Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

35
Fiddle Lovers Online


 All Forums
 Playing the Fiddle
 Playing Advice
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Slurred String Crossings


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/4973

Page: 1  2  

Mike_Fontenot - Posted - 09/20/2008:  11:59:27


The issue of "slurred string crossings"...i.e., whether to "avoid them at all costs" versus "don't worry about them", is still a BIG mystery to me. I've got one foot in each camp.

There are definitely places where I DO slur across string crossings, and it causes no problem at all...in fact, I frequently LIKE the result. And I also prefer it from a philosophical standpoint, because I dislike the idea that string crossings (which are kind of "accidents" of the relationship between melody and tuning) should be allowed to dictate the bowing. But there DO seem to be some cases where slurred string crossings feel "clumsy" for some reason, to me. And sometimes, when I experiment with a "slurred-string-crossing-avoidance" pattern, the result sometimes feels especially nice to me. I've been trying to figure out why some slurred string crossings are trouble and some are just fine...but so far, I haven't gotten anywhere on this.

I guess one solution is just to not worry about them, but in places where they DO cause a problem, just change the bowing at that spot, and then go on down the road. But I'd really like to understand WHY it sometimes works fine, and sometimes doesn't.

Any ideas?

Mike Fontenot


Edited by - Mike_Fontenot on 09/20/2008 12:03:18

OTJunky - Posted - 09/20/2008:  12:37:39


Fiddling is full of stuff like this - at least my fiddling has been.

I've learned though that if something feels clumsy, it can be made to feel natural by just practicing it for a month or two.

I've got a long list of things like this that I'm working on now. They're mostly things that I hear either Rayna Gellert or Tommy Jarrell do that I can't do yet. I know it's possible to do it - because I can hear them do it but I can't do it without sounding clumsy.

But I'm pretty sure I can eventually do these things, if I just keep practicing them. If I didn't believe this, I guess I'd just quit fiddling.

So, I think slurring across strings shouldn't be avoided just because some instance of it feels clumsy. A particular instance of slurring across strings should only be avoided if you prefer the sound that comes from not doing it.

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

bsed - Posted - 09/20/2008:  12:55:22


Forgive me if I sound a little to the point on this, but to me this is an issue of command over the bow. There are MANY places where I slur between strings, and I don't think this is too much to expect any proficient fiddle player to do. It's just one of many basic skills you need in your tool box. I just looked at tab I'd written out to two OT tunes, and I had no trouble finding a place in each of those tunes where I had to slur between 2 strings. I say had to because if you do any other manuever at those points, you change the sound and feel of the tune. One tune I looked at was Cold Frosty Morning as played by Melvin Wine (it's not even SIMILAR to the more popular version of it's title namesake) and the other was Sally Johnson as played by Clyde Davenport. I try to tab out tunes as close to the way they sound (and are played) as possible.
So, yes, I encourage you to refine this skill, because you will need it!


Just call me Dwight.


Edited by - bsed on 09/20/2008 12:56:12

bj - Posted - 09/20/2008:  13:01:08


Um, I do this all the time (says the just slightly better than beginner fiddler.) Am I doing something wrong? ;-)

^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^
Me on the Web --
http://doneinstyle.com

My inspiration:
http://www.pandora.com/?sc=sh14633812588807237

M-D - Posted - 09/20/2008:  13:15:19


I'll go with what OTJ and BSED said. (Hey, that rhymes!) If if sounds "right", I slur across. If it doesn't sound "right", I wont. Pretty simple criteria, with not a lot of devotion paid to it.

_________________________________________________________________

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

OTJunky - Posted - 09/20/2008:  13:19:49


quote:
Originally posted by bj

Um, I do this all the time (says the just slightly better than beginner fiddler.) Am I doing something wrong? ;-)

Nope you're fine.

Oldtimer's commented a couple of times that he started out playing that way and never gave it a moment's thought.

I think it's just that if you play for a year or two without doing it, it seems hard.

Same thing happens with pinky control. If you play for a year or two without using your pinky much, it looks really hard to start using it. But if you start out playing closed string exercises or double stops that use the pinky, it doesn't seem like such a challenge to use it - since using it is no harder than anything else you're trying to do when starting out.

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


Edited by - OTJunky on 09/20/2008 13:20:19

bj - Posted - 09/20/2008:  13:29:59


quote:
Nope you're fine.


Oh, good, that's a relief!

Mike, you're the "bowing patterns guy". So isn't the answer for you, if you're following a bowing pattern and the slur happens over two strings naturally, then it's right? I'm thinking especially of when I'm doing a song with the accent being in a GA shuffle pattern, and I'm slurring over the other notes that aren't accented, no matter whether strings change or not. But then again, I'm probably playing pretty dumbed down versions compared to what you're into, and can't think of an instance when it wouldn't sound right, which means I haven't come across it YET.

'Splain better if I'm totally missing the point here . . .

^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^
Me on the Web --
http://doneinstyle.com

My inspiration:
http://www.pandora.com/?sc=sh14633812588807237

Jim - Posted - 09/20/2008:  14:41:51


quote:
[I've been trying to figure out why some slurred string crossings are trouble and some are just fine...but so far, I haven't gotten anywhere on this. . . . But I'd really like to understand WHY it sometimes works fine, and sometimes doesn't. Any ideas?

Mike Fontenot



Mike, I don't know if this has any application to what you're dealing with, but when I first started slurring across strings I found it harder to do on a down bow than an up bow. Now it doesn't matter, and it hasn't mattered for a long time; but I still remember what changed things for me--it was a specific figure that I wanted to get to sound a certain way. It just wouldn't sound like I wanted it to without putting in two cross-string slurs, one in each direction. Here is the figure:

D F# A F# b F# A F#

I might not have my ABC caps and lowers right, so I'll point out that all of these eighth notes are on the D and A strings. The first three are a down bow (changing strings between the 2nd and 3rd notes), the next three are an up bow (changing strings between 4th and 5th notes, and again between the 5th and 6th), and the last two notes are a down bow and an up bow.


Jim Burke
http://fiddlehub.com (free online fiddle lessons with slo-mo instruction videos)

bsed - Posted - 09/20/2008:  15:08:22


Actually, I habitually get my beginner's class to do it in about the fourth session, meaning they have had a total of 6 hours of instruction since they started my class. I won't say they all "get it", but a lot of them do.

Just call me Dwight.

OTJunky - Posted - 09/20/2008:  15:31:35


quote:
Originally posted by Jim

Mike, I don't know if this has any application to what you're dealing with, but when I first started slurring across strings I found it harder to do on a down bow than an up bow. Now it doesn't matter, and it hasn't mattered for a long time; but I still remember what changed things for me--it was a specific figure that I wanted to get to sound a certain way. It just wouldn't sound like I wanted it to without putting in two cross-string slurs, one in each direction. Here is the figure:

D F# A F# b F# A F#

Ragtime Annie...

