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Oct 21, 2022 - 1:43:08 PM
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Quincy

Belgium

527 posts since 1/16/2021

quote:
Originally posted by mmuussiiccaall

Anja your progress is obvious and you can be proud of your determination. I would suggest that you start trying to add ornamentation to your playing in order to make your sound less robotic. Here's the WIKI page regarding this, focus on applying one technique at a time so as not to be overwhelmed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ornament_(music)


Thanks! I feel ready to dive into this.

Edited by - Quincy on 10/21/2022 13:43:32

Oct 22, 2022 - 1:01:01 AM
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3217 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Quincy
quote:
Originally posted by mmuussiiccaall

Anja your progress is obvious and you can be proud of your determination. I would suggest that you start trying to add ornamentation to your playing in order to make your sound less robotic. Here's the WIKI page regarding this, focus on applying one technique at a time so as not to be overwhelmed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ornament_(music)


Thanks! I feel ready to dive into this.


Hmmm.. adding ornaments is one way to go... but I might suggest an alternative; to sound less robotic.

In the original post mentioned....

 learning the correct notes of the blackest crow by playing along with The show ponies

First, will mention. playing along with recordings is overall good, but one of the cautions to playing along with recordings... is that the other folks are doing the work, carrying the tune.

There is a point where students get the correct notes, and basic timing of a siple tune. But are aware seems something missing? or sounds robotic, stiff, blah? Ask where do we go from here?

One idea is maybe needing more notes, complexity, ornaments, technique, bowing, to spice it up, maybe jazz, harmony, chromatic ideas. Or just deem the tune too simple and move onto other more notey complex tunes. That's one option.

The alternative... is that you have all the notes and quantitative info needed... the focus is on giving those notes meaning, breathe life into them, make them sing and flow; (going beyond just correct sequence of individual notes in time)... expression, phrasing, articulation, dynamics.

Songs or simple airs like Blackest Crow or Amazing Grace are great for this. An adage "play it like you would sing it, and sing it like you mean it". Listen to how the Show Ponies (excellent version) sing it... expresses the feel, more than just the simple melody notes in a measure.

Oct 22, 2022 - 1:32:37 AM
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Quincy

Belgium

527 posts since 1/16/2021

So, in short, the conclusion: "play it like you would sing it, and sing it like you mean it"!
But I have to admit this saying doesn't tell me much because I can't sing , I have this nasal sound when I speak or sing haha. I guess that's why I now try to play it how others sing it :-p
I think one thing - for example!- I don't try hard enough is to switch between loud notes and soft notes, although this was already an element in my violin classes. I could try to get more emotions and atmosphere in it by just playing with 'play all the hairs of the bow' versus 'play on one hair only' (not literally ofcourse, but I'm sure you get the idea) and I could make better use of 'close to fingerboard' versus 'close to bridge'!

"breathe life into them, make them sing and flow; (going beyond just correct sequence of individual notes in time)... expression, phrasing, articulation, dynamics."

== > For this I think I need to get to know more about specific techniques and also then is still the question will I ever be able to bring all of the technique into practice , I recently mentioned your demonstration on zoom (one tune different fiddle styles) to the other band members... if you can do that, you are a true artist was the conclusion. I totally agree with them!

Edited by - Quincy on 10/22/2022 01:36:08

Oct 22, 2022 - 5:06:11 AM
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Players Union Member

carlb

USA

2483 posts since 2/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Quincy

So, in short, the conclusion: "play it like you would sing it, and sing it like you mean it"!


How about "play it like you hear it in you head"?

Oct 22, 2022 - 5:18:29 AM
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14127 posts since 9/23/2009

Of course I'm just self=taught and amateur, so I could be wrong, but I don't think in Old Time fiddling anybody worries about fidgeting with distances from the bridge...I think mostly people find the spot where it sounds pretty good and not thin or squeaky and not jamming into the body of the fiddle either, and just sort of keep it right there. But as to singing ... I say even if you don't feel like a singer, yourself...sing the lines you want to fiddle...yes, sing it like you mean it...you will notice some notes you'll sing and on the sustain they might grow slightly louder, or decresecendo (ok...maybe not a word??) or in other words they could, the individual notes, could swell and /or deflate...the note could sustain all the way on pitch, or slightly drop pitch as it sustains...not drop off pitch enough to sound bad but just kinda drop some...I mean...yeah...especially if you're in some kind of mood and you haul off singing your heart out because you are really feeling it inside...pay close attention to how your voice handles stuff ... I believe we can do those same things with our notes on the fiddle...on a fretted and picked instrument you just can't do it...the bow allows us to fiddle exactly as we would sing it ... I mean, of course our skill level, in my own case, my skill level, prevents it from being exact, but we can try to get close. I think we sing on our fiddles...we pick on other instruments. Just my opinion. But I think whether a person is a singer or not...singing helps. At least listen to some ol whiney, cryin'-in-yer-beer type country singer and notice how their notes behave in their voices. Just my opinion...could be off course...lol.

Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 10/22/2022 05:19:22

Oct 22, 2022 - 5:32:31 AM
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Quincy

Belgium

527 posts since 1/16/2021

quote:
Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

Of course I'm just self=taught and amateur, so I could be wrong, but I don't think in Old Time fiddling anybody worries about fidgeting with distances from the bridge...I think mostly people find the spot where it sounds pretty good and not thin or squeaky and not jamming into the body of the fiddle either, and just sort of keep it right there. But as to singing ... I say even if you don't feel like a singer, yourself...sing the lines you want to fiddle...yes, sing it like you mean it...you will notice some notes you'll sing and on the sustain they might grow slightly louder, or decresecendo (ok...maybe not a word??) or in other words they could, the individual notes, could swell and /or deflate...the note could sustain all the way on pitch, or slightly drop pitch as it sustains...not drop off pitch enough to sound bad but just kinda drop some...I mean...yeah...especially if you're in some kind of mood and you haul off singing your heart out because you are really feeling it inside...pay close attention to how your voice handles stuff ... I believe we can do those same things with our notes on the fiddle...on a fretted and picked instrument you just can't do it...the bow allows us to fiddle exactly as we would sing it ... I mean, of course our skill level, in my own case, my skill level, prevents it from being exact, but we can try to get close. I think we sing on our fiddles...we pick on other instruments. Just my opinion. But I think whether a person is a singer or not...singing helps. At least listen to some ol whiney, cryin'-in-yer-beer type country singer and notice how their notes behave in their voices. Just my opinion...could be off course...lol.


I do sing out loud and regularly, when I am 100% sure noone is listening. Maybe I should play it like I sing when noone is there to hear me haha. O yes, by the way, I can get a very hoarse sound while singing , doesn't cost me any effort at all, it's the only thing I like about me singing,  just need to sing a few songs and there it is, and strange but that hoarse voice effect was indeed what I was looking for in fiddling haha. The aha erlebnis!
 

And while typing this  my dog managed to stick her tongue in the sauce on my dinner plate, she knows very well that will bring her the complete dish!

Oct 22, 2022 - 6:23:57 AM
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6180 posts since 8/7/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Quincy


"breathe life into them, make them sing and flow; (going beyond just correct sequence of individual notes in time)... expression, phrasing, articulation, dynamics."

== > For this I think I need to get to know more about specific techniques and also then is still the question will I ever be able to bring all of the technique into practice , I recently mentioned your demonstration on zoom (one tune different fiddle styles) to the other band members... if you can do that, you are a true artist was the conclusion. I totally agree with them!


I wouldn't worry too much about learning "specific techniques" as an academic pursuit - unless you have a goal of being a professional violinist. Nevertheless - if you just want to be an amateur fiddler but your curiosity drives you towards learning about them - I say do it. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. But think of it this way, that head knowledge still has to be internalized, understood, and practiced until your muscle memory can play it the way others will say is correct. And having all that still won't get you to where you really need to go. You will still need to intuitively know when to apply all that head knowledge while you are playing (unless you want to depend on the instructions provided on the written score of music to tell you).

IMO - knowing a bunch of fancy Latin words and their meanings won't help you fiddle. But you can learn to express a lot of emotion with the fiddle - without ever knowing the names of whatever specific techniques others will say you are doing. Given enough time and patience - You can learn to play whatever you hear in your head. That is what I would pursue.

Does that make sense?

Edited by - tonyelder on 10/22/2022 06:26:11

Oct 22, 2022 - 7:30:42 AM
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Fiddler

USA

4244 posts since 6/22/2007

Expressiveness in playing - here's a technique that I use. Take a tune that is very familiar to you. Try playing it such that it confers different emotions - pleasure, anger, melancholy, love, joy, etc. This will require varying your bowing pressure, speed and pattern. You can even change the key and/or mode. When you start this exercise, over emphasize the emotion you are trying to convey. You will eventually develop a more subtle technique that expresses these emotions.

I usually start with a waltz since these tend to be expressive to start with. I like drippy, sentimental waltzes, so Victor Herbert's "Kiss Me Again" works well. I also use "Margaret's Waltz" or "Josephine". Almost any waltz will do.

