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Fiddle Tips

GUEST,DavidSwearstone 14 Mar 17 - 11:51 PM
GUEST,Richard 15 Mar 17 - 07:08 AM
leeneia 15 Mar 17 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,Grishka 15 Mar 17 - 10:51 AM
GUEST 15 Mar 17 - 10:57 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 15 Mar 17 - 11:03 AM
GUEST,Richard 15 Mar 17 - 11:47 AM
Jack Campin 15 Mar 17 - 03:40 PM
Gallus Moll 15 Mar 17 - 08:41 PM
GUEST,DavidSwearstone 16 Mar 17 - 02:13 AM
GUEST,HarryRivers 16 Mar 17 - 03:28 AM
GUEST,HarryRivers 16 Mar 17 - 03:36 AM
Will Fly 16 Mar 17 - 04:12 AM
GUEST,Grishka 16 Mar 17 - 07:16 AM
Johnny J 16 Mar 17 - 07:49 AM
The Sandman 16 Mar 17 - 01:32 PM
GUEST,matt milton 16 Mar 17 - 05:42 PM
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Subject: Fiddle Tips
From: GUEST,DavidSwearstone
Date: 14 Mar 17 - 11:51 PM

Hello all,

I'm looking to increase my ability on the fiddle. I have started playing about 3 months ago and its going pretty well. I can play a few tunes (Fermoy Lasses, Marino Waltz, Beeswing Hornpipe, a few others)

I'm teaching myself and I'm really just wondering if anyone has any little tips and tricks that they wish they had known when they started playing.

I bow to your expertise my wise friends.


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Subject: RE: Fiddle Tips
From: GUEST,Richard
Date: 15 Mar 17 - 07:08 AM

I had a book of tunes that that gave the same tune in different bowing styles, marked all the way through. If I find it's title I'll let you know. But following the bowing meticulously did me a power of good, even though I don't play any of the tunes as marked. As another self-taught fiddler, I found that I eventually my bowing, paradoxically, became much more instinctive.
As for the left hand, judicious use of droning on an adjacent open string, where it sounds OK, is a great help in keeping in tune, as is playing with other musicians.
And practice, of course.
Power to your elbow
Richard


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Subject: RE: Fiddle Tips
From: leeneia
Date: 15 Mar 17 - 10:47 AM

When playing with others, listen to the group. Do you sound good?


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Subject: RE: Fiddle Tips
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 15 Mar 17 - 10:51 AM

There are loads of such "tips and tricks". Buy or borrow books and read them carefully, reread them from time to time. Use two very large mirrors to control your posture and movements; compare them to what you see of good violinists on YouTube. And, of course, listen to yourself very critically indeed. Make recordings.

If you can afford it at all, consult good teachers from time to time. Do not ignore their advice; if in doubt, consult other teachers.

Is there a difference in technique between Folk and Classical fiddling? Yes, there is, but it is not as marked as some fiddlers pretend. Most really outstanding folk instrumentalists have a "classical" training.


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Subject: RE: Fiddle Tips
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Mar 17 - 10:57 AM

Is there a difference in technique between Folk and Classical fiddling? Yes, there is, and it is far greater than some Classical violinists pretend.

These kinds of generalizations are pretty meaningless without all kinds of qualification.


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Subject: RE: Fiddle Tips
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 15 Mar 17 - 11:03 AM

If I find it's title I'll let you know.

I posted a reply earlier but apparently it didn't take (or disappeared ?).

Anyhow, I imagine you are thinking of David Lyth's two volumes of 'Bowing styles in Irish Traditional fiddle playing'

Matt Cranitch's tutor book and Séamus Creagh's and Kevin Burke's dvd tutorials will likely be of use as well, if you aim for Irish music.


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Subject: RE: Fiddle Tips
From: GUEST,Richard
Date: 15 Mar 17 - 11:47 AM

Peter Laban: no it wasn't that one - I'll look out for it - it was Scottish. I recall that one of the styles was "sand dance" which involved consistently slurring onto the strong beats. Very good for making me concentrate, but not a style I've needed since!
Richard


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Subject: RE: Fiddle Tips
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Mar 17 - 03:40 PM

Could the Scottish book have been Honeyman's tutor?

Opinionated old bugger.


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Subject: RE: Fiddle Tips
From: Gallus Moll
Date: 15 Mar 17 - 08:41 PM

Taigh na Teud publishers include some teaching dvds with Sarah Naylor -- I think Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced? Good for those learning 'by ear'
There are various other Folk Fiddle tutor books from different sources, most including a cd to listen to / play along with
Depending on where you are based it might be worth seeking out either a regular class or periodical day . weekend workshops / Come and Try Its, or even week long summer schools. In the traditional / folk world these usually offer groups at different levels from beginner to advanced.
I have heard there are some online tutorial sites - perhaps youtube?

