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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Jig à Chabord


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/53266

Hoodoo - Posted - 04/14/2020:  05:36:47


So, as mentioned before, I'm not a total beginner. I've been at the beginner stage for a few years now, but with the whole lock down thing going on, I've been dedicating more time to my fiddle playing. So after about a month of playing regularly every day, I feel as though I can confidently consider myself to be in the "advanced beginner" category. I still get tensed up and all that jazz, but I've developed a few tricks to feel a bit more relaxed - one of them being having my wife sit down and listening to me play a piece (oh god poor her).



My concern, is how do I keep on progressing? How do I continue to play in a way where I feel as though I'm still progressing and not just maintaining a mediocre level of play?



My motivations for learning the fiddle aren't the same as my banjo playing, so finding a teacher online isn't very obvious (the handful of people who could help have never responded to my messages). 



youtu.be/brQIzi87TAQ


Edited by - Hoodoo on 04/14/2020 05:38:30

UsuallyPickin - Posted - 04/14/2020:  05:42:10


1. Learn both open and closed position scales and arpeggios
2. Take some lessons. Bad habits are tough to unlearn.
3. Every time you pick up your fiddle to play , tune it.
4. Play every day … a lot of this is muscle memory.
5. Practice your scales with your tuner. It helps with intonation.
6. Play with a loose grip on the bow and don’t over grip when noting a fiddle. Tension causes short and long term problems.
7. Listen to many fiddlers. Both passively when you are doing other things and actively with your fiddle in hand.
8. Learn fiddle tunes in standard as well as non standard keys. This helps to learn the fingerboard.
9. Play out in public as soon as you feel like you are able. Watch other fiddlers whenever you can. You can learn a great deal that way.
10. Change your strings two or three times a year. Your fiddle will appreciate it. Opinions differ on this.
11. Practice bowing with your shoulder and elbow trapped against a wall or door frame. This makes you use your wrist in bowing.
12. When you think you are ready for a new fiddle buy a better bow first.

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 04/14/2020:  06:08:56


Well it's always fun to give out free "advice," lol...seriously, I hesitate to ever do that, being a beginner at everything in life, even at my advancing age. But...here goes...I think it sounds great! That does not sound like an easy piece to play. I liked listening to it and thought the bowing and intonation and spirit of the thing were right on.



Here's what I would say. In my opinion, you sound a little "careful....???" for lack of better word. It's what we all do when we need to build some sort of confidence with an instrument...or with anything else. I've had these discussions with artist friends I've had (somehow I used to know a lot of artists...lol...like portrait painters, etc., who yes, were starving, but very dedicated to their art)...there is something, according to the good artists I've known, and I'm probably repeating myself since these discussions I've had with artists from back in the old days when I was geographically close enough to be good friends and spend many late evenings by the fire in deep discussion about just everything...but ... one thing is to zero in on what it is you want. Like writing a research paper in school...narrow your topic. That doesn't mean forever...just for now. This is just my opinion and what my old artists friends also used to say. Narrow your focus, hone in and go to work...later, you could expand, but if you expand too early, you might confuse your efforts and your progress could stall out. Just an opinion, and it probably is not the case for everybody.



You know our buddy Dwight Diller has a saying...you don't really know a person until you've eaten a peck of salt together...in other words...it takes time and familiarity. I say this, feeling stupid because I consider myself also in the advanced beginnner stages...so I wouldn't advise anyone taking what I say as anything with a lot of expertise, or ANY expertise at all...just throwing in what I think...could be right for some, could be wrong for some or even all.



As far as the advice for playing scales and all of that...it might work for some people. I can't see others doing it...I wouldn't think Dwight would ever think of it...I never did it either...I think it might depend both on the person and the kind of music they want to play. Do it if it helps, but I don't think everybody necessarily needs to do that sort of thing.



I'd say, find the style, maybe that piece IS in the style...listen to good people playing the style until you think your ears will fall off ... it will naturally absorb into your thinking when you pick up the fiddle...just play...I mean, I think your intonation is pretty remarkable...it all sounds good. I'd say just keep on playing what you love to play...look for relaxing with it...as I said...I feel like an idiot because I'm just a self-taught amateur who doesn't play anywhere...lol....even just rarely at home...so...listen with caution.



I did enjoy your fiddling and I think you're sounding good. Keep on doing what you're doing!


Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 04/14/2020 06:11:13

Hoodoo - Posted - 04/14/2020:  06:29:21


11. Practice bowing with your shoulder and elbow trapped against a wall or door frame. This makes you use your wrist in bowing.

This is a great tip. I've never been the type to have jello like joints - I've always been a bit stiff. I just gave it a quick try (the advantages of working from home) and I was a bit skeptical that it would work, but I can see how it would. Will be doing more of this later today.