Play it straight and listen to the tune. Is there a phrase that just feels emotional? In Kiss Me Again, the first part to me sounds very tender and a buildup of emotional tension. The second part explodes with a full-bodied arpeggio across all of the strings. I will emphasize those emotions.

Now transfer that idea to other tunes. Vary the attack and bowing (and sonic level) to give "feeling" to the tune.

Try "Liberty". Play it straight at tempo. Find those phrases where you can be expressive. Many OT tunes are almost a call and response structure. The first phrase (2 -4 measures) is the call. The second phrase is the response. In other words, the first phrase is repeated in the second phrase with the exception of the ending measure or two. Try varying how you play those two phrases.

This is what has worked for me. Hope that gives you some ideas.

Oct 22, 2022 - 8:00:09 AM
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14127 posts since 9/23/2009

I think a good another good one that's pretty easy to play is Ashokan Farewell. I mean, it's not Old Time, but mainly because it hasn't been around long enough to earn that title...but it sure is good enough...not hard to play and it's really syrupy, sappy, emotion-wrenching stuff...you can play it pretty slow or faster...it just works.

Another one is Red River Valley...that's so sappy I can hardly play it at all without crying...lol...I mean, it's simple to play around with in whatever key you like, and again...slow or fast, simple and basic or fiddle around and fancy it up...makes no difference...it's just a sappy, sappy tune...fun for fiddle. To me, the fiddle can be very sappy...lol. I grew up with hymns and ballads...and those are both extra sappy, so sappiness just seems to dwell down in my bones, and it's what I love to try to get out of my fiddle when I can.

Oct 22, 2022 - 8:01:24 AM
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14127 posts since 9/23/2009

Hmmm...looks like my official word for the day is.........SAPPY!

Oct 22, 2022 - 8:40:39 AM
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Quincy

Belgium

527 posts since 1/16/2021

Fiddler, while reading the first paragraph of your answer I immediately thought hey but this I can do (I think!) and above all .... it sounds like great fun the way you describe it. It sounds a bit like the dramatic expression classes I followed at our Academy of Word , Music and Dance as a kid, but then not with my voice and body but with an instrument. How I loved these classes!

Ok I feel completely boosted now.

We also use just 'sappig' and also 'zoetsappig' (sweet sappy)! To tell a sappy story means the audience is hanging on your words because of the expressive way you narrate it .To tell a sweet sappy story is more like -for example - a very over the top happy sweet romantic love story, part of the audience might run haha.

Oct 22, 2022 - 8:42:31 AM
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Fiddler

USA

4244 posts since 6/22/2007

quote:
Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

Hmmm...looks like my official word for the day is.........SAPPY!


I was actually trying to avoid using that word, but since you invoked it, we shall all now be exposed to the diabetic potential of these tunes!

Yup, sappy, drippy, sentimental, syrupy ... (Think Ande Rieu. If that doesn't put you into diabetic shock, ....)

Another one is Waves of the Danube by Josef Ivanovici in 1880. The first movement of this elegant waltz was co-opted by Al Jolson in the 1940s and converted into The Anniversary Song. Most older folks know this melody. Here's my favorite recording of this tune performed by Natalie McMaster and her husband, Donnell Lehey. Notice how expressive they make this melody and how they play to each other - almost seductively. You can just see and feel their emotional connection. As you play this tune, imagine that you are playing it to your significant other.

https://youtu.be/zmvXB-FzNO8

The tune is actually quite easy. It is in Gm. You will no longer fear Bb! 

Edited by - Fiddler on 10/22/2022 08:44:31

Oct 22, 2022 - 8:53:11 AM
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Fiddler

USA

4244 posts since 6/22/2007

Here are some other tunes that I frequently use.

"The Minor Spaniard." It is in 6/8 time and in Em. Also, a fairly easy tune that begs for expression.

The "Growling Old Man and Grumbling Old Woman" also begs for expression!

Oct 22, 2022 - 8:58:17 AM
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Fiddler

USA

4244 posts since 6/22/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Quincy

Fiddler, while reading the first paragraph of your answer I immediately thought hey but this I can do (I think!) and above all .... it sounds like great fun the way you describe it. It sounds a bit like the dramatic expression classes I followed at our Academy of Word , Music and Dance as a kid, but then not with my voice and body but with an instrument. How I loved these classes!

Ok I feel completely boosted now.

