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Jul 17, 2020 - 8:58:54 PM

1796 posts since 8/27/2008

I see where the G might be tuned up to an A for that repeating drone note.

Edited by - Brian Wood on 07/17/2020 20:59:37

Jul 18, 2020 - 6:49:31 AM

5805 posts since 8/7/2009

Art Stamper is one of my favorite fiddlers. I play a good number of his tunes, and play them all cross-tuned. I've never had issues with playing them that way. And I like the way the sound. Really like his style.

Jul 18, 2020 - 8:19:47 AM
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4842 posts since 9/26/2008

Stamper played that tune in cross A. If you listen you can hear that low open A E chord ringing occasionally. 

For what it's worth this is what Ed Haley said: "I like to flavor up a tune so that nobody in the world could tell what I'm playing." Seems to me he knew there was an expectation for what a tune should sound like - because there is just that, an expectation by the listener. The above mentioned "Billy in the Lowground" or "Turkey in the Straw" are just two examples. Otherwise, it would all be free-form(ish) whatever. He also played that way to make it difficult for imitators in an era where his originality was his paycheck and calling card.

Without something consistent, there would be no tunes. 

Jul 20, 2020 - 8:46:57 AM
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DougD

USA

9768 posts since 12/2/2007

Getting back to your original question - I've learned lots of tunes from recordings. The advantage is you can play them over and over, slow them down, and repeat sections to help you learn. If you choose a good version of the tune you may end up with something good too.
My first reaction was like Brian's - what you lose is the personal interaction. From a technical point of view you can watch how someone does something and possibly get them to repeat it - see how they're using the bow and what fingerings.
But also you might hear the story of the tune. I don't mean the whole history, but just where and from whom they learned it, which I find interesting. Maybe their source was left handed, or blind, or a notorious mule trader. Here's a nice example from JP Fraley: youtu.be/nYMLiC9wdAQ
I'm not sure how much that's really possible anymore though.

Jul 20, 2020 - 10:26:26 AM
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5805 posts since 8/7/2009

You and Brian have both made good points, and I agree with your premise. But, as much as I would love to sit together with one of my favorite fiddlers while they share what they know and how they play (one on one)... as you said - not much chance of that happening, for a number of obvious reasons.

But, as I said to Brian... I have been blessed with a good group of OT musicians to play with regularly (or regularly until covid put things on hold). Not but a few of us playing, but they do have their own history. Andy Cohen is always there when he is in town, Richie Schuman is from the New England area (DC). Him and his wife Cheryl have played dances for years - recorded, etc. Doug Web and his wife Rhonda were very active old time performers in mid Mississippi for a number of years - also played dances for years and recorded. Mike Albert was president of the Memphis Area Bluegrass Association for a while before taking up claw-hammer banjo - and plays pretty dog-gone good (recorded with Richie a number of years ago).  In fact, we've played a few dances together, but we aren't really a "band".

So, I am fortunate in that - not only do I get to play, but I haver learned a number of their tunes and heard a lot of stories. And - I'm not ashamed to say, they've learned a few from me as well.

Oh yeah - don't let me leave out Martha Kelly, a long time caller and great bass player (and getting good on the banjo too).

Anyway... usually what happens, when we play a tune and some one is not familiar with it, their will usually be a short discussion afterwards (name, who played it, where did you learn it - how is it different). If I like it, I'll go home and find recordings so I don't have to disrupt the session. 

Sad part?  They are the only ones I know of in this area that are even playing OT music.  Thank goodness they are here.

I miss playing - wish this covid thing would come to an end...

Jul 20, 2020 - 11:38:24 AM
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1796 posts since 8/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by tonyelder

Sad part?  They are the only ones I know of in this area that are even playing OT music. 

 


Sounds like a treasure to me. My circle is somewhat smaller and more focused on bluegrass or folk. I've only got one old time fiddle buddy anymore, but we still meet once a week– my shop is big enough for us to keep distance.

