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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Ed Haley's bowing


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.fiddlehangout.com/archive/4916

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Mike_Fontenot - Posted - 09/16/2008:  12:11:04


In the booklet that accompanies John Hartford's fiddle video, he describes Ed Haley's bowing as consisting of single-directional bowing ("don't switch directions until you run out of bow"), but with lots of "interrupted slurs" (frequently of two notes each, but also sometimes three notes or more). John also uses a special bowing notation to notate this type of bowing.

That is a bowing style that is TOTALLY different than anything I've ever seen before. I've seen instances in OT fiddling where an interrupted up-slur is used so that the phrases always end on an upbow. I've also seen interrupted up-slurs used in Texas style for a pair of notes, most often when the first note is staccato (or at least shorter than full duration). But I've never seen it used anywhere near as extensively as John describes. John recorded an album called "The Speed of the Old Long Bow, A Tribute to Ed Haley", but I haven't heard it yet. And I don't have any Ed Haley recordings yet.

Are there any members of this forum that have any experience with this style of bowing, or any information about it?



Mike Fontenot

oldlongbow - Posted - 09/16/2008:  12:51:51


For me, this style of bowing is difficult beyond belief. John was a loon for as he put it "all things Ed Haley." He even wrote a book about Haley (yet to be published). He tried to teach me that bowing....forget it.

John tried his darnest to copy Haley's bowing, and he'd be the first to tell you he didn't compare....(could have fooled me) but all those notes would flow from one direction...and all those accents were brought about by an amazing control of pressure on the bow.

Get Haley's CD or pick up "Speed of the Old Long Bow" that's some of John's hottest fiddling.....kind of Hartford- Haley style.



"play your tunes to suit yourself...then you''re as good as anybody else"
John Hartford

rcc - Posted - 09/16/2008:  13:06:39


Very cool. This seems like a form of "longbow" bowing so I have to ask -- anyone know if Ralph Blizzard played like this?



RobBob - Posted - 09/16/2008:  13:46:21


God Bless John and all the great things he was, but to my ear, he never bowed a fiddle like Ed Haley. Perhaps today he is over there with Ed and they are jamming on all of those great old tunes.



RobBob
Music; the best way to count time.
www.blueridgerounders.com

OTJunky - Posted - 09/16/2008:  13:56:33


Hmmm, this is fascinating - but also news to me.

Anybody know why John thought Ed Haley bowed like this. We don't have any videos of Haley's playings - just some poor quality recordings.

So, either he based it on what he heard - or he talked to one or more fiddlers that actually saw Haley play?

--OTJ
"I can barely fiddle on four strings. Why would I want five?"

bsed - Posted - 09/16/2008:  15:18:21


Not long ago I tabbed out Haley's Cumberland Gap (he plays it in A). Here are the changes of bow direction I deduced from his recording: (s2=slur 2 notes, sw=one saw stroke note)
A-Part:
s2 sw1 sw1 s2 s2 s2 s2 s2 s2 sw1 sw1 s2 s2 s2 s2 s2 s2 sw1 s2 sw1 sw1 s2 s2 s2 s2 s2 s2 s2 s2 s2 sw1 s3 sw1 sw1 s2 sw1 s2

The B-Part is similar.

Notice that there are a lot of slurs of 2 notes back-to-back-to-back etc.
So this tune does have a different cadence than tunes by other historical players.
[I would've considered tabbing the tune out in its entirety here but the word processing program used on this forum wouldn't have rendered it readable.]


Just call me Dwight.


Edited by - bsed on 09/16/2008 15:19:56

OTJunky - Posted - 09/16/2008:  15:34:31


quote:
Originally posted by Mike_Fontenot

Are there any members of this forum that have any experience with this style of bowing, or any information about it?

I'm having some considerable difficulty even believing it.

--OTJ
"I can barely fiddle on four strings. Why would I want five?"

BanjoBrad - Posted - 09/16/2008:  15:49:43


I know John says, somewhere on his "Hamilton Ironworks" CD, that somebody told him once:

"Every time you finger a note, you pull the bow. And that's the scientific way to play the fiddle, young man."

Don't recall who he said it was.

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Brad

"I''ll tune up my fiddle, and rosin my bow, to make myself welcome wherever I go." Tommy Jarrell - Drunken Hiccoughs
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oldlongbow - Posted - 09/16/2008:  16:02:39


I was proud to know John for the last several years of his life, especially during his Haleymania. I know that John got to know Haley's son quite well and it was HE who explained alot to John as well as older fiddler who knew Haley and his style.

Again, John would be the first to tell you "I ain't Ed Haley" but he'd try and try to catch some of his style from those recordings he helped produce. He told me that he'd play something for Ed's son who'd tell him whether or not he was even close to his daddy style.

When John tried to teach me a little of this...he'd have me play any tune I liked and then he'd say "okay, now DON'T change direction...just change the pressure on the bow where you'd usually change direction".

He said he knew lots of old boys who could do this in their sleep. Long bow strokes and accents all done with adding or taking away bow pressure.

I hope my feeble explanation makes sense.
Try it sometime...even if you can't do it...it's a great control exercise...and makes you appreciate Haley all the more.