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

bj - Posted - 09/20/2008:  16:44:36


LOL! Is this a new game?

^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^
Me on the Web --
http://doneinstyle.com

My inspiration:
http://www.pandora.com/?sc=sh14633812588807237

fiddlepogo - Posted - 09/20/2008:  20:53:21


Now, I suppose everyone's been waiting with bated breath for
fiddlepogo to chime in with his minority view...

I <generally> avoid them.

Bruce Molsky's statement about "playing drums with the bow"
also describes my concept of fiddling, and to me, a slurred string
change sounds weak and very non-percussive.
It's also likely to sound slightly different than a normal slur-
more likely to be executed a little too slow.
It's easy to get a groove going with single notes and slurs on the same string (or same pair of strings).
In something like a waltz where the fiddle is not driving the rhythm,
if a slurred string change is a little bit slow, it's not going to break anything... but in a fast tune, it's very likely to break the rhythmic groove,
and for me, that's a no-no.

However, the way I bow, more often than not I'm slurring on the upbow. If I am absolutely forced to slur a string change, I find it
relatively easy to slur the string change in a controlled way on an upbow- at least if the tune isn't too fast.

If I want to really rip, I definitely want to avoid it, because it adds
a level of complexity, and SIMPLER is FASTER.

The more different shuffle patterns you have memorized, the easier
it is to find patterns that avoid string changes.
Since the shuffles have mostly been practiced to perfection, by layering
them over a tune, I can get that tune sounding good relatively quickly-
I've had people at a jam comment that they are amazed at how good I can make a make a newly learned tune sound- I'm convinced it's
that bowing approach that does it- it makes the bowing sound way
more confident than it should be given the time I've known the tune.
It's really quite simple. Long notes in the melody get a "Smoothshuffle" (3-3-1-1) Everything else, I try to bow all the way through with one of my two favorite shuffles, Sawshuffle or Syncoshuffle.
Whichever one I use, in the case that the slur falls across a string change,
I substitute the OTHER one, and that usually solves the problem,
since those two shuffles have slurs that break up in different places-
Sawshuffle has the slur in the middle
(1-1-1-3-1-1),
Syncoshuffle has two slurs
separated on either side of the middle.
(1-2-1-2-1-1
Quick and easy.
Three different shuffles in a tune is a good number-
more variety than trying to do one all the way through, but simple
enough to maintain a lot of drive.

Any tune where I do a slurred string change, I find that tune takes
a LOT more practice to get sounding right- why spend more time than necessary on a particular tune?
If I can reduce my "problem tunes that need practice" by a substantial percentage just by avoiding slurred string changes,
that's a GOOD THING!

There are lots of other things to use the practice time on, fiddle-wise.

If I were to nutshell this approach, it's
K.I.S.S. = Keep It Simple, Shufflers!

Now don't everyone jump on me at once!

Michael

"It''s hard to take yourself seriously when you''re singing about chickens!"

http://www.ezfolk.com/audio/bands/1088
for mp3s, blog, and "Michael''s Old Time Fiddle & Banjo Hour" (hifi & lofi audio streams)


Edited by - fiddlepogo on 09/20/2008 22:40:49

Jim - Posted - 09/21/2008:  02:32:34


On the subject of whether one should use many slurs in OT (and off the subject of how to use/practice them), I find that in the OT tunes I play, I'm using fewer and fewer slurs. For the most part, the music sounds better to me without 'em.

Jim Burke
http://fiddlehub.com (free online fiddle lessons with slo-mo instruction videos)

bj - Posted - 09/21/2008:  05:23:59


quote:
If I were to nutshell this approach, it's
K.I.S.S. = Keep It Simple, Shufflers!


Seems to me you're contradicting yourself. If you're staying in pattern and on accent and the accent pattern dictates a slurred string change, then that means you're reinventing the bowing just to avoid it.

^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^
Me on the Web --
http://doneinstyle.com

My inspiration:
http://www.pandora.com/?sc=sh14633812588807237

Sue B. - Posted - 09/21/2008:  08:13:50


Some slurs can feel clumsy because of the different left arm & hand motion needed. If you slur from a lower string to higher string on a down bow, or from higher string to lower string on an up bow, the shape of the stroke is basically a simple convex arc where just dropping and raising the forearm makes the string change happen. The lower string to higher string on an up bow, even though its just a concave arc, can feel harder until you get used to it. Sue

Mike_Fontenot - Posted - 09/21/2008:  12:33:06


quote:
Originally posted by bj
Mike, you're the "bowing patterns guy". So isn't the answer for you, if you're following a bowing pattern and the slur happens over two strings naturally, then it's right?


My interest in bowing patterns is actually NOT to play a tune all the way through with just one pattern. I DO practice them all by playing a whole tune with a single pattern, but the objective there is to practice the pattern, and to try to "internalize" the feel of it, so that it becomes automatic. And the ultimate objective is to be able to mix and match all the patterns, on the fly, without having to think about it.

I'm drawn more to "Texas style" than most other styles, and one of the objectives there, I think, is to never be predictable...to always try to vary both the rhythm and the details of the melody, and to try to never repeat anything. So a single pattern is definitely NOT the way to go, in Texas style. (But in OT style, with people dancing to your playing, they probably don't appreciate a lot of unpredictability, and variation of rhythm).

What I'm struggling with is HOW to make all those choices. One possible way to choose, is to avoid (or to avoid certain) slurred string changes. But I don't know yet if that's a good approach for me...lots of times, slurred string changes feel fine to me, and sound good to me. But other times, I think my playing is cleaner (or maybe it just feels better) if I avoid them.

At the moment, I seem to be gravitating toward making those choices mostly based on where I want the accents: (usually) trying to downbow the accents, and trying to arrange the up-stream upbow slurs so that I arrive at the note to be accented with LOTS of bow available. That still leaves me with some additional flexibility, and I'm thinking I'll just make those final choices based on avoiding repetition as much as possible.

Mike Fontenot

Mike_Fontenot - Posted - 09/21/2008:  13:00:12


In response to both Jim and Sue B., your comments were very thought-provoking. I've already put my fiddle to bed for the day, but the next time I have it out, I want to play around with both of your examples.

Just as a general comment: it's clear that there are VERY good fiddlers in each camp of this issue. Hollis Taylor (who until recently was a regular columnist for Fiddler Magazine) has helped me a lot. She was the first person that articulated the modified downbow definition to me: not that she downbowed ALL beats (as it is usually stated), but rather that she "tends to downbow the first beat of each measure, except when she chooses not to". I later further generalized that rule to say "(usually) try to downbow the accents"...which I surmised from Hollis' transcription of "Whiskey Before Breakfast", and also from Brad Leftwich's teaching of "Benton's lick" (which violates Brad's stated downbowing definition). Hollis uses LOTS of slurred string crossings in WBB, to very good effect, but she also has mentioned that she sometimes avoids them...I'd just like to figure out WHY she sometimes avoids them.

