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Another shuffle thread, cause I can't find the one I wanted to bump up...

Apr 10, 2021 - 7:55:49 PM
367 posts since 6/11/2019

Sorry, I hate to post redundancy, but I trust you will forgive me...

Historic festivals opening back up and I've been asked to play OT fiddle tunes. I want to do a good job, but I've been jamming little but country and Bluegrass, et al, for years. So I have to go and resurrect this data from somewhere in my gray matter.

My question is--

On a shuffle, whatever version you prefer, for an OT dance scenario, do you time the strong bow (usually down) on the FRONT beat or the BACK beat? ie, do you expect dancers (or, spectators you want to start toe-tapping or clapping) to stomp on the 1's and 2's or the &'s?

I can play, for example, Arkansas Traveler both ways, but I'm curious what a caller would expect...(I'm not a dance fiddler at all, but I would like to become well-rounded)

Locals are back and forth on it...

Apr 11, 2021 - 4:42:16 AM

9054 posts since 3/19/2009

Good question.. I play Arkansas Traveler with the emphasis on the front beat but that is not how I play the majority of tunes.. I'm big on giving the back beat the emphasis..

Apr 11, 2021 - 5:56:24 AM



10063 posts since 12/2/2007

The emphasis should be on the downbeat, then 1 and 3 ( if you're thinking in four). I don't think in terms of shuffles though, so I don't know how that might relate.
I thought I had a recording here of "Arkansas Traveler," but "Turkey in the Straw" is as close as I can come.

Edited by - DougD on 04/11/2021 06:03:00

Apr 11, 2021 - 6:09:52 AM

367 posts since 6/11/2019

Doug, do you mean strong bow on the beat the bass is playing (front beat)? The fiddler is sometimes emphasizing that, and sometimes on the off (back) beat. I can't tell on what beat the dancers are stepping. I suppose if you have a bass it doesn't matter as much.

Thanks for posting the recording, BTW.

Apr 11, 2021 - 6:17:29 AM

367 posts since 6/11/2019

In my original post, I was referring to cut time...

Apr 11, 2021 - 7:02:44 AM



10063 posts since 12/2/2007

Yes, the emphasis should be on the beats the bass is playing (there is a bass on that recording, but you may need headphones to hear it).
In cut time this is 1 and 2. The places where a mandolin might chop are counted "and."
If you think of "potatoes" as an intro (a Nashville shuffle, I guess?) the emphasis should be on the first downbow, not the last upbow.
Here's a picture of that group, but with Roy playing fiddle instead of banjo.

Apr 12, 2021 - 2:32:53 AM

2679 posts since 9/13/2009

Dancers step is on the beat.  If I understand your terminology, what you refer to as front beat; 1's and 2's.

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