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Pattern Bowers' Input Wanted- A More Intuitive Bowing Tab?

Posted by fiddlepogo on Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ever since Dave Reiner posted his first bowing thread nearly 6 years ago, those of us with any interest in patterns have been using the mostly the same method for tabbing out bowing. (2-1-1-2-1-1 Nashville, etc) But I've been dissatisfied with it for a bunch of  reasons.

1. It didn't indicate direction (although that may have made it instantly usable for upbowers)

2. It didn't indicate the measure lines or the mid measure line

3. With the use of numerals, there was no provision for indicating a mid-bow push,

4. Even though the math involved was simple, it managed to get screwed up, and converting the numerals into slurs in a particular direction may have contributed to the complaints of headaches.

5. Lately I've been getting into bowings where the slurs cross the measure and mid measure lines a lot, and the numerical tab makes no provision for that, and that's why the measure lines and mid measure line are necessary.

6. Because of there being no provision for direction of stroke, downbow accent Georgia and upbow accent Georgia look the same.  And even downbowers can use either one... so they need to look different.

7. The numerical symbols were not adaptable for indicating the hemiola-ish characteristics of a pattern.

(I'm thinking about just exactly what adaptations would work best.)

I wanted something that would be intuitive, and not require special characters.

At first, I tried using a V for down and an ^ for up, but the ^ looked wimpy.

Then, I tried using the V for down and an A for up.  It looked better... but it is reminiscent of the classical direction symbols, but different, and would throw violinists off.   And actually, the fact that they are letters could throw people off- you're fighting a previous association.

Then, enlightened!!!

The > and < symbols!

Really, from the fiddler's point of view when holding the fiddle and bow, the down strokes are going more to the right than down, and the upstrokes are really going more to the left than up.  So the > and < symbols fit that perfectly, and they are right next to each other, making it easier on the typist (although hitting the Shift key IS necessary)  And it's enough different from the classical symbols that violinists should be able to learn the new tab without interference from violin notation.

So, here it is:

1. [> < > <|> < > <]

2. [>> <<|>> << ]

3. [>>> <|<< > <]

4. [<< > <|<< > <]

5. [> < > <|<< > <]

6. [>> < >|<< > <]

7. [> << >|<< > <]

8. >[> << >|<< > <]

9. [> << >|< >> <]

10.[> < >>|< > <<]

11.[> < > <|> < > <|> < > <|> < > <]

Can you figure out what patterns these are?  (If you can't name names, translate them into the 2-1-1-2-1-1 type code)

Hint- it's designed to be read with fiddle and bow in hand.... the arrows indicate the actual direction not a symbol of a direction.

And it's also partially inspired by David Bragger's verbal bowing instructions in his videos- at every one of the eight segments of the 8 note pattern, you are getting step by step direction information.  There will always be eight symbols in each measure of a hoedown or hornpipe.  Slurs are indicated by arrows going in the same direction, and the nesting effect of the < and > symbols when repeated... although the measure line and the mid measure line symbols break up the nesting effect- so pay attention at those points.  The mid measure line, in addition to the other benefits, allows you to break up the eight notes into two units of four.

The mid bow push???  In a word processor with boldface and underline available, those can be used. In a text editor, I'm not sure, maybe a p??? or a +???

As a special bonus, it's a pretty international system- no knowledge of English required. (like knowing that D is short for down and U is short for up- that is meaningless to someone with another native language besides English.)

(that's one reason why the p for push wouldn't be such a good idea.

Spaces are required between the > and the < symbols to keep them legible- otherwise they form funny looking x's (><) and diamonds (<>) It also provides some redundancy for direction changes.  However, the | midmeasure symbol replaces a space.

So what do you pattern bowers and other pattern tolerant folks think???

Does it solve the problems mentioned without causing too many new ones???

(I already KNOW what the pattern INTOLERANT will think....disapprove)


















1. [> < > <|> < > <]  =  1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1 = Sawstroke

2. [>> <<|>> << ]   =   2-2-2-2  =   Two Note Slurs

3. [>>> <|<< > <]   =   3-3-1-1  = Smoothshuffle

4. [<< > <|<< > <]  =   2-1-3-1-1  = Georgia Shuffle

5. [> < > <|<< > <]  =  1-1-1-3-1-1 = Sawshuffle

6. [>> < >|<< > <]  =   2-1-1-2-1-1 = Nashville Shuffle

7. [> << >|<< > <]  =   1-2-1-2-1-1 = Syncoshuffle

8. >[> << >|<< > <] =   Beat leading Syncoshuffle (2-2-1-2-1-1 doesn't let you know it starts BEFORE the beat)

9. [> << >|< >> <]  =    1-2-1-1-2-1   Offset Nashville, Hornpipe Shuffle

10.[> < >>|< > <<] =    1-1-2-1-1-2   Jingle Bells Shuffle

11.[> < > <|> < > <|> < > <|> < > <]   Double Shuffle aka Hokum Shuffle

1 comment on “Pattern Bowers' Input Wanted- A More Intuitive Bowing Tab?”

blgrssr Says:
Wednesday, June 12, 2013 @9:32:32 AM

If some of you haven't heard Fiddlepogos mp3 on bowing patterns, i highly recommend it. it was probably the most interesting thing I've heard on the internet ever. IT is under his forum profile.

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