I'm going to try to keep experimenting a bit with BOTH philosophies, and see if any conclusions become clear (at least for me).

Mike Fontenot

Sue B. - Posted - 09/21/2008:  13:42:12


Well, I'll be interested in what you notice :) Two thoughts: Jim's example a few posts back, with letter names given, seems pretty tricksy to me. Those three notes in the middle on an up bows that wobble twice? If possible, holding the 2nd finger on the D in a tunnel shape while playing the B makes it easier for the right hand but trickier for the right. // My thought about downbows and upbows is something I've noticed with a lot of kid-students and a couple of adult novices, who struggle with what the hand is doing in the second set of bowings. (low string to high string on upbow; high string to low string on downbow.) Sue

fiddlepogo - Posted - 09/21/2008:  14:07:17


quote:
Originally posted by bj

quote:
If I were to nutshell this approach, it's
K.I.S.S. = Keep It Simple, Shufflers!


Seems to me you're contradicting yourself. If you're staying in pattern and on accent and the accent pattern dictates a slurred string change, then that means you're reinventing the bowing just to avoid it.



I see how it might look that way, but as Sue B said:
"Some slurs can feel clumsy because of the different left arm & hand motion needed. "
Saying "slur the string change" is easy in concept, but since not
all string changes are alike, it's easier said than done.
It's like this:
1. You need shuffles anyway for getting drive in Old Time.
2. One shuffle all the way through a tune sounds monotonous.
3. Since you need more than one shuffle anyway for esthetic reasons,
why not kill the proverbial two birds with one stone, and pick ones that simplify the string crossing thing,
making your life easier?
Remember, this is folk music- in classical music,
they'll get as complicated as they need to to accomplish something
and pay the price required in amount of time needed to practice it.
Folk music specializes in "high-bang-for-the-buck" techniques-
and shuffles are definitely those kind of techniques.
Slurred string changes seem to be very low in bang for the amount
of work required.

IF slurred string changes REALLY added something cool to the
Old Time sound (Irish is a whole different esthetic, and what I'm saying does not apply there), I would bite the bullet and practice them-
but so far they seem more of a liability, a weak link in the chain
that will break if you stress it.
My experience has been that you <never> really know how fast or slow you will end up playing a tune at a jam or gig.
A jam can speed up, you could be nervous at a gig and speed up,
the audience could start clapping and the best way to deal with
that is just climb on the tempo they give you and surf it, slow or fast.
Or you could get asked to play for cloggers or step-dancers-
I've found they usually like WAY FAST!!
Will your bowing hold up well under that stress?
I found that my current bowing style does.
When I did lots of Nashville Shuffle, and slurred the string changes
between the first and second notes, it didn't hold up nearly as well.

Also, the impression I got when I was doing LOTS of listening to
gen-yoo-wine old mountain fiddlers was they they used
SAWSTROKE whole bunches- way more than revivalist fiddlers tend to. When you sawstroke, you are by definition avoiding slurred string changes- could that be one of the reasons why the oldtimers used it so much? And they sawstroked especially on hornpipes, which often
have string changes out the wazoo.
And in fact, any place where I find the bowing in doubt or difficult,
and my preferred shuffles don't work, it's sawstroke to the rescue.

One aspect of the Old Time esthetic that relates to sawstroke and
string changes is clarity-
Irish seems to have a more flowing legato esthetic
(with exceptions I'm sure!)
The more archaic kinds of Old Time that I'm attracted to have
a choppier feel due to more single strokes, and using those single
strokes as rhythmic punctuations.
I find this clarity really pays off when I'm leading a jam-
"subtle" is harder for beginners and intermediate players to follow;
if you can lay down a clear, crisp, unambiguous rhythm and melody
line, it just makes it easier for folks to play together.
I first saw this watching Kenny Hall lead jams with the fiddle-
he'd just saw everything LOUD, but the jams sounded way better
than such jams usually do, because everyone could hear him over the din. I try for a somewhat more refined sound that Kenny (who is really more of a mandolin player than a fiddler) but not
at the price of clarity. I'm sure that clarity was a big plus in the olden days when they would dance in barns- I imagine pounding feet
on barn floors would be quite a challenge for the fiddler to compete with. And when I busk, there is often background noise-
clarity in the bowing helps you cut through.

Michael

"It''s hard to take yourself seriously when you''re singing about chickens!"

http://www.ezfolk.com/audio/bands/1088
for mp3s, blog, and "Michael''s Old Time Fiddle & Banjo Hour" (hifi & lofi audio streams)


Edited by - fiddlepogo on 09/21/2008 14:09:17

rcc - Posted - 09/21/2008:  15:01:27


Michael,

I agree with a lot of what you said above particularly about the importance of rythmic clarity. But I think clarity can be achieved with smooth playing as well as with choppy playing. Heck, look at Kirk Sutphin -- he's one of the few people today who really bow like Tommy Jarrell did and Kirk sounds very smooth -- but very clear. No problem following him in a jam. Or check out Greg Hooven's recordings -- another very smooth player who clearly isn't a longbow player.

I think you get clarity if you have precise rhythm and good articulation of the notes that matter and you just have to work at that no matter how you like to bow.

Personally, I wouldn't get too hung up on whether to slur across strings or not because different players did thing differently depending on their personal tastes, strengths, and approaches to bowing.

I think as you break down a tune and figure out your bowing, if you find yourself slurring across strings, I think you need to look at what that slur brings to the tune and whether or not you really want it. If you do, then practice it slowly and build up the speed over time so it'll hold up under stress. If you don't want it or you discover that you just can't get it to hold up under stress, then figure out something else that you can live with.

One last comment -- if you're really trying to learn a particular version of a tune played by a particular person, it's good to know if that player was prone to avoid slurring across the strings or didn't care because the melody and bowing of that tune will reflect those preferences. That's when it can be helpful to track down folks who knew that player or who you're confident have good insight to that player's playing and ask them some questions.

rcc - Posted - 09/21/2008:  15:05:15


quote:
Originally posted by Mike_Fontenot

I've been trying to figure out why some slurred string crossings are trouble and some are just fine...but so far, I haven't gotten anywhere on this.

I guess one solution is just to not worry about them, but in places where they DO cause a problem, just change the bowing at that spot, and then go on down the road. But I'd really like to understand WHY it sometimes works fine, and sometimes doesn't.

Any ideas?