Jul 23, 2020 - 6:30:55 PM

Peghead

USA

1578 posts since 1/21/2009

quote:
Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

I think the downbowing idea, in my thinking anyway, got so popular because of Round Peak area fiddlers...if you go toward Eastern KY...the northern river region, they seem to be more concerned with doing things on the upbow...parts of WV seem to do that too, just my own opinion from what I've seen and conversation with various individuals. But I think there upbow people too. Downbow, in my thinking...does seem more intutive than upbow...and Pogo, the directional bowing proponent that used to be here on FHO, used to always say it was so intuitive because of the subtle effects of gravity on our playing. Maybe...don't know...but I think there used to be more people who could go either way, or proponents of either way...but today downbowing is the thing that's really the big thing for fiddlers.

I've never seen him play but I'll take a wild guess just by his sound that Owen Chapman is an upbower. He's from that area. Does anyone know for sure? 

Edited by - Peghead on 07/23/2020 18:32:21

Jul 23, 2020 - 6:51:01 PM

11248 posts since 9/23/2009

I'm starting to think the line between upbowing and downbowing is just very blurry...lol.

Jul 23, 2020 - 6:55:19 PM
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5805 posts since 8/7/2009

Not trying to be funny or smart... seriously - if it's that hard to tell - what difference does it make? 

not directed at anyone or about anyone. just wondering if up or down is that hard to tell - why would it matter if someone is an up or down bower?

Edited by - tonyelder on 07/23/2020 18:58:28

Jul 23, 2020 - 6:57:02 PM

11248 posts since 9/23/2009

Yeah...great point, Tony!

Jul 23, 2020 - 8:20:37 PM
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3548 posts since 12/8/2007

why would it matter if someone is an up or down bower?

Fiddlepogo!!!! Where are you!

Jul 23, 2020 - 8:21:24 PM
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11248 posts since 9/23/2009

Pogo could give us concise definitions to start from...lol.  I really miss him.

I remember the big argument on another message board...whether or not Doc Watson could drop thumb on clawhammer banjo...lol. Well it really got heated. I was in the no camp...because what I call drop thumb is different than just hitting the second string with your thumb...Doc himself even said he just hit his second string with his thumb in immitate a drop thumb sound...but anyway...it got so heated, then later, I mean years later, it hit me that, well what difference does that make anyhow? I think I'm coming to that same conclusion on upbowing vs downbowing...some say tomato, some say tomato...wait...that looks the same...lol...but the point...play it like you want...call it what you want, I guess.

Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 07/23/2020 20:22:44

Jul 24, 2020 - 5:08:02 AM
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8709 posts since 3/19/2009

I never gave upbow/downbow a whit of importance.. To this day those words mean virtually nothing to me..My bow goes where I think it should go for the sound/smoothness I'm looking for.

Jul 24, 2020 - 5:15:04 AM

11248 posts since 9/23/2009

But, do you ever feel you've gotten upsidedown, disoriented and have to get turned back around, Lee? Happens to me.

Jul 24, 2020 - 5:17:22 AM
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8709 posts since 3/19/2009

When I come to a difficult set of notes I try to focus on bow direction ONLY to find the right, smooth FLOW ...for THAT particular group of notes.

Jul 24, 2020 - 5:27:15 AM
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carlb

USA

2252 posts since 2/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by TuneWeaver

I never gave upbow/downbow a whit of importance.. To this day those words mean virtually nothing to me..My bow goes where I think it should go for the sound/smoothness I'm looking for.


I call it "any which way" bowing.

Jul 24, 2020 - 5:30:17 AM
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8709 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by carlb
quote:
Originally posted by TuneWeaver

I never gave upbow/downbow a whit of importance.. To this day those words mean virtually nothing to me..My bow goes where I think it should go for the sound/smoothness I'm looking for.


I call it "any which way" bowing.


laughlaugh  NOOOOOO!!!... "Be this madness, there is method in it.".. Remember, I'm also a 'modified' pattern bower... 

