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learning the fiddle

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Ireland 27 Nov 02 - 03:48 PM
NicoleC 27 Nov 02 - 04:27 PM
Kim C 27 Nov 02 - 04:34 PM
Allan C. 27 Nov 02 - 04:38 PM
wilco 27 Nov 02 - 04:40 PM
khandu 27 Nov 02 - 04:41 PM
smallpiper 27 Nov 02 - 07:11 PM
NicoleC 27 Nov 02 - 07:22 PM
Ebbie 27 Nov 02 - 08:33 PM
Sorcha 27 Nov 02 - 08:39 PM
NicoleC 27 Nov 02 - 08:45 PM
mack/misophist 27 Nov 02 - 09:51 PM
Ireland 27 Nov 02 - 11:42 PM
NicoleC 27 Nov 02 - 11:50 PM
Ireland 28 Nov 02 - 12:22 AM
NicoleC 28 Nov 02 - 12:38 AM
GUEST,leeneia 28 Nov 02 - 12:39 AM
GUEST,Al 28 Nov 02 - 12:44 AM
Marion 28 Nov 02 - 01:09 AM
Skipjack K8 28 Nov 02 - 05:02 AM
Catherine Jayne 28 Nov 02 - 05:42 AM
winniemih 28 Nov 02 - 12:01 PM
GUEST,Frankham 28 Nov 02 - 12:26 PM
wysiwyg 28 Nov 02 - 06:04 PM
dermod in salisbury 29 Nov 02 - 06:39 AM
Peter T. 29 Nov 02 - 08:56 AM
selby 29 Nov 02 - 01:22 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 29 Nov 02 - 03:01 PM
NicoleC 29 Nov 02 - 03:28 PM
Sorcha 29 Nov 02 - 04:06 PM
Catherine Jayne 29 Nov 02 - 04:42 PM
Peter T. 29 Nov 02 - 06:00 PM
Sorcha 29 Nov 02 - 06:19 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 29 Nov 02 - 06:20 PM
gwonya 30 Nov 02 - 06:00 PM
Mr Red 01 Dec 02 - 06:01 PM
mouldy 02 Dec 02 - 03:01 AM
NicoleC 02 Dec 02 - 01:13 PM
Skipjack K8 02 Dec 02 - 07:46 PM
NicoleC 02 Dec 02 - 08:41 PM
GUEST,francis 02 Dec 02 - 09:34 PM
mouldy 03 Dec 02 - 02:39 AM
Enochxxx 03 Dec 02 - 02:57 PM
greg stephens 03 Dec 02 - 03:18 PM
gwonya 03 Dec 02 - 07:55 PM
GUEST,Frankham 04 Dec 02 - 03:35 PM
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Subject: BS: learning the fiddle
From: Ireland
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 03:48 PM

I hope I've put this under the appropriate prefix.

To all those who know, on a scale of 1-10 how hard is it, to learn to play a fiddle? Can it be picked up from instruction books etc?


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: NicoleC
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 04:27 PM

As instruments go, it's probably a 9 or a 10 to learn. It's supposedly the hardest, but I think that other unfretted stringed instruments (viola, cello, bass) are probably about as hard, and then there are always instruments that will be harder to learn based on your cultural background.

That having been said, I personally think the effort is very rewarding.

If you are musically inclined, you may be able to pick up the bulk of your knowledge from books and watching others play, but I would still recommend a dozen or so beginner lessons to learn how to hold the fiddle, basic bowing technique, etc. Bad habits developed early are hard to break. You can always go back and supplement later if your progress is stagnating or you have trouble with specific items.


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: Kim C
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 04:34 PM

I don't think the instrument itself is hard to play - I think that has more to do with what pieces you choose to learn. The beauty of the fiddle is that something very simple and unadorned can sound very good, so you don't have to be a virtuoso to play in front of people. I've had a really good time with it.


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: Allan C.
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 04:38 PM

Thanks, Ireland, for starting this thread. I recently acquired a fiddle and feel it behooves me to learn how to play it a bit. I have a video instructional course; but feel that some live, hands-on instruction could be very helpful.


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: wilco
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 04:40 PM

I would second the idea of a lesson or two. Also, try Homestead Tapes for an instructional video. If you don't want a video/DVD, get a pitch pipe to tune it, rosin the bow, and try some simple melody that you're familiar with. Slow and simple, like Amazing Grace.
    Good Luck!!!! It's a lot of fun!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: khandu
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 04:41 PM

Speaking for myself, I am having a darned hard time with it. I usually can do a reasonable facsimile on most instruments I try, but the fiddle is something else. I made quick progress for about two weeks, then I hit a wall.

