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Nov 1, 2022 - 7:42:18 AM
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680 posts since 7/30/2021

So I've been learning to "pulse" my bow playing Irish reels, which is fun and I love the sound. However, I then found that my foot tap was "off" because I was used to tapping on beats 1 and 3. It's a weird offset, jaggedy feeling when your foot is going the opposite way of your bow pulse...I feel tilted in my chair or something...:-)

So I reset my foot tap to beats 2 and 4, which feels/sounds right and goes with the bow pulse.

But sometimes I'll slip and go back to tapping on beats 1 and 3...and then I have to stop and reset my foot while playing! I actually never had to think about my foot tap in my entire life, so this is a strange experience. It's funny because the bow pulses are pretty intuitive, but when I get the jaggedy tilted-in-chair feeling, I actually have to think hard to get the foot-tap back to beat 2 and 4 (the way I do it, is to pause foot, wait for a strong ornament and put my foot down with it...that usually resets it...)

I don't know if this comes intuitively to a lot of fiddlers...but phew! :-)
In this short clip, I can't get going because I am telling myself NOT to put my foot down on the downbeat...but finally it gets going...then I think I lost it again at the end :-)


Edited by - NCnotes on 11/01/2022 08:13:46

Nov 1, 2022 - 8:12:52 AM
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14139 posts since 9/23/2009

Ouch…but at least you CAN tap your foot in some steady fashion. My feet cannot keep any time…they just go random so I have to think to hold them still and tell them to just stay out of it…lol…then when I went to a jam in west va where my favorite old time fiddler was leading…I noticed his feet did the same random weird off beat thing, so I didn’t feel so bad about my awful feet. But anyway, it sounds like your issue is that your feet can keep the beat but they’re just going to the wrong side of the beat than what you want…hopefully they can be taught the new habit if you are patient and kind to the podiatric critters with minds of their own.

Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 11/01/2022 08:14:12

Nov 1, 2022 - 8:14:54 AM

14139 posts since 9/23/2009

I guess podiatric isn’t a word because my computer kept changing it to pediatric…lol

Nov 1, 2022 - 8:16 AM
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680 posts since 7/30/2021

Ha yes Peggy, my podiatric critters need retraining!
The weirdest thing is that the bow got trained a lot more easily than the feet! I always was terrible at learning dance steps, too :-)

Edited by - NCnotes on 11/01/2022 08:16:26

Nov 1, 2022 - 8:48:43 AM
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Old Scratch

Canada

1091 posts since 6/22/2016

You could always try just not tapping at all - many, though not all, Irish players frown on foot-tapping - so if you can frown and play at the same time, you could try that instead ... !

Nov 1, 2022 - 9:31:02 AM
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3217 posts since 9/13/2009
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You could always try the alternate double tap - as left/right or as heel/toe

Nov 1, 2022 - 9:48:36 AM
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680 posts since 7/30/2021

I hear a lot of solo Irish fiddlers who "accompany" themselves with nothing but the beat (their foot)and it sounds pretty good...

but yea, in the group, maybe not moving my feet at all may be the way to go. If other people's feet are going on 1-3 and I'm going on 2-4, that will be disorienting!

Ah ha, I just tested and toe/heel/toe/heel is much easier than --- /heel/ --- /heel! So, that may be the Way!

And OldScratch, LOL frowning and not tapping feet....will make me feel like I'm playing classical again laugh

Edited by - NCnotes on 11/01/2022 10:00:56

Nov 1, 2022 - 11:20:49 AM
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2075 posts since 4/6/2014

In a "Standard" Reel I get get by tapping 1 and 3.

Emphasizing the 1st beat in the 1st bar of a 4 bar phrase with a down bow and maybe playing a drone, double stop, chord, or whatever you want to call it to emphasize it. Then playing off the beat for the remaining 3 bars.....Mostly but not always.

But...If i want to play Fast. All of this off beat stuff has to be evened out, and the first beat of a phrase has to be preempted by a 1/8th note ( or a 1/16th note). like taking a breath  if you where playing a flute or whistle etc. But instead of leaving the note out and taking a breath, just hit the note early and drag it over the barline from the previous measure.

