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Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .

WyoWoman 13 Aug 00 - 10:22 PM
Sorcha 13 Aug 00 - 10:33 PM
WyoWoman 13 Aug 00 - 10:59 PM
Chanteyranger 13 Aug 00 - 11:08 PM
WyoWoman 13 Aug 00 - 11:14 PM
Sorcha 13 Aug 00 - 11:21 PM
WyoWoman 13 Aug 00 - 11:35 PM
Bud Savoie 13 Aug 00 - 11:35 PM
Les B 13 Aug 00 - 11:45 PM
Sorcha 14 Aug 00 - 12:29 AM
WyoWoman 14 Aug 00 - 12:35 AM
Sorcha 14 Aug 00 - 11:32 AM
Sorcha 14 Aug 00 - 11:46 AM
WyoWoman 14 Aug 00 - 12:34 PM
Sorcha 14 Aug 00 - 01:05 PM
richardw 24 Aug 00 - 11:54 PM
Jeri 25 Aug 00 - 09:53 AM
guinnesschik 25 Aug 00 - 09:55 AM
Jim Krause 25 Aug 00 - 03:24 PM
GUEST,Les B 25 Aug 00 - 04:05 PM
nickp 16 Sep 02 - 06:58 AM
GUEST,Les B. 16 Sep 02 - 12:49 PM
greg stephens 16 Sep 02 - 01:06 PM
greg stephens 16 Sep 02 - 01:14 PM
Catherine Jayne 16 Sep 02 - 01:44 PM
Don Firth 16 Sep 02 - 02:34 PM
greg stephens 16 Sep 02 - 02:44 PM
dick greenhaus 16 Sep 02 - 02:55 PM
Leeder 16 Sep 02 - 04:42 PM
Catherine Jayne 16 Sep 02 - 05:38 PM
BanjoRay 16 Sep 02 - 06:47 PM
Sorcha 16 Sep 02 - 06:57 PM
dorareever 16 Sep 02 - 07:06 PM
open mike 16 Sep 02 - 11:48 PM
katlaughing 17 Sep 02 - 12:28 AM
Night Owl 17 Sep 02 - 01:19 AM
Catherine Jayne 17 Sep 02 - 04:27 AM
GUEST,petr 17 Sep 02 - 04:22 PM
GUEST,petr 17 Sep 02 - 04:30 PM
greg stephens 17 Sep 02 - 04:39 PM
GUEST,banjomooster 08 Dec 10 - 12:52 AM
GUEST,FloraG 08 Dec 10 - 04:22 AM
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Subject: What's it called when the fiddle goes ..
From: WyoWoman
Date: 13 Aug 00 - 10:22 PM

I was listening to the acoustic program tonight on public radio and heard right in a row three nice fiddle tunes by different artists. And it started me wondering about some questions re. fiddling terminology.

I feel a bit like Fionn, I think, in the "Sopranos" thread, trying to describe a certain sound that I know you'd recognize in two seconds if you heard it, but ... here goes:

* In some country or bluegrass music, the fiddle starts the song with this distinctive attack that I most often associate with "hoedown" music. What's that called and where does it come from? Is it found in other sorts of music, e.g. Scots/Irish, as is the case for so much other Appalachian and bluegrass music.

* What's it called when the bow skips across the strings to create that little stutter sound?

* What makes a song a "breakdown?" Does a breakdown have a particular form (as in ABA, etc.) or is a breakdown just a really fast fiddle song that gets faster and faster until at least one of the musicians falls over in a heap (which is sort of what it appears to be to me)?

That last question might be a separate thread, but let's see where that takes us ...

Thanks, WW


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: Sorcha
Date: 13 Aug 00 - 10:33 PM

1) You mean the "run susie run" set of double stops? If so, it is just sort of an instrumental "count in". Most groups have a lead in of some sort for each song, so we don't actually have to count in the tune.

2)Bow skipping is either staccato--regular bouncing or spitzacatto--hard sharp bouncing. Takes a good bow and a loose rt. wrist to do it. Most of the fiddlers you see using it have some classical training.