For fans of Haley...just wait til you get a chance to read John's book on him...if it ever gets published. I got to read about half and it's funny, insightful and very entertaining.

"play your tunes to suit yourself...then you''re as good as anybody else"
John Hartford

woodwiz - Posted - 09/16/2008:  17:24:11


Pete MacMahan bowed like that. Matt Wyatt learned from him, and was showing me some of those techniques not too long ago. He gets that little pop you normally hear when the bow changes direction - except the direction doesn't change. I'm trying to get some more info from him, but we're both awfully busy these days, and it's hard to hook up.

I've played around with the idea a bit, and it doesn't seem too difficult. Like any new skill, it takes a lot of repetition. My question would be, "Where do you use it, and for what effect?"

Michael R

www.kcstrings.com
"Together, we create"

"Thank you for the wonderful violin you made. I''ve used it on every show I''ve played since I''ve got it." John Hartford

DougD - Posted - 09/16/2008:  18:54:57


rcc - Although we don't have any videos of Ed Haley's playing, we do of Ralph Blizard's: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0k23JJSJNyg
I don't know if Ralph knew of Ed Haley or not - I think Arthur Smith was his main man.

bsed - Posted - 09/16/2008:  19:33:23


quote:
Originally posted by OTJunky

quote:
Originally posted by Mike_Fontenot

Are there any members of this forum that have any experience with this style of bowing, or any information about it?

I'm having some considerable difficulty even believing it.

--OTJ
"I can barely fiddle on four strings. Why would I want five?"


Did you LOOK at my post above? Seems to be what Mr. Fontenot was inquiring about. As Chirps said (in another thread), "What am I? Chopped liver?"


Edited by - bsed on 09/16/2008 19:36:04

musekatcher - Posted - 09/16/2008:  19:38:01


I didn't think Hartford captured Haley perfectly either. Hartfords long bow to me sounded more like arbitrary bowing, if that communicates my meaning. I do recognize his description of longer bows, with force pulses, and speed pulses for rhythm in the old fiddlers. At anyrate, SOTOLB is a good album, and Hartford was a good fiddler. And there's still a lot of Haley in those recordings to be discovered.

Jim Holland
Athens, AL

OTJunky - Posted - 09/17/2008:  03:54:20


quote:
Originally posted by bsed

Did you LOOK at my post above? Seems to be what Mr. Fontenot was inquiring about. As Chirps said (in another thread), "What am I? Chopped liver?"


Sorry - I'm still confused I guess...

I read your post

quote:
bsed wrote:

Not long ago I tabbed out Haley's Cumberland Gap (he plays it in A). Here are the changes of bow direction I deduced from his recording: (s2=slur 2 notes, sw=one saw stroke note)
A-Part:
s2 sw1 sw1 s2 s2 s2 s2 s2 s2 sw1 sw1 s2 s2 s2 s2 s2 s2 sw1 s2 sw1 sw1 s2 s2 s2 s2 s2 s2 s2 s2 s2 sw1 s3 sw1 sw1 s2 sw1 s2

As saying you thought Haley was changing bow direction to articulate the two note slurs and saw strokes.

But I think Mike is saying that Haley did not change bow direction at the end of one slur and to begin the next one. But instead articulated the end of one slur and the beginning of the next one with a change in bow pressure - without changing bow direction.

Is that right? And, if so, is that how you're playing Haley's version of Cumberland Gap?

--OTJ
"I can barely fiddle on four strings. Why would I want five?"

RobBob - Posted - 09/17/2008:  06:44:11


If we are indeed speaking of bowing phrases by not changing direction but only changing pressure, then you have described the bowing of many bluegrass fiddlers and that of other longbow fiddlers from West Virginia like Mike Humphries, Clark Kessinger and Johnny Johnson.

JP Fraley related a story to me of watching Haley fiddle in front of the JC Murphy store in Ashland Kentucky when he was a kid. He would beg or borrow a nickel, flip it into the pot an ask for Fisher's Hornpipe. He said it was amazing to watch Ed play it. JP also related that a nickel did not buy a long version of the tune. JP's description of Haley's style was not detailed enough to answer the original question.

Nikos Pappas sounds a lot like Haley. I think he lives in Lexington, KY. Look him up. Some West Virginia fiddlers will argue that point but I am unaware of anyone else who is a close on some of the tunes.

RobBob
Music; the best way to count time.
www.blueridgerounders.com

OTJunky - Posted - 09/17/2008:  07:13:48


Ok - I'm still kind'a baffled by all this though.

We have this you tube of Kessinger playing a tune I'd call "Katy Hill" - though he calls it "Sally Ann Johnson"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SwInLwtNZY

Anyhow, he mostly just saws away at it like most fiddlers would. But there is a place or two, where he articulates separate notes by moderating his bow pressure without changing direction. Kenny Baker does this as well on one part of Jerusalem Ridge.

Is that what we're talking about here? Meaning it's something you do every now and then for effect - rather than something you'd use most of the time in bowing a tune.

--OTJ
"I can barely fiddle on four strings. Why would I want five?"

RobBob - Posted - 09/17/2008:  07:33:33


Hartford put forth this principle that did not sound exactly like Haley. He tried real hard but Haley had this masterful touch where he sang with his bow. The bow is moving and like a lot of old timers he is applying and releasing pressure on the bow but not like a Clyde Davenport or Hiram Stamper to get a pulse. His pulse is much more subtle and more implied than stated if that makes sense.

