How to Get Up to Session Speed on Fiddle

How to Get Up to Session Speed on Fiddle

Some fiddlers (you know who you are) have very kindly given sound clip examples on youtube etc. of tunes slowed down, then played at normal session pace.

Now, how to speed up may seem obvious to some, but it isn’t to me. Fiddle faster? Yes, but that just seems to produce an effect of raggedness or worse, crazy panic.

What exactly are you *doing* when you lock into that session pace? What are the main things to concentrate on?

Would anyone break it down for us, and maybe give some leads about good ways to progress towards session speed in reels and jigs? (in words, obviously ;-))
Thanks a million.

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I can’t speak specifically for fiddle, but in terms of building up my speed on the whistle, I think the most important thing for me was to know a tune really thoroughly before attempting to speed it up. Whenever I learn a new tune I try to make sure I can play it spot-on at a slow pace before beginning to up the tempo.

I found that tapping my foot as I played helped me to speed up without losing control of the rhythm. For reels, if you count the bars as 1-2-3-4, I just tap my foot on each ‘1’. Similarly counting jigs 1-2-3-, I also tap my foot on each ‘1’. It lets me gradually build up the speed without the tune running away into a frenzy.

Another thing that threw my timing off when I first tried speeding up was that I was keen to throw in rolls at every opportunity before I really had the technique down - this led to my tunes sounding chaotic. Maybe the way to go is building speed with a slightly stripped down style, until you’re comfortable with ornamentation.

I don’t know if that helps at all… the foot-tapping thing really works for me

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I am definitely not up to session speed on the fiddle but what works for me when I am practing the piano is to use metronome. Set it at a slow speed that you are comfortable playing at. Play through the piece (or section you are working on) five times in a row *perfectly* at that speed - if you goof on the fourth time through, you have to start at one again.

Then increase the metronome setting by one or two notches and play the piece at that speed five times *perfectly*. Continue like this until you reach your desired goal. It doesn’t seem like you are increasing the tempo very much at one time, but you will be amazed at how quickly you will be able to play up to speed.

Once you are comfortable playing at speed with the metronome, turn it off and practice without it. It is necessary to develop your inner sense of timing and not to rely solely on the metronome, although it can be a very useful practice tool.

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Or you could use LowWhistler’s method of foot-tapping. Essentailly the same thing :-)

How to Get Up to Session Speed

There is a jig I have been playing everyday for about 3 weeks.
I know it better now than I have over the past 3 (or more) years. I would not have made such a claim one week ago. But now I am able to play the tune at any speed my fingers can manage.
The tune is Ian Lowthian’s jig for Myra.
I wasn’t aiming for speed but it’s fully sessionable. Regardless of whether the speed is fast, slow, or moderate I can play the tune & feel like I am contributing.
Now, if you are asking what’s my top speed. Jaysus, P. K. go ask McGoldrick that question. The tune has a lovely syncopated rhythm & I don’t intend to crank it up over the top. Unless I can do that & really bring out the syncopation. Besides, my mates would have to keep up.

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If you just keep playing a tune at a certain speed, eventually it starts to feel boringly easy playing at that speed and you naturally speed up.

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Whiddler, did you just say playing slow is easy & boring & the remedy is speed?

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yeah, the post from Whiddler is disturbing, but there the grain of truth should include that if you keep playing a tune at a certain speed, eventually it starts to feel boringly easy playing at that speed and you naturally either speed up or slow down.

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But as far as getting up to speed goes, there is no magic solution or short cut. It’s merely playing, just playing, and more playing. The only really important thing to keep a handle on is to never even attempt to play faster than you can. Play up to the edge, but no further.

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One thing to remember is when the playing gets fast, you need to relax. It’s the opposite of what your brain is thinking, and you’re doomed if you tense up. Also, shorten your bow stroke and learn to play with a couple inches of bow. If you’re using half the bow when you play slower to make it sound nice, you’ll have a heck of a time keeping the bow going at attack speed.

Good luck!

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Llig, I wrote 3 paragraphs trying to get my opinion across and you put it better in 3 lines…

"Play up to the edge, but no further", and little by little that ‘edge’ will move.

Of course, when you can play at a fast pace you’ll then have the question that seems to wind up the folks around here: "How fast is too fast?" :-)

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"Whiddler, did you just say playing slow is easy & boring & the remedy is speed?"

Nope, should have been clearer. I meant:
If you’re playing at a perfectly comfortable but "slow" speed and you WANT to play faster, you’ll naturally speed up as you play over and over since you’ll remember where to put the next finger quicker and will WANT to put it down quicker. Kind of obvious I guess. Building up speed on the fiddle takes so long that it’s hardly noticeable, but you’ll get there. Basically, don’t try to fiddle faster than is comfortable, because you’ll just mess up and get frustrated. Your comfort speed will naturally increase as you play.

