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Jun 28, 2022 - 8:29:15 AM
34 posts since 3/15/2022

I love old time fiddling, but not necessarily the old time scene. I see old time American fiddling as a genre of a lot of variety. The "old time scene" has a lot of musicians who play tunes at the same tempo and feel over and over again in the same key. Anyone ever notice this? Where did this practice come from?

Jun 28, 2022 - 9:21:55 AM
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carlb

USA

2438 posts since 2/2/2008

Sometimes, in jam, if the tempo has been pretty quick, I start playing a tune that has a naturally slower tempo and feel. Sometimes I do the reverse, if the tempo been slow. As far as playing in the same key for long times, blame it on the banjo players, who don't like to retune laugh.

Jun 28, 2022 - 2:44:50 PM

2067 posts since 12/11/2008

fiddlenerd -- As a former longtime jamster in the L.A. OT scene I agree with your tempo & key complaints, but in terms of key choice you got to accommodate the banjo players...who pretty much have to re-tune their instruments for every key change. Then again, we're equally guilty when we're in Cross Tuning mode. As for tempo choice, I think it's because OT players don't want to cause any dancers to bump into each other or fall over on themselves.

Jun 28, 2022 - 2:48:25 PM

10241 posts since 3/19/2009

Maybe it came from the fact that fiddling had a lot to do with Dancing.. a steady repetitive sound and rhythm?
Personally, I like to emphasise phrases/notes to make a tune (to me, at least) sound more interesting..
I'm looking forward to comments on this topic.

Jun 28, 2022 - 3:49:31 PM
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199 posts since 4/2/2019

Old time players talk about the trance-like effect when a group of musicians is playing a tune over and over for ten, fifteen, twenty minutes or longer. They say it is special when the musicians get into a cohesive groove. Fancy solos not required (but interesting variations are not uncommon).

Jun 28, 2022 - 6:04:16 PM
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10241 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by DougBrock

Old time players talk about the trance-like effect when a group of musicians is playing a tune over and over for ten, fifteen, twenty minutes or longer. They say it is special when the musicians get into a cohesive groove. Fancy solos not required (but interesting variations are not uncommon).


Yep.. That doesn't happen often for me but when it does I love it. Personally, I'm too willing to experiment with such a groove and that can get me into trouble..   

However,  if two or three fiddlers often play together and have a subconscious agreement about how a tune should sound that is when a groove forms and NOBODY wants to mess with it.. They'll  try to get tighter and tighter.. It is  sort of magical.

Jun 28, 2022 - 6:49:26 PM
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597 posts since 6/11/2019

quote:
Originally posted by DougBrock

 trance-like effect 


That only happens when somebody brings some home-stilled 190 hearts wink

Jun 29, 2022 - 7:30:49 PM
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3052 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by fiddlenerd

I love old time fiddling, but not necessarily the old time scene. I see old time American fiddling as a genre of a lot of variety. The "old time scene" has a lot of musicians who play tunes at the same tempo and feel over and over again in the same key. Anyone ever notice this? Where did this practice come from?


 

As mentioned, same key comes is mostly pragmatic when accommodating playing with banjos and/or cross tuning. 

Not sure what meant by old-time scene? What tempo/feel referring to?

While I think there a lot of diversity... general overall... but maybe perhaps not so much in individuals, or within a small group of individuals. With that, I have noticed some individual/groups that preference seem tend toward same/narrow tempo/feel... for a few different reasons.

Not sure that it can be entirely due to being dance tunes, depends on what dance tunes means to folks (or experience of dance). Just to point out that overall, dance tunes are not as narrowly restricted... vary in diversity of tempo and feel. Not sure that the trance thing is necessarily in play either.

What I notice for "some" individuals/jams though, might have more to do with: how they learned, experience, skill and thus their comfort zone for tempo/feel. For example, a generally easy moderate tempo; probably the easiest least effort, range to start or fall into; fast enough to give it a flow, maybe give bouncy, galloping or lopey feel... It's pretty accommodating for lots of tunes and jams, and fits pattern players. But hits a wall to do much different, esp faster driving is struggle kind of falls apart. (should note they often have difficult playing slower groove than that tempo range as well). There is a bit of cyclical aspect... they lean toward learning a repertoire of tunes, or settings, that make it easy to stay in that comfort zone? 

Jul 3, 2022 - 5:04:11 AM
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RobBob

USA

2832 posts since 6/26/2007

Fiddling has changed and is changing again. The old time revival has its own bowing style. Bluegrass is often now more like electric rock guitar leads. I learned to fiddle outside of the larger movements, in a community that was insulated in some ways. There were dance tunes and plenty of them that had a quick tempo. There were listening pieces that could be quite slow. There were two-steps, waltzes and even an occasional jig. Lots of fiddlers sound the same to me anymore. They sound good but not what I want to play.

Jul 3, 2022 - 11:15:36 AM

34 posts since 3/15/2022

I also see this in peoples tune of the day, week, month videos too. Same speed, same feel over and over. The old fiddlers made each tune special. Now it seems people want to make them all sound the same with the same tempo and bowing patterns.

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Jul 3, 2022 - 12:48:57 PM
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2067 posts since 12/11/2008

Eventually it got to the point in my fiddle journey when I decided that if my teacher taught me one more tune that had the same rhythm and riffs as all the rest of 'em, I'd bid his lessons a fond goodbye. And yes, at the very next lesson I got one more tune that sounded, how shall I say it, a touch familiar. Needless to say, the teacher wasn't jumping for joy when I told him the next lesson would be my last.

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