Hoodoo - Posted - 04/14/2020:  06:51:41


quote:

Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

Well it's always fun to give out free "advice," lol...seriously, I hesitate to ever do that, being a beginner at everything in life, even at my advancing age. But...here goes...I think it sounds great! That does not sound like an easy piece to play. I liked listening to it and thought the bowing and intonation and spirit of the thing were right on.



Here's what I would say. In my opinion, you sound a little "careful....???" for lack of better word. It's what we all do when we need to build some sort of confidence with an instrument...or with anything else. I've had these discussions with artist friends I've had (somehow I used to know a lot of artists...lol...like portrait painters, etc., who yes, were starving, but very dedicated to their art)...there is something, according to the good artists I've known, and I'm probably repeating myself since these discussions I've had with artists from back in the old days when I was geographically close enough to be good friends and spend many late evenings by the fire in deep discussion about just everything...but ... one thing is to zero in on what it is you want. Like writing a research paper in school...narrow your topic. That doesn't mean forever...just for now. This is just my opinion and what my old artists friends also used to say. Narrow your focus, hone in and go to work...later, you could expand, but if you expand too early, you might confuse your efforts and your progress could stall out. Just an opinion, and it probably is not the case for everybody.



You know our buddy Dwight Diller has a saying...you don't really know a person until you've eaten a peck of salt together...in other words...it takes time and familiarity. I say this, feeling stupid because I consider myself also in the advanced beginnner stages...so I wouldn't advise anyone taking what I say as anything with a lot of expertise, or ANY expertise at all...just throwing in what I think...could be right for some, could be wrong for some or even all.



As far as the advice for playing scales and all of that...it might work for some people. I can't see others doing it...I wouldn't think Dwight would ever think of it...I never did it either...I think it might depend both on the person and the kind of music they want to play. Do it if it helps, but I don't think everybody necessarily needs to do that sort of thing.



I'd say, find the style, maybe that piece IS in the style...listen to good people playing the style until you think your ears will fall off ... it will naturally absorb into your thinking when you pick up the fiddle...just play...I mean, I think your intonation is pretty remarkable...it all sounds good. I'd say just keep on playing what you love to play...look for relaxing with it...as I said...I feel like an idiot because I'm just a self-taught amateur who doesn't play anywhere...lol....even just rarely at home...so...listen with caution.



I did enjoy your fiddling and I think you're sounding good. Keep on doing what you're doing!






Thanks. I always take your advice to heart.



I've realized over the past month after dibbing and dabbing in different styles (i tried it all, old-time, irish, scottish etc etc), that my motivations to learn the fiddle are to help preserve, in my own mediocre way, the local styles that have been mostly been completely been erased by bluegrass music. 



Much of that is aural, and as opposed to the southern US old-time fiddle styles, basically none of it has been recorded - even field recorded. So its not easy to find different versions of tunes to pick up little details and all that. 



My focus right now is on relaxing the wrist and the bowing arm. Its so hard!



One difference that I've noticed is that in the banjo world, for whatever reason, beginner - intermediate players don't hesitate to post videos of themselves playing (there are lots of them on Facebook). So even even if its not very good, its an easy way to chart progress. LIke when I began playing, I came across these videos of some woman from Texas just clawhammering away. She wasn't the best, but I told myself, if I could play like that in two years from now, I'd be satisfied. 



In the fiddling world, all I can find on YouTube are what I consider to be experienced players, so its harder to find a level that I aspire to play at in x months/years from now.



 


Edited by - Hoodoo on 04/14/2020 06:53:27

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 04/14/2020:  07:35:03


omg...that makes it hard. what about contacting a university and asking them if there's some hidden archives somewhere with old fiddlers from the area? they would have them available online by now. there used to be one of kentucky fiddlers at morehead state down the road a piece and it was almost hidden from sight. i worked in a university library when i found out about it, and had to get a reference librarian to help me tap into it because it was just sort of hidden away. i think it's easier to find that one nowdays. but besides university archives...don't know if there would be any historic organizations or anything. you could contact paul...???? that does old time tunes of the week on youtube and links them here...ask if he knows of any sources for your local area...he's up in ohio somewhere so maybe he's run across something like that...don't know. there must be some oldtimers somewhere that somebody thought to record.



you would have to contact a reference librarian or archivist working for a unversity...the people at the front desk would have no clue...lol...belive me...i used to be at the front desk.


Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 04/14/2020 07:36:10

Old Scratch - Posted - 04/14/2020:  08:28:50


First of all: listen to Peggy - not when she's going on about how she knows nothing, etc., etc., but the other stuff.

Second of all: you don't know how it does my heart good to hear you say you're going back to the local traditions. There's no big danger of Southern American fiddling fading off the face of the earth; your local music probably is on life-support.

Third of all: there may well be more recordings around than you're aware of. I'll post some links later. But you may want to ask older people about home-made tapes from old parties, etc. - and you may need to find yourself a tape-player. You might want to ask around as well about other old fiddlers - there may be more around than you're aware of; i.e., good fiddlers who used to play at house-parties but have not played publicly for the past fifty years or so.