Jul 24, 2020 - 6:34:46 AM

11248 posts since 9/23/2009

uh-oh...not that word again...lol.

Ok, since I get turned around sometimes and have to reorient before my groove is back...I can hear this happening...the groove is disturbed as I'm focusing on getting my orientation back...means I'm a one-way-or-another bower...down or up. Oriented to set up the groove in one way or another. I know it became the standard test to see if you begin phrases on the down or up...but...I thought that for a long time...and maybe there is something to that, but I'm thinking...let's say wondering...not that I actually know anything...but wondering if a person's groove orientation falls into one way or another.

I didn't think a whole lot about this for a while...I mean...I thought I had that one figured out a long time ago, the definitions...but after a few other discussions here I'm thinking the beginning and ending phrase direction might just be a "symptom," so to speak...lol...poor choice of words there, of which way you're comfortable with your groove. And none of this would be set in stone...your groove might flop around anywhich...no I'm not gonna say it...it might be convertible here and there. Like being right handed or left handed, some people are both. My dad is both...during the same day I've seen him write, eat, drink, throw a baseball (his favorite thing to do) with one hand and then switch to the other because one hour he's more right handed but then a couple of hours later he's more left handed.

None of it makes any difference. I still feel like Doc Watson never drop thumbs...lol. But what does it matter? Does it? I'm not normally that analytical...but for learning...for people picking up old time fiddle, there might be some ideas to think about in getting started.

Jul 24, 2020 - 6:55:56 AM
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Fiddler

USA

4103 posts since 6/22/2007

To me, upbowers appear to be bowing backwards. I have a difficult time watching them. It gives their playing a unique, lilty rhythm. I've heard it referred to as "lumpy."

To me, downbowers have a stronger downbeat - stronger drive. Some downbowers also can give a strong upbeat and
"lift" to the tune that makes it great for dancing.

The AWW bowers use combinations of UB and DB. To me, this gives a subtle variation and adds interest to the tune. So called "pattern bowers" sound great, but, at least for me, I get tried of hearing pattern bowers very quickly.

Jul 24, 2020 - 9:02:16 AM

2046 posts since 10/22/2007

This is why John Hartford sought to change his bowing every 8 bars.
In his early days he played for as many dances as anybody, but don't think he delved into bowing until later.
As much as i too find it boring, a driving bow helps the dancers, stompers and clappers. Seen it earlier in the week.

Jul 24, 2020 - 9:18:51 AM

Peghead

USA

1578 posts since 1/21/2009

Ok, now think about this - Cyril Stinnett was a down bower but he played left handed and didn't reverse the strings. Does that mean he's actually an upbower??

Jul 24, 2020 - 9:39:08 AM

4842 posts since 9/26/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Peghead

Ok, now think about this - Cyril Stinnett was a down bower but he played left handed and didn't reverse the strings. Does that mean he's actually an upbower??


laugh

Jul 24, 2020 - 10:51:40 AM

2046 posts since 10/22/2007

I contend Cyril was a one note per bow / hornpipe fiddler.
They was a few seconds on a video recording where he was puzzling out a forgotten tune, he was doing it one note per bow.

Jul 24, 2020 - 12:56:43 PM
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Peghead

USA

1578 posts since 1/21/2009

I only mentioned Owen Chapman because I notice a characteristic sound when I upbow the down beats and Owen has it. It's like a "Chuk ,Chuk" percusive, circular bowing with the upper half of the stick. It might be a fiddle dialect from that area. BTW "Pat Him on the Back" is an awesome tune.

Edited by - Peghead on 07/24/2020 12:57:39

Jul 24, 2020 - 2:07:40 PM

4842 posts since 9/26/2008

Snake Chapman plays a Canadian tune

Snake Chapman playing "Pat Him on the Back"

Seems he is mostly a saw stroke / single stroke player and plays the first tune as mostly an up bower. The second tune seems to start long phrases with a down bow. Mostly saw strokes though. 

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