3) Not absolutely sure about this one, but I think break downs are fast, with lots of double stops. Mostly bluegrass style, ie, banjo/mandolin Bill Monroe type stuff. Related to "hoedowns", as in barn dance stuff.


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: WyoWoman
Date: 13 Aug 00 - 10:59 PM

Er, what's a double stop? I don't know from "run, susie, run." Whadya mean?

ww


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 13 Aug 00 - 11:08 PM

A double stop is playing more than one fiddle string at a time. Old-timey players often play with a flatter bridge (the slim piece of wood on top of the instrument that the strings lie on) to make it easier to play double-stops.


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: WyoWoman
Date: 13 Aug 00 - 11:14 PM

So when the fiddler plays the set of double stops at the beginning it's like the vocalist or drummer saying "One, two, one, two, three, four ..." to set the tempo?


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: Sorcha
Date: 13 Aug 00 - 11:21 PM

Yes. And Run Susie Run is the rhythm--long, short short, long. Oh yea, it's called a shuffle or double shuffle depending on how many bow strokes are used. It also gives the key of the tune (for those with an ear that deciphers keys). Different tunes have different lead ins so the rest of the band knows which tune is coming, how fast and what key. A lead in shuffle is sort of like a tag or coda at the beginning instead of the end.


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: WyoWoman
Date: 13 Aug 00 - 11:35 PM

This is so cool. I never knew ... I just thought it was the fiddler bein' fancy.

Thanks, y'all.

ww


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: Bud Savoie
Date: 13 Aug 00 - 11:35 PM

Run Susie Run sounds like what I've heard called "four potatoes": one tater, two tater, three tater, four tater and away we go.


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: Les B
Date: 13 Aug 00 - 11:45 PM

I've heard Run Susie Run called "four potatoes" or "eight potatoes" -- It's a "bum titty bum titty" rhythmic double shuffle to set the key and tempo.

What, however, do you call those sharp staccato attacks with the bow, usually the first two or three lead-in notes, like on the start of "Faded Love" ? I hear a lot of bluegrass fiddlers do it.


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: Sorcha
Date: 14 Aug 00 - 12:29 AM

I don't know if they really have a name, other than semi-staccato pick up notes. It just gives a little more emphasis to the phrasing. When the fiddler just does chords down close to the bottom (frog) of the bow (Alison Krause does it a lot) that is called chopping, but you can chord with out chopping too such as backing a slow air.


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: WyoWoman
Date: 14 Aug 00 - 12:35 AM

Yes,Les, I was wondering about that also. Thanks for asking, and "Faded Love" is the perfect example.

ww


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: Sorcha
Date: 14 Aug 00 - 11:32 AM

I guess you could call the pick up notes to Faded Love a slight chop.....I don't know what else to call them. There is another word to call bow bouncing, but I can't remember it right now. Maybe it will come to me......


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: Sorcha
Date: 14 Aug 00 - 11:46 AM

HAH! Got it. It's either Spicatto or Sautille, depending on whether you are bouncing the bow (Sp) or the bow is bouncing itsself (Sa).


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: WyoWoman
Date: 14 Aug 00 - 12:34 PM

Spicatto or whatto, I've noticed a lot of it in the celtic fiddle music on the "Heart of a Woman" CDs and on some of the tunes they were playing on the public radio station the other day ... It sounds as though it would be hard to do in a controlled way ...

ww


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: Sorcha
Date: 14 Aug 00 - 01:05 PM

It is difficult. For a good description of bowing techniques, see this page of Sheila's Violin Corner.


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: richardw
Date: 24 Aug 00 - 11:54 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: Jeri
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 09:53 AM

I'm just learning how to do this, and it's not easy. The reason it's not easy is NOT that it takes incredible skill (although it probably does to do well and consistently) but for me, I have to learn to un-do something I've been doing for years.

The very quick choppy notes (triplets and such) common to Cape Breton and Scots tunes requires the hand, not the entire arm. Think about drawing a line instead of painting the side of a house. I have a tendency to stiffen my wrist when I play, and that's a no-no. Although you still need to move your arm a bit when you play for real, for practice purposes, try holding your arm completely still, and do triplets moving just your wrist. (dit-dit-dit) You can use a mirror to see how you're doing.

