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I learned a new song!

Posted by Sassafrassa on Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hello, all!  Today, I started learning another song for my repitoire.  "Ida Red"  was the tune, and by golly, it worked out pretty well!  I have been working with the Old Time Fiddle for the Complete Ignormaus.  That was the first real old time song in the book.  I was getting a little weary of Twinkle, Twinkle, and wanted to branch out a bit.  I was able to play it pretty easily after a couple of false starts.  It's a familiar tune, so I didn't have too much difficulty figuring it out.  My intonation still needs a ton of work, but its getting easier each time I play.  I could do this all day, if it wasn't for that stuff called work!!  

I played muted tonight, and I'm not really liking the way it makes my fiddle sound.  I appreciate that there are times that I need to "tone it down" for the sanity of my family, but it absolutely affects the intonation of how i play.  I can't hear the subtleties as well.  I've been using the clothes-pin trick on the bridge.  Cheap and easy, too. I don't plan on using that too often, as I don't like the vocal quality of the instrument that way.

Next lesson is a shuffle.  Hmm...I'm liking the sound of that!! Okay...back to practicin' ...  "Ida Red, Ida Red, I've been thinkin' 'bout Ida Red..."



5 comments on “I learned a new song!”

bj Says:
Friday, July 30, 2010 @7:55:57 AM

Congrats! Now work on another one in the same key. I suggest working in blocks of 5-6 tunes in one key, since the second will be easier than the first, and the third easier than the second, since your fingers will start knowing where to go in that key.

Rather than using the mute, if you have the luxury of a larger home, you can sound-insulate a practice room (preferably on the other side of the house from the bedrooms! or a corner of a finished basement or attic.) Lots of soft, natural fiber wall hangings, the thicker the better, work for this. I use old persian rugs, though any quilted fabric will work for this. You can also drape unbleached muslin across the ceiling. Put thick carpeting on the floor, the more layers the better. If it's an open doorway, you can put drapes across the door. Cotton velvet works great for this, it's what the theaters use for stage curtains for that reason. There's another benefit to doing all this. You will deaden the room acoustically, so that the ONLY sound you'll hear is what's actually coming from your fiddle, no reverb whatsoever, which is a good thing when you're learning.

You can start nashville shuffling your scales first, before trying them on a tune. Since you've (theoretically) been playing the scales, they're already under your fingers, so it'll be easier to get the bow motion going, since you'll be able to concentrate more on the bowing. Rhythmic bowing is really important.

I downbow on the downbeat. Took awhile to get the hang of it, but once I got it, it made EVERYTHING easier with the bowing. The nashville shuffle doesn't exactly follow that though, but you can get back into that directional rhythm after doing your full nashville, which is long-short-short-long-short-short.

Have fun!

Sassafrassa Says:
Friday, July 30, 2010 @12:33:13 PM

Thanks for the encouragement, bj! I'm feeling a bit better having tackled a "real" song. I like your idea of learning a couple more in the same key, and the book I'm using seems to be set up that way, too. I think the next one is "Hush Little Baby", though it's called something else in his version. But that's what I know the tune as (that's on the CD).

I wish I could have a dedicated room for practice, but right now that's not really an option. But...I do have a clothes closet! It has lots of padding (from all the fabric) and it's carpeted. The only carpet in our house actually. I might try that tonight and see how different it sounds. I have used this closet in the past for voice-overs, and it does a pretty decent job of deadening any echo.

Yes, I do scales! Not as much as I should, but it helps me get my fingers moving. I tend to do all the strings (so that's two octaves, right?) in first position several times through before moving on to my songs.

I'm interested in the downbow/downbeat concept. I'm still struggling with how to determine when to change my bow direction, and how to use it for emphasis. I know it will come in time, but can you recommend any reading about the downbowing concept? Where did you learn it?

Thanks so much for the encouragement and advice...it helps more than you know.

mudbug Says:
Friday, July 30, 2010 @4:10:14 PM

I'm surprised that the mute affects your intonation. I find it to only affects the tone for me. That must be one monster closet, that you'll be able to bow in there. Wasn't there an episode of "Twighlight Zone" where someone went into a closit and entered another dimension? Be careful in there!

Sassafrassa Says:
Friday, July 30, 2010 @7:12:31 PM

Howdy, Mudbug! It is a pretty big closet...though not as scary as the twilight zone. Maybe just the Narnia one! ;)

When I say intonation, it may just be that I can't hear the subtleties or undertones of the notes? I don't seem to be able to find and correct my fingering as quickly when I have the clothes pins on the bridge. It definitely helps the volume...but I don't like the overall effect on my playing.

BTW...mudbug is what they call crawdads in Louisiana. By chance is that where you are from? I love that part of the country!

mudbug Says:
Saturday, July 31, 2010 @12:08:57 AM

No, I'm from New England, but I love Cajun/Creole cooking.

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