I have more problems with the bowing rather than the fingering. So, at this point, I put it at "10" on the 1-10 scale.

But, by dang, I ain't gonna quit!

khandu


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: smallpiper
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 07:11 PM

10 no doubt about it its a 10.

I've been working at it for just over a year and without instruction from Nik Nak would be no where now. The bowing is the hardest part and it makes such a difference having a good teacher.

I really enjoy playing it now and am ready to start looking for a better fiddle to do it with!

Get lessons BUT don't let anyone put tape on your finger board I've seen people with tape and I don't tink it helps in training the ear.
Good luck


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: NicoleC
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 07:22 PM

Egad! No, not the tape!

Seen on eBay several times: "Antique great sounding concert violin! Like new!" -- then a picture of a violin with huge gobs of tape on the fingerboard :)

Uh... yeah.


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: Ebbie
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 08:33 PM

My left hand is not that bad- I can play the tunes. My right hand hasn't a clue. The bow is a whole separate instrument; what beats me is the grasp, the angle, the balance and pressure, the motion, the stance, everything... sob.

To give you an idea. A year ago or so I was going through old working tapes to see what I could cover up and reuse. To do that, I had to listen to each tape.

Well, this one tape- ye gods, the fiddler was awful. I wondered why on earth I had taped it, and further, why in the world I had saved it. I was just formulating the theory that I had taped someone in order to keep them from feeling bad when suddenly I recognized my brother's guitar playing. Then I remembered. The fiddler was me.

My brother before he died used to come visit me in Alaska. He was a great one for recording everything, he thought it cut the learning process in two.

One day he took my fiddle off the wall and said, Play it. I said, Oh, no. I'm bad. So he played- and, well, he was worse than I. I took the fiddle from him and we played a few tunes. This was the tape.

It's true I've never had lessons. But basically, I decided that guitar is my instrument, and since I'm not where I'd like to be, even on *it*, I didn't need a fiddle.

I do love and admire good fiddle playing though. So go for it!


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: Sorcha
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 08:39 PM

For my students I use chalk---they can see it to begin with, and by the time they come back next week, it's almost gone.......usually have to put it back on about 4-5 times, and by then the ear ususally has it.


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: NicoleC
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 08:45 PM

I kinda did the same thing with grease pencil to help learn the physical memory parts -- like how far I had to stretch -- but it wears off fast enough not to be a crutch.

One thing I've also noticed is that a cheap violin is a detriment to ear training. It's much easier to hear the notes clearly on a nicer instrument.


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: mack/misophist
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 09:51 PM

Like many instruments, it helps to have the right physical shape for the instrument. A fiddle player ought to have a "monkey fist" - the fingers should fold over on a diagonal instead of a right angle. It's not required but I'm told it helps enormously.


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: Ireland
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 11:42 PM

Thanks for all the advice, my son hinted at one and I thought I might join him, but there is a big difference, son is not as challenged by music as I am.


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: NicoleC
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 11:50 PM

Ireland, forget being musically challenged. I have no music talent, but I get by on a good ear and a willingness to practice EVERY DAY. That and a lot of stubborness.

I will never be a great player, although I hope to be proficient. But damn, I'm having a lot of fun!

If you want to play the *fiddle*, then go for it! It's a great instrument, and you won't be happy if you aren't playing what you want. Trust me. I spent years playing the piano, guitar and bass poorly -- always wanted to play the fiddle instead so I finally bit the bullet and now I'm happy.

If you have a desire to pick up *an* instrument, grab a guitar and you'll be playing Kumbaya with sore fingers by the end of the week. Then you can play rhythm while your son plays lead on his fiddle. :)


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: Ireland
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 12:22 AM

I think your right Nicole, it really is down to the enjoyment you get out of it personally, and a little to do with how much you annoy others, I'm gonna screech with the best of em lol.


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: NicoleC
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 12:38 AM

Yay! Beware, beginning fiddle player ahead!

Now you just gotta find a decent instrument... which I understand is easier overseas than it is here in the US, but can still be a daunting task, especially if you're gonna find TWO.


