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Various and Sundry Fiddle Related Stuff & Balkan Dance

Posted by fiddlepogo on Saturday, May 3, 2008

The bow hold breakthrough is continuing to be a Good Thing. I'm getting used to remembering to put my ring finger up on the stick... most of the time.

I bought a new cake of rosin with part of the proceeds from a gig. Kaplan Premium Light in the fancy flip-top container.

I like the container, but I'm not so sure about the rosin. It is very grippy, maybe too grippy for me. I thought it would be less grippy than the Kaplan Artcraft Dark, but if anything maybe it's grippier. I had to mix some Hill Dark with it on the bow to make it flow better... the tone is great, but my arm and wrist can feel the extra drag on the bow, and it tires me out.

Yesterday I gigged for the 3rd time at an Alzheimer's care home. Two of the staff danced with various patients to the fiddle for some aerobic exercise for them, and they had a lot of fun, and those who couldn't dance had fun watching and clapping. Alzheimer's patients really live "in the moment", so lively music really works for them.

One of my recent times busking at the Farmer's Market, a lady stopped and danced. She told me one of her neighbors was a fiddler. I called him up, and he told me about a Balkan Dance he plays for. So I went last night. I did a very little bit of folk dancing either in high school or college (can't remember!) and got a free cassette tape of it at a yard sale leftovers giveaway. I didn't try to dance (bad knees), but I sat near the band, listened, and even did a little percussion on claves (is that what those rosewoody looking sticks are called?) maracas, and something that reminded me of castanets. I watched the drummer like a hawk, listened carefully, and emphasized his higher pitched beats on whatever I was playing, and it worked! The fiddler is going to run off copies of the 10 "must know" Balkan tunes to get me started. The difference between this and all the other dabbling I've done lately is that: 1. Unlike Norwegian, Swedish, and Scottish fiddling, there is a very active local community of musicians- there were two bands that played. 2. Unlike Bluegrass, it's melody oriented.

So we'll see if I actually follow through on this one.

I don't see myself quitting playing Old Time, but right now I'm more about putting the finishing touches on the OT repertoire I have- there's not that much pressure to learn new tunes, and only a couple of Old Time tunes a year seem to grab me enough to motivate me to do the work of learning them all the way.

2 comments on “Various and Sundry Fiddle Related Stuff & Balkan Dance”

OTJunky Says:
Saturday, May 3, 2008 @7:28:42 PM

Kewl - hope you can post some Balkan tunes soon, so we can hear what they sound like.


Humbled by this instrument Says:
Monday, May 5, 2008 @1:22:52 AM

Michael, I too would like to hear some Balkan tunes.  Interesting. 

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