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Jul 1, 2020 - 9:16:30 AM
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Old Scratch

Canada

702 posts since 6/22/2016

The argument re: 'Classical' training and technique is circular: if you think the overall sound that the Classically-trained fiddler gets is superior, then your point is 'proven'. As for me, I'm a simple man: I don't think I've ever heard a fiddler with much Classical training whose fiddling really grabbed me, and that tells me all I need to know.

Jul 1, 2020 - 10:47:55 AM

367 posts since 3/1/2020

The words fiddle and violin are just words used to describe the same instrument. This is why classical players and old time players can both refer to themselves as fiddlers and they can both call their instruments fiddles. Violin has more of an Italian/French etymology, fiddle has a Germanic etymology, but the terms refer to one instrument.

Of course, people tell jokes about the difference between a fiddle and a violin, but those are not intended to be taken seriously. Some people speak of fiddles and violins as distinct objects, but they are using the terms inappropriately to refer to differences in playing style or setup.

Jul 1, 2020 - 12:06:02 PM

9037 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by gapbob
quote:
Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful

The result of that is a comprehensive approach to playing well. There are several different methods to learn, but the essentials are the same. Any fiddler that plays well has those essentials, even if other aspects of their playing are less polished.


Classical violin is a TRADITION, just as old time, Cape Breton, Swedish, Norwegian, Irish, Gypsy fiddling, etc., are traditions.  Techniques that augment classical traditions are codified and taught in a rather formal path.  Language is used to identify things, the word violin is typically used for non-fiddlistic styles.  There are a multitude of traditions inside the classical tradition.  I mentioned a story about a friend of mine who went to play in the Mexico City symphony, and after her first day there, several musicians came up to her, excited, and asked her where she was from in Poland.  Her teacher was Polish.

The techniques learned are those that facilitate the music being played and the style by which it is expected to be played, which often is associated with the language of those who live in that tradition.


I won't mention the teacher's name.  BUT,  a few years ago I was at a festival and I was listening to a nearby jam... after about twenty minutes I went over and ask the primary fiddle player if he was a student of . (name not to be mentioned).. He said "YES.. How did you know"   He sounded just like his teacher.. My own daughter who has sat by me in countless jams sound Just Like (better) than ME.. as should be expected..

Jul 2, 2020 - 2:10:48 PM
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644 posts since 8/10/2017

After a week of practice, I have figured out that if I do the string crossings like the teacher showed me it can be easier to cross a string with the bow going the same direction than the way I was doing it before. My hope is that having a teacher who can watch me and tell me when I need to correct I can eventually get some muscle memory.

I'm not trying to sound like a violin player. I'm just hoping that if someone shows me how to do things it will be easier for me. Maybe if it is easier I will have more control and more choice in how I play.

Asking my friends to show me how to do things wasn't fair to my friends. They didn't want to do it. They didn't want to be my teacher. They want to jam, not teach and explain. They don't want to watch and critique. They want to play tunes with me. And I want my friends to be people I play tunes with.

I could take lessons from David Bragger, and maybe I will someday. I would like to be able to do some of the things he suggests, but I can't even follow the whole up/down/up/down that he does because I can't even figure out how to do what I want and part of that is how hard string crossings seem to be. I have a friend who takes lessons from him so I know what his lessons are like from her descriptions. He isn't going to show me the same basic skills things that this violin teacher is showing me. I'm hoping with better skills maybe I could take lessons from him, if I decide I want to.

I've got a really great recording of one of David Bragger's recent workshops. In this workshop he told us how for years and years he struggled with the bowing and getting the right sound and only recently (yes, even for him only recently) he finally figured it out. In this recording he tried to show us what he figured out. I want to have enough skills to follow what he showed us in this recording and I don't want to beat my head against the wall for 15 more years before I get it.

That's the level I'm at.

All you guys who can listen to some fiddler and go "that's the way I want to sound" and then make your playing sound like that, good for you. I've had a fiddle in my possession for 25 years and played it off and on for all those years and still can't do that. I can't do anything I want to do. But already after one lesson I think I'm seeing some light. I have another lesson tomorrow.

