Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

111
Fiddle Lovers Online


Page: 1  2   3   4  ...   Next Page   Last Page (6) 

Jun 12, 2020 - 8:49:16 AM
644 posts since 8/10/2017

I've not had lessons. What might explain why I cannot play fast enough. I know for sure there is no way I could ever DUDUD bow fast enough to keep up with anything, so if it is my bowing that is the problem, what is my likely bad habit that needs to be changed? I also cannot move my fingers or think that fast because this inability to play fast goes for pretty much any instrument and any genre. But let's say it's a bowing skills problem. What should I look for that I'm doing wrong?

Jun 12, 2020 - 9:32:28 AM
like this

1879 posts since 8/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by sbhikes2

What should I look for that I'm doing wrong?


Relaxed wrist and elbow?

Jun 12, 2020 - 9:55:28 AM
likes this

5096 posts since 9/26/2008
Online Now

Post a video. It will be easier to diagnose.

Can you lilt or whistle up to speed? If not, I'd say you've not kicked the brain into gear processing then executing at that pace.
You might need to lighten your left hand touch and learn to bow with shorter strokes.
Playing DUDU DUDU at speed is difficult to master but not impossible.

Jun 12, 2020 - 10:37:58 AM
like this

Old Scratch

Canada

702 posts since 6/22/2016

What's the big hurry?

Jun 12, 2020 - 10:41:22 AM
like this

367 posts since 3/1/2020

Most of the time the real problem is getting the left hand and right hand coordinated.

The best way to improve is to practice at a slow tempo with a metronome. Play a passage until you can get through with perfect meter and intonation several times, then increase the tempo. Doing it this way will give you a solid foundation. It will take some time to build up speed, but you’ll gain more confidence, and most likely you’ll find that you can increase your speed beyond your expectations.

Playing fast is only impressive when it’s intelligible!

Jun 12, 2020 - 11:31:57 AM
like this

DougD

USA

10033 posts since 12/2/2007

Diane, do you use slurs in your playing? That's one of the great things about the violin - the bow isn't a flatpick, and you don't have to just go DUDU etc. Even so, you don't have to move it very much. I never get tired of this video of the late JP Fraley: youtu.be/nYMLiC9wdAQ
Easy does it. I also agree with the post above. A lot of movement and energy is wasted if you don't know what you're really trying to do.

Jun 12, 2020 - 11:44:21 AM

1879 posts since 8/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by DougD

Even so, you don't have to move it very much.


That's a really good point. When I was starting out I used to hear I should "use the whole bow" and it took a long time to realize they didn't mean all the time. Use small movements to help play fast.

Jun 12, 2020 - 12:33:42 PM
like this

644 posts since 8/10/2017

I don't think mentally I can play a tune in my head very fast. I just want to keep up at the session but even after 15 years of fiddling at old-time jams, I have a hard time keeping up on notey tunes. Here's a year-old video of me playing a couple old-time tunes (with appropriate cockatoo laughter), although I'm not sure how well that will display my lack of ability with Irish music. I swear it sounds faster in my head than it comes out in real life.
youtube.com/watch?v=4IhdOj6Iey...=youtu.be

Jun 12, 2020 - 1:22:19 PM

1489 posts since 4/6/2014

quote:
Originally posted by sbhikes2

I don't think mentally I can play a tune in my head very fast. I just want to keep up at the session but even after 15 years of fiddling at old-time jams, I have a hard time keeping up on notey tunes. Here's a year-old video of me playing a couple old-time tunes (with appropriate cockatoo laughter), although I'm not sure how well that will display my lack of ability with Irish music. I swear it sounds faster in my head than it comes out in real life.
youtube.com/watch?v=4IhdOj6Iey...=youtu.be


Well done on posting the vid!!

My first observation on your bowing, is that you  are bowing over the finger board. This requires less pressure and more bow, which makes you skate over the strings rather than playing "Into" the string.  If you bring your bow back towards the bridge (about 1/4" or more, ) you would require a little less bow and a little more pressure.

The "sounding point"  (a sort of generic term for describing the "best" or most "ergonomically efficient" place to bow ), is some where in the middle, between the bridge and the finger board, and the pressure needed to get a clean tone will be apparent at that point, and the reason for the "C" cutouts in the fiddle will also become apparent.

i suppose what i am saying is, bring your bow back towards the bridge, (some where in the middle between the bridge and the end of the fingerboard), and play with a little more bow weight. And experiment for yourself with bow placement and bow weight to get your required tone, and "watch" your bow at that point as you play.