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 12:39 AM

I think fiddlers are born, not made. If you've been playing and don't hate it yet, then you should probably keep going. Lessons would be good, it is true. But if that's not possible, get new strings and make sure they are tuned to the right pitches. Not just tuned to themselves, but tuned to the frequency the instrument was designed for. If your hand or arm start hurting, stop practicing and seek expert advice.

And remember - "violin" is an instrument. "fiddle" is a verb.


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: GUEST,Al
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 12:44 AM

Depends on your aptitude for the instrument. Somewhere between 1 and 10. Do not use books. They will cause you to sound funny. Play with other fiddlers whose sound you like. It's the only way. Al


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: Marion
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 01:09 AM

Ireland said: I hope I've put this under the appropriate prefix.

No, this certainly isn't a BS thread. If you have a music topic that doesn't fit one of the more specific music prefixes (as in this case), you don't need a prefix at all.

I hold the minority view that fiddle is easier than guitar.

Marion


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 05:02 AM

I agree with leeneia about fiddle players being born, not made, as I'm still stuck in the birth canal!

I found it increasingly difficult not to learn the fiddle, as I love the sound it can make with a squeezebox, my main instrument. So I borrowed one of Bill Sables' and locked myself in my bedroom with a practice CD and a cake of rosin. The results were predictable enough. My hand got stuck to the bow, the notes were rough approximations, the bowing was scratchy, BUT, in that first session I got a passable Merry Blacksmith/Paddy on the Railroad out, which remains my favourite tune.

True, I have developed terribly untutored habits, despite Oakley's interventions, like a guitarist's hand, palm on neck, vibrato that relies on compressing the bones in the finger, and a lobster claw bowing arm, and also true that I have stayed strictly on deck and haven't ventured up into the rigging, but 18 months on, I'm being thrown out of a lot less sessions.

So my answer would be to not guage others' rating of difficulty, but see if you were born to it. Good luck, anyway.


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 05:42 AM

I have been playing for 17 years and I love it. I have been through patches where I didnt enjoy it and I didn't want to play but hey Im still playing!!

You have to make it fun ( and have a few lessons with a good teacher) because learning the fiddle is up there in the 7/8/9/ and 10's on your scale. But the hard work pays off and you will have a lot of fun!!!

Cat


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: winniemih
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 12:01 PM

I play fiddle and guitar and have found the fiddle much more difficult to learn. It does take daily practice to stay at the same level, let alone see any improvement on the fiddle, whereas I've been able to put down the guitar for months at a time at pick it up again without losing much ground. I have to say, the pure enjoyment I've found in fiddling is something I've never really experienced on the guitar. Since I started playing several years ago I have put aside many other pastimes such as gardening, quiltmaking, home upkeep, etc.
    A friend from music camp gave me some words of wisdom recently; "your goal for playing music should be to love every note you make". I thought this was a good thing to work towards.


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: GUEST,Frankham
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 12:26 PM

Ireland,

My view is this. If you want to learn to play, as soon as possible get together with others. As soon as possible, play informally at dances, jam sessions, get-togethers with guitar players, banjo players, pipe players and other fiddlers.

Fiddling as a folk-art (read: social). The best of the bunch have always played for dances and developed their rhythm. repitiore and ability to interact with other musicians and dancers.

Ti Jean started as a young man with his father providing the entre.
Morrison, Killoran, Coleman, et. al. played dances and sesiuns.

Even if you can saw through a basic tune, get with others and do it.
People are generally most encouraging unless you are unlucky to run into cliques that are "folkier than thou". Give those a wide berth.

You are entering the gates of a noble and great tradition and when you start to play, you are a part of it.


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: wysiwyg
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 06:04 PM

My husband taught himself. He knew music theory though.

If you have the music in your head and heart, and if the fiddle is "your" instrument, it will work out.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: dermod in salisbury
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 06:39 AM

Here, in a nutshell, is everything I have discovered about learning the fiddle. First, it is a muscular activity as well as an artistic one. Like learning to run races, you have got to put in time developing the movements, finding your limits, then extending them. There is only one way to do this - devoting time. How you progress, and indeed if at you progress, depends on how much time you give it. If you practice for an hour a week on Sunday afternoon, calculate how many years it's going to take you to cover the same ground as a music student practicising up to six hours a day. The answer explains the difference between 'prodigies' of nine years of age are giving concerts, and others are still trying to develop a good tone in late middle age. The greatest barrier to giving time is the horrible sound you make in the early stages. It offends your own ears, let alone everyone else's. So remember it is the same factor which makes a beginner sound so bad, that makes a professional sound so expressive. In violin playing, you have to make the whole note. No putting your finger on the right bit of the keyboard.   Finally, as soon as possible, play with others or join a band or orchestra. It helps force you on.

