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Musings on playing fiddle and a "meditative (?) state"

Posted by cornfed on Saturday, November 6, 2010

I have been thinking about this topic for a long time, and thought that maybe it is time to put pen to paper (metaphorically, of course).

Do any of you experience a "non-consciousness" while playing? Let me explain what I mean. When you are learning a technique or a new tune, you are consiously working. " I have to move the bow like this." As you develop the technique or tune, you don't have to concentrate quite as hard. When you have truly learned it, you don't really think about it any more, except to think how do I start this off. There is a mental state even beyond that, in which something in your brain that you have no control over, begins to subtly change what you have taught yourself into something that is different and reflects YOUR tastes and skills and experience ( and maybe, in my case laziness). The more time (precious commodity) I spend "just playing", the more what I am playing becomes distinctly "mine". It is still the same tune, everyone can recognize it, but it is different from what I set out to learn in the first place. When I try to revisit what is the basic tune, it is very difficult to do, because it dosen't seem quite right.

I have found that when I am playing "socially" (jamming) I have to be careful not to sink too deeply into that mental state because when I am there I can't adapt to what others are doing. Conversly, I think that my best playing happens when I am "there"

What do Y'all think?? Does any of this apply to you? Or, am I a candidate for the funny house?

4 comments on “Musings on playing fiddle and a "meditative (?) state"”

Rene Says:
Saturday, November 6, 2010 @3:55:12 PM

I've been told I'm mental :) I play best when I slip my mind in neutral and let my fingers loose, it's hard to do at times but that is when "me" comes out in the song.

bj Says:
Sunday, November 7, 2010 @9:13:23 AM

Oh yeah, I can relate. I'm just now getting to that point with certain tunes (I've been playing just over three years) and can now actually talk during a tune. It has to be a tune I know really well, but if someone now asks me a question while I'm playing, I can answer it and keep playing. I'm not quite to the place you talk about but I am at the beginning stages of it. I can sometimes feel what you're talking about, or at least the edges of it, so maybe another year or so . . .

cheekee Says:
Sunday, November 7, 2010 @2:14:43 PM

is that the same as when you zone out, your body continues to play, then you realize you don't know what song your playing or if you have to play that A part a second time yet or not and then you make a mistake as you zing back into reality?

cornfed Says:
Sunday, November 7, 2010 @4:46:47 PM

Yeah, Cheekee, I think the two are certainly related

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