Mike Fontenot



I won't speak for anyone else but for me, when I'm trying to learn a Tommy Jarrell tune, slurs across strings are nearly effortless if the momentum of the bow at that point lines up well with the slur. It's gotten to the point where I don't even care about slurring across strings anymore -- instead I think about bow momentum, trying to avoid fast abrupt changes to that momentum and generally trying to find low-effort, efficient bowings that create the right sound.



Edited by - rcc on 09/21/2008 15:06:01

OTJunky - Posted - 09/21/2008:  15:14:03


quote:
Originally posted by rcc

One last comment -- if you're really trying to learn a particular version of a tune played by a particular person, it's good to know if that player was prone to avoid slurring across the strings or didn't care because the melody and bowing of that tune will reflect those preferences. That's when it can be helpful to track down folks who knew that player or who you're confident have good insight to that player's playing and ask them some questions.

Do we know of any OT fiddlers that were prone to avoid slurring across strings?

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

OTJunky - Posted - 09/21/2008:  15:21:36


quote:
Originally posted by rcc


I won't speak for anyone else but for me, when I'm trying to learn a Tommy Jarrell tune, slurs across strings are nearly effortless if the momentum of the bow at that point lines up well with the slur. It's gotten to the point where I don't even care about slurring across strings anymore -- instead I think about bow momentum, trying to avoid fast abrupt changes to that momentum and generally trying to find low-effort, efficient bowings that create the right sound.

I can't say I have this down to "effortless" yet, but it is getting easier.

I've been working on Tommy Jarrell's version of "Old Jimmy Sutton". It's the tune he plays for the dancer here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urB_EuOb2rY

It's about the simplest tune he plays and it's really not much more than an exercise in Appalachian bow rocking and cross string slurring.

You're exactly right though that the key lies in finding and practicing "low-effort", "efficient" bowings that create the "right sound".

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

Mike_Fontenot - Posted - 09/21/2008:  16:37:33


quote:
Originally posted by fiddlepogo
It's really quite simple. Long notes in the melody get a "Smoothshuffle" (3-3-1-1) Everything else, I try to bow all the way through with one of my two favorite shuffles, Sawshuffle or Syncoshuffle.
Whichever one I use, in the case that the slur falls across a string change,
I substitute the OTHER one, and that usually solves the problem,
since those two shuffles have slurs that break up in different places-


UNLESS the string crossing occurs between SNE5 and SNE6...both sawshuffle and syncoshuffle have a slur there. So does Nashville. You could avoid it with the on-beat Georgia, though, and sawstrokes, of course.

Fletcher Bright made a comment to me once that seems pretty useful. He likes slurred-threes, because "you can stick them in ANYWHERE, and they never modify the downstream directions" (compared to sawstroking those same three notes). So, be aware that you have the freedom to move those groups of slurred-threes around as you please...in particular, if you want to avoid slurred string crossings, you can move them to where there are no string crossings, and sawstroke the places where there ARE string crossings.

Also, although slurred-PAIRS DO give you a direction reversal, as long as you use two of them per measure, the two reversals cancel each other, and again you get no reversals downstream. And as long as there are two slurred-pairs per measure, those slurred-pairs can be positioned ANYWHERE in the measure. For example, I've seen some Texas-style fiddlers who, in a phrase that they wanted to Nashville, will replace the 2nd half of Nashville (2 1 1) with (1 1 2), in order to avoid a slurred string crossing between SNE5 and SNE6.

But also be aware that, when you move those slurred-threes (and slurred-pairs, with two pairs per measure) around, that WILL in general affect the degree of "balance" of the pattern, which affects the way accents tend to want to assert themselves. For example, synchoshuffle is just Nashville, with a slurred-pair moved in the first half-measure. The downstream directions are the same, but Nashville is balanced (four upbowed SNE's and four downbowed SNE's), and it can be played with no accents at all, or with accents in various places (as long as some accents are played with different directions). Synchoshuffle is unbalanced (five up, versus three down), and tends to give you one or more accents on downbows, almost automatically. (It's possible, if you want, to accent an upbow with synchoshuffle, but that will require that you accent one or more of the downbows even more than you would otherwise do).

For readers who don't remember Fiddlepogo's terminology, here is the rest of his post, where he defines sawshuffle and synchoshuffle:
quote:

Sawshuffle has the slur in the middle
(1-1-1-3-1-1),
Syncoshuffle has two slurs
separated on either side of the middle.
(1-2-1-2-1-1)



Mike Fontenot


Edited by - Mike_Fontenot on 09/22/2008 11:05:23

fiddlepogo - Posted - 09/21/2008:  18:33:52


Mike,

Yes, moving slurred 3's around works-
you can take Sawshuffle, and
(1-1-1-3-1-1)
and take two sawstrokes off the end
put them at the beginning and get 1-1-1-1-1-3,
or take two off the beginning and put them at the end,
1-3-1-1-1-1.

Synchoshuffle <is> different from Nashville in the ways you say, true enough,
but there are enough similarities that they work together nicely,
and Syncoshuffle would be a good alternate bowing for a Nashville Shuffle-based fiddler
wanting to spice things up AND avoid slurring a string crossing between SNE 1 and SNE 2.
It does tend to accent differently, specifically, it tends to syncopate, hence the name Syncoshuffle, but it CAN be smoothed out to a surprising degree if you want to use it for phrasing or slurred string change avoidance, but not use a strong syncopation.
I don't know if anyone's noticed, but I am very enamored with Syncoshuffle right now-
whether you're using Nashville Shuffle as a basis, or Sawshuffle, throwing in Syncoshuffles
really livens things up in a way that American audiences LIKE.
So much of our music is syncopated, that fiddling without syncopation is going to go over like
a lead balloon with the general public.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQ2oeuB2Lok
shows Graham Townshend doing a lot of Nashville and throwing in a Syncoshuffle
in at 29 seconds into the video, and other stuff as well.

Michael

"It''s hard to take yourself seriously when you''re singing about chickens!"

http://www.ezfolk.com/audio/bands/1088
for mp3s, blog, and "Michael''s Old Time Fiddle & Banjo Hour" (hifi & lofi audio streams)

Mike_Fontenot - Posted - 09/22/2008:  11:17:16


quote:
Originally posted by rcc
I won't speak for anyone else but for me, when I'm trying to learn a Tommy Jarrell tune, slurs across strings are nearly effortless if the momentum of the bow at that point lines up well with the slur. [...] I think about bow momentum, trying to avoid fast abrupt changes to that momentum [...]


That is EXACTLY the kind of thing that I'd like to quantify (and thus, understand) better. Does "the momentum lining up with the slur" have anything to do with how the bow direction correlates with the slur going to a lower versus a higher string? I think this is the issue that Sue has raised, but I haven't been able to sort it out yet.