I assume you play another instrument (mandolin?) if you are making such progress in 3 months? Most of us sound(ed) like dying cats for a fairly long time when we started off! (Some of us probably still do----)


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Subject: RE: Fiddle Tips
From: GUEST,DavidSwearstone
Date: 16 Mar 17 - 02:13 AM

"I assume you play another instrument (mandolin?) if you are making such progress in 3 months? Most of us sound(ed) like dying cats for a fairly long time when we started off! (Some of us probably still do----)"

Spot on, I am a Mandolin player which is why I had the gall to try to learn the fiddle in the first place, lol.

Drones are hard for me to wrap my brain around. Can someone explain the theory behind it to me? I can google it but I find it easier to understand when it is explained in more layman's terms.


I have heard a little bit about bowing (right now I'm doing my best to produce clean tones) but my question in regards to bowing is how it changes the song. Is it mostly the length of the draw?

Thanks for the info my friends

David


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Subject: RE: Fiddle Tips
From: GUEST,HarryRivers
Date: 16 Mar 17 - 03:28 AM

Admirable as it is to try to teach yourself, you really can't beat a good tutor. Certainly in the early stages.

Having said that, every tutor will tell you something different.

When I started (in the north east), I was told not to worry about bowing - play every note with a single bow - and as you speed up the slurs will come naturally and you will produce your own "style".

Then I had a lesson with someone who thought the Irish were only ones who had any notion on how to play and said learning bowing patterns were essential right from the start.

Check out this youtube video with Frankie Gavin (they don't come much better than him):

Frankie Gavin Masterclass

There are thousands of tutorials on Youtube.

But, do yourself a favour, get a tutor. It's more fun to learn with a real human being.

Good luck!

Harry


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Subject: RE: Fiddle Tips
From: GUEST,HarryRivers
Date: 16 Mar 17 - 03:36 AM

Oh, and on Grishka's tip to make recordings of yourself:

Excellent advice, BUT at the stage you're at it will sound dreadful.

The sympathetic ear of someone you trust, who understands where you are in the learning process, who will tell you the truth without making you feel completely worthless and encourage you to persevere, is a much better idea. A tutor, perhaps???

Harry


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Subject: RE: Fiddle Tips
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 Mar 17 - 04:12 AM

Bowing

Keep the bow straight - no curving round as the bow goes up and down.

Keep the wrist loose - imagine your hand is like a string on the end of the bow and let it bend with the motion of the bow.

Do not press down too hard with the bow - let the bow glide over the string and concentrate on tone, with no unnecessary abrupt start and stop points. Emphasis can come later.

Fingering/posture

Keep the fiddle up and the left elbow tucked in so that the hand is curved round and down on the fingerboard.

Keep fingers vertical.

Do not raise fingers off the fingerboard unnecessarily - keep them down where possible - which helps with intonation and speed.

Play scales in different keys - constantly.

----

Just some tips from my own learning.


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Subject: RE: Fiddle Tips
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 16 Mar 17 - 07:16 AM

Normally I do not reply to anonymous postings of aggressive undertone, but "GUEST 15 Mar 17 - 10:57 AM" does have a point: an excellent musician in one type of music will not be successful in another style without thorough understanding, additional study, training, and practice.

My remark was aimed at those self-taught folk musicians who believe they can do without those technical achievements that are indispensable for classical training – and should also be considered so for folk musicians; the kind of "tricks" mentioned by Will Fly, who is certainly far from being a Classical snob. The books will tell you many more.

For example: learn to use all four fingers of your left hand right from the beginning, although many tunes can be played with only three.


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Subject: RE: Fiddle Tips
From: Johnny J
Date: 16 Mar 17 - 07:49 AM

I don't like the term "folk fiddling" but would rather use the term "traditional" or even, more specifically "Scottish" or "Irish" style etc.

A lot of the advice here is good and I'd suggest that you get access to to an actual teacher. It needn't be private lessons and you can learn a lot on a course or by attending workshops.

As mentioned already, many players in tutor or workshop situations will tell you something different and they are not all above having a few bad habits themselves. However, if you can decide on the style of music you wish to play and have a particular idea of what you want to do that's a great start. So, it's then a case of seeking out advice from a player whom you feel represents your goals.
Of course, once you've been playing for a while, by all means try different things and seek out ideas from other sources but it's good to stay focused on one or two things when learning the basics.

Finally, if you become reasonably competent and enjoy your own playing, there's no need to sound or copy somebody else just for the sake of it..no matter how good they may seem to you. Unless you have a particular interest in that style of playing, of course.


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Subject: RE: Fiddle Tips
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Mar 17 - 01:32 PM

practise in front of a mirror observe your posture and watch your bow, your bow should be straight you wrist should be doing most of the work , there is a pencil exrcise which you can practise when not playing, look for it on you tube this helps with wrist use


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Subject: RE: Fiddle Tips
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 16 Mar 17 - 05:42 PM

The Matt Cranitch Art of Irish fiddle book (as recommended by someone above) is very good. Even if you're not interested in Irish fiddle per se, Matt Cranitch's bowing suggestions are great and well worth picking up. Though some of them are quite counter-intuitive.


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