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Dec 6, 2023 - 12:45:48 PM
14753 posts since 9/23/2009

...and ... how in this world does anybody learn it? That's my new goal...I'm predicting horrible failure and hoping not to crack my skull or bust up a fiddle trying to learn. A... I can NOT dance a lick. I took clogging lessons before and I was the class dunce...so the bad dancers were always happy to see me and to pick a spot near me so they could look better to the teacher... B... I never even learned to sing and fiddle at the same time...well, not really, not very good...I mean, I can a little. and C...life has been very busy, weird and hectic recently and I flatout barely even CAN fiddle at all by this point...very, very rusty...haven't played long enough to go for months and months without playing...so my fiddling is about as bad as it ever was at this point in time.

Yet, did you ever just need a new project to focus on in your life? Yeah...that's me now. I just feel like I need to fiddle, sing, and dance, maybe even chew gum, all at the same time. So...gonna try...if you never hear from me again, it ended in total disaster...lol.

Any advice from those who've been there/done that? I know Lee's Harry Hare is an expert...maybe he can tell me something helpful...wait, can he even talk????

Dec 6, 2023 - 1:38:45 PM
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11374 posts since 3/19/2009

Hey, Peggy.. Fiddling is hard enough to do WITHOUT dancing.. !! I can't chew gum and walk, let alone fiddle and dance.. Which reminds me of those Celtic Women shows where this gal dances and seems to flawlessly play fiddle tunes.. Now, If I could get someone to play FOR me while I dance, pretending to fiddle.. we'd be in business.. (Are those gals really playing while they dance or not? I think it has been brought up before here on the Hangout but I can't recall the consensus).

Dec 6, 2023 - 2:50:05 PM
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2535 posts since 8/27/2008

That sounds like a great goal. I can't dance a lick either but I appreciate you wanting to dance while you play. John Hartford had a great shuffle he did with fiddle tunes and it went over very well with audiences. Having produced him at a local festival once many years ago I appreciated his setup which I believe included a square of plywood with kitty litter scattered on it, and a DI connection to the board.

Dec 6, 2023 - 5:34:40 PM
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6338 posts since 9/26/2008

I suppose it depends on what you mean by dance. I can move to the beat while fiddling but if you mean like that Hillary gal, not a chance. Of course, that sort of dancing is not something I'd do, BUT you should see my feet cut a rug when I'm seated and playing.

laugh

Dec 6, 2023 - 5:41:25 PM
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11374 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan

I suppose it depends on what you mean by dance. I can move to the beat while fiddling but if you mean like that Hillary gal, not a chance. Of course, that sort of dancing is not something I'd do, BUT you should see my feet cut a rug when I'm seated and playing.

laugh


Folks, I HAVE seen this guy's feet while he fiddles.. He puts in miles while sitting!!  Love ya, Billy...

Dec 6, 2023 - 7:31:24 PM

14753 posts since 9/23/2009

Well I was thinking more along the same lines as what John Hartford did...not the tricky stuff, well, his would be tricky enough, but just simple steps on a plywood board with something scratchy sounding.

He came to our college back in around 72 or so and I'm thinking it was a newer thing of his, out on the road. He sang and wore his little weird hat and shuffled around on the board...I figured it was salt or sugar or something on the board...I guess coula been cat litter and would probably be easier to clean up...lol...I mean, unless the cats got there before the dancin' was over. But it was a fun thing and I've seen a few others do similar stuff ... always fun. Don't worry...I'm sure this is failure and terrible disappointment brewing here...I just need a good struggle once in a while to reboot my brain. We probably live in something more like solitary confinement than your average prisoner, and what with all the issues we've had cascading down on us like grand pianos from an upstairs window since last March...lol...well I just need a reboot. So why not bust my face apart trying to do something that's probably hopeless, yet provides a type of struggle to achieve that I can't resist, even knowing in advance I will never succeed...lol.

