A few more Questions about fiddle playing (Rolls/Cuts)

A few more Questions about fiddle playing (Rolls/Cuts)

A few more Questions about fiddle playing

Let me start by saying thanks so much to everybody who replied to my last set of questions on fiddle playing. Everyone’s knowledgeable words have helped me greatly and I can all ready feel and hear an improvement in my playing.

Ok these next lot of questions refer to ornaments and how to bow them.

1. When playing a roll is it ok to break up the roll with 2 bows (do a down bow on the B then and up bow on the CBAB). Or would ye be better off to do it all with one bow if you can?
2. I am learning the Longford Tinker on the fiddle at the moment and in bar 5 and 6 there’s a passage where I want to do rolls (just on the notes that are highlighted to ornament) am I better off playing the first quaver and the dotted crochet (where I’m going to play the roll) all in one bow and lets just say a down bow and then the next quaver and the dotted crochet (where I’m going to play the roll) an up bow or do people play this different? Would it be a good idea/rule to try play as many suitable quaver followed by a roll with one bow as possible if you know what I mean?

There is the link to the Longford Tinker
https://thesession.org/tunes/369

3. Another ornament issue which is causing me confusion is when playing a cut in between two notes lets say BB and I’m cutting with C should I change the bow on the C or is it better off to do all in one bow? And also when just cutting single notes like a B on its own being cut by a C should you change bow or does it all depend on the beat

Re: A few more Questions about fiddle playing (Rolls/Cuts)

It doesn’t matter. Except that it’s probably better to get a clean roll nailed in a single bow stroke before you mess with it.

Yes, you mess with tunes, that’s the music. But it’s better to get the tunes nailed before you mess with them. And that includes the rolls. For they are part of the tunes, not baubles.

3. It’s important to be able to articulate two concecutive notes, like two Bs, as you mention. You should be able to actually flick the string rather than punctuate it with a specific note. This way, it doesn’t matter whether you do it with a C or a D.

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Re: A few more Questions about fiddle playing (Rolls/Cuts)

1. If you are changing bow direction mid-roll you are doing something very wrong.

2. In a workshop I went to recently, Randal Bays said that bowing a short note followed by a rolled longer note with two separate bow directions (as you propose here, I believe) is a "terrible way to bow" that type of phrase. I have since been experimenting and have concluded that he is right. Bow the two notes in the same direction — ideally you should be able to do both on an up or on a down bow. This will take some practice but it’s worth it for the smoothness of the resulting sound.

3. Don’t change bow direction when cutting. The whole point of cutting is to separate notes without changing bow direction.

So, to sum it up: don’t change bow direction 🙂

Re: A few more Questions about fiddle playing (Rolls/Cuts)

You have to admit though, doing a separate bow stroke for each note in a role can sound really cool if you do it right (BIG if, that).

Re: A few more Questions about fiddle playing (Rolls/Cuts)

"So, to sum it up: don’t change bow direction"

I thinkthis is good advice to a mandolin player who is learning the fiddle. The knack is to be able to articulate the whole lot of all all of it with the left hand alone

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Re: A few more Questions about fiddle playing (Rolls/Cuts)

Kevin Burke claims to use cuts to "disguise" a change of direction when he runs out of bow, but he’s a daft nanny anyway.

—DtM

Re: A few more Questions about fiddle playing (Rolls/Cuts)

There are two types of fiddle rolls: long and short rolls. They are both played with the same notes and bowing, but the phrasing and rhythm is different. For example: in the Longford Tinker, the B rolls in bar 5 would be short rolls. The F# roll in bar 6 is a long roll. In a roll, there are 5 separate notes, so the F# roll goes like this: F G F E F (or F A F E F). The only difference between the two types of rolls is that in the long roll, the first note is held longer.

As for fingering: I play all of my rolls with the note directly above and below the main note of the roll. I don’t see why people do their first finger rolls with the third finger cut, because you don’t do that with second or third finger rolls. So, for first finger rolls, I always play the cut with my second finger. (Example: I would play all the B rolls in the Longford Tinker like this: B C# B A B). I find that it makes the rolls more percussive, and "rolling" at the same time. It also allows the rolls to be played slower, so they don’t get lost. The nice thing about playing your rolls slower, especially as a beginner, is that they are easier to get right. If you try playing them too fast before you’re really confident, your rolls will probably just get lost in the melody if you miss the cut or the bottom note.

Bowing: I never ever change bows during a roll or a cut between two notes. I also rarely slur into a roll. I often slur out of them, but usually not from the note before the roll into the roll. Changing bow direction during a roll defeats the purpose of playing rolls at all. If you want a choppy sound, play bow triplets, finger triplets, or cuts. There is no reason to break up a roll into multiple bows. It also makes it impossible to play a proper roll. I know that Kevin Burke often changes direction during a roll/cut, but I would not copy his style of rolls when first learning how to play them, since his style and technique are so unique. Not to say that you can’t imitate his style ever, I just don’t think that his roll playing fits the standard for how most people would play a roll, the same way that I wouldn’t recommend imitating Tommy Peoples’ triplets when you’re first learning how to do them.

All in all, you really have to find what works best for you and what you like. I would suggest trying several different approaches, starting with the most common/basic one, then deciding which one you like best. If you decide in the end that you want to play rolls with two different bow directions, that’s fine, but I would recommend not limiting your options too soon and getting in the habit of playing a particular way before you’ve explored all your options. Good luck with it all, you seem really enthusiastic! It’s great to see such detailed and informed questions being asked. If you have any more problems/questions, feel free to email me off the site and I’ll try to help you as best I can.

Re: A few more Questions about fiddle playing (Rolls/Cuts)

I use cuts when I don’t want to change bow. I wouldn’t change bows in the middle of a roll. I will (fairly often) slur into a roll, but not too often slur out of them.

Re: A few more Questions about fiddle playing (Rolls/Cuts)

rolls should be played with one bow stroke.
reenactor,youare right about cuts,however you can do a broken slur as well,it is not as definite as reversing the bowing.but works very well as an alternative to using a cut to avoid changing direction

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