Edit: the fast stuff is a recent discovery that i have confirmed to myself by being able to play along with fast flute players for the first time ever!
 

Edited by - pete_fiddle on 11/01/2022 11:28:21

Nov 1, 2022 - 11:23:04 AM
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3217 posts since 9/13/2009
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Am reminded of session with Liz Carroll somebody noticed her alternating feet pattern; as notice in this video.

https://youtu.be/-3kifrrC_gQ

She explained probably due to taking Irish dance lessons as kid. 

Notice in that video, (they must have not got notice about tapping feet frowned upon) - differences of heel, toe or foot lift.
John Doyle also tends to alternate 2 heels, though one is subtle;
Nuala Kennedy has lot of variety, mostly left toe on down beat; but occasionally right is doing double beat; and some stuff. 
Eamon is just solid down beat with toe.

Nov 1, 2022 - 11:44:04 AM

2075 posts since 4/6/2014

I don't think it has much to do with whats going on with a players feet. i think it has more to do with what is going on in their head and coming out in their bowing. If the foot thing doesn't happen naturally i reckon it is best left alone to leave the player to concentrate on the rhythm of the tune and the bowing.

Nov 1, 2022 - 11:48:23 AM
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2494 posts since 10/1/2008

Yeah that foot tapping thing. If I am playing rhythm I can tap either on 1/3 or 2/4. If I am playing a melody or break any accurate tapping goes out the window. I finally just gave up and pay attention to the bass and guitar player and hang with them. < sigh R/

Nov 1, 2022 - 11:57:13 AM

2075 posts since 4/6/2014

Would be different if i was trying to play Canadian stuff where the foot thing is an integral part of the playing/tune.

Edited by - pete_fiddle on 11/01/2022 11:57:40

Nov 1, 2022 - 12:05:37 PM

3217 posts since 9/13/2009
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quote:
Originally posted by NCnotes


but yea, in the group, maybe not moving my feet at all may be the way to go. If other people's feet are going on 1-3 and I'm going on 2-4, that will be disorienting!
 


Mostly is meant to be inaudible, so shouldn't matter.

This reminds me of few comments about my foot tapping sometimes. Occasionally, with some types of music/tunes; I naturally inclined to tap the off-beat, or that might seem more visible than my down beat.

Even though it's generally not audible, some folks jokingly complain they get all confused, disoriented, or think I'm confused about down beats (not the case);... perhaps as they were drilled to tap on the metronome down? Maybe relying on using their eyes rather than ears?

Nov 1, 2022 - 12:17:13 PM

2075 posts since 4/6/2014

Most folk don't play the fiddle with their feet. So i think it may be a distraction at least.... Or even a cause of frustration?

Nov 1, 2022 - 12:22 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by pete_fiddle

I don't think it has much to do with whats going on with a players feet. i think it has more to do with what is going on in their head and coming out in their bowing. If the foot thing doesn't happen naturally i reckon it is best left alone to leave the player to concentrate on the rhythm of the tune and the bowing.


Maybe. For some, lightly tapping toe as metronome, but bit detached from rest of body movement.

For some folks, it's just a natural reaction to the music, a bit like dancing. With that, there is an aspect how engaging their whole body helps lock into the "feel" of the steady beat/rhythm. Notice on that video, how their whole body moves/sways/bobs. That is, not simply "thinking" (going on in head) about the timing.

Nov 1, 2022 - 12:30:36 PM
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2075 posts since 4/6/2014

Yeah, "each to their own". At least as "fiddlers" we are "Allowed" to tap or not. It is up to the individual. It would be an amazing performance for an Orchestra if the violin section where all banging away with their feet and moving around rhythmically in their own preferred way.laugh

Edited by - pete_fiddle on 11/01/2022 12:33:01

Nov 1, 2022 - 12:55:27 PM
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680 posts since 7/30/2021

Yea, I think I'm working on this "offbeat" foot tap because it helps me to absorb the rhythm of the reel...and when the tap gets synchronized with the bow pulse, that feels good. Whether anybody hears my foot or not, it somehow feels good that way...