Dec 6, 2023 - 7:47:18 PM

6338 posts since 9/26/2008

quote:
Originally posted by TuneWeaver
quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan

I suppose it depends on what you mean by dance. I can move to the beat while fiddling but if you mean like that Hillary gal, not a chance. Of course, that sort of dancing is not something I'd do, BUT you should see my feet cut a rug when I'm seated and playing.

laugh


Folks, I HAVE seen this guy's feet while he fiddles.. He puts in miles while sitting!!  Love ya, Billy...

 


Right back at ya, Lee. 

Dec 6, 2023 - 7:58:54 PM
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DougD

USA

11716 posts since 12/2/2007
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I'd say people learn it by learning to play the instrument, and learning to dance, and then combining the two. I can think of several people who are great fiddlers, and also very good dancers, but I don't think they usually do both at the same time. I'm thinking of April Verch and Natalie MacMaster, who both come from regions with strong step dancing traditions, and I think they both began dancing as well as fiddling very young.
To do both like Hilary Klug seems like a "parlor trick" of sorts to me (She was a busker, I think), and I don't think you'd want to do it too much.
John Hartford did keep time with his feet, but I wouldn't call it "dancing" exactly- more like what they do in French Canada, usually seated though. Here's a recording I made of John doing this, but with the banjo, not fiddle. This is from an LP recorded in June, 1979. If you listen on headphones I think you can hear the footwork. app.box.com/s/0senxg9say

Edited by - DougD on 12/06/2023 20:05:34

Dec 6, 2023 - 8:11:17 PM
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DougD

USA

11716 posts since 12/2/2007
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Now that I think of it, here's another recording I made about the same time of Algia Mae Hinton dancing while playing the guitar behind her head. Maybe you should just try that first!
youtu.be/vao84otvOvU

Dec 6, 2023 - 8:37:45 PM

14753 posts since 9/23/2009

Hmmm...guitar behind her head, you mean sorta like Jimmy Hendricks or Violet Hensley (only with fiddle instead of guitar). Well the only tricky or parlor trick thing I would ever try is to play Turkey in the Straw with a toothpick as a bow...sounds like a long name of the tune but I mean bow it with a toothpick...I've done that to amuse myself at home in solitary confinement before...lol...but it ain't much fun and it's underwhelmingly easy to do...a toothpick actually makes a decent bow.

But just the basic clogging steps you know...the very basic ones is what I hope to get, but not with loud shoes...just bare feet and sprinkle down some kosher salt or something...I don't know...maybe it would just chew up my feet. Or possibly pickle my feet...pickled groundhog feet.

But just something to learn...daughter is supposed to show me those basic clogging steps...I mean, there's like two or three steps just very very basic...I can't do them. Never could. But for some crazy reason I just wanna try it again, and this time add the fiddle. I never could play a guitar standing up or a banjo standing up...well, I mean I have had to at times and did it for small time amateur performances...but it's hard to fingerpick a guitar or clawhammer a banjo either one standing, and when I was in the little BG amateur band for two or three years that got on their nerves...lol...I played standing but if they wanted me to pick Windy and Warm...needed a chair for that. But anyhow...like I said before...if I stumble and demolish both my body and fiddle at least you'll know I died happy...lol...or maybe just extremely motivated yet frustrated.

Dec 6, 2023 - 9:42:32 PM
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DougD

USA

11716 posts since 12/2/2007
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This looks pretty easy, but of course you have to have special boots:
youtu.be/meuNWgl2ko8

Dec 7, 2023 - 3:02:51 AM
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RichJ

USA

954 posts since 8/6/2013

I think I'm inclined to agree with Doug's comment about combined fiddling/dancing being some kind of "parlor trick". Why you would want to to it? If the reason is using it in a performance, then it seems there's good reason to think in might add to your audience attraction. But if, like most of us, you mostly play at home for your own pleasure and enjoyment, seems like it might be a distraction to playing the music. Well, guess I need to clarify that last point by adding, unless fiddling/dancing was something that just comes naturally to you and it was always part of your music playing.

Dec 7, 2023 - 5:05:39 AM

14753 posts since 9/23/2009

No...not performance...gee whiz I wish I had somebody that would let me play...like instead of everybody yelling be quiet...maybe ask me if I could play something...lol...or let me bribe them with a little cash to play...lol. No, no performance. Just...you gotta understand our lives here...we live among, well I can't say...not at liberty to say a lot but we are basically in a desert of cactuses, so to speak...I can't say a lot. We have a lot to deal with although quite a bit was finally resolved ... still ... life is quiet and isolating here... I need things to occupy my mind enough to keep me "kickin'," so to speak.