Disclaimer: everyone who's heard me knows I'm lucky to get through a tune without screwing up, but 1) I can do triplets, and 2) the advice was given to me by people who CAN play well.


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: guinnesschik
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 09:55 AM

I've also heard that "bouncing crunch" referred to as a "cran" once or twice.


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: Jim Krause
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 03:24 PM

1. We call 'em "potatoes" here in the midwest. As in, "How do we start this tune, with four potatoes?" The rhythm is an eighth note, followed by two sixteenth notes, creating a dum, dah-dah, dum, dah-dah sound.

2. Double stops are when the fiddler plays two notes all at once, each on an adjacent string.

3. Around here, (in the midwest again) the words "breakdown" and "hoedown" are synonymous. They are quick 2/4 tunes played for either contra dancing, or square dancing. Jigs are in 6/8. Polkas have a different feeling to them, but are in 2/4, also. Then to make matters more confusing, there are hoedowns that use the word "hornpipe" in their titles, for example "Marmaduke's Hornpipe". It is not a hornpipe at all, but a hoedown. And some folks say it is the Missouri National Anthem.


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: GUEST,Les B
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 04:05 PM

Soddy - is there another, alternate title for Marmaduke's Hornpipe ? Seems to me a fiddler just the other day was giving both titles and the other was much more familiar than Marmadukes.


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: nickp
Date: 16 Sep 02 - 06:58 AM

Sorry to drag this one up again - but why use the word 'potato(e)s'? Just something that came up in discussion over the weekend without an answer.

Nick


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 16 Sep 02 - 12:49 PM

Nick - just a guess, but it might have to do with the three syllables of the word po-tae-to matching the three bow strokes. Of course "Horse puckey" would also work!


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: greg stephens
Date: 16 Sep 02 - 01:06 PM

Trouble is, with the great illogicality of folk musicians, "one potato" has four syllables but actually refers to the three notes(one long, two short) of the shuffle bum-titty rhythm.


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: greg stephens
Date: 16 Sep 02 - 01:14 PM

Another complication is that double-stopping strictly refers to two notes both "stopped" or fingered with the left hand(at least in the world of straight violin playing). So such people say you shouldnt use the term for shuffling on two open strings, or playing a tune against an open drone.


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 16 Sep 02 - 01:44 PM

Why not??? I've played a tune over an open string and called it double stopping. The fiddle player or violinist (depending on style I suppose) is still playing two notes on two different strings regardless of whether the note is an open string or not.

Cat


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: Don Firth
Date: 16 Sep 02 - 02:34 PM

Fascinating! Just as an aside, a lot of this kind of signaling goes on in flamenco dance troupes. I found this out when I was taking some flamenco guitar lessons in 1962. Some of the figures on the guitar are signals to the dancers, and some heel stomps are signals to the guitarist. One of them is three sharp, staccato chords on the guitar. This is the guitarist saying, "my fingers are about to fall off, so wrap it up!" The equivalent message is three sharp heel-stomps and a momentary pause, which is the dancer saying, "wrap it up, my feet are killin' me!"

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: greg stephens
Date: 16 Sep 02 - 02:44 PM

Catsphiddle: we're not disagreeing. I know folk fiddlers often say "double-stopping " for any kind of two-string playing. I was just pointing out that in legit/classica/ music school talk, double-stopping means both strings "stopped" (ie with a finger down on it, the exact opposite of "open"). So, playing on two open strings is the opposite of double-stopping, technically speaking, to someone from a non-folk background.


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 16 Sep 02 - 02:55 PM

Historically, the "break-down" was the music for the final figure of a quadrille, in which everybody danced at the same time, and the visual structure of the square set broke down. Tune was usually a fast reel.


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: Leeder
Date: 16 Sep 02 - 04:42 PM

When I was growing up, the term "breakdown" (if memory serves) was used for a fast tune, probably in reel tempo (but I don't remember that term being used in rural Ontario then), which was played extremely fast the last time through, so as to "break down" the dancers. I don't believe it was a particular kind of tune, just something fast.


