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Sep 24, 2022 - 12:36:16 PM
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14110 posts since 9/23/2009

Thank you for that, Scratch. That's very good to think on.

Sep 24, 2022 - 3:03:01 PM

3217 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by DougD

Alaskafiddler - That's an interesting observation. That recording is definitely close to concert Eb, but not only the M-K Collection but also Jeff Todd Titon's "Old-Time Kentucky Fiddle Tunes" just confidently say "G" without comment. In the nice little handout linked to earlier in this thread, Ron Pen, a fiddler and scholar, says Estill liked to play in G, and to me it "feels" as though he's playing that tune in G position. That would mean he's tuned down a major third, or the source recording is off speed. As I said earlier, I was in pretty close touch with Bob Butler at the time those recordings were made and that's probably a cassette recording, but it doesn't sound that far off. I don't think Bob played himself and we never discussed it. A few years ago I asked Bruce Greene if he knew what had become of Bob and he didn't know.
Bruce, who of course is a fiddler himself, also recorded Estill Binghamat about the same time and might know the real answer. There are a lot more recordings of Estill at Slippery Hill and at Berea, easily found through the DLA, if you want to investigate further.
Don't know for sure if this will work, but here's a link to recordings of Estill at Berea by both Bruce and Bob, including this one, which plays in Eb there too. dla.acaweb.org/digital/search/...20Bingham


After I posted that I thought about the possible lowering the tuning to Eb/Bb/F/C. that's pretty slack. There does seem certain tonal and bowing sounds in that recording... might relate what happens with slack strings. (vs tight). I suppose it's also possible just tuned down step, played as if in F; but seems unlikely, doesn't really sound like typical F tune. 

It's possible to listen very close to recording and analyze all the sounds (slurs, crossings, transients, sympathetic ring), that can give pretty good indication... and good possibility that's what some of those folks did to come up with G.

I never did any deep analysis, nor cared to... just a bit curious as where G came from. I just assumed D; as playing as a D tune seemed natural, closest to Eb, and fit what is common in D tunes... and worked (at least for my purposes). I would have thought most folks using that recording would naturally lean toward D as well?

But I can see makes for good G tune as well. I can see possibilities as F tune as well, might play with that.

Sep 24, 2022 - 3:58:46 PM

Old Scratch

Canada

1087 posts since 6/22/2016

I've often heard of fiddlers tuning up a half-tone, often in order to carry in noisy environments. As often heard of tuning down a half-tone, presumably so that the E string isn't as piercing, and so intonation isn't so sensitive, I suppose.

Sep 24, 2022 - 5:19:15 PM
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3217 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by JonD


But I'm still not hearing anything close to what was described as a pulse of 3 across a series of 4 to the bar.


I don't think anyone was trying to state, indicate that specific strict 3 against series of 4, was what's going on in Tatiana's playing.  3 against 4 example was just brought up one of the more common and obvious examples of polyrhythm, cross rhythm or polymeter ideas... and bit easier to demonstrate. But there are a lot of different ways these that can be applied, or perceived. (and it doesn't have to be continuous).

I don't think what some mention of polyrhythmic, isn't from or about deep analysis; doing math (where 3s or 4s are); nor semantics of what textbook expert says... rather something possibly a bit of qualitatively "know it when hear it", without needing to analyze exact quantitative math. Obviously not conforming to underlying implicit standard binary rhythm. (underlying rhythm or meter often doesn't have to be explicit, fully voiced); and likely recognize from concrete experience of the result of hearing and applying polyrhythm, cross rhythm and/or polymeter concepts. (like in Juba, or Afro/Cuban).

--------

An example; of recognizing resultant poly/cross rhythm idea is  from a drum mnemonic device used, the phrase "pass the gall dang butter"; for example used for 3 against 4. The 3 is "Pass gall but" (played with LH). The 4 is "Pass the darg er" (played with RH). That makes a recognizable resulting rhythm. (even from one player, one drum). Again this is just one example.

Sep 24, 2022 - 6:35:29 PM

10717 posts since 3/19/2009

Just went back to the OP to refresh my mind.. listened again to both recordings. If I was just taking my time and casually playing the tune I'd probably play it like the field recording.. If I was jamming with my daughter and we had a good banjo player and someone dancing, I'd try to play it with the energy Tatiana is using. I do like Estill's phrasing.

Sep 24, 2022 - 10:21:53 PM
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970 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by alaskafiddler

An example; of recognizing resultant poly/cross rhythm idea is  from a drum mnemonic device used, the phrase "pass the gall dang butter"; for example used for 3 against 4. The 3 is "Pass gall but" (played with LH). The 4 is "Pass the darg er" (played with RH). That makes a recognizable resulting rhythm. (even from one player, one drum). Again this is just one example.


