Tapping your foot/feet…

Tapping your foot/feet…

So how do YOU tap your feet when you play? With the toe of the right? The toe of the left? I tap with the heel of my right, with almost more emphasis on the up than on the down. If things start swinging well, I noticed at one point that the heel starts swinging from side to side. If I’m just listening and I look down, I notice that I’m tapping BOTH feet opposite each other, sometimes with a double tap thrown in here and there…

Zina

Re: Tapping your foot/feet…

im same as you! that funny heal rightie thing!

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In Quebec they call it ‘tapements de pieds’ or ‘podorhythmie’, which translates roughly to foot percussion. Check out Buddy MacMaster, as well.

I call it ‘heel and toe’ and it goes something like this. With the left foot, you stomp "HEEL HEEL HEEL" on the bass beats, and with the right foot HEEL, TOE, HEEL, TOE. It takes some practice to get it going, and you need to be sitting down to do it. The ‘heel and toe’ goes with a forward and back motion of the lower leg, with the heel coming down on the forward motion, and the toe coming down on the return motion. The back and forth motion is only about 6".

Prince Edward Island fiddlers do the heel and toe part by rocking from the heel to the ball of the foot, slapping the heel and toe down on the floor. This variation is so exclusive to PEI, that every time I see a fiddler doing this, I make a point of telling him/her that I suspect that they are from PEI, and I haven’t embarassed myself yet (at least on that count).

A different pattern is needed for jigs. It is easier to learn, but harder to describe.

If anyone is interested in more info, just ask. I have tried to be brief here.

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GREAT topic!

I used to consciously try to tap one foot or the other and it never worked. I’d lose the rhythm and throw my bowing off, crashing like a one-legged stilt walker. Even after twenty years, I still can’t do it if I try to do it intentionally. This bothered me because nearly all the great players thump out such a strong beat with one foot or the other—like they can’t help themselves (as indeed many of them say).

The wonderful mystery to all this is that I DO stomp out a great rhythm most of the time…BUT it’s completely subconscious. If I happen to notice, I can enjoy what my feet are doing without interrupting the flow at all—sort of an out of the body experinece from the hips down. So as long as I don’t *direct* it, the foot tapping works great.

The fun part is that it ends up being far more complicated than anything I could possible arrange to do on purpose. Rather than stick to any set pattern, my feet improvise to the tune, sometimes shuffling, sometimes tapping, heels only now, then toes, then both, often with a fair amount of sideways slides and sways. When we really get rolling, my knees lift up and I go pumping along like I’m climbing stairs (What’shisname—god forgive me—who fiddles for Dervish does this move a lot). So I’m careful not to sit in chairs with wheels or casters on the legs.

Now before anyone pictures me as a chair-bound Joe Cocker squirming my way through the jigs and reels, I’ll point out that up to the knee pumping, most of these movements are fairly subtle, and the tapping is too faint for even me to hear if other instruments are adding to the din.

Wow…like going to confession….

Will

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hehehe…Will, a "chair-bound Joe Cocker"?! Hehehe…

At our Sunday sessions, we’ve started bringing one of those rubbery rug non-slip thingees to put our glasses and mugs and plates and such on, because once everyone gets going, it’s not unknown for everything on the tables to bounce right off the tables and onto the floor!

Zina

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hee hee! Will, I can just picture you! I just saw a great Cape Breton fiddler at a festival in Montreal (can’t remember his name, but over there he’s legendary) and he would kind of lean over to one side and thump the opposite foot, and then with no particular rhythmic regularity he would slowly shift over to the other side and start thumping the other foot, usually in the middle of a bar. It was as if he were on a rickety boat, trying to keep an even keel by stomping on whichever side was rising. Most Cape Bretoners do the one foot thumping, the other sliding back and forth.

Personally, I trace the evolution of my toe tapping thusly:
phase 1: not being able to imagine thinking of anything but hitting the notes
phase 2: the occasional right toe tap (at this point I always played standing) in the not-too-tricky part.
phase 3: the realization that I play better when I tap with my left foot.
phase 4: seated, vigorous left heel thumping (in the not-too-tricky parts)
phase 5: vigorous thumping with both feet in all parts, lifting them entirely off the ground a lot of the time.
phase 6: experimenting with off beat tapping, and finding it sometimes quite effective.