Mike Fontenot

Mike_Fontenot - Posted - 09/22/2008:  12:54:58


quote:
Originally posted by fiddlepogo
It [the synchoshuffle] does tend to accent differently, specifically, it tends to syncopate, hence the name Syncoshuffle, but it CAN be smoothed out to a surprising degree if you want to use it for phrasing or slurred string change avoidance, but not use a strong syncopation.


Well, I think that the fact that it has five upbowed SNE's vs three downbowed SNE's requires that the average bowspeed of the downbows has to be greater (by the ratio 5/3) than the average speed of the upbows, which means greater volume (on average) for the downbows vs the upbows. This assumes, of course, that you want to be able to play that pattern indefinitely for many measures...if it's just for one measure, then where you leave the bow (compared to where you started from) isn't necessarily very important.

But you always DO have the choice of WHICH of the three downbowed SNE's get the accent. And I suppose that if you split that accent evenly between all three of those downbowed SNE's, that the effect may be spread out enough that it's not very noticeable.

Mike Fontenot

Mike_Fontenot - Posted - 09/22/2008:  14:19:44


quote:
Originally posted by Jim
[...] when I first started slurring across strings I found it harder to do on a down bow than an up bow. [...] it was a specific figure that I wanted to get to sound a certain way. Here is the figure:

D_F#_ A F#_b _F# A F#


(I added underscores in the above, to show the slurs).

OK, I tried it. I was able to do it OK (both bowing directions), but it DID feel a little nicer to me on the upbow, for some reason. Also, the two string crossings in the second triple (which were in opposite string-change directions (1st from lower to higher string, then from higher to lower string)) seemed about equally OK to me...at least on first impressions, I didn't seem to have a preference.

Mike Fontenot

Mike_Fontenot - Posted - 09/22/2008:  14:41:45


quote:
Originally posted by OTJunky

quote:
Originally posted by Jim
Here is the figure:

D F# A F# b F# A F#

Ragtime Annie...


Close, but they line up differently with the bars. For Ragtime Annie, using Jim's notation, I get (at least, the way I play it)

A A | A_F B F A F B F | A F B F A A A |

(with all the F's being sharped, and the third A from the end is an 8th note (with all the others being 16th notes)).

BTW, Ragtime Annie is a HUGE anomaly for me, as far as my understanding of bowing goes. When I started playing the fiddle, I tried to bow everything Nashville. But sometime between learning RA (by ear, off a recording from a bluegrass radio show), and playing it for MANY years, somehow the bowing "morphed" into something nothing like Nashville. It became probably my favorite tune to play...it just FELT GOOD!

I wasn't even aware of how I ended up bowing the tune, but it felt so good that I always assumed that it must be a fairly complicated bunch of slurs. When I recently analyzed it, I was startled to realize that except for the first two notes of the measure (which I downbow slur), ALL the rest of the phrase is sawstroked! Apparently, in this case, that wonderful "shuffly" feel has NOTHING to do with slurs...it's ALL in the sawstroked string crossings (kind of similarly to the double "shuffle" in OBS...nothing about slurs at all).

Also, in addition to the sawstroke surprise, I was startled to discover that I'm sawstroking with upbows on the beats! Also, I noticed that my accents were on those B notes, ALL of which I was playing with an upbow! Basically, on a tune I LOVE to play, I was (unconsciously) violating ALL of my rules! Kind of troubling...I really don't know what to make of it.

Mike Fontenot

Mike_Fontenot - Posted - 09/22/2008:  15:06:27


quote:
Originally posted by Sue B.
[...] If you slur from a lower string to higher string on a down bow, or from higher string to lower string on an up bow, the shape of the stroke is basically a simple convex arc where just dropping and raising the forearm makes the string change happen. The lower string to higher string on an up bow, even though its just a concave arc, can feel harder until you get used to it.


I tried both situations (just between open D and open A strings), and my first impression was that they felt about equally OK. (Also, in my response above to Jim above, I noted that the two slurred-string-changes in his second triple, which were upbowed, but in opposite directions as far as the string changes themselves are concerned, seemed to feel equally good). Maybe accents could also play into it...like whether the first or second of the two notes is accented, combined with the relationship between bowing direction and string-change direction.

Still a mystery. Maybe the best plan (for me) is to continue ignoring string changes, but whenever I'm aware of a particular slurred-string-change that is feeling clumsy or not sounding good, then I'll analyze that particular case, and see if I can identify a difference in that slurred-string-change and other slurred-string-changes in that same tune that are NOT causing me any trouble.

Mike Fontenot

Mike_Fontenot - Posted - 09/22/2008:  15:30:43


quote:
Originally posted by fiddlepogo
My experience has been that you <never> really know how fast or slow you will end up playing a tune at a jam or gig.
A jam can speed up, you could be nervous at a gig and speed up,
the audience could start clapping and the best way to deal with
that is just climb on the tempo they give you and surf it, slow or fast.
Or you could get asked to play for cloggers or step-dancers-
I've found they usually like WAY FAST!!
Will your bowing hold up well under that stress?
I found that my current bowing style does.
When I did lots of Nashville Shuffle, and slurred the string changes
between the first and second notes, it didn't hold up nearly as well.


I think that the fact, that I've been tending to spend most of my time in the "don't worry about slurred-string-crossings" camp, may be due to the fact that I'm usually playing by myself, and don't get "pushed" anymore to play faster. So the economy that you get by avoiding slurred-string-crossings may just not be coming up for me. But I'm not comfortable or good at playing fast...it would probably be good for me to push myself on that a little. And then, I MIGHT start seeing the advantage of avoiding slurred-string-changes.

Some tunes just NEED to be really fast, to sound right. For example, I've been working on "Lee Highway Blues" a lot (because I REALLY like that tune!). I always assumed that I liked it because it has some exotic slurring or melody notes. But when I finally analyzed it, the bowing AND notes were simple...it's charm seems to be largely in its speed: I was horrified to discover (when I finally timed the two recordings that I have of that tune) that those recordings are at 144 b/m and 150 b/m...and that's in 2/4 time with 16th's!

Fortunately, the tune is relatively easy to play fast...I'm maxing out now at about 120 b/m (which is fast by my standards...for most tunes, I get very sloppy above about 100 b/m). I may never make it to 144!

Mike Fontenot


Edited by - Mike_Fontenot on 09/22/2008 15:35:43

bsed - Posted - 09/22/2008:  15:59:51


Don't get too preoccupied with speed now. In terms of dance speed (which for many fiddlers, including myself) the 120-130 bpm you need to keep dancers happy is a handful!

Just call me Dwight.

OTJunky - Posted - 09/22/2008:  16:19:01


Avoiding slurred string crossings offers no advantage when playing at speed.

Once you've learned how to slur across strings, it probably takes less effort than bowing two notes on the same string - since the left hand often doesn't need to do anything when there's an open string involved.