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 16 Sep 02 - 05:38 PM

greg: I can see your point.....and I come from a non folk back ground!!!! I play classical violin and have done for more than 17 years now. I was taught that double stopping was playing two strings at the same time with the bow and that was when I got to music college. I suppose pluking two stings at the same time would be called 'double-plucking'!!!

Happy playing

cat


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: BanjoRay
Date: 16 Sep 02 - 06:47 PM

I always thought calling them Four Potatoes was a pun on Four Beats - Beets, geddit?

Cheers
Ray


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: Sorcha
Date: 16 Sep 02 - 06:57 PM

Big GROAN..........


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: dorareever
Date: 16 Sep 02 - 07:06 PM

This thread is interesting.The only time I took a violin (well those 20 or 30 times ;-))I couldn't make a sound,let alone do tricky stuff! Not that I want to play fiddle,but I can achieve some sort of sound only if I put all my strenght in it and use the bow as a spade!! *lol* I suppose it's not the right way,but maybe is...


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: open mike
Date: 16 Sep 02 - 11:48 PM

we also call those beginning notes where the fiddler sets the pace of the tune mashed potatoes.


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Sep 02 - 12:28 AM

Greg and CATSphiddle, the other thing about that is in classical training, one never, under threat of death*BG*, uses an open string, so naturally it would always be two-fingered for a double stop. I hated double stops!

Jeri, it might help, too, to tuck yer elbow. I use the whole bow and love to really get into it, but had a good teacher who taught me to keep my wrist loose, too, partly through watching my elbow and keeping my shoulder down.


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: Night Owl
Date: 17 Sep 02 - 01:19 AM

I'm enjoying reading this thread....
THANKS dick, for that explanation of "breakdown".


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 17 Sep 02 - 04:27 AM

Kat your right...its the open E string....some sound like tin cans. But playing Bartok's Romanian Folk Dances for violin/fiddle you double stop using the open E.......an acquired sound......can sound good can sound very bad!!!!

Cat


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 17 Sep 02 - 04:22 PM

the initial set of notes to count in a tune and set the rhythm for the dancers - are called potatoes (at least in the northwest).

the origins of the phrase are interesting.

At last years fiddle tunes seattle based fiddler Hank Bradley mentioned in one class how the term got started. it dates back to the 60's and a fiddle player (whose name I cant recall) came up with the name.

..hey you know that little shuffle that people play just before a tune - lets call them potatoes, and the name caught on. (Hank Bradley knew him anyway). maybe if you contact him on his website and ask him he might confirm it. petr


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 17 Sep 02 - 04:30 PM

I wanted to add that the little triplet common in Irish, Scottish but used especially in Cape Breton fiddling is called 'cut' by some people, as well as a triplet. Although in some fiddle books Ive seen a cut refer to what is essentially a grace note.

I think Liz Carrol calls them 'crunchies'

Tommy Peoples throws them in all over the place, in fact one of my friends (not a fiddle player) thought the disk was skipping when she heard a Tommy Peoples cd.

another interesting term; which is probably scottish (came from a scottish fiddle band leader) is the term 'Hing' which refers to the extra accent and delay added to the first note in jig triplets. daa da da, daa da da petr


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: greg stephens
Date: 17 Sep 02 - 04:39 PM

i think "cut" as a little flourish in step-dancing probably predates the fiddle term.They both mean the same sort of thing, a particular decoration. "Hing" is Scottish pronunciation of "hang"(the first note of the three in the triplet hangs on longer). *hang" is used in other musical contexts as well, referring to a note which is held longer than you might normally expect.


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: GUEST,banjomooster
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 12:52 AM

RE: Four potatoes. Remember the children's game rhyme: "One potato, two potato, three potato, four -- "
So repeat that at dance tempo, with the natural pause after the word "four":
One potato, two potato, three potato, four -- in with the melody.
Seems unlikely that it's a modern expression.


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Subject: RE: Help: What's it called when the fiddle goes .
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 04:22 AM

If you ever have the luck to do folk music with children and ask them to count in a tune 1 2 3 4 they invariably count at a different speed than they start playing. I had not thought that this was something that they would find difficult.   Playing a few intro notes is easier.
FloraG.


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