He will be bowing and apply and release pressure to heighten the phrasing. Actually quite masterful and very hard to hear on those old recordings. On the best of them you can hear him do it and even pulse with is on occasion.

RobBob
Music; the best way to count time.
www.blueridgerounders.com

OTJunky - Posted - 09/17/2008:  07:45:09


Ok - thanks.

I think I'm starting to get it. I do think Kenny Baker does this as well - I guess one of the best of a long line of Kentucky fiddlers descending from Haley...

--OTJ
"I can barely fiddle on four strings. Why would I want five?"


Edited by - OTJunky on 09/17/2008 07:45:53

Jonny A - Posted - 09/17/2008:  07:53:22


I am just a flatlander, but I have spent a lot of time listening to the Haley recordings and learning his versions, and have checked my work against the versions of others with a lot more experience than I have.

With all due respect to John Hartford, (and this is clearly a touchy issue) I simply cannot square what he wrote in those liner notes with the way Ed Haley played. One quotation I got on this issue was "unless Ed Haley was an alien who was plopped down on Earth from space, he likely played in a manner similar to his peers and forebears."

Granted, you can't pin down Ed Haley easily. He played it all, from mountain cross keyed tunes to more uptown single string stuff, and soaked up just about anything he heard and then spit it out with the Ed Haley stamp unmistakably placed upon it.

Still, he was clearly (and here I open a can of worms, I know) a down bow, short stroke fiddler, not a "long bower," whatever the heck that is (and I still can't figure it out). This is a gross simplification of course, in that the man could clearly do anything he wanted, and took the many styles he knew on his own terms, but it is still fair to say this is what he was grounded in.

All you have to do is spend some time listening to the great one on those records, put the tunes in a slow downer program, and you can instantly hear the familiar bowing patterns we all know and love. Sure, he changes it up all the time, and is obviously a wizard over them like nobody else, but they are definitely there.

I think this whimsical mis-understanding of Ed Haley's bowing has caused no end of confusion for many many people. But of course, the source of it was a great man who was himself a national treasure, so I say it carefully and with all respect due.

Jonny

RobBob - Posted - 09/17/2008:  08:14:47


Jonny,

Legends are legends because they defy the obvious. Haley's bowing is a slight of hand. OTJ is correct I believe in saying that Kenny Baker is of the Haley line. Much more so than Hartford. Hartford sure knew good fiddling when he heard it and did some mighty fine fiddling himself. All fiddlers move their bow Down and UP, but it is what they do while bowing that is the important thing.

RobBob
Music; the best way to count time.
www.blueridgerounders.com

Mug - Posted - 09/17/2008:  08:47:07


You know you can see Ed Haleys fiddle on display and play it if you win the Ed Haley fiddle contest this weekend in Ashland Ky

OTJunky - Posted - 09/17/2008:  08:50:03


Like Jonny, I've listened to Haley a lot and try to play some of his tunes the way he played'em - Brushy Fork of John's Creek, Ida Red, Indian Ate a Woodchuck, Garfield's Blackberry Blossom, Cherry River Rag, Bluegrass Meadows, Dunbar and Cattletsburg.

I'm pretty much in agreement with Jonny that most of Haley's bowing doesn't seem all that extraordinary. it's just that's a profoundly good fiddler and - as Jonny says - can mix it up at will.

But I have to say that I didn't realize that Clark Kessinger "pulsed" the bow at all until I went back and watched that YouTube clip all the way through. So, now I'm thinking he probably does it a lot more than I realized - especially on things that want a little syncopation.

I wonder if people aren't just misinterpreting these liner notes. I'm gonna go back and listen to Haley's playing some more and see if I can't find this technique used in something like Cherry River Rag or other tunes. It's definitely a technique I've seen before.

But applying this technique every now and then for effect is way different from "not switching bow direction until you run out of bow".

So, at the moment, I'm kinda with Jonny on this one - but I will go listen again..

--OTJ
"I can barely fiddle on four strings. Why would I want five?"

oldtimer - Posted - 09/17/2008:  08:50:39


quote:
Originally posted by Mike_Fontenot

In the booklet that accompanies John Hartford's fiddle video, he describes Ed Haley's bowing as consisting of single-directional bowing ("don't switch directions until you run out of bow"), but with lots of "interrupted slurs" (frequently of two notes each, but also sometimes three notes or more). John also uses a special bowing notation to notate this type of bowing.

That is a bowing style that is TOTALLY different than anything I've ever seen before. I've seen instances in OT fiddling where an interrupted up-slur is used so that the phrases always end on an upbow. I've also seen interrupted up-slurs used in Texas style for a pair of notes, most often when the first note is staccato (or at least shorter than full duration). But I've never seen it used anywhere near as extensively as John describes. John recorded an album called "The Speed of the Old Long Bow, A Tribute to Ed Haley", but I haven't heard it yet. And I don't have any Ed Haley recordings yet.