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


Edited by - OTJunky on 09/22/2008 17:31:11

OTJunky - Posted - 09/22/2008:  17:03:59


quote:
Originally posted by fiddlepogo

Any tune where I do a slurred string change, I find that tune takes
a LOT more practice to get sounding right- why spend more time than necessary on a particular tune?

Uhhh - so you could recreate some sounds that you admire in some other OT fiddler's rendition?

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


Edited by - OTJunky on 09/22/2008 17:06:13

oldtimer - Posted - 09/22/2008:  22:00:30


Everyone is unique...for me, it seems like it would be hard tedious work to play without slurred string crossings. I would have a very hard time accomplishing that and I can't imagine why I would want to.

That doesn't mean that it isn't right for you.

stay tooned....
Glenn Godsey

"Time passes unhindered"

fiddlepogo - Posted - 09/22/2008:  22:35:43


quote:
Originally posted by OTJunky

Avoiding slurred string crossings offers no advantage when playing at speed.
[quote]
Please, show me! (Don't I sound like a Missourian??)
Can <you> do slurred string crossings really fast?
Could we hear a recording of this? You or anybody else?
(actually a video would be better...)
Or at least back up that statement- convince me!
I'd like to believe you, but what I'm feeling while bowing
convinces me otherwise.

[quote]
Once you've learned how to slur across strings, it probably takes less effort than bowing two notes on the same string - since the left hand often doesn't need to do anything when there's an open string involved.

--OTJ


I don't get your reasoning here, but
the left hand is in a sense irrelevant-
it's the bowing arm where the ease vs. difficulty
counts at speed.
Durang's for example has an rocked arpeggio passage,
at least in the Cole's 1001 version.
Yeah, the left hand is easy, because 2/3's of the notes played
are open, but the passage is still difficult as far as bowing it quickly.
In most fiddle tunes the notes are right under your left hand fingers,
but the amount of motion required of the bowing arm is greater,
and you have to manhandle this sometimes clumsy thing called
a bow. The most likely challenge for a beginning to intermediate
player trying to go fast is going to be the bowing.
Introduce more complexity and it's more likely to break down-
a chain is as strong as it's weakest link.
Both Sue B. and Mike Fontenot have indicated in their posts in
this thread that slurred string crossings CAN AT TIMES be problematic. That confirms my own experience as well.

Oh yeah. I haven't even brought in an important point-
it's not only how fast can you play a certain passage or technique,
but can you play it fast and still get good tone?

You know it just hit me- there is a feeling I have on slurred
string changes that I DON'T LIKE and I just realized what it is:
as you do a slurred string change, the bow stays moving in the same direction AND once the bow lands on the new string,
since the string tends to act as a fulcrum for the bow,
the string change CHANGES that fulcrum point by nearly half an inch,
and depending on which way you change the fulcrum point (which adjacent string you slur to) the bow behaves much differently.
As the bow lands on the new fulcrum/string, it balances in a different place.
So I find that it is easy to keep two slurred notes on the same string at the same volume,and it is easy to keep two single stroked notes on adjacent strings at the same volume, but it is AWFULLY difficult
for me to do a slurred string change and have both notes in the slur
come out the same volume. If I can't control the volume of the notes,
it plays total havoc with my phrasing, since I want to add bounce by accenting certain notes.

For instance,
as an experiment, (I'm really TRYING to see the virtue in this)
I have just been playing my version of Durang's (from Cole's 1001, IIRC) completely with a 2-2-2-2 bowing.
This FORCES slurred string changes all over the place.
And it's an entirely different feel to try and control it-
all of a sudden my bowing feels like a car with bad shocks-
it WALLOWS!


And feels very difficult!
And that's at a slow speed!
If it's such a disadvantage at slow speed,
it ain't a gonna help when it's cookin'!

Okay, it just occurred to me, I like a fairly loose bow-
I tightened it up, and some of the wallowing disappeared-
but then the bow behaves totally wrong for sawstroked passages!

Another thing I'm noticing that's problematic about slurred string changes:
as you change your bow angle from playing one string to the other,
at some point the bow angle is going to be in position to play a double stop- and in fact for a fraction of a section, both strings are sounding at the same time- and to me, that's not a clean, slurring sound. By moving the bow differently, I can avoid that sound, kind of hopping past the double stop angle, but then it doesn't sound like a slur at all, and I ask myself, "Why bother"?
Why go to all that effort to slur if it either doesn't sound clean, or
doesn't sound slurred, or as stated above, makes it hard to control
the volume of the notes?


Michael

"It''s hard to take yourself seriously when you''re singing about chickens!"

http://www.ezfolk.com/audio/bands/1088
for mp3s, blog, and "Michael''s Old Time Fiddle & Banjo Hour" (hifi & lofi audio streams)

fiddlepogo - Posted - 09/22/2008:  22:51:45


quote:
Originally posted by OTJunky

quote:
Originally posted by fiddlepogo

Any tune where I do a slurred string change, I find that tune takes
a LOT more practice to get sounding right- why spend more time than necessary on a particular tune?

Uhhh - so you could recreate some sounds that you admire in some other OT fiddler's rendition?

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



On the face of it, OTJ, that sounds like a good reason, I admit.
Except perhaps I'm in a phase in my fiddling where I'm not
into that kind of imitation- I'm into what works for ME as a fiddler.
Still, I'm curious- could you post an mp3 excerpt of these sounds
you admire so much?


Michael

"It''s hard to take yourself seriously when you''re singing about chickens!"

http://www.ezfolk.com/audio/bands/1088
for mp3s, blog, and "Michael''s Old Time Fiddle & Banjo Hour" (hifi & lofi audio streams)

fiddlepogo - Posted - 09/22/2008:  22:59:46


quote:
Originally posted by oldtimer

Everyone is unique...for me, it seems like it would be hard tedious work to play without slurred string crossings. I would have a very hard time accomplishing that and I can't imagine why I would want to.

That doesn't mean that it isn't right for you.

stay tooned....
Glenn Godsey




And that's a wise answer, Glenn.
Am I perhaps missing some kind of brain circuitry that allows
a person to execute slurred string crossings cleanly?
'Cause you all sound like they are elementary, and they feel
anything BUT elementary to me!

Michael

"It''s hard to take yourself seriously when you''re singing about chickens!"

http://www.ezfolk.com/audio/bands/1088
for mp3s, blog, and "Michael''s Old Time Fiddle & Banjo Hour" (hifi & lofi audio streams)

Sue B. - Posted - 09/23/2008:  06:50:48


Re Michael's post above about new fulcrum (sorry, don't get how to do those handy reference quotes). This prompts a thought that may or may not be helpful here. ;) One thing I work on a lot with classical students is finding out how small a change of plane is possible for rapid alternating string changes. You can test this out this way. Play a few open A's and then a few open E's, and notice how different a plane the bow glides along is. Then do AEAEAEAE fairly fast. If you make the same amount of plane-change, it takes a lot of bow energy and different volumes seem to happen pretty easily. Now only change the plane enough to hit the next string w/o still touching the previous one, and you may feel like you could do this a lot longer w/o tiring, and that the volume is more even. Do you ever imagine shapes in the air for bow patterns? In this one, your hand & frog will be making a fairly flat figure 8. Sue

bj - Posted - 09/23/2008:  08:01:55


quote:
Do you ever imagine shapes in the air for bow patterns? In this one, your hand & frog will be making a fairly flat figure 8.


