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Jun 22, 2020 - 2:06:18 PM
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1879 posts since 8/27/2008

I bow intuitively, usually. I have the basics of shuffles and other bowings internalized and don't spend much time with bowing issues on new tunes.  But sometimes a single bowing issue slows me down in a tune, for example a phrase works well when it starts with an up-bow but the bar that proceeds it somehow ends in an up bow the way I am playing it. It's surprising how rarely this happens but it can screw me up when it does. At a slower speed I will compensate or get through it without thinking about it much. When I want to play it more comfortably and faster I have to work out a bowing strategy and memorize it, then I can go back to playing the tune intuitively.

In order to play fast I have to eliminate the need to be thinking at the speed I want to play, so I work out any issues first.

Edited by - Brian Wood on 06/22/2020 14:09:13

Jun 22, 2020 - 2:15:22 PM
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9037 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by sbhikes2

ninabodnar.com/bio.html She is a violin teacher, not a fiddle teacher.

To my mind it doesn't matter what my bowing choices are if I don't even know how to bow properly. If I at least can bow properly and on purpose, maybe I will be capable of making bowing choices.


this is good Diane.. Even the kid's Suzuki program teaches good, basic patterns and wrist control.. Classical bow instruction HELPS a lot..When my kids took lessons I went along and then tried to learn from them.  Funny.. I was following in the footsteps of my children.!!!  Get the instruction..

Jun 22, 2020 - 6:56:59 PM

11840 posts since 9/23/2009

Brian...Yes...that's true. You can forget direction a lot of the time, except maybe how you start and end, and even then you might be able to go either way and get through...BUT, yes I know what you mean...you run into certain places on certain tunes where you have no choice but to start a certain passage one way, or you get very fumbled up. In those cases, I have to know in advance which way I gotta go and always remind myself about those particular places...then, of course, I forget, unless I've been playing that tune recently. Comes back to me quick after I fumble through and get all out of wack once or twice...some tunes have those places to deal with.

Jun 23, 2020 - 3:32:57 AM
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216 posts since 4/15/2019

I agree with Peggy. I try to learn certain styles and ways of others but in the end I just want to enjoy myself. Too little time left to make myself miserable trying to be perfect. My old Joe Clark needs some improvement, OK alot of improvement but I still get some fun playing it.

Jun 23, 2020 - 10:03:46 AM
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367 posts since 3/1/2020

“Le Violon, c’est l’Archet”
(The violin is the bow)

-G.B. Viotti

Jun 24, 2020 - 4:37:19 PM
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644 posts since 8/10/2017

quote:
Originally posted by TuneWeaver
quote:
Originally posted by sbhikes2

ninabodnar.com/bio.html She is a violin teacher, not a fiddle teacher.

To my mind it doesn't matter what my bowing choices are if I don't even know how to bow properly. If I at least can bow properly and on purpose, maybe I will be capable of making bowing choices.


this is good Diane.. Even the kid's Suzuki program teaches good, basic patterns and wrist control.. Classical bow instruction HELPS a lot..When my kids took lessons I went along and then tried to learn from them.  Funny.. I was following in the footsteps of my children.!!!  Get the instruction..


Yes. There is bowing and then there is bowing. I want to learn the first kind of bowing. And I also want to learn how to play Irish music. I know a lot of Irish music in my head, I just can't play it on the fiddle because I never learned how to play the fiddle properly and thus I can't play fast enough or precise enough or whatever the proper terminology to explain that I am not able to play a lot of little bitty fast notes or certain combinations of notes. Hopefully some beginner lessons will help.

Jun 24, 2020 - 4:39:52 PM
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9037 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by sbhikes2
quote:
Originally posted by TuneWeaver
quote:
Originally posted by sbhikes2

ninabodnar.com/bio.html She is a violin teacher, not a fiddle teacher.

To my mind it doesn't matter what my bowing choices are if I don't even know how to bow properly. If I at least can bow properly and on purpose, maybe I will be capable of making bowing choices.


this is good Diane.. Even the kid's Suzuki program teaches good, basic patterns and wrist control.. Classical bow instruction HELPS a lot..When my kids took lessons I went along and then tried to learn from them.  Funny.. I was following in the footsteps of my children.!!!  Get the instruction..


Yes. There is bowing and then there is bowing. I want to learn the first kind of bowing. And I also want to learn how to play Irish music. I know a lot of Irish music in my head, I just can't play it on the fiddle because I never learned how to play the fiddle properly and thus I can't play fast enough or precise enough or whatever the proper terminology to explain that I am not able to play a lot of little bitty fast notes or certain combinations of notes. Hopefully some beginner lessons will help.


They Will!

Jun 26, 2020 - 6:40:12 PM
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644 posts since 8/10/2017

I had my first lesson. Yep, I do everything wrong.

But what was really funny was she asked me to play something so I could demonstrate the trouble I'm having and when she played it back to me, holy hell it sounded so wrong. Violinists really cannot play fiddle music. Still I think learning how to properly hold the fiddle with my left arm/hand and bow it with my right can only help.

