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Getting Serious About Irish Fiddling Causes Fiddlepogo to Reassess Almost Everything!!!

Posted by fiddlepogo on Saturday, April 23, 2011

Almost everything having to do with the fiddle anyway.

1. I've had to embrace the annoying tendency of bowed triplets to turn the bow direction around...

I am now an "anywhichway bower" on Irish tunes!  Old Time tunes remain downbowed.

In fact, in the last couple of days, I've noticed myself UPBOWING some hornpipes as a common strategy.

2. I have been experimenting in recent days with going back to Thumb-on-Stick... mostly because bowed triplets are easier... but string changes are harder!

3. My bowing on Irish tunes is a lot gentler and more controlled, not nearly as aggressive as on Old Time tunes.

4. I'm reading tunes from sheet music at least every other day.... if I keep this up I may actually be able to sight read someday!!!  At least on fiddle tunes!

5. I have a particular bow that feels very balanced and seems to work well on Irish tunes to get the bowed triplets sounding the same in both directions or close to it.

6. I'm finally starting to get the hang of "cuts"- using a flick of a left hand finger to separate two notes of the same pitch, rather than letting the direction change of the bow do it.

7. I've experimented some with the shoulder rest to get more freedom for the left hand- not for going up the neck, but for left hand ornaments.  They are easier when the hand is totally relaxed

8. The local session has a NEED for SPEED- and I'm having a hard time keeping up.

What to do, what to do???  My natural tendency is to take tunes at an easy pace until I'm good and ready.

Earlier today I did something I've hardly ever done on Old Time tunes, and that's play with a metronome.

I actually really enjoyed it... it's somehow more like playing at a session since I have something to keep up with... the difference being that I can increase the speed GRADUALLY!!!

It also allows me to phrase in different ways in relation to the metronomes rhythm... I can let the metronome be the drums, and play off of the beats.

Different style, different ornaments- its a WHOLE NEW BALLGAME!!!

6 comments on “Getting Serious About Irish Fiddling Causes Fiddlepogo to Reassess Almost Everything!!!”

mudbug Says:
Saturday, April 23, 2011 @3:53:55 AM

Life is change. Glad to hear you can embrace it.

Humbled by this instrument Says:
Saturday, April 23, 2011 @6:44:42 AM

What are the top five jigs played at your session? Reels? At ours? Morrison's, Swallowtail, Banish, Athole (sp?), Mouse in the Mug. Reels? Hmmm. So many. Hmmmm. Coleraine is only played when I attend. I haven't been to ours in a while because I don't know enough tunes.

ChickenMan Says:
Saturday, April 23, 2011 @6:50:26 AM

"It also allows me to phrase in different ways in relation to the metronomes rhythm... I can let the metronome be the drums, and play off of the beats."
That is why I have been known to say, if you can't swing with a metronome, you probably can't swing. A metronome is the most solid rhythm section you can find. Just not very exciting.
Everywhichway, eh? I am not surprised you find upbowing useful in hornpipe tunes - I think several trads take that approach. Concerning the bowed triplet: you should give Emmett Lundy another listen. He used that technique quite frequently. Also the double upbow is a frequent move, especially in Donegal fiddling.

Bart Says:
Saturday, April 23, 2011 @9:39:32 AM

I'm with you guys on the metronome. I've never understood the comments about a 'nome making people play like lifeless machine guns. You can play on the beat, or dance around it, but if you're playing without lift or rhythm, it ain't the metronome's fault! :-)

I'm curious about your comment that you're using bowed triplets to turn the bow around. The way I've been taught bowed triplets, is that the bow keeps going in the same direction. Say you're on a down bow, and you throw in a triplet. You're bowing down, then you put in the triplet (up, down, up), then you're coming back to the down bow, where you were before putting in the ornament. The following link is to Scottish fiddler Bruce MacGregor on bowed triplets. Granted, Scottish music has a different sound, but he even comments that he has to throw in an extra, fourth, note in order to get back up to where he started if he wants to do the exercise over and over. That's just my (LIMITED! :-) understanding of bowed triplets.

I'm enjoying the heck out of the ornaments...I videoed my teacher doing cuts, rolls from fingered notes, rolls from open strings, double cuts, pull offs, and triplets, and it's been a joy to get some of these into my music. I love substituting the various ones and figuring out where I like which accents. Keep us posted on this part of your journey!!! :-)

Moonpie50 Says:
Saturday, April 23, 2011 @11:41:16 AM

I am just a beginner and have recently gotten a fiddle teacher. I am in search of a dvd that some could recommend for bowingce patterns, rolls, cuts, accents ectra that is a decent instructional video. For most it is hard to visually see what any of them Are doing.

fiddlepogo Says:
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @1:16:10 AM

Lately they play Miller's Maggot a lot.
My personal favorite is Garrett Barry's, which they also play.
Yes, lots of reels... they play Wing Commander Donald McKenzie and Pride of Rathmore a lot- also Tam Linn and Fermoy Lasses.
I showed them Kitty's Wedding and the either learned or relearned it quite quickly. Rakish Paddy gets played a lot too.... and the High Reel.

Yes, the triplet itself starts and ends in the same direction.
But the triplet takes the place of a quarter note, not an eighth note.
So in a series of eighth notes it replaces two eighth note sawstrokes with 3 shorter strokes.
So compared to a series of eight notes, it has an extra stroke that gets things turned around.

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