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Here’s what I do: when playing on my own it’s mostly „heel-heel-heel“ (or “heel-heel-where was that finger supposed to go?-heel-heel” when learning tunes). I haven’t a clue what I do on the rare occasions I play in sessions but I suppose I do something. I look forward to the day I will be so relaxed with listeners around that I can actually take notice of what my feet are doing down there.
I seem to be in some sort of phase transition in my own feet tapping evolution right now. Tunes I know quite well get accompanied by the occasional left foot or toe tap and sometimes I even do a kind of gentle “headbanging” or “headshaking”. As I play the flute I don’t dare to imagine what that looks like. One day I will be brave enough to play in front of a mirror but then again I might never be able to be relaxed in front of an audience. I only play at sessions when asked to and I only join in for a second tune after further invitation (that is because I’m afraid someone might regret having asked me) but still – playing in a pub is different from playing at someone’s house (on these ocaasions I just get carried away with the music and my feet do all sorts of things without having asked me for permission. They don’t do offbeats but they can move in an incredible speed. I might actually be moving on to phase 5 now.) I wonder if anyone of you has ever seen him- or herself play on video? On one of those occasions where you don’t care about anything but the music?

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I did see myself on TV once. I looked incredibly stiff and bored, but really I was just concentrating, wishing I could have done something with my hair, and trying not to stare directly into the camera. Also, this was a show that happened at a very indecent hour of the morning, so I can’t be blamed for not being fully awake. I was standing, which makes it difficult to tap steadily, but I did definitely bob and "woo" a bit the second time I was on the show.

Irina, I’ve never heard of anyone, after being asked to join a session, being asked again to stay. I would think the first invitation would be enough. Most players I know just settle right in as soon as they have a beer in hand and don’t leave until the playing is done. Are you living in a place, or going to sessions where the players are a bit (what’s the proper word…) exclusive? Or are you just terribly shy? Or is your flute drowning out the pipers and banjo pickers to the extent that you don’t feel welcome? There’s a great thread on session etiquette for shy players a ways back.

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"Headbanging"…yes, but mostly because I’m trashing yet another grand old tune.

I do have the misfortune of seeing (and hearing) myself playing on video—on national tv actually. Our guitar/bouzouki guy, Jim Schulz, won an award as a Disney teacher of the year for middle school science. Part of his reward was to be filmed for the award show, and the documentary crew wanted to get footage of him playing guitar. So they came to our session and caught three of us playing a set of reels. The sound guy, a world class bodhran player, must have done his magic in the editing room, bless his heart. As for the visual effect, all of us were excruciatingly aware of the tv camera the whole time, so there wasn’t much toe tapping or other gymnastics.

Not to brag, but I think I’m on to Phase 7: Gran mal seizures of both legs accompanied by catatonic paralysis above the neck. I know I’m really cooking when I feel the drool spilling over my chin and can do nothing to stop it…. Other fiddlers I’ve talked to describe the same syndrome.

As a fiddler, I did go through a phase years ago where it helped me to play in front of a mirror, watching my bow arm. Not to check for proper angle or technique, but rather to see for myself what an audience sees. At the time I didn’t feel like much of a fiddler. But there in the mirror was someone who looked very much the part. I also saw how small and smooth all the bowing and fingering motions actually were—much smaller than they felt—and that helped me realize how little energy is really needed to play a note. Whenever I need a confidence boost, I glance at a mirror to enjoy how smooth the bow arm looks as it wings through some string crossing nightmare—it almost always looks far easier than it feels.
Will

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Okay, get ready for a rant:

Has anyone ever experienced nazi foot stomping at a session? This is when a musician with fascist tendencies—usually a session leader—pounds his/her foot on the floor in an attempt to beat a slightly off rhythm into submission. This happened to me most notibly once when I was at a session here in Chicago a number years back now. I had innocently started Connaughtman`s Rambles but somehow a tectonic disturbance occurred in the rhythm of the second part. One of the session leaders then made an ostentatious display of stomping his foot in an effort to get things back on track. I mean, we’re talking about goose stepping. Perhaps I am or was over sensitive about the whole affair, but I was offended and hurt by this. Now, I’m not trying to suggest that there aren’t times at a session when a firm hand—or in this case a firm foot—are required to get the rhythm on track, but acts of aggression and condescension in foot-stomping form are totally uncalled for in my view.