Jun 12, 2020 - 1:25:16 PM
likes this

2665 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by sbhikes2

I've not had lessons. What might explain why I cannot play fast enough. I know for sure there is no way I could ever DUDUD bow fast enough to keep up with anything, so if it is my bowing that is the problem, what is my likely bad habit that needs to be changed? I also cannot move my fingers or think that fast because this inability to play fast goes for pretty much any instrument and any genre. But let's say it's a bowing skills problem. What should I look for that I'm doing wrong?


It might be just a physical limitation, but usually not; playing these musical instruments just normal range.

It might be inefficient physical muscle movement, which can limit. Has to be the movement needed to go fast; a certain way seems to work, but only up to a point, and then becomes much more difficult.

But that it is pretty much any instrument... It might be the thinking part, trying to think the physical movement, or over-think, over-control, which can slow and create limitations.

edit: I didn't see the new posts, but it points to same issue.

I don't think mentally I can play a tune in my head very fast. ....

...I have a hard time keeping up on notey tunes.

Notey tunes designation, they usually aren't really much different than perceived non-notey tunes... require more physical skill. 

How you are mentally playing a  tune... might suggest where the issue lies.

Edited by - alaskafiddler on 06/12/2020 13:35:17

Jun 12, 2020 - 1:46:27 PM

1774 posts since 12/11/2008

If you don't have a metronome, get one...though I think you can access one on your cell phone. Start it at a comfortable pace. Ooch it upwards tick by tick. Before long you'll be like Paganini after he's had too many espressos.

Jun 12, 2020 - 1:56:51 PM

1489 posts since 4/6/2014

quote:
Originally posted by sbhikes2

But let's say it's a bowing skills problem. What should I look for that I'm doing wrong?


Jun 12, 2020 - 3:30:54 PM
likes this

1879 posts since 8/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by pete_fiddle
quote:
Originally posted by sbhikes2

But let's say it's a bowing skills problem. What should I look for that I'm doing wrong?



If that's the problem relaxation and short strokes should help a lot. Speed can be gotten by practicing a loose wrist that pushes and pulls the bow almost ahead of the beats (the wrist follows the motion of the arm). Try dropping the wrist in a loose "effeminate" way, and letting the shoulder and elbow do the work. This is especially helpful with string crossings.

My 2 cents.

Edited by - Brian Wood on 06/12/2020 15:31:38

Jun 12, 2020 - 3:48:31 PM
like this

BR5-49

USA

208 posts since 1/3/2019

The beauty of fiddle is that there are many ways to make a note and the note after it and so on. A person can move the bow with the fingers enough to play a tune, or with the wrist, with only the forearm, with the forearm and the upper arm, the shoulder can even be used. Notes can be made by moving the fiddle and not the bow and all of the combinations of all these things. Watching a good player, we quite often see music being made by the whole body.

But my general suggestion would be to forget about technique, find the downbeat you want in your head, and go for it. It doesn't take a ton of technique to play traditional fiddle tunes, but I can tell by the video you have more than enough to render the tune. Let go of the mechanics for a while, let go of the properness of the "right" notes, and let the tune take over. Now might be the time to have fun and jump in on the tune and ride it instead of thinking about how to control it. It might be a bit wild at first, but just hang on and the flow will come.

Jun 12, 2020 - 4:43:09 PM

644 posts since 8/10/2017

Here is me playing some Irish tunes. youtube.com/watch?v=I9n9NLhbfjY

So what I'm hearing is that my right arm wrist is too stiff? How do I not make it stiff?

And looking at myself here it looks like my left arm wrist is not right either.

I've never been able to play Irish music up to speed. I used to play flute/whistle and couldn't do it. It's a totally different instrument. Can't play mando up to speed either, but at least with mando I can cheat so I can get a lot closer to speed. I don't know why I'm so slow.

Jun 12, 2020 - 5:11:17 PM
likes this

367 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by sbhikes2

Here is me playing some Irish tunes. youtube.com/watch?v=I9n9NLhbfjY

So what I'm hearing is that my right arm wrist is too stiff? How do I not make it stiff?

And looking at myself here it looks like my left arm wrist is not right either.

I've never been able to play Irish music up to speed. I used to play flute/whistle and couldn't do it. It's a totally different instrument. Can't play mando up to speed either, but at least with mando I can cheat so I can get a lot closer to speed. I don't know why I'm so slow.