Here is my take on John's long bow style. Before I say this, let me emphasize that this is NOT criticism of Hartford. I knew John for over 30 years...I consider him a musical genius...and when he died, I felt like I had lost a brother, although we were never close buddies. I'm not sure John had any close buddies until his later years. I remember seeing him sitting alone in the back of his huge bus, just John and a driver....John working constantly on his music in isolation, making notes on his huge collection of index cards. In his later years, he became more sociable.

"That is a bowing style that is TOTALLY different than anything I've ever seen before".

You can see that bowing style in the playing of Vassar Clements. In fact, Vassar was John's biggest influence when John started getting serious about fiddling in the early 70's. John had played fiddle in his youth, but he had little experience and no confidence in his fiddling. His performances up until the late 70's were all banjo and singing.

I witnessed Vassar's encouragement and teaching of John's fiddling. Vassar had developed the long, slurring bow for his elaborate improvisations and Vassar said "I don't keep rhythm with the bow."

John said to me, in the 1970's, that Vassar had given him the confidence to become a real fiddler. And John adapted Vassar's bow style, because bowing had been the problem that had inhibited John from doing much fiddling.

In his later years, John became obsessed with being an old-time fiddler, attending many OT festivals and listening to everything ever recorded by old southern fiddlers. He played in festival sessions and contests and eventually played fiddle almost exclusively in his shows.

The problem was, John couldn't get away from Vassar's jazzy long bow style no matter how much he played the old tunes. So, when he discovered Ed Haley, he was eager to see Haley as an example of the long bow style and an authentic precedent for John's bowing.

Although Haley used more slurs than most southern fiddlers, I never heard, in his playing, anything as "long bow" as Hartford's or Vassar's style. It was a stretch to compare Haley's bowing with John's. I discussed this with the man that I consider to be the world's most knowledgeable expert on southern OT fiddling (I won't name him out of respect for his privacy), and he said that he completely agreed: Haley had similarities to John's style, but there was a large dose of wishful thinking on John's part.

I repeat, THIS IS NOT, IN ANY WAY, CRITICISM OF JOHN HARTFORD. I have great love and respect for John and I understand. After decades of being a unique creative loner, he wanted badly to fit into the OT fiddling scene and he found that his long bow style still kept him apart.

I understand this very well, because I have similar problems. I don't fit in with southeast fiddlers I admire, because my bowing and repertoire came from my Texas childhood. I can't saw-stroke to save my life.

stay tooned....
Glenn Godsey


"Time passes unhindered"

Jonny A - Posted - 09/17/2008:  09:07:17


quote:
Originally posted by OTJunky

But I have to say that I didn't realize that Clark Kessinger "pulsed" the bow at all until I went back and watched that YouTube clip all the way through. So, now I'm thinking he probably does it a lot more than I realized - especially on things that want a little syncopation.




I forgot to mention this in my earlier post, but yes, Ed Haley, to my ear, did this. He does do a lick that involves a "double up". The rhythm is da-DA-umph-da-DA, with the down beat on the first da, starting on a down bow. The da-DA, is down/up, the umph is a little pause, almost dropping down again, and then the second da is another up, followed by a down bow on DA.

A specific example can be found in the tune Stonewall Jackson on the recordings; he sprinkles this throughout the tune.

But this cannot be extrapolated to say his whole bowing style was in the (as oldtimer has now pointed out) Vassar Clements style of bowing.

Legends may be legends, but there is no way that what Haley was really doing was articulating bow changes by pusling, and then using all the available bow hair real estate until he was force to change direction. Let's use Ockham's Razor: why on earth would he spend all kinds of time doing that for no benefit? The simplest explanation is that he didn't; but did use that sort of technique when it suited him (it's actually harder to do the above lick without that little up-up thing).

I am sure Glenn is correct; and of course, I share his immense respect for John Hartford too.



oldlongbow - Posted - 09/17/2008:  09:34:01


I'll jump back in here for no other reason than to say again...
I was one of those lucky people who was a friend of John & Marie Hartford in the last several years of their lives and once again I'll say that John NEVER claimed to sound like Ed Haley....he just did what all of us do....borrow from and strive to include elements of other fiddlers in to our playing. Sometimes it worked sometimes it didn't. Hell, John never played a tune the same way twice and could hardly ever play a tune without doing a little Benny Martin or Vassar type riff!

John would always steer you toward the source of his influence...whether it be Gene Goforth, Walter Alexander, Roy Wooliver...Benny Martin...Vassar or in the later years Ed Haley.

As for wanting to fit in to the OT community and feeling apart from it....hogwash. John LOVED OT fiddling and the people who played it...but he could care less if YOU (the REAL old time community...whoever that is) accepted him. I know that for fact because I asked him that very question. His answer... "oh, I'm too old to give a damn what people think of my playing or style...I pretty much established who I am years ago and don't really need anybody's approval."

It was the snobbish attitude that I had gotten from various OT players about "what's REALLY OT playing" that prompted me to ask the question of John in the first place.



"play your tunes to suit yourself...then you''re as good as anybody else"
John Hartford

clawhammerist - Posted - 09/17/2008:  09:52:06


I've enjoyed following this discussion, as Ed Haley is without a doubt my favorite historical fiddler, and one whose music has given me much inspiration.

