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Oct 13, 2023 - 11:30:59 AM

99 posts since 4/4/2023

quote:
Originally posted by FiddleHed

                                                                               de-emphasize and even "swallow" or skip "ghost notes"

                                          Thanks for the reminder!                 That there's some of the best advice I ever got years ago, playing in a band & slowing them down with my break on the C tune Nashville Skyline Rag.  All along I'd had some notion it was sort of like cheating to leave out any of Paul Warren's notes, until they assured me the audience can fill in a note here & there but won't appreciate the lack of drive that comes from trying to play them all too fast.

 


Oct 13, 2023 - 11:53:31 AM

2377 posts since 4/6/2014

Messed this post up

Edited by - pete_fiddle on 10/13/2023 12:00:00

Oct 13, 2023 - 11:58:36 AM

2377 posts since 4/6/2014

quote:
Originally posted by doryman
quote:
Originally posted by pete_fiddle

When folk are talking about 120 or 130 bpm are they talking 120-130 minims per minute or 120-130 crotchets per minute? because i have yet to hear anyone post anything here at 120 minims per minute that doesn't hold on to a note longer than a crotchet and a half

120 minims per minute in a reel is Very fast. In a reel 130 minims per minute is almost impossible. That is how reels are written and performed .....1 minim = X BPM

Try Playing a standard reel Eg Saint Anne's or Whiskey before breakfast at 130 Minims per minute...Then post the results here and i will be totally gobsmacked. And Humbled. ... Unless of course you are an amazingly fast pro player.

PS: No links to other fast pro players, just you and your fiddle @ at least 120 Minims minute, (8 x 1/16th notes per bar). wink


Pete, I have no idea what a crotchet or a minim is.  However, I use Strum Machine as a backing track and it provides the option to choose your speed (in beats per minute).  I find that the 120 bpm for Whiskey Before Breakfast is pretty much the same speed that it gets played at for most jams around here and for most of the you tube videos I watch.  I would be very interested if you would take a look at Strum Machine and let me know what you think. 

I've read a lot here about how fiddle tunes are usually played agt 120 bpm because that's what the dancers want.  So what is 120 for a dancer?  A crotchet or a minim?

I guess I would add that I don't have too much difficulty getting a song up to 100 bpm using the Strum Machine accounting method and I'm only three years into the process, so I'm guessing we (me and strum machine) are not talking minims. 


i have posted saint Annes reel at 120 Minims per minute.....As you can hear i am really struggling after 30 years or so. Others often play this at 120 minims per minute. or even more. At 130 Minims per minute i wouldn't stand a chance.

A minim is 4x1/8th notes. so in 1 bar there are 2 beats. ie: 1,(2,3,4), 2,(2,3,4,) .....or (Da ba da ba), (Da,ba, da, ba)

Oct 13, 2023 - 12:11:39 PM
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doryman

USA

558 posts since 2/10/2020

quote:
Originally posted by pete_fiddle
quote:
Originally posted by doryman
quote:
Originally posted by pete_fiddle

When folk are talking about 120 or 130 bpm are they talking 120-130 minims per minute or 120-130 crotchets per minute? because i have yet to hear anyone post anything here at 120 minims per minute that doesn't hold on to a note longer than a crotchet and a half

120 minims per minute in a reel is Very fast. In a reel 130 minims per minute is almost impossible. That is how reels are written and performed .....1 minim = X BPM

Try Playing a standard reel Eg Saint Anne's or Whiskey before breakfast at 130 Minims per minute...Then post the results here and i will be totally gobsmacked. And Humbled. ... Unless of course you are an amazingly fast pro player.

PS: No links to other fast pro players, just you and your fiddle @ at least 120 Minims minute, (8 x 1/16th notes per bar). wink


Pete, I have no idea what a crotchet or a minim is.  However, I use Strum Machine as a backing track and it provides the option to choose your speed (in beats per minute).  I find that the 120 bpm for Whiskey Before Breakfast is pretty much the same speed that it gets played at for most jams around here and for most of the you tube videos I watch.  I would be very interested if you would take a look at Strum Machine and let me know what you think. 

I've read a lot here about how fiddle tunes are usually played agt 120 bpm because that's what the dancers want.  So what is 120 for a dancer?  A crotchet or a minim?

I guess I would add that I don't have too much difficulty getting a song up to 100 bpm using the Strum Machine accounting method and I'm only three years into the process, so I'm guessing we (me and strum machine) are not talking minims. 


i have posted saint Annes reel at 120 Minims per minute.....As you can hear i am really struggling after 30 years or so. Others often play this at 120 minims per minute. or even more. At 130 Minims per minute i wouldn't stand a chance.