Here's an exercise that will help you:

Stand in a doorway so that your right upper arm is against the doorway and your body is just outside. Try playing a tune. You'll find that the upper arm won't be able to saw back and forth. The problem in the video you posted is that all the motion is coming from your arm and shoulder. Control of the bow needs to come from the elbow down--the shoulder and upper arm should only move to accommodate the height of the bow for different strings.

"Sawing" with the bow (moving the upper arm around while playing) is the most ubiquitous technique issue with fiddle players, and it's a habit that's crucial to break in order to get a better command of the instrument. So much energy is lost in the shoulder, and when you think about it, it's a lot harder to control the bow when your driving force comes from a point farther from the bow (i.e. the shoulder vs. the wrist). 
 

Another good exercise: practice playing a tune with ONLY your wrist and fingers; keep the rest of your arm completely still other than changing the height for string crossings. To challenge yourself, you can even try just playing some notes with the fingers alone. This will make you pay very close attention to the motion of the bow. 
 

I had a student who was a competition fiddler a while back. She was struggling with this issue a bit, and giving her these exercises had an immediate positive impact.

One last point: keep in mind that the goal is for the bow to have a straight path as it travels across the string. However, to accomplish this, the motion you make will feel like it's a C shape; in other words, as you play a down bow, the bow should feel like it's traveling out from your body. On the up bow, it should feel like it's coming back to the body. Play in front of a mirror to check this. It will help with evenness of tone. 

Jun 12, 2020 - 6:11:36 PM
like this

11840 posts since 9/23/2009
Online Now

I don't know anything about irish fiddling, but the link I watched of you fiddling didn't look like DUDUDU, looked more like N. Shuffle and some slurs and stuff.

I don't know what to say, except I have the same issue...with all my instruments...to me...I can't even "hear" music fast...it seems hectic or frantic or just not right, to my ear. A few people can fly through a tune fast and it sounds good to me, but generally, for whatever weird reason, I prefer tunes slowed way down. I know it's not popular at all...and when I did go to jams I felt like we were racing to a fire with every tune and it seemed we were producing crass-sounding music...like we were slapping the tunes around like we didn't care much for them...just for the speed...I'm not judging anybody else there, just saying it was always too fast for me. Too fast and I don't enjoy listlening (unless you're Michael CLeveland or somebody who can still stay delicate and artistic about it, not roughing up the tune for the sake of going fast with it) and sure don't enjoy playing fast. I think I got faster by necessity when I was in a BG band for three years back a few years ago...but it just made me feel hectic and nervous...I just like it all slower.

Maybe there is a breed of musician that likes things slow????? Don't know. I know I've always been on the wrong side of popularity as far as jamming, since I like things slow. But to me...I like all the stuff I find in a tune when it's taken pretty slow...lotta stuff in there that gets run over when you fly through it.

So...I'd just say I know how you feel. I've been playing guitar for nearly 60 years now...three more years and I'll have been picking a guitar for 60 years...with all that playing under my belt, I still don't like to try to go as fast as everybody else. Sometimes I try to do my youtubes I make faster than I want so other people might like it...but most of the time, I'm just like..."I should do it at the speed i ENJOY playing, or just not do it at all." So...I don't know...maybe you wanna get up to everybody else's speed...I just don't, myself. Of course, in a jamming situation...you have no choice.

Jun 12, 2020 - 6:32:06 PM
likes this

2253 posts since 10/22/2007

Similar to Rich's exersize, from Mark O'Connor:
youtu.be/whZpOR6tCTo

I'm no teacher, but it looks like you're working too hard.
2nd. Better to play in good time than fast. Metronome.

Extreme example of a combination of speed and econemy of motion:

https://youtu.be/LWxx43Z9ZBk

Edited by - farmerjones on 06/12/2020 18:41:07

Jun 12, 2020 - 6:56:13 PM
like this

2262 posts since 8/23/2008

quote:
Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful

 

Another good exercise: practice playing a tune with ONLY your wrist and fingers; keep the rest of your arm completely still 


This is what I would show how to practice first, but not play a tune to begin with, just practice this exercise on an open string so you can focus your complete attention on the aspects of  'wrist and finger motion'  and the 'sound point'. Before doing that, practice flexing the wrist without holding the bow, ie,  place your hand flat on an imaginary the tabletop flex all the way up then all the way down, like patting a dog on the head, but with slow extreme movements. The fingers will also extend and retract as the hand moves down and up respectively. (This is the movement of the wrist when bowing.) Then we play the open string and when that is comfortable we introduce a one string scale with repeated notes. This will progress to changing strings and playing tunes. Then I would show you how to practice the 'push and pull' of the 'broad detache'. In the next lesson I would show you how to focus on  'lifting' the left hand fingers, and to play a double stop with the same finger without awkward movement of the hand.  