Yes, one player on one drum can accomplish this because each hand is able to independently play a rhythm. The same is true with the piano. The mnemonic device indicates the sound of the pattern. If you simply say the phrase aloud, it's not a polyrhythm--it's the combination of two separate patterns (e.g. right hand, left hand) that actually make it one. 

Sep 25, 2022 - 1:30:18 AM
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2070 posts since 4/6/2014

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

An example; of recognizing resultant poly/cross rhythm idea is  from a drum mnemonic device used, the phrase "pass the gall dang butter"; for example used for 3 against 4. The 3 is "Pass gall but" (played with LH). The 4 is "Pass the darg er" (played with RH). That makes a recognizable resulting rhythm. (even from one player, one drum). Again this is just one example.


Yes, one player on one drum can accomplish this because each hand is able to independently play a rhythm. The same is true with the piano. The mnemonic device indicates the sound of the pattern. If you simply say the phrase aloud, it's not a polyrhythm--it's the combination of two separate patterns (e.g. right hand, left hand) that actually make it one. 


Maybe that is why fiddlers mostly tap their foot,and the audience clap or tap along too. This provide a base rhythm to play different subdivisions against. Also gives dancers a choice of subdivisions to dance to.

I find this interesting https://cdn.onlinedrummer.com/SuperimposedSubdivisions.pdf

Sep 25, 2022 - 7:07:18 AM

970 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by pete_fiddle
quote:
Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful
quote:
Originally posted by alaskafiddler

An example; of recognizing resultant poly/cross rhythm idea is  from a drum mnemonic device used, the phrase "pass the gall dang butter"; for example used for 3 against 4. The 3 is "Pass gall but" (played with LH). The 4 is "Pass the darg er" (played with RH). That makes a recognizable resulting rhythm. (even from one player, one drum). Again this is just one example.


Yes, one player on one drum can accomplish this because each hand is able to independently play a rhythm. The same is true with the piano. The mnemonic device indicates the sound of the pattern. If you simply say the phrase aloud, it's not a polyrhythm--it's the combination of two separate patterns (e.g. right hand, left hand) that actually make it one. 


Maybe that is why fiddlers mostly tap their foot,and the audience clap or tap along too. This provide a base rhythm to play different subdivisions against. Also gives dancers a choice of subdivisions to dance to.

I find this interesting https://cdn.onlinedrummer.com/SuperimposedSubdivisions.pdf


In think that makes a lot of sense. Tapping or clapping reinforces a baseline rhythm that grounds all the activity that occurs between the beats. I think there's an element of self-regulation in it as well (using the foot as a makeshift metronome to avoid letting the right hand speed up). 
 

In the baroque era, dancing masters would keep time by beating the floor with a heavy pole. A famous composer was doing this and not paying close enough attention. He missed the floor with a stroke and hit his foot, breaking bones in it. The wound didn't heal properly and he developed gangrene and died. Foot tapping is less deadly!

Sep 25, 2022 - 7:46:38 AM

gapbob

USA

858 posts since 4/20/2008

quote:
Originally posted by DougD

PS - One tune both Bob and Bruce recorded was "Old Granny Blair." Both recordings are identified as "audio cassette" and both play in the Eb to E range. In my experience its fairly rare for a fiddler to tune UP, so my guess is that Estill was playing in G position, but tuned pretty far down.


I have not inquired of late, but Bob Butler does play, I have a recording he made of tunes he had collected (I suppose he did not want to run into issues releasing the original recordings).  My understanding is he was a night watchman, at least back when I used to see him.  He would come into McGurk's, carrying a fiddle, but he would leave early to go off to work.  Fifteen(?) years ago or so, John Harrod was trying to reach him, there were rumors he was dead, but he was located and said he definitely was not dead, with a chuckle.

Edited by - gapbob on 09/25/2022 07:47:10

Sep 25, 2022 - 8:01:40 AM
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109 posts since 3/15/2022

All the side routes aside, getting inside the guts of these bowing discussions I think it's difficult for some people to accept that old time mountain fiddlers don't use a shuffle.

Sep 25, 2022 - 8:15:34 AM
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548 posts since 7/31/2018

quote:
Originally posted by fiddlenerd

Observation...

Estill Bingham is the source .
Notice the predictable and mechanical bowing from the modern fiddler that sounds just like a bunch of other modern fiddlers.
Notice the bowing of Estill Bingham.
Two different worlds. Two different styles of music.

Modern: youtu.be/PI2w_Nsh1Mk
Source: slippery-hill.com/content/cotton-bonnet


It's not a question of "predictable and mechanical bowing," it's more a matter of bow stroke. 

 

You could call Bingham's bowing "predictable and mechanical" too. When his playing is studied, you'll see he does a lot of saw stroke (mechanical) and uses the same patterns (predictable). 

