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What excites you the MOST about fiddling? version 2.

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Jul 18, 2019 - 8:19:14 PM
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5681 posts since 8/7/2009

I don't know what this means...

I play few other instruments. But for a long time now - when I'm alone - and I want to play music - more times than not - I will reach for my fiddle. And it's not because I can't play my other instruments. And it's not because I don't enjoy playing the other instruments - I do, as well as other styles of music.

Now that my life is starting to return to "normal" - I have started back playing at the week OT jam with friends. I will play guitar or mandolin some weeks - just to share playing time with the other fiddlers. I want everyone to enjoy our time together, and a good mix of instruments really makes a difference at a jam. But they are good friends and will let me play fiddle when I bring it - and they will play the another instruments. It works well, and I really look forward to "my turn". Silly? It humbles me - cause they are good. Sometimes the music is magic... 

People say the fiddle is a hard instrument to play. I won't disagree with them, but I don't agree with them either. Perhaps I'm fortunate, but I've never considered any of my time with the fiddle uninspiring or impossible. I learned at a pace that kept me engaged - I have always enjoyed playing - even as a beginner. And I have not lost that joy.

It's therapy for me. I can be tired, I can feel sick, I can be bored, I can feel stuck in a rut, or frustrated - but if I play my fiddle - for that short time, I'm ok and things are right. Its magic...

Yeap, I play with recordings of the tunes I love (and learn from). Do I play them "just like the source"? I have learned to play them well enough to be happy with what I do. And sometimes it can be magic... I'm not finished yet. And I am adding more to the list all the time.

And for that reason, I'm not ashamed to call myself a fiddler. I don't know if it is the fiddle or the magic the fiddle creates - but I love it.

And this brings me to the question for Version 2 of Lee's original post... "What excites you the MOST about fiddling?"

My question is   ...what did it take (or will it take) for you to finally call yourself a "fiddler" without feeling guilty?  

By the way - there is no wrong answer. There is only my answer and your answer. They are usually different (good thing) and both are right. But your answer may inspire someone's idea about what they think. So, don't be shy.

Edited by - tonyelder on 07/18/2019 20:30:06

Jul 19, 2019 - 7:02:33 AM
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2157 posts since 10/1/2008

Hmmmm .... two shots of bourbon and a compliment. Seriously..... when people appreciate my fiddling. I will always, without a doubt, be my harshest judge / critic. When some applause, a listener or especially another musician that I think plays well pauses to give me a kind word for that moment I believe I can fiddle. There will always be those days when my fiddle treats me like a stranger. But on the days we recognize each other ....... you all know that feeling. We fiddle. R/

Jul 19, 2019 - 1:49:57 PM

1407 posts since 12/11/2008

I finally considered myself a fiddler when, in any reasonable key (!), I could just relax and go with the flow.

Jul 19, 2019 - 2:21:43 PM

88 posts since 3/19/2012

I hasta agree-- therapy, compliments, and a shot of Tullamore. But seriously, when I lean over that chinrest, get in the groove, and play--wooooooo!! On the Kevin Burke album If The Cap Fits (ca. 1980s), there's a hornpipe called simply Bobby Casey's ( It's actually called, The Humours of Tullycrine). Played as a slow air, it pushes all my romantical/nostalgia buttons.
I felt I was legitimately a fiddler about 20 years ago, when I realized that while I couldn't play everything in Cole' or O'Neill's from memory, I did, in fact have a large repertoire. If i were to apply myself, I could indeed play Orange Blossom, but since I don't work on that one, it remains sloppy. I've played in about 5 bands, played for contras, Irish sets, and Scottish country dances. Not bragging here, just sharing my experience. I think if you can play 20 or so tunes well, you may legitimately call yourself a fiddler. I'd recommend, as long as you're not playing for dancers, you could play reels around 90-92 beats, jigs 100-112. Don't put yourself down, and don't be intimidated by old "pro" players.

Jul 20, 2019 - 4:36:50 AM
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59 posts since 11/24/2018

Personally, i don't have much exoerience, so every bit of progress is enough to get me excited.

In terms of the actual music, i just love hearing a fiddle tune that absolutely takes my breath away, to the point that when I get home, I have no choice but to take out my fiddle and play.