We also use just 'sappig' and also 'zoetsappig' (sweet sappy)! To tell a sappy story means the audience is hanging on your words because of the expressive way you narrate it .To tell a sweet sappy story is more like -for example - a very over the top happy sweet romantic love story, part of the audience might run haha.


Great! You have the idea - use your instrument (music) to tell a story. Have fun!

Oct 22, 2022 - 10:19:34 AM
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Quincy

Belgium

527 posts since 1/16/2021

Thanks a lot, I will!

Oct 22, 2022 - 8:01:40 PM
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Quincy

Belgium

527 posts since 1/16/2021

Having great very early morning fun with this dramatic expression exercise.
Still using The blackest crow for the moment, I find this tune easy to change in atmosphere. It starts to sound very dark when I use the open E together with that starting B note and when I do the same when I reach the E on the D-string together with an open A. And when I then use dramatic pauses in between like The Show Ponies do.... it sounds totally different than the Bruce Molsky version! Gone sweet sappiness here comes the cold creepy darkness LOL.

This must be the coolest new thing I am discovering haha.

Oct 29, 2022 - 9:17:43 PM
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Quincy

Belgium

527 posts since 1/16/2021

Ok I come back to this.... The banjo player of our band sent a video of his own interpretation of the blackest crow ...That inspired me a lot. Now the sweet sappiness is gone... oh yes he sure helped me to unsweetsappy this song ! Ok you guys know what I mean.


Oct 30, 2022 - 10:21:37 AM

6088 posts since 9/26/2008

Nice! One can almost hear the lyrics. I think you could eventually tap into the sorrow of loosing Dixie to bring even more to this tune/song.

Oct 30, 2022 - 10:48:11 AM
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2070 posts since 4/6/2014

NIce one Anja. i hear the tune and your intonation and timing is good! Have you tried playing exactly the same, but keeping your bow in contact with the strings?

PS: Sorry to hear about your dog.broken heart

Edited by - pete_fiddle on 10/30/2022 10:56:56

Oct 30, 2022 - 12:41:37 PM
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3217 posts since 9/13/2009

The bow lift is something I noticed as well. Reminded me of some posted video, IIRC from Meghan Lynch?, fiddle for violin students, pointed out that tendency to lift the bow at end of strokes; which can make sound a bit stiff/marchy; or rushed just playing notes, in a hurry to get through tune. I think along lines in a thread Lee posted about pay attention to the middle and end of notes (not just beginning)?

That said, I'm hesitant to say it's wrong, or how should play it; just different than how I think of, and would play or sing the tune. As carlb mentioned "play it like you hear it in you head" - so question is, is that how you hear it?

Oct 31, 2022 - 5:31:14 AM
Players Union Member

carlb

USA

2483 posts since 2/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by alaskafiddler
That said, I'm hesitant to say it's wrong, or how should play it; just different than how I think of, and would play or sing the tune. As carlb mentioned "play it like you hear it in you head" - so question is, is that how you hear it?

I try to play it as I hear it in my head, but can't always pull it off. Also,  sometimes my fingers come up with some surprises that I like.

However, if your playing with another fiddler or banjo player, then you might want to make some small adjustments so that the two of you match really well.

Oct 31, 2022 - 9:27:19 AM

14127 posts since 9/23/2009

Beautiful, Anja...nice fiddling.

Oct 31, 2022 - 12:26:04 PM

3217 posts since 9/13/2009

If playing with another, then you are hearing that as well... but still imagine (hear in your head) what to play fits with that, the total sum. 

When I mentioned singing, wasn't so much about performing, great singing skills... but how that process more naturally does this. How would you sing it, want it to sound, if you could sing it? It's a concept of audiation, when think about a tune starts with using mental image of how it sounds as model.  Sing/diddle/hum... even if quietly, typically involves imagining a reference how sounds in head... not just pitch, but all the rhythm, tone, dynamics, nuances of inflection and articulation... that goes into expression. Differentiating it from just the notes, just "right" notes/timing; thinking just in terms of physical, mechanics, instructions of what has to happen; or symbolic representation, note names or theory... using mental image how it sounds/feels to guide.

Not sure what folks mean "sappy", or diabetic, it's just a subjective terms reflecting individual taste? I wouldn't overly worry about it... play it how it appeals to your taste.

Oct 31, 2022 - 1:07:41 PM
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14127 posts since 9/23/2009

sappy = tear-jerkin'

Nov 5, 2022 - 3:19:29 PM
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Quincy

Belgium

527 posts since 1/16/2021

This is the result together with the banjo player so far :


Edited by - Quincy on 11/05/2022 15:26:15

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