Jul 2, 2020 - 4:06:50 PM
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Swing

USA

2009 posts since 6/26/2007

Diane...first of all, I think that you have made the right step by getting an instructor... it is not about what style of music, but rather being able to play well enough to then pursue the music that you want to play..... once you have enough instruction and feel capable of playing up to speed with confidence, then you can go after the music that you want to play.... at that point, your ears will truly help you with the bowing patterns... and just so you know, bowing patterns does not mean that you play the pattern for an entire tune..they are no different that bowed triplets, rolls, etc.... having said all of that... enjoy your instruction, relax and listen

Play Happy

Swing

Jul 2, 2020 - 4:37:39 PM

5095 posts since 9/26/2008

quote:
Originally posted by sbhikes2

After a week of practice, I have figured out that if I do the string crossings like the teacher showed me it can be easier to cross a string with the bow going the same direction than the way I was doing it before. My hope is that having a teacher who can watch me and tell me when I need to correct I can eventually get some muscle memory.
 


I'm curious, were you changing directions as you crossed strings, as in, going from A st to E would be an up bow, E to A using down bow? That was how I was taught and it took me years to do it any other way. 

Jul 2, 2020 - 5:55:01 PM
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644 posts since 8/10/2017

I was never taught anything. I think I switch direction most of the time. I have tried to play the next string over with the bow going in the same direction, like the way Bruce Molsky shows in his video, but couldn't do it very well. Maybe I will learn how to do it!

Jul 2, 2020 - 9:28:52 PM
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9037 posts since 3/19/2009

So, Diane, after a week of practice you are now starting to use your bow differently!!! That is progress early on.. You are obviously determined and that is exciting.......It is going to be fun watching your excitement as you progress..

Jul 3, 2020 - 4:47:51 AM
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Peghead

USA

1600 posts since 1/21/2009

Diane- don't worry about sounding like a classical player (unless you want to). You are what you eat as they say and that goes for music too. The fiddle has been played for a couple of hundred years now, there's nothing new about how to pull the bow across the string. All artists have to dedicate a portion of their time on craft. Good technique is generic, acquiring and expanding on the tools that will enable you to better execute your style, whatever that may be, is really what you're doing.

Jul 3, 2020 - 10:21:07 AM
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BR5-49

USA

208 posts since 1/3/2019

Interesting... I was just thinking about how good technique is not generic in the fiddling or the violin tradition.

Bowing is subjective to many factors... the instrument, the body type, the arms, and the hands and all of the varying factors.

I don't disagree that there are many attempts to make technique generic and that is especially annoying to me in the fiddling world, but the evidence is overwhelming against the notion of "generic" when it's all boiled down to making music that is worth listening to.

Take for example this discussion on one of the greatest violinists to ever walk the earth... violinist.com/discussion/archive/23953/

Edited by - BR5-49 on 07/03/2020 10:22:15

Jul 6, 2020 - 12:00:09 PM
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644 posts since 8/10/2017

For my last lesson the instructor was focused more on how to hold the bow, how to hold it more loosely and use the pinky finger to balance. And she focused on how the arm is supposed to move when you bow the bottom half of the bow. She apologized for having to be so limited on such small things but that it is hard to overcome so many years of habit. She also went over the bow crawls thing more. For a split second while doing it I thought I figured something important out. And then it was gone. Oh well. I'm not spending money going out for lunch or coffee or driving. I sold my truck. Who needs to drive anymore if all I do is shelter in place? Now I have a lot of money to throw away on lessons.

Jul 6, 2020 - 12:37:25 PM
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367 posts since 3/1/2020

Glad to hear you’re getting some specific instruction.

Ahh, bow crawls...Such a simple exercise, but so useful! They really help to develop a better sense of independence for each finger and coordination for the whole hand. Another good exercise is to hold the bow to the string and play using only the fingers; it forces you to keep them limber.

Jul 10, 2020 - 7:00:36 AM

3 posts since 7/10/2020

The simple rule, just breathe, relax and take everything easy)

Jul 10, 2020 - 8:50:20 AM
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Players Union Member

boxbow

USA

2621 posts since 2/3/2011

quote:
Originally posted by sbhikes2

For my last lesson the instructor was focused more on how to hold the bow, how to hold it more loosely and use the pinky finger to balance. And she focused on how the arm is supposed to move when you bow the bottom half of the bow. She apologized for having to be so limited on such small things but that it is hard to overcome so many years of habit. She also went over the bow crawls thing more. For a split second while doing it I thought I figured something important out. And then it was gone. Oh well. I'm not spending money going out for lunch or coffee or driving. I sold my truck. Who needs to drive anymore if all I do is shelter in place? Now I have a lot of money to throw away on lessons.


She's bringing fresh, professional eyes to a highly critical part of your fiddling.  I think you'll see and hear some good results.  Afterwards, you can bow however you like.

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