Best of luck.


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: Peter T.
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 08:56 AM

Anyone here play left handed (i.e. left hand bows, right hand on the frets?) I was wondering since I am sick of compensating for problems playing "normally" with my left hand on guitar fretting (injury), and was thinking that if I took up the fiddle, I might try opposite hand for a change. I am a lefty by nature. Are the strings reversed if you play left handed? (hmm. maybe I should start another thread). yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: selby
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 01:22 PM

I am also left handed and have seen a left handed fiddle in action, I watched a room full of fiddlers at whitby festival many years ago and in the middle a left handed fidler the only problem was as the room filled up he seemed to find space an issue.But it must be easier for us to sit oppisite a fiddler and mimic them.
Keith


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 03:01 PM

From observing it I would rate it at 3 or less since with the a quality teaching method it is kids stuff and not at all hard.

Now having said that I would definitely demand you stay far far away from complicated things like Reels Jigs etc; instead begin with Suzuki Bk 1 then 2 and 3 - Not giving up when the tunes are not comming out easily - pays to have the Tapes as well as the Books.

Why Suzuki succeeds where others fail? I have only some guesses here. For one thing the series teaches basics well. It teaches discipline early on - in fiddling this would Bow Drills and more of the same -, it uses easy and very tunefull songs to start the student off. IOW the person loves learning.

Another issue often neglected, setup can repay a little work since a badly setup Violin sounds like Hell on a Sunday! A set of Synthetic softer strings - softer since it reduces scratching - is a good choice, a bridge with about 2 inches of free string on the Tailpiece side is almost essential, a soundpost nearer to the bridge feet is a help in reducing the ear damaging scratch if you have that problem.

Your attitude both mental and physical will make or break your desire. Loose and relaxed as possible. Always, always use a Metronome since that makes you the boss not the instrument. Filddles lie about the Time ! as do Banjoes about Pitch and Bagpipes about Volume.

Try to elevate the Scroll not letting it fall on the floor, try to cradle the end pin of the Fiddle at the Adam's apple while the jawbone lightly retains the small pressure of the instrument leaning on the raised shoulder; don't hold the Neck up with the left hand!

Bowing skill acquisition times can be reduced from several to a few years with some basic common sense tools. Use a Mirror or Bow Guide - make your own - to keep it square correcting wobble. Placing a soft foam pencil holder tube over the Bowstick is loved by most kids I see these days, it seems to make the thumb relax. Follow the Tutor on Bowgrip. Knowing that you don't have to use the Index finger on the Bow at all if you prefer not to, is a great aid for disabling attacks of bowhand tension.

Knowing that you can fold over the left hand thumb 'under' the fiddle neck is also a great exercise for tension control in the left hand; exguitar players often have this problem.

Yes I do mess with it, but my missus is a trained Violinist, umm well this means I am realy modest about my abilities ....

So my Fiddling knowledge amounts to this, it is far harder to play a slow tune well than a quick one badly! And yes the music is mostly in the Bow not the left hand.


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: NicoleC
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 03:28 PM

Peter, lefty fiddles are not just a case of reversing the strings and the chin rest, they're made differently. Violins aren't symetrical. Lately I've seen some cheapie left-handed versions hit the market (at least I guess they are true lefty violins) -- maybe we'll see more natural lefty fiddlers down the road.

Someone mentioned physical development. After about 10 months, my left hand suddenly decided to "release" (ala yoga) and my fingering hand has stretched out enormously; and still going. I am having a hard time hitting the right notes now because a lot of time I'm used to having to stretch for them! My coordination hasn't quite caught up either. Now that I can reach everything well in first position, I can feel my joints start to loosen a bit -- I have very long fingers and getting my fingers tucked up underneath my hand if I go from a low note to a high note can be a real problem. With the tendons in my upper hand starting to release and stretch out, too, I don't have to make allowances as much anymore. It's been a really fascinating couple of months to see my hand change so much so quickly. I have no idea if this kinda of change is normal, or maybe it just happens sooner with kids.