The problem is my feet doing it "the old way" (beats 1,3) but my bow pulsing it "the new way" (beats 2, 4) so then for some reason I feel all off-balance like I'm going to fall out of my chair, heh heh!

And I agree it depends on the reel...some are great with the offbeat, and some are great with a strong beat on 1...so it's not universal? (but don't quote me on that, I'm no Irish set dancer :-)

( Congrats on being able to play with the fast flute players, Pete! Have you taken on the fast whistle players yet? They seem to go even faster!! (pant, pant!) They've got those little finger spaces and no bow to drag around...they leave me in the dust!)

Edited by - NCnotes on 11/01/2022 12:58:04

Nov 1, 2022 - 1:19:32 PM

10742 posts since 3/19/2009

My quick take is... this is new to you? so just keep with it and you will get it..The solution to the problem is to NOT STOP UNTIL YOU GET THE RESULT YOU ARE AFTER.. If you give up..no.. DON"T give up..just keep working with. Don't let it defeat you.. (Beer may be involved with this commentsmiley)

Nov 1, 2022 - 1:29:33 PM
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Swing

USA

2237 posts since 6/26/2007

If you are having a problem with the 2 and 4 beat, there may be an easy way to conquer this.... Jazz.... a lot of jazz rhythm falls on the 2 and 4 beat...Gypsy Jazz does for sure. there are back up tracks for this.... also you can practice the 2 and 4 beat without your fiddle., just clapping your hands...the University of YouTube has lots of rhythm stuff, just requires a little searching... plus using the Youtube mechanics, you can slow the beats down to where you want them....

Play Happy

Swing

Nov 1, 2022 - 2:07:02 PM

2075 posts since 4/6/2014

quote:
Originally posted by NCnotes

Yea, I think I'm working on this "offbeat" foot tap because it helps me to absorb the rhythm of the reel...and when the tap gets synchronized with the bow pulse, that feels good. Whether anybody hears my foot or not, it somehow feels good that way...

The problem is my feet doing it "the old way" (beats 1,3) but my bow pulsing it "the new way" (beats 2, 4) so then for some reason I feel all off-balance like I'm going to fall out of my chair, heh heh!

And I agree it depends on the reel...some are great with the offbeat, and some are great with a strong beat on 1...so it's not universal? (but don't quote me on that, I'm no Irish set dancer :-)

( Congrats on being able to play with the fast flute players, Pete! Have you taken on the fast whistle players yet? They seem to go even faster!! (pant, pant!) They've got those little finger spaces and no bow to drag around...they leave me in the dust!)


Maybe you are emphasizing the off beat by lengthening the notes,as well as increasing amplitude? rather than only increasing the amplitude. This might throw timing off. i have this problem (amongst innumerable others). My answer to this is to try to straighten things out and then emphasize notes by increasing the amplitude only, not the note length. But i can't tap on the 2 & 4 beats,  i can only tap on the beat...or to my way of thinking, there wouldn't be an off beat?

Nov 1, 2022 - 3:21:51 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by Swing

If you are having a problem with the 2 and 4 beat, there may be an easy way to conquer this.... Jazz.... a lot of jazz rhythm falls on the 2 and 4 beat...Gypsy Jazz does for sure. there are back up tracks for this.... also you can practice the 2 and 4 beat without your fiddle., just clapping your hands...the University of YouTube has lots of rhythm stuff, just requires a little searching... plus using the Youtube mechanics, you can slow the beats down to where you want them....

Play Happy

Swing


Reminds me of this video Clapping To The Beat: 1 & 3 vs. 2 & 4 that might be of interest for some.

Besides tapping toe or clapping along, lots of folks do the practice with metronome as 2 and 4. 