Jun 26, 2020 - 6:53:35 PM
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DougD

USA

10033 posts since 12/2/2007

Like I said, if you want to learn the nuances of a stlye you need to find someone who plays that style. However I know several excellent fiddlers who studied classical violin, but they didn't learn old time music in violin school. In fact one has said she had to unlearn everything she knew to play old time, but I think that's a bit of an overstatement.
I also still think you should listen to the original recording of Sullivan's Hollow (if you want to play that tune) and try and let the phrasing and rhythm sink in.

Jun 27, 2020 - 7:14:39 AM
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11840 posts since 9/23/2009

This just reminds me of the old tale...I can't remember where I first heard it...it goes something like this: there's an old timer fiddling away, someone asks how to learn to play/bow like that...he (could be a she too!) says you sit on the porch and play, play as much as you can, and when the floor boards on your porch start to wear down from the shadow of your bowing arm, you finally get it. Something like that...I can't remember for sure how it went, but the point is...I believe, it mainly boils down to spending time alone with your instrument, knowing what it is you want, and just observing what you do right vs what you do wrong. I'm no expert, of course, not meaning to sound like it, but in my own case, I gotta say, anything I DO like about my fiddling mostly came by poking around with it by myself, without anyone's direction or influence, and noticing when something happened I liked...then I'm like..."How did that happen? What did I do?" So, all the good accidents...gotta spend time figuring out how that came about and try to learn to re-create that. So...alone, with instrument, slow playing and careful observation...I mean, in my own case, it's helped. But this is coming from amateur nobody who has a long, long way to go to really play that fiddle....still, it's where I'm at and what's been helpful.

Once a long time ago when we lived out in the woods in SE KY...and I'd spent a lot of solitary time on our porch...hand hewn that Mike and I made for our 100 dollar trailer we'd moved and set up there ourselves...lol...ouch...anyway, lots of time...watching daughter play outside, sitting on that porch of split logs, just fiddling around on guitar (didn't have any other instruments to fiddle around with), and carefully observing what happened and trying to hone in on what I liked and how to try to do that on purpose, etc.

Then we got neighbors, from Chicago, of all places. Some retired folks who had run an apartment building up there and retired down to SE KY. In about one week, their bulldozers and workers got done stuff we had labored with by hand for years and years...so they had a, one of those trailer type houses...full size house, I guess double wide modular home or whatever...well drilled and house put up in no time. Well they were very friendly to us, and we visited them a lot. They wouldn't come to our trailer...lol...I guess it was too shabby...but we visited them at their place...well it turned out the guy had been in a BG band in Chicago...played guitar and had beautiful Gibson guitars.

He had a little sound system and we played some together in the evenings once in a while. He was amazed...he was like...my guitar style sounded so unique to him...well, I was a lot better then because I played guitar everyday, all the time...but he couldn't figure out who I'd learned it from...mainly...yeah, lots of people in my past showed me this and that along the way...but mainly, it was my style I observed surfacing and let it come up for air, tried my best to nurture, while alone in the woods.

Anyhow, they didn't stay there long because it was too hot, too many bugs and snakes and briars and their cadillacs got too dusty on the road or got oil stuck on them from when the roads got oiled down for the dust, too many clumps of coal falling from the trucks and knocking their headlights out...etc. And I was a lot better on guitar then...now I'm too scattered with too many instruments, too much confusion and hustle bustle and work to do and constant interruptions, plus guilt whenever I do make time for myself and sit and play, which is almost never at this point...but my point in all this boring jabbering is I really do think when we sit and teach ourselves...we might be getting the best lessons possible.

Jun 27, 2020 - 7:15:43 AM
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11840 posts since 9/23/2009

Mike just told me to tell y'all if you think my posts are long, you should sit down with me with a cup of coffee...lol...wear you out fast! Lol...thanks, Mike...lol...but it's true.

Jun 27, 2020 - 8:37:34 AM

9037 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by sbhikes2

I had my first lesson. Yep, I do everything wrong.

But what was really funny was she asked me to play something so I could demonstrate the trouble I'm having and when she played it back to me, holy hell it sounded so wrong. Violinists really cannot play fiddle music. Still I think learning how to properly hold the fiddle with my left arm/hand and bow it with my right can only help.


She will teach you how to relax both arms and wrist.. and how to use the whole bow, and how to hold it gently.. After you can do those things proficiently on simple tunes, you'll quickly see how much better your Celtic/Old Time skill develop... Trust me... I'm far from the government, and I'm here to help wink

Jun 27, 2020 - 9:29:03 AM
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DougD

USA

10033 posts since 12/2/2007

Peggy, if you don't mind I'll edit your post a little: "I believe, it mainly boils down to spending time alone with your instrument, knowing what it is you want, and just observing what you do right vs what you do wrong."
I think that's very good advice, but not enough people follow that path. I think they haven't really figured out what they want, or can't distinguish what they do right from what's not working.
Oh well.

Jun 27, 2020 - 12:43:29 PM
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9037 posts since 3/19/2009

When I was learning, I was too proud to ask for help.. Biggest mistake of my fiddling years..