Frankly, I too cannot believe that Haley dealt with the bow in a manner akin to the acknowledged "long-bow" fiddlers mentioned elsewhere in the thread, whether or not pulsing is involved. What I hear in his bowing is not so much liquid-smoothness (which is definitely the sound I associate with a long bow style) as control; there is LOTS of single-bowing going on, but he finessed his bow in such a way that the results are more refined-sounding than what one might expect from a typical single bow-heavy style.

Bobby Taylor has studied Haley's fiddling extensively, and is the current guardian of the Haley fiddle (for whatever that may or may not be worth); in my opinion, given his general aesthetic and his diverse interests and repertoire that includes very sophisticated, "modern" tunes alongside archaic cross-tuned material, Bobby comes as close as anyone to being the Ed Haley of his generation. While he too would never claim, I'm sure, to be attempting to copy Haley's playing note-for-note and stroke-for-stroke, their styles clearly have some similarities. Bobby, who was taught and profoundly influenced by Clark Kessinger, often plays a highly complex style with plenty of down-up-down-up single bowing. Like Haley, though, his command of the bow is what makes his overall sound refined and successful and not just a bunch of notes rendered in a choppy manner (which is the effect that many folks might produce when using as much single-bowing as he does).

Listen to Bobby's playing sometime (some of his stuff can be found online); I think the similarities between his playing and Haley's will be immediately apparent.

Also, just to set the record straight, Haley played "Cumberland Gap" in G, tuned to standard. This setting makes a lot of the slurring suggested earlier rather unlikely. I'm hearing plenty of single-bowing in this tune.

Cheers,
Adam Hurt
www.adamhurt.com
www.myspace.com/adamhurt
www.cdbaby.com/cd/adamhurt

dsreiner - Posted - 09/17/2008:  09:57:28


Really interesting discussion with a variety of points of view!

I transcribed Ed Haley's version of Cherry River Rag (from Rounder LP #1010, Parkersberg Landing) in Oldtime Fiddling Across America (page 97). It's tough to catch exact bowings by ear, but Pete Anick and I thought we were pretty close on this one. I didn't hear a lot of "pulse" bowing in Haley's playing, but I did hear some bowings including ghost notes that might be interpreted (misinterpreted?) as pulses.

To give a concrete example, in measure 3 of the A part, I heard a saw stroke for all 8 of the 16th notes, but the 6th note sounded "ghosted." A ghost note is barely touched and barely heard, and adds to the syncopation. Since the ghost note is on an upbow (as most are), one might misinterpret this as a pulsed downbow covering the 5th through 7th notes (see below). This also happens in the third measure of the B part.

Played: d u d u d gu d u (gu = ghost upbow)
Transcribed in OTFAA: d u d u d gu d u
Possibly misinterpreted as pulsed downbow: d u d u d - d u

When I sat with John Hartford (a wonderful player and a friend) in the back of his camper many years ago (in Lincoln, MA), we were leafing through my book, and I gave him a copy. I played through Cherry River Rag at his request, and he said it sounded pretty accurate.

In short, my view is that the upbow ghost notes that I hear in Ed Haley's playing are a subtle but common bowing technique that contributes to syncopation, and that sounds a lot like and may be (mis)interpreted as a pulsed downbow.

That's my two cents :-)

Dave

Co-author, Oldtime Fiddling Across America
Author, Anthology of Fiddle Styles
Genial host of Fiddle Hell Massachusetts (next Nov 14-16, 2008)
Dad and fiddler for Reiner Family Band

RobBob - Posted - 09/17/2008:  10:03:11


When I say pulse I don't mean like Clyde Davenport. He keeps the tune going by increasing and decreasing bow pressure. That double up lick is a common lick in KY and WV fiddling.

RobBob
Music; the best way to count time.
www.blueridgerounders.com

OTJunky - Posted - 09/17/2008:  10:03:55


quote:
dsreiner

That's my two cents :-)

Seemed more like five or ten dollars worth...

--OTJ
"I can barely fiddle on four strings. Why would I want five?"


Edited by - OTJunky on 09/17/2008 10:11:12

Mike_Fontenot - Posted - 09/17/2008:  11:10:58


quote:
Originally posted by OTJunky
Kenny Baker does this as well on one part of Jerusalem Ridge.


That surprised me when I saw that YouTube clip of Kenny playing JR several months ago. I think he downbowed the first of the four 8th notes in the B part, and then did the next three notes with an "interrupted up-slur". But that is actually fairly similar to the two-note interrupted up-slurs that I've seen fairly often...almost always when the first note is somewhat staccato. And I think those four notes WERE shorter than full value...maybe that's why Kenny bowed it that way.

But the BIG difference between this and what I think John Hartford was describing is that in the Kenny case (and in the case of the more common two-note interrupted up-slurs), the notes AREN'T fast 16th notes. John's notation showed this being done for LONG strings (without a direction change) of paired 16th notes (and sometimes of triples, rather than pairs). Also, the title of his album ("The Speed...") seemed to imply that it was a technique that facilitated playing FAST (and that seemed quite strange to me).
quote:

Is that what we're talking about here? Meaning it's something you do every now and then for effect - rather than something you'd use most of the time in bowing a tune.


That's definitely NOT what John seemed to be saying (at least to my reading).

