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Fiddling Is Singing.

Posted by janepaints on Thursday, January 1, 2009

Various topics on bowing, patterns, methods, 'how-to' etc. spawned some thoughts. --When fiddling, if I think at all, it's about what notes I'm fingering--the tune itself. I don't think about the bow unless something doesn't work bow-wise, then I figger out how to bow it so it does work...and return to focusing on the tune. That said, it seems I bow the best when the bow directs my hand, not the other way around. --I think it's good to play with the eyes closed, or not looking at the hands. Keeps the auditory circuitry & input separate from the visual circuitry & input. The less translating the better. All the better to clearly-hear the tune-within-memory which you seek to summon via fiddle.

--My aim is fiddling like singing. A mental-auditory image of a tune is directly-conveyed via a voice. We don't think 'My larynx is doing THIS and my throat is doing THAT while my tongue is doing THIS" when we sing. We just sing. Fiddle like birds sing. Fiddle like clouds moving across the sky on windy days. Fiddle like water moving in a streambed. Fiddle like stream-of-consciousness.

--I think all music is, in essence, spiritual in nature. Not physical, logical, rational, emotional, cultural, mathematical, technological, artistic, creative, social etc. Certainly not verbal. The Spirit is, essentially, mysterious.......and music is, essentially, mysterious.

--The catchphrase 'chill-bumps' describes music which seizes attention and suffuses thoughts, but the actual/better term might be 'agape.' Agape refers to encounter between individual and spirit. Direct encounter. Difficult to express, communicate or translate. What transpires during said encounter.

Are you familiar with the old song 'How Can I Keep From Singing'?

I think the song's lyric, perhaps, another attempt to say what I'm trying to say here.

The Psalms--some are dedicated "to the chief musician." I wonder and wonder and wonder and wonder about those words.

Sophia is 'of tongues', but Agape is 'of nothing everywhere always'.

I can't express these thoughts very well, so I fiddle.

So, I think fiddling is singing. I also think fiddling is prayer. I think music is prayer. Sometime I think life is prayer.

10 comments on “Fiddling Is Singing.”

bj Says:
Friday, January 2, 2009 @6:51:54 AM

A great way of looking at it IF you already have the mechanics drilled into the muscles and nerves and bones and brain. Not everyone does.

janepaints Says:
Friday, January 2, 2009 @7:45:16 AM

Yep. That's why it was written in the first-person. I coulda used 'IMO' but sometimes I get weary of them kinda qualifiers. But allow me to add this, tricky-icky tho it may be: I've experienced 'quantum leaps' on the mechanical side of things, but not from diligence, application or study. Instead, seeming from encounter--i.e. gift or blessing.
I'm aware that sounds off into the 'ozone' side of things, but I've no other way to explain it. Like jumping off a cliff but no crash. Instead: sprout wings and fly. Via faith. Speaking of Faith--that's the name of a great band led by a pal who I big-time admire: Felice Rosser. She & I have shared bills at John & Peters. She also joined me at a solo gig at Pianos in NYC a few years back. If I owned a record label, Felice is who I'd sign. She didn't name her combo 'Faith' lightly. Felice is all about Da Spirit. Anybody who digs Odetta or Nina Simone might oughtta hear Felice. She sings kinda like that--while playing bass like Jimi Hendrix, if Jimi had played bass.
Faith Info here:


http://www.compulsivereader.com/html/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1590

ChickenMan Says:
Friday, January 2, 2009 @8:11:31 AM

Well said, Jane. When one speaks of these experiences, there is ONLY the first-person perspective and even that cannot express what you are trying to convey because the concept is outside the scope of words. Mysticism at it's finest.

fishinmusician Says:
Friday, January 2, 2009 @8:29:29 AM

All of the above is good stuff including...

"The catchphrase 'chill-bumps' describes music which seizes attention and suffuses thoughts, but the actual/better term might be 'agape.' Agape refers to encounter between individual and spirit. Direct encounter. Difficult to express, communicate or translate. What transpires during said encounter."

Yep, that's pretty much it! It's about those rare moments of being at one with the instrument, the music and in the moment, and it does seem mysterious, and yes, spritual.

I've always said to myself and others that I was born a hundred years too late. Hence, my attraction to OT music (fiddle and banjo), and more recently, Sacred Harp singing. Although all music can certainly have this effect, I guess it's the old time stuff that trips my trigger.

FiddlerFaddler Says:
Friday, January 2, 2009 @9:59:50 AM

Those are very keen insights, Jane. BJ is right that early on in one's technical development, one is so conscious of the mechanics that it doesn't feel natural. Nevertheless, as one does become comfortable with the basics, and becomes familiar with a favorite piece, one does eventually achieve a comfort level that permits the music playing to be more like singing, i.e., naturally expressive.

Since BJ is already expressive with her voice, I trust that she will one day achieve the same effect with her fiddle. When the realization hits her that she's arrived, she'll be as happy as a songbird!

janepaints Says:
Friday, January 2, 2009 @11:59:22 AM

That's why Suzuki is a genius method--just get the kids sawing away without their brains getting all kerflooey'd by technical mumbo-jumbo arcana. 'Second Nature' beats 'Second Thoughts' every time. Like Phonics burns the pants offa Grammar & Syntax. First five years of learning sitar, none of the students touches the instrument. Instead they sing, learning the 70-some classical raga forms by heart. When they're finally doing the hands-on stuff, progress tends to be swift: a CONCEPT of the music having already been instilled. 'Concept' being what? Ideas? Impulses along the electrical-biological neural circuits? Kin to the word 'conception'?
So what'll it be boys? What ya drinking? Immaculate Conceptions.....or Immaculate Cons? Systematic types like things all tidy. Two plus Two equals Teacher Gave Me A Gold Star. Look at nature: anything but tidy. A perfect mess (emphasis being on 'perfect.') Fiddle like a thunderstorm, as suggested by the Nag Hamadi manuscripts.

Fidla Says:
Sunday, January 4, 2009 @7:34:46 AM

I often feel like my bow is a paint brush and I am painting a glorious musical mural for all to see and share

janepaints Says:
Sunday, January 4, 2009 @3:14:48 PM

celtic agent said: "I often feel like my bow is a paint brush and I am painting a glorious musical mural for all to see and share"


Fiddle Bow: animal hair attached to stick
Paintbrush: animal hair attached to stick

Humbled by this instrument Says:
Monday, January 5, 2009 @9:03:34 PM

I often feel like my bow is a weapon, my fiddle the amunition, and I am scaring the living daylights out of all around me. Moreover, the way I sometimes sing...well, it's apparent that I want to veer from trying to emulate my fine voice on my fiddle at times. Cheers,
Humbled

PeachyPicker08 Says:
Monday, January 5, 2009 @11:17:51 PM

Well said janepaints! Music is very Spiritual and it has Life, it has been here from the begining 'the stars sang' we just flow and carry that memory through the generations. Someone played those notes before me and someone will surely play them again and I shall play wonderously one day somewhere far away where I'll be known as I am known on earth, only I will have all knowledge of music then...how marvelous!

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