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And the beat goes on...

Posted by Sassafrassa on Monday, December 20, 2010

So this week, I'm trying to get a more consistant beat going in my music.  Keeping my timing even and steady.  I pulled out the dreaded metronome, and  I'm working on  paying a little less attention to each individual note, and trying to get the overall beat correct and some phrasing in the music.  Joe has me practicing a very simple shuffle:  dum/da-da/dum/da-da/dum.  (Not sure of the correct way of writing that...)  It's kind of weird to try to work that into songs that I have been bowing differenly (simple sawstroke).  I can see how the pattern adds drive, but when I play it it's more like...an amble.  :) I'm sure that speed will come later.

Since I am interested in Old-Time fiddling, I know it is important for me to work on rhythm and timing.  I have a good sense of rhythm...I can always feel the beat and am able to keep it going, but sometimes when I am playing I end up speeding up or slowing down...pausing when I goof up....or just get lost.  It's kind of an alien feeling to me.  When I was involved in choirs, choruses and my theatre work, I knew how to just plow ahead when I made a mistake.  Funny how I'm getting hung up on it now.  Perhaps it's that perfectionism disease again!

I had a great practice session on Friday night.  It wasn't ground breaking in any way, but I was able to play for a solid 2 hours without interuption!  Hurrah!!  I love how my fiddle sounds  after playing her for a little while, and by the end she was really giving me some beautiful overtones.  I wish I could fit more of those extended sessions into my life right now.  The rest of the weekend (unfortunately) was not so successful.  She sat in her case waiting patiently for me to play her again. I'm hoping to spring her loose tonight so that I can play some more!

I want to wish everyone who takes the time to read my scratchings a VERY happy holiday...no matter which you celebrate in this winter season.  May you all have a magical holiday season and a prosperous New Year!!



3 comments on “And the beat goes on...”

bj Says:
Monday, December 20, 2010 @1:52:53 PM

I know this might sound crazy, but I could never play to the metronome, since it would drill into my brain and would make my music boring (think MIDI boring. Yeah. Awful!) I'm also not a foot tapper, not with two cats in the house, ready to pounce on anything moving. So I started swaying to the beat. It actually allows me to keep a regular beat without being a slave to it with my bow, so I can phrase things for emotional emphasis and still keep to the proper tempo. I dunno why it works, but it does.

Holiday Happiness back atcha, Sassy!

cheekee Says:
Monday, December 20, 2010 @2:34:23 PM

i know what you mean when you talk about paying less attention to the individual notes and more to the overall rhythm. when i read fiddle music, i find that you really have to be willing to let go of any rigid ideas you might have about note reading and timing in order to make it music. i know that i struglle with it a lot.

ChickenMan Says:
Monday, December 20, 2010 @5:14:03 PM

Unlike BJ, I think a metronome is great for getting that sense of time needed for good rhythm. Back about 20 years ago, I used to turn on the metronome and set it to a tempo and just let it tick whilst I went about my business NOT playing music, getting it into the subconscious. Then I would play with it. The funny thing is, when you are good and steady with your time, the metronome sound will totally disappear in your ear. And don't worry about the notes as much since learning one thing at a time is the best way to learn. I would say to even try bowing your shuffle on the open strings to get the feel for the rhythm. Do it off and on throughout your day (5 minutes here, 7 minutes there, a commercial break here) and very soon it will become second nature. Then try it with the tune you have the most memorized...it all takes time.

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