A minim is 4x1/8th notes. so in 1 bar there are 2 beats. ie: 1,(2,3,4), 2,(2,3,4,) .....or (Da ba da ba), (Da,ba, da, ba)


Well...

1) This does match Strum Machine.  Your speed is the same as what Strum Machine is calling 120 bpm.

2) Your definition of "really struggling" is way different than mine.  You sound quite good to my ear!

3) Your version of Saint Annes Reel is a LOT more notey than mine.  And I suspect that it's the same for Whiskey Before Breakfast.  It's much easier to play at 120 when you only play half as many notes!   Because I didn't start playing fiddle at 60, I don't think I will ever be able to play that song the way you do, or as good as you do, at that speed. 

4) As a beginner, if I want to play with others in a jamming situation (which I love to do), there's just no way, right now, that I could play your version of Saint Annes reel and hang with everyone.  There's no getting around the tempo issue when playing with others, but I CAN solve the problem by playing easier version of songs, and that's what I'm doing right now.  No one in the jam really cares or not if I play a simple version, but they care very much if I mess up the timing. 

Oct 13, 2023 - 12:24:56 PM
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2377 posts since 4/6/2014

So that's another way around it ...Only play half the notes.yes

Strum machine requires email addresses etc so i ain't going there.

Oct 13, 2023 - 2:16:45 PM
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Old Scratch

Canada

1222 posts since 6/22/2016

"As you can hear i am really struggling after 30 years or so." - The recording cuts out after only 2 minutes and 16 seconds - but that's okay; we'll take your word for how sounds at the 30 year mark ... !

Seriously, though, folks - I never pay attention to the notion of BPM, but that tempo you're playing at does not strike me as outlandishly fast; I would normally play it just a little slower. However, that first turn is pretty 'notey' .....

Just dug up a vid of me playing at just about that tempo one time - it does sound frenetic, but I was trying to keep warm:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdHs6_6PLOs&list=PL34E6D7B19C847888&index=41

If that's about 120 BPM, then 130 would be kinda nuts.  But then there was the Irish player - I believe it was one of the Fureys - who said, when asked why he played everything so fast:  "Because I bloody-well can!"

Oct 13, 2023 - 2:47:45 PM
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1111 posts since 7/30/2021

Ha ha! Yes, and Frankie Gavin, Michael Coleman, I swear they just have more fast-twitch nerve fibers than the rest of us mortals.

Oct 13, 2023 - 3:21:42 PM
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837 posts since 8/10/2017

I don't think you should try to play faster. A lot of people who try to play faster before they are ready end up playing more poorly. I've known many people who have played fast for many years and have chosen to slow down so that they can play well, so that they can fit in all the notes they were leaving out, or so they can clean up sloppiness or cheating that they had been doing. Some of these long time players regret having played fast before they were ready. Soon enough, they are able to play fast again, but now with the skills they had gained from playing slower. So instead of trying to play faster, using the metronome or other means of forcing yourself, play the tunes at a speed where you sound good. Start tunes at the jam at the speed you are comfortable with. Eventually you will play as fast as anyone and you won't have forced it. It will just happen.

Oct 13, 2023 - 5:48:04 PM
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10 posts since 4/23/2021

Lots of great input and discussion!

I agree speed is not the be all end all of playing music. It is just one of the many skills or facets involved. Most skills do naturally improve in due course through familiarity and repetition. However, part of the fun of practice for me is specifically identifying goals in my playing and finding a way to hopefully meet them. Whether that 'speeds' up the improvement process faster than letting it be, who knows :).

When to actually play a faster tempo is based on context and preference. As many of you pointed out, there are lots of situations where a faster tempo is very rarely required or maybe even wanted. Even so, I would argue that having the capacity and ability to do so wouldn't be a bad thing, it would probably even improve the moderate tempo playing as well. 5 steps back from the edge of your capacity is a lot more comfortable than 1 step away.

All that said, I am a fan of having multiple approaches to address a goal. Sometimes your trusted 'go to' option doesn't seem to do the job so it's nice to have other options.

Oct 13, 2023 - 7:39:59 PM

3554 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by doryman

Pete, I have no idea what a crotchet or a minim is.  

The UK call minim, is what US calls a half note. A crochet is a quarter note.

The "beat" in bpm in most context is simply the perceived main pulse.  Most common if represented notational values, assigned as to either half (2/2, 3/2), quarter (2/4, 4/4, 3/4), or dotted quater (6/8. 9/8. 12/8).

Oct 14, 2023 - 1:09:56 AM

2377 posts since 4/6/2014

Nice one @Old Scratch . Doesn't sound as frenetic as my own efforts though. Maybe due to the good atmosphere you are creating!

