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Beyond Downbow Multipatterns to Rhythmic Anywhichway.. Fiddlepogo gets Folky!!!!

Posted by fiddlepogo on Saturday, August 14, 2010

A few weeks ago I turned 58.  My sisters were planning on coming down on the day, but something came up, and they
had to cancel.  So they came down today.

I had suggested they join me for a jam session, so they did.  My brother-in-law was able to come too.
The jam however was NOT the Old Time jam I host, but a general folk song circle.  That may have been even better
for my sisters, since there is such a wide variety of styles- bluegrass, a bit of Old Time, John Prine and such.  Singers with guitars who are way more into singing than guitar, who usually can't alternate the bass or do bass runs, and have a hard time backing up a fiddle tune.... but they have notebooks that are THICK with songs!  And since hardly any of 'em flatpick, the harmonicas and me are the only lead instruments, and so I get lots of breaks AND harmonize with the harmonicas on their breaks.  So it's a good workout for me.
And they enjoy having me, because the fiddle can add a lot of flavor to a song.
(The way I see it now, the main thing wrong with the folk boom was that no one except the New Lost City Ramblers had a FIDDLER!!!)

And the sisters and bro-in-law enjoyed it even more than they expected.  One sister plays classical trumpet, and enjoyed seeing
how much we got to socialize between songs (classical musicians don't get to do that she said, because they have to be attentive to the director giving detailed directions between pieces.  Another sister knows some folk songs old enough to qualify as Old Time, so she might come next week, and they might even like the bluegrass jam too.
I think they also enjoyed seeing me interact with other musicians

One of the songs we did was "Sloop John B.", which I remember from the Beach Boys when I was about 15.
It's not something I play at home alone on fiddle, I mostly do fiddle tunes and a few waltzes.
But it was fun to play and I knew the tune.  The rhythm isn't exactly like any shuffle I know, but the main rhythm
has strong similarities to syncoshuffle.  The effect was sort of Jamaican meets Cajun- Jamaicajun??? ;^D

And I realized that except for the one fiddle tune we did (Blackberry Blossom, at breakneck speed because the young whippersnapper guitarist who called the tune likes it like that) I was using mostly "Anywhichway", except that it was anywhichway informed and flavored by all the time I've spent using shuffles on fiddle tunes.  The different rhythms force me out of my shuffles into just playing the rhythms, but I couldn't play the rhythms as effectively if I hadn't put in the time on a wide variety of  shuffles.
As I think I've said before, since song melodies are slower, and there's lots of space and time compared with fiddle tunes, then getting turned around is no big deal.  Although I do use shuffles a lot, it's not so much for the melodies, but for BACKUP.... because folkie guitarists generally don't alternate bass or do runs, they get lost easily, and shuffling on the chord pattern helps keep them on track.

Anyway, I STILL feel multipattern downbowing is the way to go for fast fiddle tunes, but there's a lot of music out there that isn't fiddle tunes, and can't be limited to fiddle tune rhythms... BUT if you've done time on fiddle shuffle rhythms, you can anywhichway with more flavor and rhythmic drive.

I fully expect this post may leave some old time die-hards cold... why, there's even a little part of me that it seems heretical to-
after all, I was the resident Old Time Policeman at L.A. jams in the '70's.  But there's not much of him left!
So he doesn't have much say so.  Springer fiddling on Sloop John B.- who woulda thunk it???  But I do think Old Time fiddle tunes are a necessary core competency for the "Compleat Fiddler"!!!  Otherwise, you're only a Half-Fast fiddler!!! ;^)

Howeffer, next veek ist der Oldt Time Tscham, und Sloop Tschon B ist VERBOTEN!!!



3 comments on “Beyond Downbow Multipatterns to Rhythmic Anywhichway.. Fiddlepogo gets Folky!!!!”

mudbug Says:
Sunday, August 15, 2010 @3:08:12 AM

Backing up singer-songwriter/ folk/americana tunes is definitely an art. The fiddle gets to do breaks and put in just the right touch during verses/chorus'. But then again, one has to be willing to let the song be the main focus and be a "sideman". Have fun with it, Pogo!

bj Says:
Sunday, August 15, 2010 @11:36:09 AM

You REBEL, you! LOL!

Humbled by this instrument Says:
Wednesday, August 18, 2010 @4:39:05 PM

Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to youoooooooooo, happy birthday dear Anywhichway--sometimes--bowerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (but who knows and used tons of great patterns when he feels like it tooooooooooooooooo), happy birthday to youoooooooooooo!

What? I sang in key.

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