Chickens..)
Judges should be knowledgeable in what that contest style is and isn't

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imapicker2

United States
168 posts since 9/6/11

04/18/2017 19:24:51View imapicker2's MP3 Archive View imapicker2's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Rule 1.   Allow only 1 guitar backup. No bar chords.  No more than 3 chord changes per song.

Rule 2. No cowboy hats or boots.

Rule 3. No fiddle worth more than $100.

Rule 4. Song must have at least 1 double stop and not more than 700 notes in the A part.

Rule 5. Song must be a variation of Soldier's Joy.

big-(This is tongue-in-cheek)  I do love all styles.         FIDDLE ON!

 

 

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Old Scratch

Canada
115 posts since 6/22/16

04/18/2017 19:28:34 Reply with Quote

"Tunes imitating animals not allowed"

I don't know - every tune I play, I'm told, sounds like a cat dying a horrible death. How would they know I wasn't purposely imitating said unfortunate feline?

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MikeyBoy

United States
838 posts since 1/26/08

04/18/2017 21:27:20View MikeyBoy's MP3 Archive View MikeyBoy's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by soppinthegravy
 

What would be an example of those rules? 

Along the lines of what Billy was saying above.  "Preference given to those fiddlers best representing the traditional fiddle style of Appalachia/Missouri/Alabama/Texas/Illinois/New England/Georgia/Arkansas/Oklahoma/PEI/Cape Breton/Metis/etc. (sorry for omitting any traditions, but you get the idea). Dancibility wins over variation. Fiddlers displaying competence in Texas Contest Style will be applauded, admired, appreciated, and given directions to Weiser. If you are unsure of these rules, please ask for clarification before paying the entry fee. Likewise, the pie contest will allow cakes to compete, and while both are delicious, apple pie will win over angel food cake."

 

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Tobus

United States
195 posts since 5/7/15

04/19/2017 05:22:44 View Tobus's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

I'm still unclear just exactly what "contest style" really is, and how one could define it well enough to exclude it from all the usual fiddling traditions.  Can someone explain it?  Is there even a consensus on what it is?

I thought hokum bowing was frowned upon in contest fiddling, since it's seen as a cheap filler technique?  If so, why would it be excluded from non-contest-style entries?

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MikeyBoy

United States
838 posts since 1/26/08

04/19/2017 07:20:56View MikeyBoy's MP3 Archive View MikeyBoy's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

My non-expert opinion: "Contest style" is more harmonically complex, the sock guitar accompaniment changes chords more frequently and utilizes a larger palette of chords. Creative and challenging variations are encouraged and valued, and "degree of difficulty " points are likely to be awarded. Contest style, while rooted in tradition, is a relatively modern creation. 



I would think a more "traditional" OT contest would value a faithful rendition of a tune over one with a lot of variation. "Groove" is more important than virtuosity. Chords change less often and are mostly constrained to in-key triads. 



 Can't do links atm, but google Kimber Ludiker contest fiddle and Rayna Gellert contest fiddle for an illustration of the differences. 


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farmerjones

United States
1222 posts since 10/22/07

04/19/2017 13:13:23 View farmerjones's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Piece of cake:

No breakdowns.

Just, Reels and Hornpipes.

Jigs, Slip-jigs, Strathspeys,

Dirges, & Waltzes.

No tunes-of-choice.

 


Edited by - farmerjones on 04/19/2017 13:22:05

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joeh4232

United States
56 posts since 11/26/09

04/19/2017 14:06:30 View joeh4232's Classified Ads View joeh4232's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Just have a separate category for this type of fiddiling. And I agree with some of the above posts on the judges. If judges would not grade this kind of fiddling with the old style kinds then people would get the message.

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soppinthegravy

209 posts since 7/26/15

04/19/2017 15:07:50View soppinthegravy's MP3 Archive View soppinthegravy's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

What is your definition of the difference between a reel and a breakdown?

quote:
Originally posted by farmerjones

Piece of cake:



No breakdowns.



Just, Reels and Hornpipes.



Jigs, Slip-jigs, Strathspeys,



Dirges, & Waltzes.



No tunes-of-choice.



 




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farmerjones

United States
1222 posts since 10/22/07

04/19/2017 18:30:02 View farmerjones's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

quote:

Originally posted by soppinthegravy



What is your definition of the difference between a reel and a breakdown?


quote:


Originally posted by farmerjones

 

Piece of cake:


 

No breakdowns.


 

Just, Reels and Hornpipes.


 

Jigs, Slip-jigs, Strathspeys,


 

Dirges, & Waltzes.


 

No tunes-of-choice.


 

 


 




 







Reels are dances. Breakdowns are show-off tunes. 


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farmerjones

United States
1222 posts since 10/22/07

04/19/2017 18:38:05 View farmerjones's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

One could add quadrilles and other traditional dances. But this would be a solution, to keep a contest more traditional. After all a fiddle is made for playing dances. The rest came later.


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boxbowPlayers Union Member

United States
2095 posts since 2/3/11

04/20/2017 03:55:10 View boxbow's Photo Albums View boxbow's Blog Reply with Quote

So make the judges all dancers.

