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Apr 24, 2024 - 9:20:21 AM
596 posts since 2/10/2020

I went to my regular Tuesday night jam, last night, opened my fiddle case and discovered that I didn't bring a bow. Very disappointing. Fortunately, there was a spare banjo laying around and I played that instead.

I haven't played my banjo in a while and it made me realize that I think about music completely and fundamentally different when I play the banjo vs. the fiddle. When I'm playing the banjo, I think chords. When I'm playing the fiddle, I think notes and, half the time, I couldn't even tell you what chord we're playing, unless it's the 1 at the beginning or end of song!

Apr 24, 2024 - 10:31:32 AM

DougD

USA

11892 posts since 12/2/2007

Interesting, although I don't think its really a "bowing problem."
I've thought about this myself, and I think in both modes, melody or chord, on both instruments, depending on what I'm playing. Playing a fiddle tune I think in a melodic, linear way, but for playing backup or a simple break on a song I often think in chords.
On banjo, in a tuning with the second string tuned to B, (G or C) I sometimes think in chords, but in double C or "mountain minor" tunings I think melodically (maybe because I don't actually know the chords). In double C I think of the banjo kind of like a dulcimer (melody on the first string), although I don't think they're really that similar.
You should try to keep a bow in every fiddle case, IMHO!

Apr 24, 2024 - 11:10:46 AM

3354 posts since 10/22/2007

It almost feels like a left brain, right brain thing? I never thought in chords, the first 5 or 6 years of fiddling. I played banjer and guitar twenty years prior. Getting a piano five or ten years ago put me I to chord theory. I didn't know what a chord inversion was. Or chord voicing. Now I find it makes me a lazy fiddle player. I can play second fiddle with ease now, though. They think you're a genius, but you're really just playing the chords. Don't forget your ability to flesh out a melody. This trumps I feel.

Apr 24, 2024 - 11:16:28 AM
Players Union Member

carlb

USA

2648 posts since 2/2/2008

When I play fiddle, banjo or guitar, I'm always chord conscious. I play lots of double stops on fiddle.

Apr 24, 2024 - 11:27:09 AM
like this

361 posts since 6/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by doryman

I went to my regular Tuesday night jam, last night, opened my fiddle case and discovered that I didn't bring a bow. Very disappointing. Fortunately, there was a spare banjo laying around and I played that instead.


Don't feel to bad. I once went to a jam and on opening the case discovered that I had forgotten to put the fiddle back in after my last practice session!  For a couple of years afterwards I would drive with the violin case open on the back seat to reassure myself I had brought a fiddle! blush

Apr 24, 2024 - 12:17:28 PM

doryman

USA

596 posts since 2/10/2020

quote:
Originally posted by farmerjones

It almost feels like a left brain, right brain thing? 


Yes!

Apr 24, 2024 - 12:22:40 PM

doryman

USA

596 posts since 2/10/2020

quote:
Originally posted by DougD

Interesting, although I don't think its really a "bowing problem."
I've thought about this myself, and I think in both modes, melody or chord, on both instruments, depending on what I'm playing. Playing a fiddle tune I think in a melodic, linear way, but for playing backup or a simple break on a song I often think in chords.
On banjo, in a tuning with the second string tuned to B, (G or C) I sometimes think in chords, but in double C or "mountain minor" tunings I think melodically (maybe because I don't actually know the chords). In double C I think of the banjo kind of like a dulcimer (melody on the first string), although I don't think they're really that similar.
You should try to keep a bow in every fiddle case, IMHO!


Yes Doug!  As a beginner, I'm still in the "learning songs" melodic phase.  As I've progressed though, I'm thinking more about back-up and chords,  but not that much yet.  

I DO try to keep a bow in every case.  I had a gig last week and did a bunch of re-shuffling of cases and instruments and I guess I took the bow out of my jamming fiddle case.  I did have rosin thought!

Apr 25, 2024 - 6:28:12 AM

6463 posts since 9/26/2008

quote:
Originally posted by stumpkicker
quote:
Originally posted by doryman

I went to my regular Tuesday night jam, last night, opened my fiddle case and discovered that I didn't bring a bow. Very disappointing. Fortunately, there was a spare banjo laying around and I played that instead.


Don't feel to bad. I once went to a jam and on opening the case discovered that I had forgotten to put the fiddle back in after my last practice session!  For a couple of years afterwards I would drive with the violin case open on the back seat to reassure myself I had brought a fiddle! blush


I too have done this. My case is super light with the fiddle in so I want surprised so much as, aww crap. Turns out the fiddle was right where I left it on the table, next to the bow. 

Edited by - ChickenMan on 04/25/2024 06:29:06

Apr 25, 2024 - 10:22:14 AM

1170 posts since 7/30/2021

I did the same thing a few weeks ago!

I rushed out the door, determined to be on time for once...I got there 5 minutes early (wow) but bowless!

The cello player had an extra cello bow so I was using that for awhile (it does work!!). Later our session leader arrived and (typical serious musician) she had 2 bows in her case, so she lent me her old bow.

But I have been careful to pack up better ever since that time!
Better late, than arrive bowless (or fiddleless) :-)

I also play guitar, but I never think about chords when I fiddle.
People ask me what key it's in and I am like, "I dunno...starts on this note..."? 

Edited by - NCnotes on 04/25/2024 10:27:11

Apr 25, 2024 - 11:03:10 AM

254 posts since 11/26/2013

Me, I always think about the chords to be playing against, what chord is coming up, etc. For me its about the structure of the given tune or song. If ya don't know how its built, how can you tear it down! Even those tiny 1 note 5 chords at the end of a bar, they matter a lot.

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