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Jul 23, 2023 - 12:09:59 PM
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2432 posts since 4/6/2014

i don't see why folk don't want to play like themselves?

Just learn and cherry pick the nuances, and keep the one's that you like, come easy to you, and seem to fit the style/genre you want to play. And maybe introduce some sounds that the fiddle police (in which ever genre), haven't heard yet? like double stops and Jazzy stuff in ITM, or turnarounds/triplets in OT. ...Etc etc.

in short just play the fiddle like you do, and see if folk like it?

Jul 23, 2023 - 12:27:42 PM
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DougD

USA

11787 posts since 12/2/2007

I don't have much experience in reality, but I wonder if both Irish sessions and American jams haven't gotten a bit too stern and serious - doctrinaire about imposing their ideas about the music (maybe almost inadvertantly).
I've had the good fortune to have known some very, very good musicians in several genres. In my experience they were much more interested in making music and fun together than telling you what or how to play.
Just one example - our band was part of a large, six week tour of Latin America that also included DL Menard and the Louisiana Aces, with the great Marc Savoy on accordion. We had some long bus rides, and sometimes Marc would look towards the back of the bus and say:
"C'mon Doug, lets "mash down!"
If I said "But Marc, I don't know your tunes" he'd just reply "Aw, sure you do" and start playing.
Also, on that same trip several of us came down with the flu after the flight from Panama to Lima, and I missed a show or two. Now that I think about it I think DL filled in on guitar with our band. I wish I'd gotten to see and hear that. He was a great guitar player, and in fact I did absorb some of their style and tunes from watching him.

Jul 23, 2023 - 3:18:58 PM
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3314 posts since 10/22/2007

quote:
Originally posted by pete_fiddle

i don't see why folk don't want to play like themselves?

Just learn and cherry pick the nuances, and keep the one's that you like, come easy to you, and seem to fit the style/genre you want to play. And maybe introduce some sounds that the fiddle police (in which ever genre), haven't heard yet? like double stops and Jazzy stuff in ITM, or turnarounds/triplets in OT. ...Etc etc.

in short just play the fiddle like you do, and see if folk like it?


THIS!

Like it or not, every fiddler has a sort of fingerprint. So many factors contribute to this. Some fiddle related. Some hardware/gear related. Much contributed from a fiddlers physical and mental state and experience. Like it or not. 

Remember the late John Hartford said, if you can play a tune to suit yourself, you're as good as anybody else. The older I am, the more I understand this to be true. Do play tunes to suit yourself. Don't try to suit someone else. And bear in mind because of your fingerprint, you won't sound like anybody else. Satisfaction is mostly between your ears.

Jul 23, 2023 - 5:03:49 PM

1130 posts since 7/30/2021

That’s a tough one for me, because when I hear the good players I think ,“I wanna play/sound just like that!”

But yea, in the end, it’s about liking your Own playing …
perhaps in classical, with all the teachers, conductors, auditions and judges, this is not emphasized enough!

So it’s kind of a personal journey now…
DIY vs. teacher-driven…feels strange (but fun)!

Jul 23, 2023 - 7:14:48 PM
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11441 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by pete_fiddle

i don't see why folk don't want to play like themselves?

Just learn and cherry pick the nuances, and keep the one's that you like, come easy to you, and seem to fit the style/genre you want to play. And maybe introduce some sounds that the fiddle police (in which ever genre), haven't heard yet? like double stops and Jazzy stuff in ITM, or turnarounds/triplets in OT. ...Etc etc.

in short just play the fiddle like you do, and see if folk like it?


Hey, can we get an "AMEN"?

Jul 24, 2023 - 1:23:01 PM
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2434 posts since 12/11/2008

I might have mentioned this before, but when I'm playing with other folks I do my best to complement the other musicians and blend in with them. When I'm playing solo I do what I wanna do.

Jul 24, 2023 - 1:33:32 PM
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11441 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler

I might have mentioned this before, but when I'm playing with other folks I do my best to complement the other musicians and blend in with them. When I'm playing solo I do what I wanna do.


Good point.. I love busking because it is always my turn and I can play as many variations as I want, however I SHOULD be more respectful when another person is leading a tune but sometimes find it hard to fall in line.. Your comments make you an inspiration!!

Jul 24, 2023 - 3:40:49 PM

2434 posts since 12/11/2008

TuneWeaver -- Thanks. For better or worse, my flexibility stems from years of playing rock-and-roll with semi-talented egomaniacs. Yeah! Sure! One more Blues in A will suit me fine! As long as you're supplying the beer, and I'm getting a share of the tips.

Jul 24, 2023 - 3:45:58 PM
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177 posts since 1/31/2013

If you wish to sound like you're steeped in a genre (e.g. old time) you've got to be fluent in that language. Otherwise it will never sound quite right.

Lonesome Fiddler wrote:

"Choose a musical phrase (OK, a cliche) in the genre you're trying to become fluent in. Just as you do when you tackle a foreign language, play it/repeat it endlessly. Sing it in your head. Sing it while you shower. Sing it when you drive. If you have a decent ear, your fingers will find their way."