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Tobus

United States
195 posts since 5/7/15

04/20/2017 05:20:29 View Tobus's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by MikeyBoy
 

My non-expert opinion: "Contest style" is more harmonically complex, the sock guitar accompaniment changes chords more frequently and utilizes a larger palette of chords. Creative and challenging variations are encouraged and valued, and "degree of difficulty " points are likely to be awarded. Contest style, while rooted in tradition, is a relatively modern creation. 

 

I would think a more "traditional" OT contest would value a faithful rendition of a tune over one with a lot of variation. "Groove" is more important than virtuosity. Chords change less often and are mostly constrained to in-key triads.

 

Hmm.  So aside from picking judges who recognize contest style playing and ensuring that they penalize it when they hear it, how exactly would you write the rules to discourage it?  I mean, you can't exactly write the rules by saying "no harmonic complexity" or "no frequent chord changes".  Similarly, even if you were going to try to encourage traditional Old-Time fiddling with faithful renditions of tunes, how exactly would you do that?  There are so many variations out there to choose from.

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farmerjones

United States
1222 posts since 10/22/07

04/20/2017 06:02:29 View farmerjones's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

i know what yer saying Tobus.  Even if you start by "dumbing down" the music, if things progress in typical fashion, in a few years it will be back to the status quo. A high level Mo. (style) hornpipe fiddler ornaments a tune with "noteyness" while a Texas (style) contest fiddler may ornament a tune with bowing.  

Here's another take: If that is their intent, the founders and organizers of the contest need to hire judges and run the contest to encourage the regional style.  If a hotshot comes in, this individual it's not scored highly, discouraging hotshots. Word gets out. They know it's a waste of fuel to attend. I've been in these contests. They exist. (trust me, i wasn't the hotshot) I also like to see "open divisions" where hotshots play and are judged separate from the rest.  Also would like to see a "same tune" division. Where all contestants have to play the same tune.  As you can imagine, the planners can have multiple divisions.  This gets everyone's entry money, and gets everyone involved.  Little kids to senior seniors.

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Lee M

United States
5791 posts since 3/19/09

04/20/2017 06:07:53View Lee M's MP3 Archive View Lee M's Photo Albums View Lee M's Blog Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by MikeyBoy
 

Tasers.

 

Also, clearly defined rules and knowledgeable, sympathetic judges could help. 

 

Good point.. If the judges can tell the difference and will judge accordingly, it wouldn't be a problem..One might say that getting a good bluegrass or Old time SOUND is more important than wiz/bang technique will be the thing that contestants are judge by.

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Lee M

United States
5791 posts since 3/19/09

04/20/2017 06:09:11View Lee M's MP3 Archive View Lee M's Photo Albums View Lee M's Blog Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan

Cross tuning - allowed, as well as retuning if multiple tunes in contest round
OBS, Back Up and Push and other hokum bowing tunes not allowed
Tunes imitating animals not allowed (Mockingbird, Mules, Chickens..)
Judges should be knowledgeable in what that contest style is and isn't

How about a contest in which all performers ARE cross tuned..

 

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MikeyBoy

United States
838 posts since 1/26/08

04/20/2017 09:58:12View MikeyBoy's MP3 Archive View MikeyBoy's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Tobus - "faithful rendition" was a bit of a loaded term, I would hope judges would recognize there is more than one way to skin a cat, even while keeping within a particular regional style. 



 



 



I don't see an issue with stating in the rules something like "preference will be given to fiddlers who best represent Regional Style X. This is not a Texas contest style contest." I wouldn't want to define too narrowly what Regional Style X means, the judges can determine what is and isn't authentic. What's a fiddle contest without a little debatable subjectivity?



 



 i would love to see a contest where all different styles could compete, have it open to anything fiddling: irish trad, BG, OT, mariachi, what have you. Nothing classical, just fiddling in all its forms. Would probably be an unworkable mess and impossible to judge, but fun to watch.


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Tobus

United States
195 posts since 5/7/15

04/20/2017 10:16:53 View Tobus's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by MikeyBoy

I don't see an issue with stating in the rules something like "preference will be given to fiddlers who best represent Regional Style X. This is not a Texas contest style contest." I wouldn't want to define too narrowly what Regional Style X means, the judges can determine what is and isn't authentic. What's a fiddle contest without a little debatable subjectivity?
 

I like that idea.  Rather than trying to overtly discourage "contest style" fiddling, simply state which regional style(s) are given the advantage.  As long as it's clear that authenticity is key

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DougD

United States
8215 posts since 12/2/07

04/20/2017 10:53:32View DougD's MP3 Archive View DougD's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

If you follow the link I posted earlier in the thread you can see the rules for the upcoming contest in Flag Pond. They're a bit quirky, but definitely emphasize the importance of regional style and repertoire and they've tried to get judges who will recognize them. I'd say you could also find the rules for contests at Galax, Mt. Airy, probably Clifftop, and maybe more if you're really curious.



I wonder if there are contests where Southeastern old time and (Western) "contest" style peacefully coexist? Around here I don't think there's a problem - people play in a local, or at least "old time festival" style. But the Quebe Sisters play around here fairly often and people love them. We like that music, just not too many people play it around here.


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MikeyBoy

United States
838 posts since 1/26/08

04/20/2017 13:05:10View MikeyBoy's MP3 Archive View MikeyBoy's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Doug the Flag Pond rules are least ambiguous of any of those other festivals, and you have the best prizes! Too bad it's about 2000 miles away, sounds like fun.


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