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Catalog of Shuffles- Part Two- Symmetrical Patterns

Posted by fiddlepogo on Thursday, November 19, 2009

Balanced Patterns are patterns are patterns where the actual rhythm is four notes long like a short pattern, but repeated in the opposite direction to create a symmetrical pair.  Symmetrical patterns have the advantage that "bow climb" is neutralized automatically- the bow stays centered in the same place as you started.

Nashville Shuffle-

(Also known as Single Shuffle to contrast it with Double Shuffle-esp. in BG)

| d d u d u u d u | OR  2-1-1-2-1-1
pluses: conceptually simple, easy to teach. Classic rhythm is the same as the bump-ditty banjo pattern and the "church lick" backup pattern on guitar.
Very easy to create a sense of drive with this pattern. Good starting point for learning other patterns that are similar. Classified as a short pattern since the rhythm is the same in both halves.

The initial 2 note slur tends to muddy up the first note of a tune. Getting the first three strokes and the second three strokes sounding the same can be a challenge, since they are in opposite directions. Common as dirt, if you want something unusual sounding, this isn't it!
It can also get boring (and so gives pattern bowing a bad name).
However, many users of Nashville Shuffle do develop unique ways of phrasing it. But then,  this can lead to situations where you have several players all with unique but rigid ways of phrasing a Nashville Shuffle, and they can't get their bowing to mesh together. Somewhat stressful on the wrist- best to have a good bowgrip but one that allows flexibility.

Offset Nashville-

Just as the only real difference between Unshuffle and Georgia Shuffle is where you start it, Offset Nashville utilizes the same motions as Nashville, but shifts the pattern so the downbeat comes in a different place.

Offset Nashville starts on a single stroke rather than on a slur.

| d u u d - u d d u| OR 1-2-1-1-2-1

I first heard this at Galax in 1976 in the playing of a fiddler named Dave Viddick.  I can't find any trace of him on the web.  It's become one of my favorites- it has much of the flavor of Nashville, but lends itself to a bouncy hornpipey feel.

Because the basic motions are the same, if you saw a fiddler do this, you'd probably mistake it for Nashville Shuffle... but it would look out of sync compared to a normal Nashville.

pluses: single note on downbeat promotes clarity

challenges- same physical challenges as Nashville- doing the same pattern in two directions puts a premium on flexibility. It took me years and an improved grip (for better wrist action) to get this sounding smooth and natural

Jingle Bells Shuffle.

| d u d d  u d u u |  OR  1-1-2-1-1-2

I just realized that there is another balanced pattern made by reversing the long slur and the sawstrokes in Nashville. If you play the first part of the chorus of Jingle Bells you've got it.  It also uses the same motions of Nashville Shuffle, but offset to a different place.  I can't think of any other tune that uses it, but there are probably others. Ideas???






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