I did go through periods where my hands or wrist or shoulder or neck or back started to hurt, and I'm really glad I wasn't in a program that demanded 6 hours a day of practice. If I hurt, I stopped playing that day. Period. So I never got any injuries to deal with, and it never hurts to play any more. If one is going to practice so ruthlessly or so lengthily, I would hope they have a very good teacher that can limit their exercises to those that are appropriate to their level of physical development, otherwise I think you could cause some real damage.


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: Sorcha
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 04:06 PM

I have seen leftys play both ways...with the strings switched and without. The latter is more difficult but sounds better because when you move the bass (G) string to the soprano (E) position, the bass bar stays under what is now the soprano string.........If you switch the strings, you also need to turn the bridge around backwards.......I had a lefty student for a while, and refused to deal with it. Told her if I was teaching she was learning properly. Didn't have any trouble with it at all.


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 04:42 PM

I had an operation on my right arm and the run up to the operation I didn't want to quit playing so on my cheap spare fiddle I reversed the strings and turned the bridge round and learnt to play left hand. It was easier at the time to bow with my left arm. I had been playing for 15 years previously so I knew what I was doing....just had to reverse it which is easier said than done. The fiddle is now in the hands of Bratling.....it's up to her whether she learns left handed or not!!!

If you play left handed in sessions thats fine and you won't have any problems. The problems start if you decide you would also like to play classical music and join an orchestra......


Have fun with it!

Cat


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: Peter T.
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 06:00 PM

I didn't know violins weren't symmetrical! They sure look symmetrical -- what is the difference in sides? (you learn something new in Mudcat every day)

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: Sorcha
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 06:19 PM

For one, the bass bar is a block glued under the G string.......


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Subject: RE: BS: learning the fiddle
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 06:20 PM

The top 'Plate' or 'Table' is not carved equaly left to right along the center line, front to back. There would be a thicker 'graduation' on one side over the other; so the 'Treble' side is different to the 'Bass', where the Bassbar is attached.

I am guessing there is more wood in the Bassbar than the Soundpost side.


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Subject: RE: learning the fiddle
From: gwonya
Date: 30 Nov 02 - 06:00 PM

Hi Sorcha,just to clarify, when you refused to deal with your lefty student unless she approached things "properly" did you mean
she should a) play right handed, b)play left without reversing strings
("sounds better"), or c)play left on a left handed fiddle. (I've
gathered by now that simply reversing the strings is out so I'll
not leave you the option to pick d)all of the above.) Respectfully,
Steve


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Subject: RE: learning the fiddle
From: Mr Red
Date: 01 Dec 02 - 06:01 PM

I endured a partner's daughter learning & thought it was her violin needed tuning so in the end I bought her a tuner. She had been tuning it from the piano but the tuner did the trick - so I thought - until I peaked in one-time and saw her playing with the tuner switched-on.

Best of luck but a book can't do that for you!


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Subject: RE: learning the fiddle
From: mouldy
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 03:01 AM

My daughter (already a piano player) has made a reasonable success of learning the fiddle and says she finds it reasonably easy (although some of the techniques are obviously still way beyond her). She has lessons and learns a lot of tunes by ear, and took it up as something she had always fancied and hell, it's a lot more portable than a piano!
She came on amazingly fast at first, and was playing a duet in a concert after 3 months, but now things have steadied off after a year or more, which is just as well, I think. She's just been to a workshop on bowing technique, so hopefully she will have gained something from that.
We upgraded her beginner's fiddle at Whitby this year, and then I treated her to a new bow, which has made life easier for her. The point of all this is that now we have a redundant fiddle in the house I have made a decision to try and learn...beware all ye who know me! But I do intend to take lessons - if they'll let me into their house with the instrument. Got to start loosening my left hand fingers up asap - I think I have just started with arthritis in the middle joint of the middle finger.
How do fiddle players cope with arthritis, or is it something you deal with gradually as it creeps on?

Andrea


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Subject: RE: learning the fiddle
From: NicoleC
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 01:13 PM

Using your hands will be the best way to keep the joints loose and mobile. Just don't push too hard, and it may take you a bit longer gain strength and flexibility. With fiddle, you just barely need to touch the strings to get the note.

I have RSI, and when it's acting up I just do some gentle finger, hand and wrist warm-up exercises before practicing to get the blood flowing, and then stop playing if I feel stress or pain. I think that in the long run playing has helped minimize my problems, instead of aggravating them.