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Brendan, I fully concur with your view. It’s always a better session when the pieces naturally fall into place without an ostentatious and humiliating display of guidance from a rhythmic keener, but I wouldn’t be too hurt if I were you. I used to think the tapping of the loudest foot in the room was directed at me personally, but then I realized the loud and selective foot tapper at the session I go to does it all the time, sometimes when things are going fine. She just happens to be an irregular tapper. She only does it once in a while, and then it’s very very loud. Sometimes it is to help us get on track with the tempo she wants to play, and sometimes she just gets tappy for no reason.

I would be very irritated with a serious tap nazi. I’m not looking for a drill sergeant when I go to a session, and I don’t care if things go pear shaped once in a while. They always seem to iron themselves out eventually, without a disciplinarian coercing us back into the groove. If things get so confused I can’t find the rhythm, or I’m not having fun playing any more, I just stop and wait.

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Kerri, if only everyone was as good as you at realizing that stopping might be the best thing to do if you’re completely confused. It’s part of that "I’m holding an instrument so I should be playing at all times" syndrome that can be so annoying.

Our session coffeeshop has the world’s loudest floor. A tap sounds like you’re trying to stomp the place down. Six or seven of us going at one time, and the bodhrans are struggling to be heard over it. If we thought foot tapping a Nazi characteristic, we’d all be contantly miffed!

I can’t really speak to your rant, Brendan, because I don’t know what the situation was in your session. Were you the only beginner in a crowd of more experienced players, were you playing alone or with others, was there high drama of another sort going on in the group that you weren’t aware of, was there a chinook going on at the time…there could be any number of reasons that actually had little to do with whether you could keep your pulse while playing as to why someone decided to stomp.

As a session leader myself of a very slow beginner session, I struggle to keep the better players from pushing the newbies too much on the slower tunes, and the newbies from slowing down the faster tunes that the better players need. I’d rather stomp than yell out loud, frankly, and it assumes that people have your good manners, Kerri. Why should they? The slow session is the place where they learn lessons before they get into the tougher arena of an open session (or learn not to blunder into a closed one!).

I once saw a fluter playing and lifting on the off-beats with his shoulders. He was a lovely player, and it was charming and funny how you could see the beat in his music as well as hear it!

And around my dance school, we usually call that "the traditional head wag", Irina. Heh.

Zina

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Kerri, thanks for the support (for my poor old bruised ego) and feedback. I agree. Sometimes the rhythm in a session gets off and things just have to renegociate themselves in oder to get back on the mark. And if all else fails, one can put down the instrument and pick up the pint.

However, in light of your comments Zina, I occurs to me that my frustration may have come from the fact that when I start a tune I expect others to at least honor on some level the tempo I put forth. Now, in the situation I mentioned above, the session leader was perhaps trying pushing the envelop and I and some others weren’t going there (the session was a mix of beginner, intermediate, and advanced players) So a conflagration of rhythms (and perhaps egos) resulted. But wait, an unbelievably warm breeze did happen to blow through the pub during that mid-winter day ;) In any case, I still think the guy’s foot stomping was over-the-top…

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Perhaps the warm breeze also came from the foot stomper….

Aimlessly wandering rhythm doesn’t bother me nearly as much as someone who should know better intentionally trying to speed up a perfectly fine tempo set by someone else. When a newbie or beginner starts a tune, it’s high rudeness in my book to jump on it and the gas pedal at the same time.

That said, I’ve been known to crank up the pace during a set, but only under three conditions: no one is trying to dance to us, the players present are all known to me and capable of keeping up, and the next tune I have in mind just begs for a different tempo.