Mike Fontenot


Edited by - Mike_Fontenot on 09/17/2008 11:28:30

Blu - Posted - 09/17/2008:  11:13:11


Fiddling Dr. Gray. I don't remember the good doctor's first name at the moment.

quote:
Originally posted by BanjoBrad

I know John says, somewhere on his "Hamilton Ironworks" CD, that somebody told him once:

"Every time you finger a note, you pull the bow. And that's the scientific way to play the fiddle, young man."

Don't recall who he said it was.

Forum Rules and Guidelines
FHO FAQ

Brad

"I''ll tune up my fiddle, and rosin my bow, to make myself welcome wherever I go." Tommy Jarrell - Drunken Hiccoughs
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
www.PricklyPearMusic.net
ezFolk Page
Tucson Old Time Music Circle Home Page
Tucson Old Time Music Circle on ezFolk Page



“Many a good crop has been lost foolin’ with a fiddle.” John Hartford

oldtimer - Posted - 09/17/2008:  11:13:49


quote:
Originally posted by oldlongbow


.....As for wanting to fit in to the OT community and feeling apart from it....hogwash. John LOVED OT fiddling and the people who played it...but he could care less if YOU (the REAL old time community...whoever that is) accepted him. I know that for fact because I asked him that very question. His answer... "oh, I'm too old to give a damn what people think of my playing or style...I pretty much established who I am years ago and don't really need anybody's approval."




I'm sure that you are right, James. I must admit that I was attempting to read John's mind about his feelings about the OT community. But, I'm sure that you knew him better than I did, and I'm glad to hear you tell what he said about this.

stay tooned....
Glenn Godsey

"Time passes unhindered"

Mike_Fontenot - Posted - 09/17/2008:  11:14:30


quote:
Originally posted by oldlongbow
For fans of Haley...just wait til you get a chance to read John's book on him...if it ever gets published. I got to read about half and it's funny, insightful and very entertaining.


Do you (or anyone else) know if that book really is likely to be published? If so, it may shed some more light on all these questions.

Mike Fontenot

OTJunky - Posted - 09/17/2008:  11:26:21


quote:
Originally posted by oldlongbow

As for wanting to fit in to the OT community and feeling apart from it....hogwash. John LOVED OT fiddling and the people who played it...but he could care less if YOU (the REAL old time community...whoever that is) accepted him. I know that for fact because I asked him that very question. His answer... "oh, I'm too old to give a damn what people think of my playing or style...I pretty much established who I am years ago and don't really need anybody's approval."

So, who or what exactly is the "OT community"?

Is it comprised of the Clifftop attendees, the current crop of "professional" OT fiddlers, people who buy OT music CD's, or some other group of people?

I thought John was a fine OT fiddler. He had a unique style, but all OT fiddlers have some degree of uniqueness. His playing was just more unique than most. Sort of a combination of Vassar, Gene Gofoth, and Bob Holt....

I don't see how anyone can object to a combination like that. Seems like he'd have been welcomed anywhere.

--OTJ
"I can barely fiddle on four strings. Why would I want five?"

Mike_Fontenot - Posted - 09/17/2008:  11:26:49


quote:
Originally posted by clawhammerist
[...] there is LOTS of single-bowing going on, but he finessed his bow in such a way that the results are more refined-sounding than what one might expect from a typical single bow-heavy style.
[...]
Bobby [Taylor], who was taught and profoundly influenced by Clark Kessinger, often plays a highly complex style with plenty of down-up-down-up single bowing. Like Haley, though, his command of the bow is what makes his overall sound refined and successful and not just a bunch of notes rendered in a choppy manner (which is the effect that many folks might produce when using as much single-bowing as he does).


I wonder if John mistook Ed's extra-smooth direction changes for unidirectional bowing? Too bad there are no videos of Ed's playing...if he WAS doing what John thought, it would be immediately visually apparent.

Mike Fontenot

oldlongbow - Posted - 09/17/2008:  11:48:30


quote]Originally posted by Mike_Fontenot

quote:
Originally posted by oldlongbow
For fans of Haley...just wait til you get a chance to read John's book on him...if it ever gets published. I got to read about half and it's funny, insightful and very entertaining.


Do you (or anyone else) know if that book really is likely to be published? If so, it may shed some more light on all these questions.

Mike Fontenot
[/quote]

Several months ago the difficult task of settling the estate was finished. The family is currently re-releasing several of John's CDs on his "Small Dog a'Barkin" label on www.johnhartford.com website.

The book is also a project they want to publish...but last I heard no date is set.

It's a fun piece of writing...almost like a detective novel in which John "talks" to Ed during his search to discover what made him such a great fiddler. Lots of fun facts, notation and insight gathered over John's years of researching Haley with a fellow named Brandon Kirk who did loads of work on it with John.

I only got halfway through what was close to being the final draft when we had to catch our flight out of Nashville. I was always pressing John to finish the darn thing and get it out there....then he got sicker and sicker. I'm anxious to finish it.

"play your tunes to suit yourself...then you''re as good as anybody else"
John Hartford

M-D - Posted - 09/17/2008:  12:48:35


Wasn't the book placed with Brandon Kirk by John, so that it would be published? I suppose that, regardless, it got tied up in estate crapola.

Edit: I remembered where I saw the above.

http://www.johnhartford.com/forum/t...id=5&tid=930

It was Dr. Jimmy Gray. I know people who knew him well.