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Subject: RE: learning the fiddle
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 07:46 PM

Nicole, did the RSI come from fiddling? I ask, because I'm mad for practice (love every stolen minute), but am starting to feel it in the fingers of my physically abused forty-something left hand).


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Subject: RE: learning the fiddle
From: NicoleC
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 08:41 PM

Nope, from work. Fiddling mostly doesn't bother me because it uses different muscles, but sometimes it acts up when I really want to practice.

I did go through a phase where fiddling bothered me a bit, especially my left hand. I just took it easy and didn't push too hard, and I was okay after a while. Instead of physically practicing, I would sit and really listen to fiddlers and try to mentally figure out what they did. Didn't work most of the time, but I had fun anyway :)

The Alexander Technique exercises I was doing for my RSI might have helped, too. A Mudcatter recommended "Conquering Carpal Tunnel Syndrome" and it's a great book! Nice easy exercises that don't stress out abused hands.


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Subject: RE: learning the fiddle
From: GUEST,francis
Date: 02 Dec 02 - 09:34 PM

I play right-handed, but am surprised at the posts about the left-handed fiddlers. It's an accepted alternative here (Cape Breton) and several respected lefties are well-known, and noone thinks it odd. No, you don't reverse the strings. Yes, it makes it a stretch for the upper positions, but nothing that can't be coped with. You play up the pole on the back strings too, after all.

I've never been here before, so don't know where most of you are, but I would guess the US---one fellow a couple miles from here has played a few times at Carnegie Hall in NY, and he's a lefty fiddler. Ashley MacIsaac by name, if you want to hunt up a tape somewhere. Then there's Kinnon Beaton, he's a lefty, and......


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Subject: RE: learning the fiddle
From: mouldy
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 02:39 AM

Thanks for the advice. It's all common sense, really. I must get practicing on the piano more often - I am sure that would help my fingers immensely. It was another of those things I had always wanted to do, and I had the ulterior motive of not wanting to be left with a redundant piece of furniture when the girls left home. The problem is that after 11 years at it I am still pretty hopeless, but I'm determined to carry on.

Let's hope that I will make a better job of the fiddle when I finally start to learn.

Andrea


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Subject: RE: learning the fiddle
From: Enochxxx
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 02:57 PM

I started to learn after many years of threatening too several years ago. initially i aimed to teach myself with limited success but after attending some workshops decided to find a teacher.

Finding a teacher who wanted to teach me exactly what I wanted to learn has been invaluable. The idea of trying to invent bowing techniques for myself now seems like it would have been an incredibly difficult task, reinventing the wheel. i'm sure I would have progressed much more slowly.

I have found progress challenging at time but have never regretted starting. Go for it!


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Subject: RE: learning the fiddle
From: greg stephens
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 03:18 PM

If you're looking for left-handed fiddles( which I am at the moment, if anyone's got one for sale) the obvious thing is the pegs. The nearest peg to the body on a right-handed fiddle is the one on the bass(G) side (the left side if you look at the fiddle face on standing up). This leaves you more room for your left hand getting at the strings. Conversely, on a left-handed fiddle the lowest peg will be on the right-hand side.


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Subject: RE: learning the fiddle
From: gwonya
Date: 03 Dec 02 - 07:55 PM

Thanks Francis. My parents are both Cape Breton born and raised
and it's always great to hear from Nova Scotia. Ashley did get back
with the same advice when I left a question on his guestbook re.
beginning left handed fiddle.
Greg if you're anywhere near Toronto give the Country Music Store
a call - someone who builds left handed fiddles has a number posted
on the bulletin board in the store. I don't know anything about
the quality of the instruments but you may consider looking into it.
The store is on Danforth and the number is 416 690 5564.


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Subject: RE: learning the fiddle
From: GUEST,Frankham
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 03:35 PM

Hi Ireland,

The irony is that many trained violinists when they start to learn fiddling have to come to terms with the "classical" sound. Many fiddlers do things the wrong way. Ti Jean from Quebec was able to execute phrases that were the envy of trained concert violinists.

Moral, there ain't just one way to learn it. Do what feels right and what works for you. Get into the music and the way will make itself clear.

I believe that any instrument is hard (a ten or a hundred on the scale) to play well. I've been struggling with stringed instruments for years and it doesn't get any easier but it does become more fun.

Frank


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