When the rhythm simply unravels, as it easily can in a motley group, I agree with Kerri—you either stop, or if you’re up to it, grab the last bit of accurate beat and stick to it to give everyone else a lifeline they can reach for. But you don’t have to stomp it out or mash on the volume—if you’re beat stays solid, nine times out of ten the rest of the group will come back to it sooner than you’d expect and without any extra admonishment.

I’ve played in a place with a fairly loud ceiling fan, and it’s amazing how often our jigs fall into the rhythm of the blade whooshing around. But I also remember playing a half-way-to-St.-Paddy’s-Day ceili where we competed with a helicopter war video game—the machine guns sounded like hardshoe, but they never came in on cue….

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I always stop playing when the too rhythm gets too "off". I figure it’s better to stop than to contribute to the "car-wreck-in-progress". I am the only one I’ve ever seen do this. I will also stop if I start a tune and someone speeds it up to the point where I’m not able to keep up. I just let them take it. The person (same one, every time) always turns to me at the end and says "sorry, I thought you knew that one". And I always say "I do, but not at THAT pace". Why is it that so many folks confuse the ability to play fast with the ability to play well? Ooops, nearly went into a huge rant there……deep breath….ok, it’s under control (grin)

In any case, I can’t keep a foot tap going yet. I’ve seen players whose foot tapping seems to be to a different rhythm than the one they’re playing. Talk about confusing!

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Well, Will, you’re certainly a more experienced session leader than me, so I’ll defer to you on that…I’ve tried keeping the beat firm and steady in the middle of a deteriorating set, and the train wreck simply went on without me, which was pretty funny when everyone ended at one point or other and there I was playing the last note all by myself! — when I added a louder heel it got better, but I suppose I could see what happens if I let the crashing go on through the end of the set to see if anyone notices, I suppose.

But yes, I do agree that it’s the height of rudeness to change the tempo that someone else starts a tune at. So far I haven’t had any of our players do such a thing on purpose (no, I’m lying, it happened once, and the then session leader finally got a little pointed after the third or fourth hint and he never came back again, just as well, really) although it happens fairly normally unless I add The Heel Stamp, completely unconsciously on the part of the guilty parties, I think. (This session includes some wildly different skill levels in it.)

Oh, DO rant, Chris, that’s one of my favorites, I mean, my least favorites. The more I play, the more I realize that I love the tunes a little slower than most sessions round here play them, or even a lot slower. I just feel like I can enjoy the tune itself so much more when it’s not at breakneck speed; I’m told that as I get faster myself, though, I won’t think so as much. I do enjoy the Barry Foy thing on it, though, which was something along the lines of ‘if you’re a mediocre player, perhaps it’s best to play it faster and just get it over with!" Heh.

Although, has anyone else had the experience of thinking that you were playing in a fine, flowing and relaxed time, and when you stopped, someone said something along the lines of, "wow, that was fast!" to you?

Zina

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If the tempo goes all over the place I usually go through the following drill…
1. Laugh
2. Stop Playing
And if it’s bad enough, & there is only one offender.
3. Nazi Foot tap.
This Nazi foot stomping thing isn’t all bad & I’ve seen some of the biggest hearted players do it, but it shouldn’t be a first resort. Foot ‘stomping’ is something I don’t do that often, I might ‘tap’ my foot (or both) if I’m in the mood. Frankly, I find foot stompers to be a pain in the neck, especially when the session isn’t rolling at the same level of enthusiasm as the foot stomping is. Tapping of the foot is quite a good way to devolop timing in your playing, it the closest you can get to dancing while playing without looking like a fool. This is dance music, isn’t it?

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Now, if you have two Nazi foot stompers and they don’t agree on the tempo, that’s when bottles start flying.

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Zina, if you’re playing with some absolute beginners a lot of them are probably grateful for the help. I think there are a lot of different kinds of foot tapping. Some are rude and some are helpful and some are simply for the enjoyment of the tapper. When I’m in a lesson or workshop and learning a tune, I welcome the tapping of the teacher to keep the rhythm in my mind while I try to get the notes, and if I am often getting lost, it makes it easier to catch up again. It’;s when someone hijacks a tune I know well and thumps teh tempo into me that I get a little irritated. Anyhow, break time’s over. Must go.