_________________________________________________________________

M-D

Old-Time, All the Time

Music is found in the space between the notes -- in the silence between the chords. Get your spaces right, and you''ve got it. ~ Albert Greenfield


Edited by - M-D on 09/17/2008 12:53:25

bsed - Posted - 09/17/2008:  15:17:21


OTJ--I went back to Mike's original post and read it carefully, and I noticed he talked of "interrupted" slurs. I guess I have to confess I don't know what those are. I may have heard examples of these in the past and maybe I would have called them something else. But itjived with me that Haley did use a lot of consecutive 2-note slurs in that tune anyhow. I'd assume that he had a style of playing that this pattern of bowing would probably show up in other tunes he played as well. But I'm not a Haley scholar, so I'll just have to say I'm largely ignorant except for the small number of his tunes I've attempted.

Just call me Dwight.

Mike_Fontenot - Posted - 09/18/2008:  11:15:47


quote:
Originally posted by bsed

[font=Georgia]OTJ--I went back to Mike's original post and read it carefully, and I noticed he talked of "interrupted" slurs. I guess I have to confess I don't know what those are.


"Interrupted slurs" is just my made-up term. Brian Wicklund calls them "staccato slurs". There are probably other terms that have been used...I doubt that there is any widely accepted term.

What they are (whatever they are called) is just this: a pair of notes, played with the bow moving in the same direction, but distinguishable as separated notes (i.e., with at least a slight time-space between them, or alternatively, with a "pulse" of extra bow speed at the beginning of the second note in the pair). In contrast, in an ordinary slur, the two notes are joined smoothly together, with no time-space (or other "separator") between them.

Sometimes there is a fairly large time-space between the two notes (hence Brian's use of the term "staccato"), but sometimes the time-space is very small (or missing entirely, with the "separator" just being a "pulse" on the second note).

Clearly, by extension, it's possible to have a long sequence of notes played with a single bow direction, but with some or all of those notes played distinctly, rather than all being joined smoothly together.

This is what John Hartford seemed (to me) to be saying in his notes to his fiddle video: he showed long strings of notes being played with a single bow direction ("don't change direction until you run out of bow"), with pairs of notes joined smoothly together, but with the pairs themselves being distinguishable (presumably, either with some time-space between them, or by using "pulses" in the bow speed). (And sometimes, there are three (or more) notes played smoothly, rather than just a pair).

He used a special notation to show this: the entire string of notes has the normal curved "slur" line underneath them, but the places where there is an audible "interruption" have a little "curlicue" added to the curved slur line at that point. (In my notational scheme, I use a little "slash" line through the slur line, at the point that I want to indicate an interruption (or, when I have to use ASCII, I use an exclamation point below the slur line)).

Mike Fontenot

fiddlecraver - Posted - 09/18/2008:  13:59:13


To bad no videos--- Amazing thing is that he couldn't see what he was doing either!

-Shawn

fiddlecraver@yahoo.com
www.shawncraver.com

Feodosia - Posted - 09/18/2008:  19:05:32


I love this thread ....haven't a whole lot to add fact-wise except to report what I hear when I listen to these two favorite fiddle masters of mine...have a rather paultry collection of cd's in comparison to most people , but I do have Ed Haley's and John Hartford's fiddle cd's ..... Ed Haley used more regular OT bowing and short stroking , it's just that he was so darn good and polished ... Ed put OT rhythm in his bow and could play a dance solo with his fiddle...(I sure wish those recordings were Ed playing solo instead of that uke or whatever it was stepping all over him ).... John Hartford kind of used the bluegrass style of fiddling where you let the other instruments carry the rhythm , which allows the fiddler more left hand freedom , the longbow, if you will .... and since John always had a bunch of professional musicians to hold the beat for him and to back him up , he was able to cut loose alittle for us on those recordings he made.

His whole life John Hartford was a musical experimenter...
He always made his own creative sounds ... OT fiddling is about putting your own twist to well established melodies and John certainly did that ..... I don't so much care that John didn't use regular OT bowing because when it came to the OT fiddle melodies on his recordings , he respected the old tunes and older fiddlers by staying true to the melodies.. I think you are an OT fiddler if you fiddle the OT tunes, put your own twist to them, but don't go too far out from the borders of OT , inserting stuff like ( jazz = music that don't belong 'round these parts) LOL

John Hartford was an amazing musician , Im so glad he got a chance to direct some of his energies towards our OT fiddle music ... he did a great service to OT fiddling.
Wilson Douglas once told me " That Hartford fella's been over to my farm all week , pick'in
my brain for tunes " Im sure John is up there with all of those oldtime fiddlers, picking their brains really clean by now :-)

I think John would loved knowing that there are those of us that are still listening to both Ed Haley and John Hartford's fiddling and having our playing being influenced by the both of them ... I wish he was here to join in the discussion :(

musekatcher - Posted - 09/18/2008:  21:01:50


quote:
Originally posted by Feodosia



John Hartford kind of used the bluegrass style of fiddling where you let the other instruments carry the rhythm , which allows the fiddler more left hand freedom , the longbow, if you will .... and since John always had a bunch of professional musicians to hold the beat for him and to back him up , he was



I think John Hartford was probably influenced by Nashville fiddlers and Vassar as far as tone and sound, but he was still interested in the old sound and old tunes. Anyway, I don't consider longbow to be restricted to a unidirectional style with no rhythm, and 4+ notes per stroke such as might be associated with good bluegrass fiddlers. I think there are old, even archaic long bow styles with rhythm. The old ones came by it honestly, meanwhile, we try to make a calculus out of it.