This is more the type of clogging I''m talking about...although she goes into more fancy stuff than I would ever try...just the basic steps, not the fancier things...and play fiddle too, at the same time.

youtu.be/oTp5du6CSoc?si=rK-_1aQO_gflPByk

And I don't think I really got any answer... who does anything like this here? I mean, I know Harry Hare does...his problem though is he ain't real...then Chicken Man does too...but I didn't understand what kind of thing he does...but does anybody have any experience with it?

Is it impossible? Don't worry, I won't do it outside...I had to quit playing much outside two or three years ago...well I gotta say the birds and squirrels seem to like it. Anyway...Just wondering how one goes about attempting to coordinate this sort of thing.

Dec 7, 2023 - 5:12:04 AM
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Players Union Member

carlb

USA

2617 posts since 2/2/2008

Fiddling and clogging while seated

From a DougD post 13 years ago.
https://www.fiddlehangout.com/archive/14329

The link has changed and is now
https://www.folkstreams.net/films/new-england-fiddles

Also found this lesson
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkAydkoI9K8

Dec 7, 2023 - 5:43:48 AM

Erockin

USA

839 posts since 9/3/2022

I'm impressed with those who can do it!

Dec 7, 2023 - 7:11:16 AM
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14753 posts since 9/23/2009

Carl, looks like a great lesson. Thanks! I'm not into sitting down to do it, but looks like a lot of tips could be gotten from that.

Erockin...yes, I'm impressed with anybody who can do it. Also impressed with anybody who can sing and fiddle...lol...I still can't really do that...maybe a little but not much. Still working on chewing gum and walking at the same time...lol.

I'm not thinking this would be a constant thing...I'm just thinking put in a few steps that don't look too horrible here and there. Nobody will ever see it, most likely...lol.

Dec 7, 2023 - 11:13:31 AM
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2399 posts since 12/11/2008

I'm just trying to make a decent noise when I play the fiddle. If I had to dance, there's little question I'd not only trip over myself, my bowing and intonation would go glaflooy.

Dec 7, 2023 - 12:44:54 PM
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14753 posts since 9/23/2009

Yeah, I'm thinking the same about myself at this point. Gotta try a little...I'm just thinking a few steps, but...ugh...probably end up breaking the fiddle and my snout too...lol. I get some crazy goals in my life sometimes...anybody else have the same need for a struggle as I have??? Lol...sometimes I need to apply myself to something unachieveable or nealy unachievable just to reboot my brain or something.

Dec 7, 2023 - 12:54:19 PM
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14753 posts since 9/23/2009

I was messin' with Soldier's Joy earlier today...I have to keep a brass mute on the fiddle because our house is small and you can't keep it quiet...so anyway, the brass mute dropped onto my toe, the same toe that a big heavy vice fell onto a few weeks back...ouch. It was still sorta sore from the vice slamming down on it, so it kinda smarts...I didn't have shoes on when that happened either...ugh...

What I've noticed so far is the same thing that happens when I try to play along with a metronome. Usually the metronome goes its way and I go my way. When I'm doing my multi track recordings I do always start with a scratch track that goes with a metronome because it's just hard to do multi track without that solid foundation...so I get the guitar and slam out some chords to go by and have to think super hard and feel like a robot to get that scratch track on...then I turn off the metronome so I can feel like a human to play the music. I always delete the scratch track too once I get a few tracks going good. But anyway...the same with trying to put a basic step in ...my feet go their way and my fiddling goes its way...and when I try to match up the rhythms, it sounds mechanical and like a robot. Wondering how or if that situation ever just resolves on its own.

Dec 7, 2023 - 2:35:25 PM

6338 posts since 9/26/2008

Gotta start somewhere

Dec 7, 2023 - 11:28:02 PM

doryman

USA

558 posts since 2/10/2020

Dec 8, 2023 - 4:36:02 AM

Erockin

USA

839 posts since 9/3/2022

quote:
Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

Carl, looks like a great lesson. Thanks! I'm not into sitting down to do it, but looks like a lot of tips could be gotten from that.