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Well, the whole speed issue seems so subjective. And Zina, I *have* had that experience, thinking I was playing at a pretty relaxed pace and being told "wow, that was fast". Then again, sometimes I think I’m playing blazingly fast and get totally left in the dust. But I think the point is that speed should not be the most important part of a person’s playing, even if you can play skillfully at speed. Even some of the professional players play so fast they make me feel like someone’s smacking me over the head repeatedly! It sounds frantic and almost forced. But that’s just my opinion at the moment. The first couple of years I was learning to play, I loved that style. I like the ones who *sound* like they’re playing at a relaxed pace but when you try to play with them it turns out that they’re cookin’!

When I was taking lessons, I was told *not* to attend sessions for the first few years because it would teach me bad habits, like playing too fast for my ability and ignoring technique in favor of playing faster. And he was right. I’ve been playing in a session for three years and have successfully absorbed those bad habits! So now I’m going to stop going to sessions for awhile go back to working with a metronome and taping myself and working over my "old" tunes instead of collecting new ones as fast as I can. Oh, and work on my foot tapping ability!

Anyway, it’s a journey not a destination (as my husband, a bass player for 20 years keeps telling me!) and much of the fun is watching yourself go along and change and grow and find some sort of equilibrium.

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A very good piece of advice from your teacher, Christine. I have that very same habit. I go to a session where I can keep up with the players, when they are playing tunes I know, but not with any mind of style or skill. I have the speed, but very little else. I’ve been avoiding the session for a while, building up my repertoire and phrasing. I’m often told by gnarly old veterans I’m playing too fast, but I swear I’m playing at half the speed the hotshots leading the session are playing… I think the difference is, as you point out, they’re very relaxed and it sounds lovely and easy going, but the tempo is actually blazing and very very difficult to match. Their phrasing is perfect and they hit all the notes, ergo, they do not sound like they are playing too fast. I miss notes and panic. Therefore, when someone tells me I am playing too fast, I now interpret that to mean I am playing too fast for my ability. Which is probably true. But it’s difficult to slow down when I’m always playing with these virtuosoes (virtuosi?), and have gotten into the habit of hearing tunes too fast, even when I hum them to myself or hear them in my head. I think a steady diet of Martin Hayes is prescribed, and a hiatus from the lightening fast sessions.

erratum:
for and "mind of style or skill" in line two, read "kind of style or skill".
I don’t want anyone thinking I don’t have a stylish, skilful mind!

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Well, I think we have happened upon a very interesting tract of, what should I say, "the musical experience." I’m thinking of the recent comments about the way in which you think that you’re playing along in a nice comfortable tempo but from the listener’s standpoint it seems really fast.

I had an epiphany along these lines when I was practicing this one reel in anticipation of a fleadh. At the behest of my teacher, my approach for a while was specifically to slow the tune down in order master every juicy morsel. One day, however, I decided to record my protracted efforts and much to my surprise I discovered that the tune sounded really fast. (I also discovered that the tune still sounded sloppy, but that’s another story.) This was strange it really felt like I was plodding along. So I have since surmised that there is a considerable disconnect between the subjective tempo and objective tempo.

I think most players would be particularly surprised about just how difficult it really is to actually slow a tune down. Now I understand why my teacher was constantly telling me to *slow the tune down*. It’s easy to play fast by comparison. Moreover, I think that on the inside one should always feel like the tempo is slow, i.e. steady and under control.

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Kerri, you do so! Have a stylish, skillful mind, I mean. *grin*

A friend of mine who is an extremely skilled organist at a large cathedral once told me that the correct tempo for any piece of music is the tempo that you can play the whole thing through steadily and well — no faster. That’s true in Irish as well, I think, and in fact all the way across the board.

It makes me think of this: at the school, we have five Most Important Things about dancing that we ask students to master before worrying about anything else. They are 1) Know Your Step, 2) Stay With The Music, and 3, 4, & 5 are all basic form things. Before we correct anything else, we correct those five things. It is possible to dance having all of those five things correctly and not be a champion-level dancer, but you cannot be a champion level dancer without having those five things correctly. I think all artforms are like that, actually.

Zina

P.s.