Jun 27, 2020 - 12:50:26 PM

11840 posts since 9/23/2009

Thanks, Doug...maybe you're right...I only know what seems to work for me...lol.

Jun 27, 2020 - 1:07:49 PM

644 posts since 8/10/2017

Lots of stuff "works for me" until it doesn't anymore.

According to this teacher I don't hold my left hand right, my left arm right, my right hand right or my bowing arm right. Having her try to show me (on zoom, no less, not an easy feat to accomplish) only proves I have no idea how to figure it out on my own from pictures or watching others play. I'm actually now afraid to practice what she showed me because I'm pretty sure I'll practice it wrong.

I've tried long enough to learn from watching others to know I've reached the end of the line on that.

Jun 27, 2020 - 5:06:45 PM
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2262 posts since 8/23/2008

quote:
Originally posted by sbhikes2


 I'm actually now afraid to practice what she showed me because I'm pretty sure I'll practice it wrong.

 


Practice the advice given in this thread, then post another vid in a couple of weeks. 

Jun 27, 2020 - 6:37:45 PM
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gapbob

USA

742 posts since 4/20/2008

none of us do any of that stuff "right" but we do it well enough. If you want, we could get together over the internet next week. Some of the best musicians in the world would fail if she saw them. Martin Hayes, Liz Carroll, pretty much every old time player.

Jun 27, 2020 - 7:22:27 PM
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11840 posts since 9/23/2009

Watch Michael Cleveland...he doesn't hold things right either...but, his way seems to serve him extremely well.

I guess I don't care if I'm holding an instrument wrong or right...if I'm enjoying playing it, makes me happy enough. I really don't wanna struggle with trying to fuss over the right way vs the wrong way.

However, I have noticed on my own if I'm trying for one thing or another and can't seem to physically manage it, then if I try cranking my wrist around or shifting my shoulder or something ergonomic that will help me get it, I figure that's then proven itself "right" for that specific thing I'm trying to do.

I tried forever to make chin rests work...tried a few different types and tried shoulder rests, etc. Finally gave up on them and realized it's just not for everybody. At least not for me.

Jun 27, 2020 - 7:56:33 PM

367 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by sbhikes2

I'm actually now afraid to practice what she showed me because I'm pretty sure I'll practice it wrong.


Don't give up! It sounds like the feedback from the teacher stung a little more than you expected, but I'm sure it was intended as a way to help you through the issues you're having. Fixing technique issues after you've been playing for a long time can be frustrating because it feels like you're learning the instrument all over again.  I can assure you that it's worth it in the long run.

Don't just stop playing unless you're hurting your body. Even when you don't feel like it's working, practicing can help on a subconscious level. I understand your reservations about making more mistakes, but the only way to improve is to make the effort; and don't try to fix everything at once.   You're making major adjustments, so allow some time for them to sink in. Perhaps focusing on one element at a time will make it a bit easier. 
 

I have to disagree with the idea that classical players can't fiddle. Of course it's true that there are many players that struggle with different styles, but that really has more to do with familiarity with the style than technique. Off the top of my head, I know of at least three other players in my area who were classically trained and became excellent fiddlers as well. Two of them are championship winners. But, regardless of the music you play, you're going to the teacher for lessons in playing the violin, not learning a style. The essential elements of technique are universal.

I hope you'll stick with it and post more as you progress!

Jun 28, 2020 - 5:09:32 AM

9037 posts since 3/19/2009

It seems that hand/arm/brain/listening coordination are key factors in getting good sound..Such coordination would explain why many of us fiddlers do things differently but still sound 'right?"...

Jun 28, 2020 - 5:34:30 AM

644 posts since 8/10/2017

Her feedback didn't sting. I just don't think some of it sunk in so I don't want to practice those things if I am not practicing them correctly. I got the part about practicing freezing between string crossings and then deliberately moving the right way to the next string, the way she showed me how to hold the fiddle with my left hand and then move it into place (although I struggle with getting into the right place) but I don't think I ever got the right pinky thing on the bow and I can't do the bow crawl thing to save my life.

Jun 28, 2020 - 6:23:05 AM

9037 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by sbhikes2

Her feedback didn't sting. I just don't think some of it sunk in so I don't want to practice those things if I am not practicing them correctly. I got the part about practicing freezing between string crossings and then deliberately moving the right way to the next string, the way she showed me how to hold the fiddle with my left hand and then move it into place (although I struggle with getting into the right place) but I don't think I ever got the right pinky thing on the bow and I can't do the bow crawl thing to save my life.


Are there Any local fiddlers, good ones, who can sit with you and help??

Jun 28, 2020 - 6:56:55 AM
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gapbob

USA

742 posts since 4/20/2008

The bow crawl is useless. The pinky can be of use, but not required.

Jun 28, 2020 - 7:28:01 AM
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644 posts since 8/10/2017

You guys understand that if one is paying for lessons and the teacher gives you instruction you do the things they show you right? What you are asking me to do is like going to the doctor and saying well, Dr. Google says I don't have to take the medicine you prescribed.

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