That's about where my playing tempo usually is for a fast reel around 115-116, sometimes getting up to 120 or so.

Something goes awry with my playing 120 though. Especially when playing with a metronome. Although i'm ok at 116, i just can't relax into a constant 120 bpm. Others seem comfortable with a metronome over 120...But not many, and certainly not me. probably why i haunt the "fast playing topics" here.

Oct 14, 2023 - 9:16:39 AM

Old Scratch

Canada

1222 posts since 6/22/2016

@petefiddle You're too kind, sir. I was trying, anyway ... !

Oct 14, 2023 - 9:50:19 AM
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doryman

USA

558 posts since 2/10/2020

Occasionally, I like to crank the metronome up to 130 and try to play a song. It's always a trainwreck, but then when I dial it back to 100 or 110, it all seems quite reasonable.

Oct 14, 2023 - 5:12:26 PM
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2496 posts since 8/23/2008

fast-twitch nerve fibers..........

This 'twitching' is actually an 'upward/lifting' action of the finger like a spring from the knuckle root. It is not unique to just fiddling genres; it is the first of many exercises represented in Louis Kievman's book of daily routines for classical players.

It will just happen..............

This was the advice given to a friend, but it was never going to happen for him because he never 'practiced to play fast' and had no reason to. I had a head start with the above exercise and I was playing in a dance band, but I was experiencing discomfort with hand cramp and sore finger tips. Which is when I decided to focus on reducing the amount of 'finger pressure'.

cheating that they had been doing......

What is all this 'cheating' going on..? First it was 'cheat chords'. I have never heard this in regards to fiddling. Is it 'layman's terms' for playing 'open string double stops' and open strings between improvised melody notes...? 

Edited by - buckhenry on 10/14/2023 17:25:11

Oct 15, 2023 - 2:17:34 AM
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2377 posts since 4/6/2014

One strategy that seems to work to some degree for me, is to try to arrange phrases so that they can be played in a single bow if possible, (leaving me free to use any  bowing i like). Shifting up or down if necessary, but as little as possible...i have found that bowing and/or fingering, is often less complicated in a different position.

I use the modal finger patterns to shift to and fro. And shift my left hand as a unit to the new pattern/position. This often gets me out of a sticky situation during a phrase. And maybe i only need to shift once during the whole tune?...Then back again to more familiar 1st position. But the more i use these little shifts, the more i seem to use them, (often nowadays without running back to first position for sanctuary). Thus i will hopefully open up the whole fingerboard and its possibilities....Maybe?

Oct 16, 2023 - 12:12:55 PM
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JonD

USA

152 posts since 2/12/2021

To me, one of the critical components to playing well at any speed, let alone fast, is string crossing. But string crossing becomes more and more of a limiting factor as the tempo speeds up.

What I am learning lately is how important a loose, flexible wrist and fingers is to making those fast jumps between strings. Essentially no upper arm motion is involved for the most part-- it's all those small muscles. What I am also finding is that my bow hold needs to support that degree of flexibility to make it work.

Not claiming any expertise here, but taking advice from experts and trying to make it work for me!

Edited by - JonD on 10/16/2023 12:14:11

Oct 16, 2023 - 9:49:15 PM

3554 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by buckhenry


cheating that they had been doing......

What is all this 'cheating' going on..? First it was 'cheat chords'. I have never heard this in regards to fiddling.


I was always a bit puzzled by "cheating"; as well other comments/terms like "all the notes" or "that's not the way it goes". Nor various comments about speed, such as idea to arbitrarily take any tune/setting and just to try play faster.

I've come to realize, it's mostly different background, philosophies/goals about playing music.

From what I observe, the idea of "cheating" ... I think is referring some idea focused on "the notes", fixed instructions, "as written" (or fixed on recording), only one specific fixed sequence/timing of "right" notes; and notes used in that fixed chord voicing; can extend to mechanic instruction (like bowing) and execution; maybe focus on some idea of perfection. Thus  "all the notes", in that each and every one must be equally important; and any alteration, omission, addition, substitution, modification; would be considered wrong, must be dreaded "mistakes". Tempo is perhaps not as important goal; nor viewed in same way; rather linear, simply as speed in how fast they can cleanly execute all those instructions (all notes, mechanics, timing); and about simply trying to do that faster.

Others have different background, philosophy, approach and goals of music. There really isn't any concept of cheating. Often it's much more holistic, contextual; to which tempo is viewed different, plays more important, and integral part.
 

Oct 16, 2023 - 11:26:15 PM
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3554 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Saltcured
 the audience can fill in a note here & there but won't appreciate the lack of drive that comes from trying to play them all too fast.

 


I think the perspective of audience/listener perspective is something to consider.