So what I’m hearing is that you don’t want to *feel* like you’re going fast, you want to *sound* like you’re going slow, so you’re actually aiming for playing fast while sounding slow!

heh.

Actually, I’ve noticed this as well, and have certainly found that I sound the best when I am playing relaxed and steady — no tune sounds good fast but sloppy, I personally think.

My teacher is actually a Nazi about tapping your foot really helping you maintain a steady pulse — it really is easier to feel the all-important pulse when you tap your foot. So I really don’t mind running a beginner session, whereas some people have told me they don’t know how I have the patience (it might surprise some of you to know that I have no patience — NOT! The exception has always been while I’m teaching.) to always go that slow. I actually like it. I figure if I can get the feel of the tunes slower, then I’ll have them as I naturally speed up as I get better.

I really feel that leading a session is a terribly large responsibility. I am always hyper-sensitive and worrying that I’m teaching bad habits or, worse, bad playing.

Zina

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I think we covered this on an earlier thread somewhere, talking about aiming for sounding "effortless" at any speed, and finding that you then sound relaxed, and others will be surprised at how fast you’re actually going. For me the key to doing this is letting go of any physical tension or strain while remaining mentally laser-focused on the tune.

Zina, slow sessions can be a blast if the newbies aren’t too shy. Teaching music is one of the best ways to improve your own thinking about what you know—I always find that I learn as much or more than any of the people I teach when I do a lesson or a clinic, and usually feel a little guilty for getting paid for it. Trying to explain or demonstrate anything musical forces you to analyze it more closely than you might just to play it yourself, and playing tunes slowly is the best test for highlighting the weak points and working through them.
Will

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Yes, I actually have a great deal of fun at the slow session, Will — although I have to do a lot of "no, really, start a tune" urging with the new ones. Yesterday was one of those days where I had one beginning fiddler and a guitar player show up, so I taught tunes for two hours. Suddenly, I noted where I have troubles with those tunes!

So, how do you teach how to tap your foot, Will? Anybody else?

zls

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This great! I’ve been looking for just such a topic as this on numerous websites with no success. All posts about Nazi foot-stompers aside(and I have been guilty of this myself at times) I’ve loved Arcadian foot-tapping for some time. I’m a flute/pipe/banjo/etc. player by trade, but I’m interested in the foot stomping thing as an effect for stage or for a tune I may not know in a session(I was playing with Zan Mcleod a while back and he did some great Quebcois-style foot tapping during one set and I was quite intrigued; also, I have a lot of French Canadian on my Dad’s side, so, why not?). I’ve never seen it done live(except for Zan)however, so I was wondering if anyone here could explain the proccess to me. I sort of understood the discription given in an earlier post, but I’d like to make certain I have the basic idea before I practice it. Anyone know of a website that explains the technique? I’ve had no luck finding one, amazingly. Thanks!

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Teach someone to tap their foot? Oh, I use one of them rubber hammers doctors like to hit people with and I just pummel their kneecaps in 4/4 time till they’re black and blue! : 0 )

Zina, go back and read my first post in this thread. I’m the last person who should teach anybody to tap their foot. We’d end up with a string section that couldn’t sit still, feet flying in all directions like a roach infestation at a flamenco convention. Har, har, har.

I figure most beginners have more than enough to think about without worrying what their feet are doing too. And more experienced players seem to "step in it" just fine on their own. The few times I’ve been asked for advice on this, I usually suggest learning to tap with either foot and with toes and heels—kind of like bowing: the more variety the better.
Will

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Flute boy, I’ve heard wonderful things about the tapping feet of the musicians in the Quebecois band "Barachois". I think they tour quite a bit, too. Maybe you could see them somewhere. They also do some great mouth music. I don’t know how you could learn it - maybe kidnap someone and force him to show you his moves.

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"flute_boy", you might check out the following e-group. It discusses
French Canadian music, and you might find answers to your questions there.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/QueTrad

Every fiddler does it different, and some get more into it than others. I described a basic version of it above, which would be suitable for reels, marches, etc., anything in 2/4 or 4/4 time. Both feet are used, each in a different pattern, so it requires enough practice to make it automatic, so that you can do it while fiddling. You can’t learn it by watching it, because it happens so fast. People here, seem to think that it has roots in Irish music, but I have never seen any documentation of that idea.