Jim Holland
Athens, AL

Glenn - Posted - 09/19/2008:  02:52:08


Just to add confusion, Snake Chapman was around Ed Haley when he was young and said that Ed Haley hated long-bow fiddling. Snake also said that the style of Haley's that ended up on those records was completely different from what he remembered hearing Ed Haley play when Snake was young.

I'm of the opinion that Ed Haley was not a long bow fiddler at least in the John Hartford/Vassar Clements sense of the word. John's fiddling doesn't sound even close to Ed Haley style wise to me. Usual disclaimer, I love John's playing nonetheless.

RobBob - Posted - 09/19/2008:  05:27:16


I have taught several lessons, played a gig and gotten a good nights sleep since posting on this topic. Seeing Adam Hurt's post sometime yesterday reminded me that Ed Haley and Doc Roberts both have similar styles. In speaking with fiddlers who knew Doc, they said he wasn't long bow either as Haley really was not. What is often called long bow is not those long bowing patterns John and a lot of the Nashville fiddlers use, but was a more open sound than the rapid fire saw/shuffle stroke of some old time fiddlers the widest range would include Tommy Jackson and Tommy Jarrell. Paul Warren was not a long bow fiddler either. I have met dozens of fiddlers throughout the mountains from TN to PA who play in a similar style and site Jackson and Warren as influences. Some even site Baker but they do not sound like them. They are not bad fiddlers, but interestingly sound very similar regardless if they live in north central PA or Union, SC. They would probably call Haley and Roberts long bow fiddlers even though neither one is long like Smith or Blizzard or like the western contest fiddlers.

Maybe I need more sleep.

RobBob
Music; the best way to count time.
www.blueridgerounders.com

OTJunky - Posted - 09/19/2008:  06:06:46


I think Arthur Smith's playing defined "long bow" fiddling in Haley's time.

Smith was more interested in melody than in rhythm.

I've read that Haley thought Smith had bad intonation and - from listening to what we have of Haley's playing - I'm sure Haley thought it was important for a fiddler to carry the rhythm.

I've also read that Haley entered contests when he was younger - but he lost to a contest fiddler who entered under the name "Indian Joe", dressed up in Buckskins, and who was more of an entertainer than a fiddler - jumping up and down, making indian "war whoop" noises and accompanying himself with crowd pleasing "special effects" on the fiddle.

Of course, Haley couldn't see any of this - he could only hear Indian Joe's fiddling, that he thought was awful.

So, after losing to Indian Joe, he never entered another contest.

--OTJ
"I can barely fiddle on four strings. Why would I want five?"


Edited by - OTJunky on 09/19/2008 06:17:25

RobBob - Posted - 09/19/2008:  06:18:45


Well I have heard some recordings of Smith that makes you wonder if he was on top of his game. Haley was all about great fiddling. It was his life's work.

RobBob
Music; the best way to count time.
www.blueridgerounders.com

OTJunky - Posted - 09/19/2008:  07:13:09


There are stories about both Benny Thomasson and Georgia Slim Rutland making pilgrimages to Kentucky to learn some fiddling from Ed Haley.

I wonder if the stories are true?

--OTJ
"I can barely fiddle on four strings. Why would I want five?"

Feodosia - Posted - 09/19/2008:  07:20:48


quote:
Originally posted by musekatcher

[quote]Originally posted by Feodosia



. I think there are old, even archaic long bow styles with rhythm. The old ones came by it honestly, meanwhile, we try to make a calculus out of it.

Jim Holland
Athens, AL



When I ponder archaic long-bow fiddlers , I kind of think of the
American-type hornpipe fiddlers and New England style players , who were certainly playing a fast, fluid ,notey style for a long time before modern notey styles came along. The Canadian "Downeast " style comes to mind too.... usually
played with accompanyment to keep the beat....

Jonny A - Posted - 09/19/2008:  09:21:30


quote:
Originally posted by Feodosia

When I ponder archaic long-bow fiddlers , I think of ... New England style players ...




Who, in particular, would fall into that category?

DougD - Posted - 09/19/2008:  09:46:17


Jonny A - Mellie Dunham and Jasper Bisbee come to mind, but its hard to find examples of their playing these days. Mellie Dunham was publicized by Henry Ford at about the same time as "Uncle" Bunt Stephens. There are fiddlers like Elmer Barton of Quechee, VT on the Library of Congress CD "American Fiddle Tunes," now on Rounder, but the Rounder website doesn't seem to want me to look at it right now.
OK here's a site where you can hear some clips, although the individual players are not identified: http://www.buy.com/prod/american-fi...0410188.html
The first 13 tracks are Northern - when you get to the beef commercial theme, you're in the South! There's a better track listing at Amazon, but no clips. #12 and 13 are Elmer Barton.


Edited by - DougD on 09/19/2008 10:06:27

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