 

The essence of old-time fiddle is in the mechanics. Keeping the same, regular bow stroke and treating like figures the same way (or very similarly) is what gives the music its pulse, dance quality, and flavor. 

 

Tatiana's bowing is no more predictable and mechanical than Bingham's. It's just a different sound, and most of that is due to the bow stroke rather than the actual bowings. 

Sep 25, 2022 - 9:41:26 AM
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Old Scratch

Canada

1087 posts since 6/22/2016

"the audience clap or tap along"

Yikes - an audience that can clap in time for more than two beats is rare indeed, in my experience. As a fiddler or as a spectator, I don't want people clapping. Now, if I'm leading or participating in some kind of sing-along, it doesn't faze me at all; I can just plough through it all, but not if I'm fiddling or listening to fiddling - no thanks!

Sep 25, 2022 - 10:00:08 AM
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DougD

USA

10964 posts since 12/2/2007

One of my all time favorite groups was The Band. I saw them live once back in 1970 in a big concrete multi-use hall. At one point the crowd started clapping along, and Robbie Robertson said, somewhat sternly "We'll keep the time." I think that was the only thing they said during the whole show.

Sep 25, 2022 - 10:33:01 AM
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109 posts since 3/15/2022

I think this is a common revivalist view of fiddling... It can be a handy way to learn a ton of tunes but they all sound the same. The traditional fiddlers seemed to give each piece individual attention rather than a systematic approach.

Sep 25, 2022 - 10:43:30 AM

109 posts since 3/15/2022

Carlton Rawlings another fine KY fiddler. What a bow!

Sep 25, 2022 - 12:32:49 PM
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10717 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by fiddlenerd

All the side routes aside, getting inside the guts of these bowing discussions I think it's difficult for some people to accept that old time mountain fiddlers don't use a shuffle.


When people are learning to fiddle it is not uncommon for them to gravitate toward a technique , like the shuffle, that works for them at the time.. eventually they TEND to move on to other techniques.. That is what I did.. There are fiddlers who seem to NEVER shuffle.. Ok. That works too..  By the way, here is a lot more to the 'shuffle' than meets the eye/ear it is not just a simple 2-1-1 movement.  Some people learn to do it late in their fiddle life and enjoy it.  It is neither good nor bad, just another technique.....Some fiddlers shuffle at times, some fiddlers don't...both are fiddlers.  What happens often however, is that people who have never used or worked diligently on the technique talk down about it.  To each his own, I guess.laugh

Edited by - TuneWeaver on 09/25/2022 12:34:29

Sep 25, 2022 - 1:31:13 PM
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14110 posts since 9/23/2009

Thank you, Lee! Exactly. I agree with you. The shuffle is NOT just the shuffle...there's a lot of stuff in a shuffle...I think anybody who has done the shuffle to the point of their bowing elbow shadow wearing out the floorboards will tell you it yields all sorts of things for bowing rhythm and enjoyment. The feller who showed it to me was about as old timey backwoods as anybody could get. He didn't call it by that name, but that's what it was.

Sep 25, 2022 - 2:31:27 PM
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10717 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

Thank you, Lee! Exactly. I agree with you. The shuffle is NOT just the shuffle...there's a lot of stuff in a shuffle...I think anybody who has done the shuffle to the point of their bowing elbow shadow wearing out the floorboards will tell you it yields all sorts of things for bowing rhythm and enjoyment. The feller who showed it to me was about as old timey backwoods as anybody could get. He didn't call it by that name, but that's what it was.


In my more ambitious days I'd thought of doing an audio of the different ways that I use the 2-1-1 pattern.. it is not always a 'shuffly' sound.. it is  also an amazing way to move through a notey tune.. I've gravitated to the play three-slur three-play two, which is so ingrained in my playing that I hardly notice it (and it is difficutl to hear in the playing)  I note four ways to use the 2-1-1 pattern.. but it takes work and some fiddlers are content with how they fiddle now.. Me, too, so I TRY not to complain..

Sep 25, 2022 - 3:32:22 PM
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10717 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by fiddlenerd

It might be possible to pull out segments of a tune and say it's a shuffle. Viewing tunes or parts of tunes through the "shuffle" lens is always an option, but that's not how traditional fiddlers viewed it is it? How can I say this? I've read their interviews and listened to their playing. I'm open to evidence that says otherwise.

Now if I started looking at fiddling classes online or old time workshops or all the "how to sound more old time" videos I'd find the shuffle/pattern/pulses/etc. view to be common. Fine, but I think there is so much emphasis on it that it is killing something about the music. I'm not against it except when it becomes authoritative. Which seems to be the trend.

Is the lens in which we view he music important? I think so. Because what is in the mind of the player will effect the music being made.

I'm being super analytical here. I am noticing the bow strokes. I'm pulling them apart. I'm being critical. When I watch a player play a Kentucky or West Virginia tune and there's little evidence of KY or WV bowing. I notice.