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Hmmm. Will, I’m not sure I agree that beginners shouldn’t learn to tap their feet — okay, maybe not the whole Joe Cocker thing, heh — as they learn to play. I think once someone has gotten to a point where they can play the tune more or less all the way through, tapping your foot can help you start to "get" the whole pulse and feel thing. (Which is why I usually place more emphasis on my heel going up than when it’s going down!)

Scott, I’ve often wondered about that whole "we got it from the Irish" thing — d’you suppose that since almost every Irish player I have ever watched has a different way of tapping their feet, that someone said, hey, I want to learn to do that, and so formulized the thing? Who knows! I wonder if one could find out somehow.

Zina

Re: Tapping your foot/feet…

Given Canada’s history, geography and demographics, (i.e. ‘long ago’ we had lots of isolated communities, some English, some French, some Irish, some Scottish, etc. ) many communities had a single fiddler, or not even a fiddler at all. Our folklore has it that in those communities, an individual had to sound like a… one man band, and so today there exists a tradition of peurt-a-beul, and foot music, often combined with fiddle tunes. How, or whether, the Irish fit into all this is a good question. I am just speculating, but it may be possible that the initial toe taps were borrowed from the Irish, and then further embellished to adapt to local needs. From one perspective, this may not be a sensible assumption, because the foot music seems to be much more developed in French speaking communities, (perhaps implying a French origin). It would be interesting to see what the QueTrad discussion group has to say about this question.

I don’t know where the foot music comes from, who invented it, and I ain’t gonna pay royalties to nobody. :O) As is true with of much of our local fiddling tradition, there is a lot of folklore surrounding the practices, much of it taken as truth, some of it utterly ridiculous. e.g. When I started fiddling, I met a guy who was known to everybody as "Trip"; nobody seemed to know if he had a real name. But, he told me that the way to tell if an old fiddle is a good one, is to drop it on a hardwood floor, and if the fiddle makes a clunk on the floor with a pitch of middle C, then it is a good fiddle….

My gawd, it used to be a good fiddle…. that is what he told me, and he was deadly serious, and he wanted to test my fiddle. I told him that I wanted to test his guitar, first, and he looked at me as if I was stupider than dirt. That really happened.

Re: Tapping your foot/feet…

hehehe…actually, that’s not TOO far off, except most people usually use a finger tap at three different places on the back of the fiddle to check the tuning of the instrument.

hehehe. That’s just TOO funny.

zls

Re: Tapping your foot/feet…

Seeking clarification of the "not too far off" comment…. What are you refering to: 1) Trip’s method for testing a fiddle, or 2) that I am stupider than dirt? :-)

Re: Tapping your foot/feet…

hehehe…what do you think? Your choice there, Scotto… *snort*

zls

Re: Tapping your foot/feet…

Zina, I didn’t think that I was important enough for you to slag. Rumour has it that you only ‘flame’ extremely distinguished musicological types.

Let me see…. should I be flattered that you chose me to insult, or should I be insulted that you are not attempting to flatter me by insulting me….but then again, it is flattering that you are insulting me by not flattering me… I think that I’ll go back out to the woodshed and practice tapping my toe…

Re: Tapping your foot/feet…

That violin-dropping story is going to make it into the urban legend books one day, mark my words. :-)

Sligo figure-eight cross bowing - now that boggles my mind. I’m going to have to try that! And since my electric fiddle is nigh silent when used with headphones, I just might bring it to work and use an empty conference room at lunchtime! (If all of you go rushing out to buy one now, I want a kickback from Yamaha!)

Scotty, any one of us should feel privileged to be acknowledged by Zina in any way - It made my heart flutter when she started this thread at my suggestion! :-P

Re: Tapping your foot/feet…

I just realized that this is the toe-tapping thread, not the bowing thread - that’ll teach me to post messages before noon…

Re: Tapping your foot/feet…

I’m not talking to any of you guys ever again. *snort, giggle, guffaw*

Maybe "Trip" was a descriptive more than a name, Scott… *grin*

zls