I can't say I'm great at these, but my teacher introduced this concept to me very early on, maybe my second or third lesson. It smoothed things out a fair bit pretty quickly. He's all about little circles and figure 8s to achieve fast playing. It's the whole "economy of motion" thing that he's into, along with most bowing motion at speed being in the fingers and wrist.

^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^
Me on the Web --
http://doneinstyle.com

My inspiration:
http://www.pandora.com/?sc=sh14633812588807237

Jim - Posted - 09/23/2008:  10:58:26


quote:

Close, but they line up differently with the bars. For Ragtime Annie, using Jim's notation, I get (at least, the way I play it)

A A | A_F B F A F B F | A F B F A A A |

(with all the F's being sharped, and the third A from the end is an 8th note (with all the others being 16th notes)).

Mike Fontenot



This is pretty interesting to me, because I never gave Ragtime Annie a thought. The figure in question is a real staple of Irish style bowing, and is used in a great many tunes ("Mountain Road" is a prime example).

But, since it came up in this thread, I had to give the bowing a try in Ragtime Annie. It works pretty well, and makes the tune (for me at least) a lot easier to play than if I sawstroke the opening bars. I'm not sure this is good. Easier isn't necessarily better. Most of the renditions I have heard sound pretty much sawstroked, and the tune sounds really good that way unless the player is really laboring. I think maybe the slurs smooth Ragtime Annie out a bit too much. I need to give this some more thought (and play it some more). I guess this means I'll have to play the fiddle today even more than I had planned. Life can be such a chore.

Jim Burke
http://fiddlehub.com (free online fiddle lessons with slo-mo instruction videos)


Edited by - Jim on 09/23/2008 11:00:38

fiddlepogo - Posted - 09/23/2008:  15:36:44


Jim,

Well, that's funny, because I've been sawstroking that part Ragtime Annie for a long time, and haven't really been happy with it.
In an earlier thread on string crossings, someone mentioned
doing a Nashville Shuffle on this first part of Ragtime Annie-
I was skeptical, but I tried it.
Yesterday I couldn't make it work for beans,
but today it seems like it has potential, although I'm nowhere near
ready to gig with it. And I have to admit, it actually sounds COOL
enough that it might motivate me to do the work to get it smooth.
Sue was talking about shapes of bowings, well this pattern
has some WEIRD ones!

That may end up being the <Second> of two exceptions
to my general rule of avoiding slurred string changes.
The other one is this:

If I start a phrase on the D note on the A string with a downstroke,
it often occurs that the melody will go up to the E and back down to the D note on the A string.
Sometimes you can get it with the little finger on the A string,
but it doesn't always sound right,
but if I hit the D on a downstroke, do the open E string on an upstroke,
and keep going up (like in an Unshuffle 1-3-1-1-1-1 or Syncoshuffle
1-2-1-2-1-1) for some reason doing the slurred string change is easy.
It is slightly harder but doable if you do the same thing one string over and lower starting on the G note on the D string and going up to the open A and back.
I think one reason this works is that if I inadvertently
hit the second note of the slurred string change too hard,
it happens to land on SNE 3, where accenting is often done,
but is optional- so you can make a slight mistake and still sound
like you know what you're doing!

If I get the Nashville Shuffle With String Crossings going solidly on Ragtime Annie, that COULD act as an exercise and get me so confident with the slurred
string crossing thing that I like it and use it more often and in different places- or maybe not.

Time will tell...

Michael

"It''s hard to take yourself seriously when you''re singing about chickens!"

http://www.ezfolk.com/audio/bands/1088
for mp3s, blog, and "Michael''s Old Time Fiddle & Banjo Hour" (hifi & lofi audio streams)

bsed - Posted - 09/23/2008:  18:48:32


I've never heard a version of Ragtime Annie where the A-part wasn't saw-stroked across the A & E strings. But I have used that tune for just such an exercise in just working on string crossing. Other good tunes for that are Yellow Barber and Chase the Squirrel (a midwestern tune).
If you're trying to perfect slurring across strings, why not bow arpeggios, 2 notes slurred in each stroke.
I really think every fiddler (this is for you, Michael) should work on that as a skill, simply (if for no other reason) to give you more mastery over the bow. Otherwise I say you're letting that stick dictate to you. You gonna take that?!
Sue--I also teach the concept of bowing in planes, and I don't have a music degree. So I kind of feel vindicated that I'm teaching a valid musical idea. Thanks for your contribution.


Just call me Dwight.

oldtimer - Posted - 09/23/2008:  22:32:20


quote:
Originally posted by bsed

I've never heard a version of Ragtime Annie where the A-part wasn't saw-stroked across the A & E strings....




My version of Ragtime Annie isn't saw-stroked, Bruce. I don't know what my bowing is, but I know it isn't saw-stroke:
http://www.fiddlehangout.com/myhang...ic.asp?id=41

stay tooned....
Glenn Godsey

"Time passes unhindered"

Glenn - Posted - 09/24/2008:  00:55:48


Sawstroking string crossing is a great way to derive natural syncopation and tactility in your playing. Try to do a good Martha Campbell without sawstroking the high part of the tune. I swear it can't be done. It's all in the sawstroke I tell you.

bosco - Posted - 09/24/2008:  01:55:55


quote:
Originally posted by Glenn

Sawstroking string crossing is a great way to derive natural syncopation and tactility in your playing. Try to do a good Martha Campbell without sawstroking the high part of the tune. I swear it can't be done. It's all in the sawstroke I tell you.


Quite true. But I do 3-3-1-1 there sometime just for the variation. I guess it's not so bad either.
Bosco

Konnichiwa, arigato, sayonara

Mike_Fontenot - Posted - 09/24/2008:  12:33:41


quote:
Originally posted by bsed
[font=Georgia]I've never heard a version of Ragtime Annie where the A-part wasn't saw-stroked across the A & E strings.


But is it common to do that sawstroking with upbows on the beats (like I've discovered that I'm doing)? That's the strangest thing to me about my recent discovery of the bowing that I unconsciously evolved to on that tune. In all of the instructional materials that I have used, even the instructors who WEREN'T big on always downbowing the beats (or, perhaps, the accents) usually seemed to nevertheless advise that a long sequence of sawstrokes are almost always bowed with downbows on the beats. So I'm really mystified about why I unconsciously evolved to exactly the opposite bowing.