Jul 20, 2019 - 3:17:21 PM

441 posts since 9/1/2010

Thanks for posting this, Tony. I have never really thought much on that until now. It is actually difficult to pinpoint or maybe that's because I've never really thought about what makes a fiddler. I started attending jams after I had a couple of tunes under my belt...but wouldn't have called myself a fiddler at that point. My idea of a fiddler goes beyond being able to saw out a few recognizable tunes. It is gaining a level of control over the bow and being able to work a solid rhythm when playing a tune. Something that makes you want to move...dance...bob your head. A couple of years ago we played 5 farm-to-table events locally, and that was my first experience with playing a straight old-time gig. After we were done playing we were sitting around a table getting to enjoy the meal. As we ate, the guests started walking through as they were leaving the event, and a few folks went out of their way to come over and compliment my fiddling. It was at that moment that I really felt that I could call myself a fiddler. I was confident with my playing well before that day, but it seemed to wash over me in that moment.

Jul 20, 2019 - 3:55:50 PM

364 posts since 8/10/2017

Calling myself a fiddler? I tell people I play the fiddle, but it never occurred to me to call myself a fiddler. I suppose I would call myself a fiddler (or THE fiddler) if I was the only one playing the fiddle at the time. And then I'd apologize to everyone.

Jul 30, 2019 - 11:47:02 AM
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kurth83

USA

16 posts since 7/30/2019

This seems like a good thread for a first post, just started on violin, and had some very specific reasons.

I was once a classical trumpet player (and expressing a melodic line was one of the things I loved to do), then a long (30 year) digression into pop rhythm instruments, mandolin being the latest one (after guitar, bass guitar, piano, drums, and even some vocal lessons). While I loved learning chords and rhythm, I missed the ability to express a melodic line on an instrument, and I didn't want to go back to trumpet, so enter the violin.

So the second post nailed it, the expressiveness of a violin is the reason I am here.

My interest is both in classical and BG/country, although I am more a classical musician at heart, and will be looking for a classical teacher in the near term. Community orchestras and hoedowns (or jams) are on the bucket list.

Edited by - kurth83 on 07/30/2019 11:49:56

Jul 30, 2019 - 12:37:25 PM
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1229 posts since 4/6/2014

quote:
Originally posted by kurth83

This seems like a good thread for a first post, just started on violin, and had some very specific reasons.

I was once a classical trumpet player (and expressing a melodic line was one of the things I loved to do), then a long (30 year) digression into pop rhythm instruments, mandolin being the latest one (after guitar, bass guitar, piano, drums, and even some vocal lessons). While I loved learning chords and rhythm, I missed the ability to express a melodic line on an instrument, and I didn't want to go back to trumpet, so enter the violin.

So the second post nailed it, the expressiveness of a violin is the reason I am here.

My interest is both in classical and BG/country, although I am more a classical musician at heart, and will be looking for a classical teacher in the near term. Community orchestras and hoedowns (or jams) are on the bucket list.


Well i think your trumpet playing, vocal training and ability to express a melodic line will stand you in good stead, and your experience on the the mandolin will give you a clue as to where to place your fingers, Drums will help with the bowing and timing, and piano, guitar and bass will give you more than enough theory to make a good fiddler. And i think you are right to get classical tuition for technique. Don't think i could think of a better start for playing fiddle!!. Good Luck

Jul 30, 2019 - 3:24:59 PM

1407 posts since 12/11/2008

quote:
Originally posted by kurth83

This seems like a good thread for a first post, just started on violin, and had some very specific reasons.

I was once a classical trumpet player (and expressing a melodic line was one of the things I loved to do), then a long (30 year) digression into pop rhythm instruments, mandolin being the latest one (after guitar, bass guitar, piano, drums, and even some vocal lessons). While I loved learning chords and rhythm, I missed the ability to express a melodic line on an instrument, and I didn't want to go back to trumpet, so enter the violin.

So the second post nailed it, the expressiveness of a violin is the reason I am here.

My interest is both in classical and BG/country, although I am more a classical musician at heart, and will be looking for a classical teacher in the near term. Community orchestras and hoedowns (or jams) are on the bucket list.


Just don't get all "violiny" when you're jamming alongside your OT buds at the pizza place.  The pizza munchers might enjoy it but your jam-mates might give you dirty looks.wink

Jul 30, 2019 - 5:18:51 PM

2069 posts since 8/23/2008

quote:
Originally posted by pete_fiddle
And i think you are right to get classical tuition for technique. Don't think i could think of a better start for playing fiddle!!. Good Luck

Oh yeah, and I am still excited about this.....

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