Fourth of all: I know you took a couple of lessons from Robert Lavoie - I have no idea how he is as a teacher, but whatever you can glean from his fiddling will be of value.

Fifth of all: the relaxation part of it is more important than you probably realize, and it takes time. Part of relaxing with it is not worrying too much about your progress or lack thereof. Don't be in a big rush to learn new techniques and new tunes; just keep playing what you've learned and concentrate on the musicality of it; you want to feel it - 'get into the groove', as the Blues guys say. You want to get past the stage of being 'careful' with the tune, to where you know it so well, you can just pick up the fiddle and crank it out.

Sixth: I'll tell you what Jarvis Benoit once told me, in one of my proudest moments: "You're on the right track."

Hoodoo - Posted - 04/14/2020:  09:28:22


quote:

Originally posted by Old Scratch

First of all: listen to Peggy - not when she's going on about how she knows nothing, etc., etc., but the other stuff.



Second of all: you don't know how it does my heart good to hear you say you're going back to the local traditions. There's no big danger of Southern American fiddling fading off the face of the earth; your local music probably is on life-support.



Third of all: there may well be more recordings around than you're aware of. I'll post some links later. But you may want to ask older people about home-made tapes from old parties, etc. - and you may need to find yourself a tape-player. You might want to ask around as well about other old fiddlers - there may be more around than you're aware of; i.e., good fiddlers who used to play at house-parties but have not played publicly for the past fifty years or so.



Fourth of all: I know you took a couple of lessons from Robert Lavoie - I have no idea how he is as a teacher, but whatever you can glean from his fiddling will be of value.



Fifth of all: the relaxation part of it is more important than you probably realize, and it takes time. Part of relaxing with it is not worrying too much about your progress or lack thereof. Don't be in a big rush to learn new techniques and new tunes; just keep playing what you've learned and concentrate on the musicality of it; you want to feel it - 'get into the groove', as the Blues guys say. You want to get past the stage of being 'careful' with the tune, to where you know it so well, you can just pick up the fiddle and crank it out.



Sixth: I'll tell you what Jarvis Benoit once told me, in one of my proudest moments: "You're on the right track."






Thanks.



I did meet Robert Lavoie, but I received no actual lessons from him, other than try and take in as much knowledge as I could from him in the 30 minutes or so I spent at his home. He also lent me a tape. He wasn't around when I brought the tape back. I also spend a lot of time watching the videos he's posted online. I know that he's known to be opinionated, but he was still very kind. 



I noticed that he and Dwight Diller do one thing in common (two completely fiddlers and this applies to all good fiddlers I assume), and that they have great wrist action.



I have a few other sources of tunes as well. Its all great fun. What I constantly tell myself is that the most old time fiddlers probably never from any regular lessons (even if they had wanted to).  If they did it, so can I. I did recently contact a few people for some online lessons, but I haven't heard anything from them. 



Its not exactly what I'm looking for - its probably similar to learning more about Kentucky fiddling while living in North Carolina - so lots of similarities, but subtle differences - but its still an amazing source for field recordings made in Prince Edward Island. I think that most of the recordings were made by the melodic banjoist extraordinaire, Ken Perlman : bowingdownhome.ca/



The problem in Eastern Canada especially is that nearly all of the old-time styles and repertoire were wiped out by Don Messer style fiddling = which is kind of what Texas Festival style is to American old-time music - and then later by bluegrass. Obviously, its quite virtuoistic, but it lacks the rawness that many of us love.



 



 

Old Scratch - Posted - 04/14/2020:  11:02:33


Btw: when I said to listen to Peggy, I didn't mean to dismiss what the others have said; just that I think she's onto something essential.

There was a lot of back and forth between Acadians in 'Up West' (i.e. west Prince County) PEI and Acadians in New Brunswick, at least, near the Strait. I don't know if the NB Acadians put as much syncopation into their fiddling - but, anyway, there are some great Acadian fiddlers on that PEI site, who I would imagine play in a way related to your area. Actually, not that much Messer influence, other than in repertoire.

Hoodoo - Posted - 04/18/2020:  10:54:03


In the few days since, I feel as though I've already improved my "fiddle game" thanks to some great advice given on this forum. I feel as though my wrist as loosened up over the past few days

Old Scratch - Posted - 04/18/2020:  12:29:01


@hoodoo I might have given you these links before: acadianfiddle.com/artists , gaspefiddle.blogspot.com/ .

Jimbeaux - Posted - 04/19/2020:  05:36:49


quote:

Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

. you could contact paul...???? that does old time tunes of the week on youtube and links them here...ask if he knows of any sources for your local area..






That's actually an excellent idea if you (hoohoo) have access to sheet music of your local fiddling tradition. Paul is excellent at reviving tunes that only exist on paper. Also I've been taking Skype lessons with him and can vouch for him. PM me if you have any questions 

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