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Jun 24, 2020 - 4:28:16 PM
1879 posts since 8/27/2008

A mysterious part of producing sound on the fiddle for me is having consistent good articulation of notes. There are obvious ways to achieve that but still, it seems to vary for me, and I don't know if it's possibly something exterior like temperature and humidity, or if it's me just sometimes being sloppy despite trying to play well. Fiddle tunes are notey and the issue arises from that, involving fast note changes of all kinds, but mostly slurs and string changes, and also sometimes bowed triplets. I'm expecting a clear attack but sometimes notes voice slightly late, with rough or mushy articulation. It's not rosin either. Anybody else notice this? I am a bit of a perfectionist. Am I crazy?

(Hold on, that's a rhetorical question)

Jun 24, 2020 - 4:54:19 PM

2262 posts since 8/23/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Brian Wood

 Anybody else notice this? 


I used to notice this, so I practiced focusing on 'light pressure' and lifting'. 

Jun 24, 2020 - 6:00:49 PM

1879 posts since 8/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by buckhenry
quote:
Originally posted by Brian Wood

 Anybody else notice this? 


I used to notice this, so I practiced focusing on 'light pressure' and lifting'. 


Thanks. I’m after ideas like that.

Jun 24, 2020 - 6:25:15 PM
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3561 posts since 12/8/2007

Oh I've noticed there are days where the fiddle just says, "No."

Sometimes my fiddle simply doesn't want me to cut and roll. No matter what. No matter how much whiskey I pour into my morning coffee....

Jun 24, 2020 - 6:28:50 PM

183 posts since 11/28/2018

Brian, I'm not a luthier but I do know that proper set-up has a major effect on articulation. Sound post positioning, string afterlength, fingerboard thickness, how the bridge is cut, etc., etc., make a huge difference. Also, the age of the strings matters --- I find the 'articulation' of individual notes to be best shortly after changing strings and that it tends to get 'mushy' when the strings are 6 months old or older.

Jun 24, 2020 - 6:37:07 PM

1879 posts since 8/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Woodcutter

... proper set-up has a major effect on articulation.


I absolutely agree with you about setup. What puzzles me though is when some days it's on and some days it's off a little.

Jun 24, 2020 - 8:40:52 PM
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1879 posts since 8/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Humbled by this instrument

Oh I've noticed there are days where the fiddle just says, "No."

Sometimes my fiddle simply doesn't want me to cut and roll. No matter what. No matter how much whiskey I pour into my morning coffee....


Yes, I've tried that too. I actually had a little luck with that, I think.

Jun 24, 2020 - 9:27:30 PM

Mobob

USA

150 posts since 10/1/2009

I find that when I have this problem its usually the orientation of the fingers on the fingerboard. If I get tired, careless or lazy, the left hand gets out of proper angle to get the best response and the sound suffers. It gets more difficult when arthritis rears its ugly head. I also agree that old strings make it even more of a struggle.

Jun 24, 2020 - 11:15:21 PM

2262 posts since 8/23/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Brian Wood
quote:
Originally posted by buckhenry
quote:
Originally posted by Brian Wood

 Anybody else notice this? 


I used to notice this, so I practiced focusing on 'light pressure' and lifting'. 


Thanks. I’m after ideas like that.


Finger 'twitching', or 'flicking'... 

Jun 25, 2020 - 12:00:46 AM

harpon

USA

149 posts since 6/10/2013

Maybe it's "mood" as much as anything, or what is now being called mindfulness -

I think mood is essential to feeling and hearing what you're playing and not just reproducing notes.

To me it's an eclectic kind of thing- sometimes you're in the groove and feeling every nuance, and other times tired or distracted and it just makes all the difference.


 

Jun 25, 2020 - 12:47:49 AM
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1774 posts since 12/11/2008

For me it's the bow that's the problem, not the "fretting."

Jun 25, 2020 - 2:27:39 AM

216 posts since 4/15/2019

I agree with you Harpon. When I go to do my thing with practice and playing I find if my mind is clear and nothing really bothering me, I do pretty well. But if something is nagging in the back of my mind I may as well forget about it. Whatever you do, don't watch the news before playing! That will kill your spirit quicker than anything!

Jun 25, 2020 - 5:08 AM

295 posts since 6/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Humbled by this instrument

Oh I've noticed there are days where the fiddle just says, "No."


AMEN!

Jun 25, 2020 - 6:00:43 AM

9037 posts since 3/19/2009

Humidity seems to make my fiddles sound more mellow, but it also makes notes sound a little 'muddy'.......to me.

Jun 25, 2020 - 6:59:25 AM
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Peghead

USA

1600 posts since 1/21/2009

One thing that helps my articulation is, whenever possible to have the finger of the next note placed. When descending on the same string sometimes it's possible to have 2 or even all the fingers placed, then you are simply lifting off. Place as many fingers down at once.Tone will improve too. Keep the index finger bar down also when possible. This becomes significant in upper positions when the strings rebound more, the millisecond it takes to reset the string makes muddy notes and more work. When crossing strings with fingered notes, place the next note down along with the one being played. (It will probably be a chord shape). Staying clear of the string being played takes a little doing, scoot over. Even if I can't do all the time, it's my first go to when the notes are not coming out clearly. When the note is prepared my bowing is calmer, and less hurried.

Jun 25, 2020 - 9:09:08 AM

1489 posts since 4/6/2014

The advice from Peghead is gold.

 Also if something is feeling wrong/difficult or unnatural to finger and/or bow, i have found that  the difficulty may originate from a previous bar or phrase. i also find dynamics come into the subject of articulation, as well as the rhythmic subdivisions that are being "enunciated" so to speak..... pun unintended.

Jun 25, 2020 - 9:40:45 AM

1489 posts since 4/6/2014

As far as Irish playing goes (bowed tiplets, bowed, turnarounds etc), i like to listen to the way that tenor banjo players and Accordion players do it. They "Have" to play distinct notes. Makes me tingle just to think about Banjo, Box and fiddle on a roll.

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