I started out with Nashville on that phrase (like everything else I played), and slowly it morphed into sawstrokes, without me realizing it. Was that caused by subconsciously wanting to get rid all those slurred string crossings?...I don't know. For whatever reason, all the Nashville slurs eventually disappeared, except for those first two notes. And it's pretty clear to me now that that one remaining slur's only purpose must be to reverse the bowing, to get the upbows on the beats (or, maybe more importantly, to get the upbows on those accented high B notes).

Ordinarily, the only time I've seen a use for an accented upbow is when that accented note is followed by a rest (or is a staccato 8th note, in a stream of 16th notes). In that case, it seems easier to get the bow stopped, if it's moving against gravity. But in the Ragtime Annie phrase, that's not the case, and I'm completely puzzled about why I unconsciously evolved to that bowing.

Mike Fontenot


Edited by - Mike_Fontenot on 09/24/2008 12:35:51

fiddlepogo - Posted - 09/24/2008:  13:17:36


I've enjoyed reading about you discovering your
true "Ragtime Annie" bowing,
and it illustrates some things.
1. Even in analytical people (like Mike and I), much of what happens in bowing can and does happen unconsciously.
2. Analysis often doesn't take place until <AFTER> the fact-
sometimes LONG after!
3. There really are no <hard and fast> bowing rules,
although there may be principles, tendencies, or guidelines.
4. I suspect most downbowers have at least one tune or one shuffle that goes in opposition to their downbowing tendencies.
For a long time I started Liberty on an upbow- I wonder if I still do?

As much as I like sawstroking most of Durang's, Harvest Home, and Money Musk, it doesn't work for me in Ragtime Annie.
Yet it apparently works for many of you-
I wonder why?
Which makes me think that the thing that drives our subconscious bowing decisions is what feels right to use while playing the tune,
what makes it flow properly- I think there's a "following the path of least resistance" thing going on.
Hey, I'll have to try bowing that section of Ragtime Annie backwards-
see if that helps!

quote:
Originally posted by Mike_Fontenot

quote:
Originally posted by OTJunky

quote:
Originally posted by Jim
Here is the figure:

D F# A F# b F# A F#

Ragtime Annie...


Close, but they line up differently with the bars. For Ragtime Annie, using Jim's notation, I get (at least, the way I play it)

A A | A_F B F A F B F | A F B F A A A |

(with all the F's being sharped, and the third A from the end is an 8th note (with all the others being 16th notes)).

BTW, Ragtime Annie is a HUGE anomaly for me, as far as my understanding of bowing goes. When I started playing the fiddle, I tried to bow everything Nashville. But sometime between learning RA (by ear, off a recording from a bluegrass radio show), and playing it for MANY years, somehow the bowing "morphed" into something nothing like Nashville. It became probably my favorite tune to play...it just FELT GOOD!

I wasn't even aware of how I ended up bowing the tune, but it felt so good that I always assumed that it must be a fairly complicated bunch of slurs. When I recently analyzed it, I was startled to realize that except for the first two notes of the measure (which I downbow slur), ALL the rest of the phrase is sawstroked! Apparently, in this case, that wonderful "shuffly" feel has NOTHING to do with slurs...it's ALL in the sawstroked string crossings (kind of similarly to the double "shuffle" in OBS...nothing about slurs at all).

Also, in addition to the sawstroke surprise, I was startled to discover that I'm sawstroking with upbows on the beats! Also, I noticed that my accents were on those B notes, ALL of which I was playing with an upbow! Basically, on a tune I LOVE to play, I was (unconsciously) violating ALL of my rules! Kind of troubling...I really don't know what to make of it.

Mike Fontenot



Michael

"It''s hard to take yourself seriously when you''re singing about chickens!"

http://www.ezfolk.com/audio/bands/1088
for mp3s, blog, and "Michael''s Old Time Fiddle & Banjo Hour" (hifi & lofi audio streams)

fiddlepogo - Posted - 09/24/2008:  13:29:01


WARNING: THIS POST HAS CONTENT LIKELY TO CAUSE SEVERE HEADACHES- YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
(by the Bureau of Bowgeekery!)

quote:
Originally posted by Mike_Fontenot

quote:
Originally posted by fiddlepogo
It [the synchoshuffle] does tend to accent differently, specifically, it tends to syncopate, hence the name Syncoshuffle, but it CAN be smoothed out to a surprising degree if you want to use it for phrasing or slurred string change avoidance, but not use a strong syncopation.


Well, I think that the fact that it has five upbowed SNE's vs three downbowed SNE's requires that the average bowspeed of the downbows has to be greater (by the ratio 5/3) than the average speed of the upbows, which means greater volume (on average) for the downbows vs the upbows. This assumes, of course, that you want to be able to play that pattern indefinitely for many measures...if it's just for one measure, then where you leave the bow (compared to where you started from) isn't necessarily very important.

But you always DO have the choice of WHICH of the three downbowed SNE's get the accent. And I suppose that if you split that accent evenly between all three of those downbowed SNE's, that the effect may be spread out enough that it's not very noticeable.

Mike Fontenot



I <think> the secret to the Syncoshuffle is
how you accent SNE's 1 and 7, in particular.
I find it general I hit SNE 1 <very> hard and long,
making it comparable in length to SNE's 2 & 3 together.
If you watched me doing a series of Syncoshuffles,
you might think I was doing a Nashville.
But I think when I use it for an overt syncopation,
I weaken SNE 1 and strengthen SNE 2 and 3.
SNE 7 is what gets accented anyway in many related shuffles,
like Nashville, Georgia, and Sawshuffle, and I think it's that common
ending that helps make Syncoshuffle so compatible with them.

Michael

"It''s hard to take yourself seriously when you''re singing about chickens!"

http://www.ezfolk.com/audio/bands/1088
for mp3s, blog, and "Michael''s Old Time Fiddle & Banjo Hour" (hifi & lofi audio streams)

Mike_Fontenot - Posted - 09/25/2008:  10:37:54


quote:
Originally posted by oldtimer
My version of Ragtime Annie isn't saw-stroked, Bruce. I don't know what my bowing is, but I know it isn't saw-stroke:
http://www.fiddlehangout.com/myhang...ic.asp?id=41


I listened to that clip, Glenn. It sounded like mostly Nashville to me, but I'm not very good at figuring out bowing at speed just by listening, so I might be wrong. It also sounded like your version of the melody didn't have that long sequence of back and forth string changes, and I'm thinking it may have been those constant string changes that caused me to unconsciously evolve away from Nashville to sawstroke on that phrase.

Mike Fontenot

Page: 1  2  

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Privacy Consent
Copyright 2024 Fiddle Hangout. All Rights Reserved.





Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.09375