Fiddle classes.. I attended a week long fiddle class in West Virginia about 30 years ago, Melvin Wine was a guest fiddler, and Jerry Milnes and Rafe Steffanini were the teachers.. We learned two tunes each day and EVERY tune was taught using the 2-1-1 shuffle pattern.. It seemed to be important to them.. Yes, there is a Lot more to fiddling than a shuffle, but somehow that pattern seemed important to them and it catapulted my fiddling skill.. I hardly use it these days, but for a beginner, it is ONE WAY to get a good start..smiley

Edited by - TuneWeaver on 09/25/2022 15:37:49

Sep 25, 2022 - 4:44:31 PM

14110 posts since 9/23/2009

I agree totally! The shuffle gets a bad rap, but it's really the mother of all bowing, even if you abandon it at some point.

Sep 25, 2022 - 5:11 PM

DougD

USA

10964 posts since 12/2/2007

Melvin Wine was a fiddler who used a very rhythmic, somewhat repetitious bowing technique to good effect. I'm no expert on WV fiddling, but I think he might have been a little unusual in this regard. An example: youtu.be/zDZyZjeBeXc

Edited by - DougD on 09/25/2022 17:13:00

Sep 25, 2022 - 9:21:51 PM

548 posts since 7/31/2018

quote:
Originally posted by fiddlenerd

I think this is a common revivalist view of fiddling... It can be a handy way to learn a ton of tunes but they all sound the same. The traditional fiddlers seemed to give each piece individual attention rather than a systematic approach.


Sounds like you are comparing fiddlers of days gone by who were from different area/regions.

 

I, personally, don't agree that modern fiddlers  are necessarily guided by a systematic approach in their playing. That implies the music is not coming from within them and that they don't discern any differences in the various tunes they play.

 

In the old days, each fiddler had their own sound that didn't vary much, if at all, in any of the tunes they played. 

 

Case in point: you can tell exactly which fiddler is playing a tune without knowing if you've studied the source fiddlers. 

 

It's just as easy to recognize the fiddling of Bingham, Jarrell, Salyer (etc) as it is to recognize the fiddling of modern fiddlers like Hargreaves, Hyman, Molsky (etc) by only listening to a sound recording and not being told who is playing. 

 

I will say that distinct regional styles have given way to more of a blending of styles. It used to be that a fiddler could tell where another fiddler came from (or at the very least knew they were not local) merely from the sound of their fiddling. That's like people nowadays knowing someone isn't a native from their area by hearing their manner of speaking/accent/lack of accent. 

 

This blending of styles, IMO, began many decades ago when fiddlers would get together for contests and "gatherings." Those things eventually morphed into the modern day festival. When fiddlers from different areas came together, not only were they exposed to different tunes, but they were influenced by different styles as well. The true beginning of that may even go back further to the 1920s when commercial recordings were distributed all around the country. Then there was radio which made the music of different areas accessible to others. The Internet and YouTube has taken all this even further. 

Sep 25, 2022 - 10:23:58 PM

109 posts since 3/15/2022

"Blending..."  I don't have a problem with different players influencing each other. Or those who may have used shuffles.  I just don't think traditional fiddlers used/use shuffles as a lens in which to view their bowing or music making. I see little evidence of it in recordings or interviews.

I do think there are a ton of modern fiddlers who do view their bowing through shuffles or patterns. I could post example after example of videos and lessons backing that assertion.

As I said before... these discussions never end because I think there is a little evidence to refute what I'm really saying. Sure the modern shufflers may have made a mark in fiddling or helped musicians get out there playing in jams and even bands. Or the little bumpditty learned at the workshop may have been harmless... but show me otherwise.

Sep 26, 2022 - 12:49:31 AM
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970 posts since 3/1/2020

Here’s a video that gives a lot of insight into the various styles of shuffle:

youtu.be/s8P9IOVdeYs

Sep 26, 2022 - 12:59:11 AM

970 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Old Scratch

"the audience clap or tap along"

Yikes - an audience that can clap in time for more than two beats is rare indeed, in my experience. As a fiddler or as a spectator, I don't want people clapping. Now, if I'm leading or participating in some kind of sing-along, it doesn't faze me at all; I can just plough through it all, but not if I'm fiddling or listening to fiddling - no thanks!


Although I don't tap my foot when playing and prefer not to clap along, I recognize that casual audiences like to do so, just as they will sometimes start dancing. I think for some in the audience, clapping gives them a feel of personal involvement in the music.

If the audience isn't able to clap on the beat, it can cause issues. However, I don't know if I've just been around a lot of unusually musical audiences, but I've found that most are fairly accurate with the beat; there always a few with tin ears, but they get drowned out by the majority of accurate clappers or they start watching the others for cues or stop.

I do find clapping distracting at times, but I just expect to find it more with folk music styles. 

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