All the suggestions in this thread are great, and I would recommend that each one be given some attention during every practice session. Some players get this stuff without the attention to the detail I have described, but it only comes from hours of dedicated experimentation.   

Jun 12, 2020 - 8:03:59 PM
like this

Old Scratch

Canada

702 posts since 6/22/2016

From what I hear - and this is what I seem to say to keep saying to people - it's a matter of relaxation, or lack thereof. I would suggest forgetting about speed for now and get really comfortable with the tunes - get into the groove; let the music flow. It might be just a matter of playing those same tunes over and over until you don't have to think about what you're doing so much. Relax your bow arm and let it move with the music - your bowing is a little stiff right now. Those Irish tunes do not need to go any faster ... you're getting a bit of a groove with that last one - Cunla? - I would take that one and just keep playing it and keep playing it - without trying to speed it up at all. Once you get really relaxed with your playing, then you can think about speed - but get the musicality first.

Jun 12, 2020 - 9:53:50 PM
likes this

2540 posts since 10/6/2008

Diane, I watched the Sullivan's Hollow/Nixon's Farewell video, and I think the choice of bow directions might be working against speed. When I try to do exactly what I see in the video, there are times when it feels good and there are times when it feels awkward in a way that would make it hard to play fast.

In Nixon's Farewell, for example, there are three notes at the beginning and ending them on a down bow the next one has to be an up and that feels strange going forward. But, if I make that third note into two, adding a short, syncopated up, then I'm ready to come into the next phrase on a strong down which feels good.

My opinions are definitely influenced by the way I've been taught, and not everyone would agree, but bowing decisions are HUGE, and I suspect reworking that tune with a down-bow focus using patterns that fit the rhythm and melody would work magic for you.

So, my best advice would be to watch a video of someone who is playing it in a way that you like and try to copy the bowing. Once that falls into place, I'm thinking speed might naturally follow.

Jun 13, 2020 - 5:39:38 AM

Hector

UK

23 posts since 11/1/2018

You mentioned mandolin playing Diane, so maybe think "mando"? e.g. playing near the bridge brings more string tension and quicker string response. Maybe play a bit nearer the frog and away from the tip with wrist movement on those short strokes (the bow is then more like a pick). My particular cheat is to use a 3/4 size bow which lightens the load on the bowing arm. I'd even like to try a half size bow if I can get hold of one.

Jun 13, 2020 - 6:18:38 AM

DougD

USA

10033 posts since 12/2/2007

Brian Wood - I think it was JP Fraley who told the story that when his Dad saw his bowing when he was young he said "If I'd known you were only going to use that much of it I'd have bought you a file." He made it work though.

Jun 13, 2020 - 1:12:08 PM
Players Union Member

boxbow

USA

2621 posts since 2/3/2011

When speed makes me feel clumsy it's because I'm fighting myself. I'm trying to pull the bow down and up at the same time. I'm trying to use competing muscles. Fatigue builds. I get clumsier. In the end, it's because I'm trying to play too fast. For some reason, if I'm a bit warmed up and perhaps a little sleep deprived and playing something very familiar, I don't get so tense. When I can't hang with the speed freaks, I stop playing all the notes.

Jun 13, 2020 - 1:32:38 PM

9037 posts since 3/19/2009

It was difficult for me to see your bowing hand/arm in the videos.... but it did seem that more slurs may help and maybe a little 'pattern' work?? and Maybe you are playing too much from the elbow  and not enough from the wrist..Playing fast usually suggests short bow strokes and often just wrist movement will accomplish that..For fun, just fun mind you, put your bow wrist on a crossed knee and try to play JUST from the wrist joint.. it is just hand/brain work... 

 I'm usually wrong about these things but that is my two cents..Also, I like what Buckhenry said..

Edited by - TuneWeaver on 06/13/2020 13:43:51

Jun 13, 2020 - 2:35 PM
likes this

9037 posts since 3/19/2009

By the way, Generally, you really don't sound all that bad!!! You would fit into most OT jams around here..My intention was to go back and rewatch the video to see if you were Watching your fingers.. something that I don't recommend.. but you are NOT.. You are looking around, which indicates to me that you are very familiar with the tune and that you fingers DO know where to go.. so speed is a different issues.. Sometimes speed is hindered by finger watching.. You are NOT guilty of that... !!smiley

Page: 1  2   3   4  ...   Next Page   Last Page (6) 

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.1875