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Fiddlesticks!

Jane of 'ull 18 Mar 12 - 04:51 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 18 Mar 12 - 05:23 PM
Jane of 'ull 18 Mar 12 - 06:46 PM
Neil D 18 Mar 12 - 11:23 PM
GUEST,BanjoRay 19 Mar 12 - 10:48 AM
Owen Woodson 19 Mar 12 - 11:00 AM
GUEST,leeneia 19 Mar 12 - 11:12 AM
open mike 19 Mar 12 - 11:40 AM
Dave Hanson 19 Mar 12 - 03:42 PM
Jack Blandiver 20 Mar 12 - 05:24 AM
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Subject: Fiddlesticks!
From: Jane of 'ull
Date: 18 Mar 12 - 04:51 PM

I've just started experimenting with what I think is an old time American technique known as 'fiddlesticks' where one person plays a tune on the fiddle and someone else simultaneously taps across the strings beating out a rhythm with a pair of chopsticks. I've seen this done to great effect but when I do it it only seems to sound right when I play in the key of G major??? can anyone shed any light on why this is?


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Subject: RE: Fiddlesticks!
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 18 Mar 12 - 05:23 PM

It's known as 'Beating Sticks' (Fiddlesticks in a bit of neo-fakelorecism; a fiddlestick is actually a bow) and works best in cross tunings (G D G D or A E A E) with knitting needles!


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Subject: RE: Fiddlesticks!
From: Jane of 'ull
Date: 18 Mar 12 - 06:46 PM

Aha I see! Never used either of those tunings before. Could prove interesting!


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Subject: RE: Fiddlesticks!
From: Neil D
Date: 18 Mar 12 - 11:23 PM

Mark Twain described this technique in the novel "Huckleberry Finn" and couldn't quite picture it till I stumbled across this video years later.


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Subject: RE: Fiddlesticks!
From: GUEST,BanjoRay
Date: 19 Mar 12 - 10:48 AM

Old timers often call it beating straws, but nowadays they probably ought to call it beating chopsticks.....

Ray


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Subject: RE: Fiddlesticks!
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 19 Mar 12 - 11:00 AM

You can see the entire documentary (26 minutes) at Les Blues de Balfa

I've only had time to dip into it, but it looks a very fine bit of filming.


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Subject: RE: Fiddlesticks!
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 Mar 12 - 11:12 AM

There has got to be a more convenient way to produce a gentle clicking effect.

thanks for the links, Neil and Owen


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Subject: RE: Fiddlesticks!
From: open mike
Date: 19 Mar 12 - 11:40 AM

there used to be a band near here by that name...and there is a duo in
canada...here is there web page...http://www.myspace.com/fiddlicious

It is not necessarily a Cajun tradition...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiddlesticks

here is Tim Eriksen...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x569MCaJA3Y&fmt=18

it is also an expression....my grandma used to say "fiddlesticks" when she was disappointed, or disgusted, she also said "shucks" and "phooey"


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Subject: RE: Fiddlesticks!
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 19 Mar 12 - 03:42 PM

Matt Jennings said that Woody Guthrie did it with hatpins when Jeff or ? was playing the fiddle.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Fiddlesticks!
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 20 Mar 12 - 05:24 AM

it is also an expression....my grandma used to say "fiddlesticks" when she was disappointed,

The expression 'Fiddlesticks' is common enough, certainly more widespread than the obscure musical folklore under discussion here. Simply put a Fiddlestick is a violin bow (for which many classical players today use the term 'stick' - folk players too??). That 'beating sticks / straws' is now called 'fiddle sticks' is by way of folksy revival usage, pure and simple, whereas the term 'Fiddlesticks' goes back to Shakespeare's time, and it's common usage throughout the English speaking world reflects this. For more on Fiddlesticks as a term:

http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-fid1.htm

*

Otherwise, 'beating the sticks' has echoes of the Gyimes fiddle & gardon music in that the husband plays the clever stuff whilst the wife knocks out a rhythmic drone by way of accompanyment. Obviously with 'beating the sticks' all you need is a couple of knitting needles rather than the unweildy & grotesque utogardon, which approximates the look of a more sophisticated instrument by way of folk-art. I dare say these days you can buy pro-quality utogardons made by skilled luthiers!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOK9QAvQHmo (the gardon doesn't come in until 7.45, but it's worth watching it all...)


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