 

[FWIW, while I understand what OP probably means; most Irish and OT fiddle tunes are only 2 beats to the bar...
what you would tapping to is the "&"  in 1 & 2 & - or 1ee&ah2ee&ah and might find it easier to think about tapping as &]

Edited by - alaskafiddler on 11/01/2022 15:32:32

Nov 1, 2022 - 8:29:25 PM
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2150 posts since 12/11/2008

quote:
Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

I guess podiatric isn’t a word because my computer kept changing it to pediatric…lol


Always allow your computer to dumb your posts down. Mediocrity makes us better people. devil

Nov 2, 2022 - 5:54:10 AM
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6091 posts since 9/26/2008

I'm not sure why you WANT to tap on the alternates. Most dance music (except maybe reggae) seems to beg for a solid downbeat on the one which makes what you do naturally seem, umm, natural. Maybe you could think of the pulse as lifting the foot.

I've never understood those who tap 4 beats to the standard 2, especially a fast tune. To watch them tap gives me the impression they've had too much coffee laugh or they're nervous/antsy. I suppose it helps them break the tune down to smaller beats in their head?  I personally like to tap, sometimes both feet at once, and find standing while playing feels stiff if I'm not somehow moving to the beat. 

Edited by - ChickenMan on 11/02/2022 05:56:46

Nov 2, 2022 - 7:13:47 AM

680 posts since 7/30/2021

Hmm, I geeked out a bit on this (looked around online, and read some threads at thesession.org)...

re alaskafiddler- Right, so apparently Irish reels are supposed to be 2/2 but often get written out on sheet music as 4/4 (?) so one could describe the offbeat as the "Ands" (1 and 2 and) or as the "2 and 4" (if counting 1 2 3 4). But I think the 2/2 count is supposed to be better for playing(?) so I'll switch to that...

There are some players that use a strong backbeat in their reels and others who don't. I think I personally have a love of a backbeat in reels and admire that way of playing. Some say that emphasizing the offbeat goes well with the dancing, and propels their movement.

But I think consensus is that use of the backbeat steadily throughout a whole reel (or set!) gets musically tedious and it's never supposed to sound mechanical, you are supposed to vary the rhythm a bit to match the phrasing/shape of the tune, which makes total sense to me...

re ChickenMan, as for why I want to learn to tap on the alternates...I guess it's because when I feel the pulse on the backbeat, I want my feet to match, instead of confusing my body? When I tap on the backbeat, it's like the beat gets into my body and comes out better in my playing...

(Liz Carroll's feet in the video are amazing...she's probably one of those people who could dance while fiddling (like, Riverdance :-)
Here's a video of Kevin Burke playing a set of well-known reels...he seems to be tapping on offbeat sometimes...love how he plays these!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjyG3rW_yLA

Nov 2, 2022 - 7:50:32 AM

Old Scratch

Canada

1091 posts since 6/22/2016

Is Kevin Burke playing an unusually large fiddle or is that just the camera angle or are my eyes unusually small?

Nov 2, 2022 - 10:25:55 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan

I'm not sure why you WANT to tap on the alternates. Most dance music (except maybe reggae) seems to beg for a solid downbeat on the one which makes what you do naturally seem, umm, natural. Maybe you could think of the pulse as lifting the foot.

I've never understood those who tap 4 beats to the standard 2, especially a fast tune. To watch them tap gives me the impression they've had too much coffee laugh or they're nervous/antsy. I suppose it helps them break the tune down to smaller beats in their head?  I personally like to tap, sometimes both feet at once, and find standing while playing feels stiff if I'm not somehow moving to the beat. 


Lots of dance music has strong up or off beat feel... including popular music many grew up listening to - swing/rock/blues/R&B. Noticeable when emphasized snare pulse; or boom CHUCK, boom CHUCK, feel (drum, guitar).   But I tend to think of trad Irish music as mostly downbeat driven. (A complaint with some guitar or piano players in Irish sessions, is emphasizing that off beat boom CHUCK.)

Will share that there have been comments/discussions/criticisms over past decades, about some traditional (downbeat) fiddling styles, becoming influenced by that... a bit more (or over) hyped upbeat.  

Of course folks can play it how they want, just might want to be aware of others views.

As far as double tap, that kind of confused me... but perhaps has to do with how they learned; to tap with metronome on every beat; and notice that they tend perceive/count 1&2&3&4&; (vs 1ee&ah2ee&ah)?

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