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Catalog of Shuffles: Part One- Short Patterns.

Posted by fiddlepogo on Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sawstroke-

| d u d u |  OR 1-1-1-1   Upbowing- | u d u d |
pluses:
conceptually simple,
much like using a flatpick,
lots of melodic clarity. Forces the left hand to get in sync with the bowing arm.
Challenges: Because it requires the most frequent direction changes it places the most stress on fingers, hands and wrist, however, it can also force you to get flexible and efficient. In the hands of beginners to intermediate players it can be rhythmically rather stilted and monotonous. Most often done down-up-down-up. The backwards version up-down-up-down is the basis of upbow fiddling.

"Unshuffle"-

| d u u u |  OR  1-3

Also called Downbeat Georgia Shuffle.  This is a great bowing to pair up with sawstroke for variety.
Accents the very important downbeat note, making it clear and distinct.
Challenges: Physically somewhat challenging at first because of the mathematics of one note being on a downstroke and the rest being on an upstroke- the natural tendency is for the bow to "climb" up closer to the frog.
This can be controlled with practice, however, and can also be compensated for by blending this with other patterns. Very straight and rather British sounding- good if you want that sound, not so good if you don't.

Georgia Shuffle-

(d)| u u d u | u u d u|   Upbowing or "backwards" | d d u d | d d u d |


Backbeat version of the Unshuffle-
the motions are the same, but the downstroke is put in different places.
Great for extreme accents on the backbeat- loved by Bluegrass fiddlers for this reason. Can be mixed with Nashville Shuffle or Sawstroke for different patterns. Useful as a turnaround lick for downbowers, since it starts on an upbow, and ends on an upbow- if you find yourself starting a phrase on an upbow, make it into a Georgia Shuffle, and presto, you are going in the right direction within 4 notes!!!
Challenges:
 The more common version favored by bluegrassers has a problem in that the 3 note upward slur begins in an awkward place for starting the tune.

This makes it a bit hard to explain if you can't show the other person what you are doing live or with video.
The first upward slur can be shortened to a 2 note slur to start it off, or you can start with 3 sawstrokes (see Sawshuffle in part 3) or a Nashville Shuffle. 
The normal version resembles the second half of a Nashville Shuffle pattern.
There is also a reverse or backwards Georgia that starts on a downstroke and resembles the first part of a Nashville Shuffle, putting the backbeat accent on the upstroke.  I have only seen Old Time players using this, Ken Kolodner, for example.
The bluegrass version has the same tendency to climb towards the frog as Unshuffle. The backwards version has a tendency to climb DOWN and run out of the bow at the tip.  The backwards version is a bit more tricky to integrate with the more frequent down-up-down-up Sawstroke, but is a natural fit with up-down-up-down sawstroking. Together they make a natural basis for "Upbow" fiddling that puts accents on upstrokes instead of downstrokes.


Two Note Slurs- 

| d d u u |
A very versatile and easy pattern- basically a slow sawstroke but with slurred notes. Easy for beginners.
Easy to do while reading sheet music, since it doesn't cross measure lines.
Challenges: Can be a bit bland sounding, but good phrasing can compensate for this. Popular in West Virginia.

Offset Two Note Slurs-

(d)| d u u d | d u u d | d
There is also a version where the two note slurs begin on the second and fourth notes in a series. A bit tricky to get the hang of.
It sounds really good on ragtime tunes.  I hear tell Jason Anick considers it a fundamental lick in Swing fiddling too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



5 comments on “Catalog of Shuffles: Part One- Short Patterns.”

OTJunky Says:
Thursday, November 19, 2009 @3:10:55 PM

It'd be helpful I think if you could add the bowing "notation" - like

| d d u d u u d u |

for the Nashvile shuffle and maybe use upper case for the "accents".

I'd like to see this for the UnShuffle.

You might also mention that "Single Shuffle" is sometimes used as an alternate name for the "Nashville Shuffle" - especially among Bluegrass fiddlers who also do the "Double Shuffle" on OBS and a few other tunes.

As an aside, the "Offset Two Note Slurs" pattern is the one that Jason Anick taught at Fiddle Hell as the "fundamental" bowing in Swing fiddling...

--OTJ

FiddleCat Says:
Thursday, November 19, 2009 @5:27:10 PM

A video showing the actual bowing would be nice too. Slow in the beginning then quicker as you go.

I'm not asking for much am I?? :O)

fiddlepogo Says:
Thursday, November 19, 2009 @5:32:24 PM

Fiddlecat-
Great idea-
you buyin' me a videocamera with good speed and resolution!!!! :^)

FiddleCat Says:
Thursday, November 19, 2009 @7:18:00 PM

Christmas is coming..lol

Honestly tho. I'm going to take a closer look into what all you mentioned above. I'm at a wall right now and looking into some fun bowing techniques could be what I need to spruce up some tunes I already know.

Question is...how do I know where in the song to add them?? I wouldn't think there's a rule of thumb per say, but do I add it where the tune is already played or do I basically add in my own bowings for and extra measure or so for frills?? Does that make ant sense??

fiddlepogo Says:
Thursday, November 19, 2009 @9:47:38 PM

Fiddlecat-
that's a good question- there are basically two ways of using shuffles:
1. A melodic sawstroke fiddler might only use them as filler in parts of the tunes that are simpler and have relatively empty spaces. I think OTJ says this is done more in Texas and Ozark fiddling.
2. Eastern Appalachian players like Tommy Jarrell use shuffles to flavor and phrase melody lines, integrating them with the melody AND also on simpler parts.
I tend to use the latter approach.

How to decide??? Well, some depends on what you can do already.
If sawstroke is your main bowing, try Sawshuffle- it's just a little different.
If Nashville Shuffle is your main bowing, try Syncoshuffle, since it's quite similar. Once you can play them at all, just practice them until they are smooth and natural... maybe in an bowing exercise like I have in my tunes section. Once you can play them in an exercise like that, you can fit them in any part of any tune that resembles that exercise.
I also use them to avoid slurred string changes. (Some fiddlers like them, I don't, and I don't think I'm the only one)

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