I am highly skeptical mentally filling in a note here & there.  They probably aren't experiencing the music that way; don't have specific fixed reference to  "all the notes" are supposed to even be, or cheating (whatever that means). Their listening experience is not about comparing it to notation, or transcription, giving some scorecard to that; nor note speed calculation. Rather just go by if it sounds good, taking in the overall experience; "feel" and expression of the musical ideas. Tempo of music, plays an important qualitative role in feel.

Oct 17, 2023 - 4:19:25 PM

1 posts since 10/27/2022

quote:
Originally posted by pete_fiddle

When folk are talking about 120 or 130 bpm are they talking 120-130 minims per minute or 120-130 crotchets per minute? because i have yet to hear anyone post anything here at 120 minims per minute that doesn't hold on to a note longer than a crotchet and a half

120 minims per minute in a reel is Very fast. In a reel 130 minims per minute is almost impossible. That is how reels are written and performed .....1 minim = X BPM

Try Playing a standard reel Eg Saint Anne's or Whiskey before breakfast at 130 Minims per minute...Then post the results here and i will be totally gobsmacked. And Humbled. ... Unless of course you are an amazingly fast pro player.

PS: No links to other fast pro players, just you and your fiddle @ at least 120 Minims minute, (8 x 1/16th notes per bar). wink


Hi Pete. I appreciate you being clear here about what people are referring to by BPM. 120BPM for a reel (with two strong beats per bar, i.e. minims) is quick, but not overly so. It depends where you are at with your fiddling!

For a reel 120bpm where a beat is a minim, one bar is one second (60 'bars per minute' smiley). Irish reels would regularly go along at this speed.

130BPM would also be commonplace also. 140 certainly also possible in a quick session!

But I don't think playing at speed is super important -- much more important to play well than fast. And slow practice is good practice for everyone, even very experienced players.

I don't regularly record fiddle lessons with reels played quickly, because I think it's not necessarily helpful for students. But in this video lesson of The Banshee I think the initial playthrough is at around 120, and that feels pretty laid back for an Irish reel!

https://learntoplaythefiddle.co.uk/learn-the-banshee-reel/

If I have time tomorrow I'll post some thoughts on practising speed playing....

Edited by - learntoplaythefiddle on 10/17/2023 16:30:52

Oct 17, 2023 - 8:24:17 PM
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2496 posts since 8/23/2008

any alteration, omission, addition, substitution, modification; would be considered wrong

 

Tis a great pitty, because it is a very interesting exercise to reduce a very notey tune to it's basic bones, and visa versa. 

Oct 18, 2023 - 12:46:03 AM

Quincy

Belgium

816 posts since 1/16/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Erockin

I love this thread! Thank you, all!


Oh yes, me too!! 

Great topic great answers to read.

Oct 18, 2023 - 12:47:28 AM

Quincy

Belgium

816 posts since 1/16/2021

Question: What about a pinky that is free and not on the bow like with a classical bow grip, would that help to speed up?

Edited by - Quincy on 10/18/2023 00:47:49

Oct 18, 2023 - 1:26:07 AM
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1350 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Quincy

Question: What about a pinky that is free and not on the bow like with a classical bow grip, would that help to speed up?


No. The little finger is a stabilizer for the bow. Players of all styles, including classical, often lose contact with the stick at the little finger when playing faster passages, but that's because of a relaxed wrist and finger position. Simply lifting the finger doesn't make any difference to speed. Playing fast passages works best when articulation is clean and the body is relaxed. Watch Heifetz play the Hora Staccato for the perfect illustration of this; when he played it in concerts, the audience would mob the front of the stage trying to get a closer look at his hands.

There are players who are able to play fast passages with a locked position and a sort of nervous twitch in the wrist, but they always suffer in cleanness of execution and that way of playing is not good for the body. 

Edited by - The Violin Beautiful on 10/18/2023 01:26:50

Oct 18, 2023 - 1:37:28 AM

2377 posts since 4/6/2014

quote:
Originally posted by learntoplaythefiddle

I don't regularly record fiddle lessons with reels played quickly, because I think it's not necessarily helpful for students. But in this video lesson of The Banshee I think the initial playthrough is at around 120, and that feels pretty laid back for an Irish reel!

https://learntoplaythefiddle.co.uk/learn-the-banshee-reel/

If I have time tomorrow I'll post some thoughts on practising speed playing....


Hi learntoplaythefiddle.

Thanks for reply

i think your initial play through seems to be around 100-110 bpm. Practicing a reel at consistent 120 bpm with a metronome seems considerably faster to me. But as you say 120(ish) bpm is commonplace at ITM sessions. The consistency of the tempo at a session another kettle of fish.wink i also think practicing at a given tempo is different from playing  at that tempo.

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