Erockin...yes, I'm impressed with anybody who can do it. Also impressed with anybody who can sing and fiddle...lol...I still can't really do that...maybe a little but not much. Still working on chewing gum and walking at the same time...lol.

I'm not thinking this would be a constant thing...I'm just thinking put in a few steps that don't look too horrible here and there. Nobody will ever see it, most likely...lol.


Ha..I agree!! Tim Obrien and Bruce Mulsky are my go to's for signing and playing. Plus I like their voices. Tim Obrien does "Working On A Building" and sings the harmony.

Dec 8, 2023 - 4:45:38 AM
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14753 posts since 9/23/2009

I do sometimes sing harmony or fiddle harmony when I fumble around with that. It's so weird...I've always sang and played guitar, banjo, or whatever, but fiddling is different. Maybe because i didn't really start playing until I was around 55...that's 15 years, but...I don't know...still difficult for me.

Now, as to the dancing...I've tried many times...growing up in our fundamentalist religion I was always taught dancing was an evil thing...lol...maybe it's just burned into my brain that way by now. I've tried...I just can't get it. But I'm thinking just work on the dance steps...I'm talkin' simple basic steps that any 2 year old should be able to do, work on them by themselves for a while...then take one phrase of Soldier's Joy and figure out how best to combine...I'm thinkning matching up shuffle by hand and shuffle by foot would sound very contrived...seems to me the feet and hands should find a way to make their own things blend in a good way.

Dec 8, 2023 - 7:35:52 AM
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Earworm

USA

522 posts since 1/30/2018

Hey, if you feel the burn, go for it. You'll learn stuff.

I never got very far with it, but I decided to learn some clogging at about the time I was trying to work out some differences of opinion I was having with a new tune. That would be "Old Aunt Jenny With Her Nightcap On" for anyone keeping score. I did work out the tune, learned a couple of basic steps, had some fun trying, and pretty much just went back to fiddling.

I never tried to do both dancing and fiddling at once though. It's hard for me to understand how you wouldn't sacrifice important elements of the music by doing that. And wouldn't it mess with the soundpost or the tension -- or something? But it was fun, and may have helped me improve my beat-keeping skills a little. And I now own some awesome leather-soled old style clogging shoes I barely deserve to have.

I do think dancing wires your brain differently though - ultimately music lives in the body, and feeling that connection is valuable. Let us know how it goes, disaster or not! I'm in favor of joyful disasters.

Dec 8, 2023 - 7:36:40 AM
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DougD

USA

11716 posts since 12/2/2007
Online Now

Some dancers like to "tap out" the rhythm of the tune with their dancing, others seem to just "stomp" (especially today). Here's April Verch - think you can hear the tune in her feet: youtu.be/HEiqLUN23z8
Dance is movement too, though - you can't just stand there like a totem pole.
Here's Hilary Klug clogging while playing, and Martha Spencer taking a turn (holding her fiddle). She's from around here and I've seen her dance a lot, but I don't think I've ever seen her dance and play both.
youtube.com/shorts/ityTQyDzPxI
I finally found this clip that includes April Verch dancing while playing.
youtu.be/ih5V-FtVv2g
In that old thread Carl linked, someone with the handle "Groundhogpeggy" said "I can barely clog and barely fiddle... could be a disaster if I tried 'em both at the same time!" Hmmm.

And I just like this clip. She's a great fiddler and very good dancer, but not at the same time: youtu.be/gk8gfmuPtJo

Dec 8, 2023 - 9:50:53 AM
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Old Scratch

Canada

1221 posts since 6/22/2016

So, Peggy, you didn't start dancing when that brass mute hit your toe? I thought that's where the story was heading: "And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I finally learned to dance and fiddle at the same time!"

I notice that the tune April Verch is playing while dancing is Angus Campbell, which she's probably been playing since she was eight-years-old or so - not to take anything away from her accomplishment, just to point out that even she uses a tune she can put on cruise control while she dances.

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