Aug 6, 2023 - 3:39:28 PM

55 posts since 9/22/2021

I wish I could tell ya but I'm still trying to figure it out myself! I played Irish trad exclusively for about 25 years then started playing more old-time and then started playing Bluegrass too. I gave up the first time because I was definitely feeling like a one-trick pony. It came easier the 2nd time around a few years ago, but now trying to maintain (and continue to grow) my technique and the stylistic specifics in other genres feels more challenging. There was a really good podcast on Shannon Heaton"s Irish trad program about other (pro) traddies own journeys with this. I'm not sure if anyone has really cracked the code yet. I also want to play Gypsy Jazz ??

Aug 6, 2023 - 6:38:57 PM
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2434 posts since 12/11/2008

Each of my three fiddles sports a distinctly differently-shaped bridge . Three differently-shaped chin rests, as well...plus a gaggle of bows. After a few seconds, though, the differences really don't matter to me. When I start playin', I just start playin'. The fingers and ears adjust. The only consistency I truly care about is the distance between the nut and the bridge.

Aug 11, 2023 - 8:44:43 AM
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6456 posts since 8/7/2009

quote:
Originally posted by mtnfidil

I wish I could tell ya but I'm still trying to figure it out myself! I played Irish trad exclusively for about 25 years then started playing more old-time and then started playing Bluegrass too. I gave up the first time because I was definitely feeling like a one-trick pony. It came easier the 2nd time around a few years ago, but now trying to maintain (and continue to grow) my technique and the stylistic specifics in other genres feels more challenging. There was a really good podcast on Shannon Heaton"s Irish trad program about other (pro) traddies own journeys with this. I'm not sure if anyone has really cracked the code yet. I also want to play Gypsy Jazz ??


I briefly played with an Trad Irish group. I recognized that I was not going to be able to just drop in and play along. But I also had a good friend that also played in that group. She was one of the "group leaders" - calling the tunes and calling out when the tunes changed. She was a very good Irish fiddler. But she wanted desperately to play bluegrass fiddle and old time. She could play a few songs / tunes well enough, but always struggled with improvisation and accompaniment on the fly at jams. It really bothered her. I would remind her of where she was with her Irish fiddling and how long it took her to get there - she knew, but she figured she should be able to just "drop in and play along". And my situation just added the needed confirmation.

Why did I "quit" playing Trad Irish?  I love the music, but I was not willing to give up my other "loves" - in order to "master" the language. I'm not sorry I did that, Nevertheless, the highlight of our visit to Scotland and Ireland last month was going to pubs and listening to live music. Gosh that was good. But I play old time music - with a cross-tuned fiddle. I can't imagine me not doing that now........

Perhaps if I had enough years left in me, but I know I don't.

Edited by - tonyelder on 08/11/2023 08:46:40

Aug 11, 2023 - 8:54:10 AM
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55 posts since 9/22/2021

quote:
Originally posted by tonyelder
quote:
Originally posted by mtnfidil

I wish I could tell ya but I'm still trying to figure it out myself! I played Irish trad exclusively for about 25 years then started playing more old-time and then started playing Bluegrass too. I gave up the first time because I was definitely feeling like a one-trick pony. It came easier the 2nd time around a few years ago, but now trying to maintain (and continue to grow) my technique and the stylistic specifics in other genres feels more challenging. There was a really good podcast on Shannon Heaton"s Irish trad program about other (pro) traddies own journeys with this. I'm not sure if anyone has really cracked the code yet. I also want to play Gypsy Jazz ??


I briefly played with an Trad Irish group. I recognized that I was not going to be able to just drop in and play along. But I also had a good friend that also played in that group. She was one of the "group leaders" - calling the tunes and calling out when the tunes changed. She was a very good Irish fiddler. But she wanted desperately to play bluegrass fiddle and old time. She could play a few songs / tunes well enough, but always struggled with improvisation and accompaniment on the fly at jams. It really bothered her. I would remind her of where she was with her Irish fiddling and how long it took her to get there - she knew, but she figured she should be able to just "drop in and play along". And my situation just added the needed confirmation.

Why did I "quit" playing Trad Irish?  I love the music, but I was not willing to give up my other "loves" - in order to "master" the language. I'm not sorry I did that, Nevertheless, the highlight of our visit to Scotland and Ireland last month was going to pubs and listening to live music. Gosh that was good. But I play old time music - with a cross-tuned fiddle. I can't imagine me not doing that now........

Perhaps if I had enough years left in me, but I know I don't.


Learning languages is definitely an apt comparison. Having the environment available to immerse in that language definitely helps. Unfortunately I'm quite far from the regular bluegrass jams in the state and even the Irish sessions now. At least Irish trad is just as much a solo form, or rather more so, so isolation isn't a barrier. But BG is definitely "band music" so I think it's harder without a group to "converse" with. You're right about the time factor too. It takes a longer time to develop in certain genres than others I think. 

Aug 14, 2023 - 5:01:38 PM

55 posts since 9/22/2021

We haven't even touched on the factor of a 2nd (or more) instrument. That really makes it interesting. I also play mandolin and really struggle these days with juggling the two, and not being stuck in a rut. I feel like there was a time when it was better able to focus and make progress on more than one instrument, but that was when I only played one genre. Maybe it's just a symptom of more time aging? ??

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