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I like that phrase of Llig’s too - and that principle of playing up to the edge but no further, will work just as well for any instrument that anyone here plays.

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"you could use LowWhistler’s method of foot-tapping. Essentailly the same thing"

*Similar*, maybe, but not *the same thing* as using a metronome. Using a metronome might be a useful way of setting a tempo to practise at and sticking to it - and for showing up any parts of the tune where you habitually slow down or speed up. But as long as you use it, you are relying on it for the pulse. When you take away the metronome, is the pulse still there?

For this reason, I think, it is important to spend time playing alone without a metronome as well (with or without foot-tapping, whichever is easier) and develop your own internal metronome - you can take that with you to a session.

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Here’s a technique my teacher showed me.
Get an electronic metronome. Find a speed where you can play the tune comfortably. Then push the "up" button 3 times (making the metronome click faster). Try to play the tune at that speed.
If you find that you can’t play cleanly at that speed, then hit the "down" button 2 times. (This will be slower than you just tried but still a little faster than you originally played comfortably. Oddly it will feel slow after playing so much faster).
If instead you have troubles playing well at that faster speed, then hit the "up" button 3 more times, and repeat.

This is a way to systematically build speed, and it will also increase your familiarity with the tune, because you end up playing it many, many times.

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Oops, that 4th line should have read "If instead you *are* playing well at that faster speed, then hit the "up" button 3 more times, and repeat."

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Get an electronic metronome.

No, spawn of the devil….

Did Padraig O’Keefe have an electronic metronome?
Did O’Carolan have an electronic metronome?
Did Michael Colemaelectronic metronome?

Just go to a session where the ‘pace’ is very slightly faster than you are comfy with and push yourself.

This is not electronic music, It’s Wood and Felt and dusty roisin. It’s gut and wax and linseed oil.

Get a Grip.

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I want to know exactly what people have against metronomes. I hate them because they remind me that I STILL botch up things with rhythm and tempo, even 14 years down the line. Why do you all hate them?

I think that they are a very useful tool in helping establish a tempo for practicing. Some people are more "musical" than others and tend towards expression rather than rhythmic integrity, and a metronome can help hammer that into their brains. That’s what I’ve noticed, anyway. And it’s not like you’re supposed to play along with a metronome every bleeding time you play. It’s a problem if someone cannot play with consistent tempo without a metronome. But a metronome *can* help someone get a handle on the tempo so they can internalize it.

As for getting up to session speed on the fiddle? Start slowly, work your way up tempo-wise. Jennamafer’s system is a good one… and it get’s you to where you know the tune inside and out. And that’s when you can really enjoy the tune.

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For starters, if I want to know a tune inside out I begin with the tune not with the tempo.

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BTW I am not one who hates metronomes. I can play along with one if I really want to.

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A major part of playing fast with 100% accuracy is acquiring a cast-iron technique that is guaranteed to do the business no matter what is thrown at it. The only way to get that technique is slow practice, slow enough for the student to observe what he’s doing, to analyse it, and to identify problem areas. The main problem areas for the fiddle lie with the bow, not just obvious things like string crossings and bowed ornaments, but more fundamental stuff like tone production, placement and engagement of the bow with the string, and the most basic thing of all - holding the bow. Until that is right the player is unlikely to get that effortless relaxation in bowing necessary for fast accurate playing.

It’s common to hear of top musicians spending 4-6 hours a day practicing. I’d bet that a fair proportion of that time is spent in real slow practice of problem areas until the player not only gets them right but - critically - will thereafter never get them wrong.

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I learn tunes by ear using the Amazing Slowdowner. I usually start picking up a new tune at about 40% of the recorded speed. But when I’ve learned the tune, of course I speed things up. I rarely get to the 100% speed, but this software makes it very easy to move "the edge" upwards slowly. Much better than a metronome, because you’re actually playing along with somebody.

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Lazyhound’s right, of course, about the bowing. You cannot
have any ‘juddering’ in your long tones (or short tones) because that obscures the rhythm and ornamentation.
I have seen some fiddle grips that allow the bow to bounce
around inside the grip where the bow is held with fingers 1
and 2. I’ve tried it and it gives inconsistent results, although
Martin Hayes and Siobhan Peoples are two great ones who
seem to play like, but appearances which can
be misleading.

I like to get all four fingers involved with 3 and 4 and a flexible
wrist controlling the shock. It looks like this is how Tommy
Peoples does it and violinists I’ve observed in orchestras.
This seems to give more consistent results with rapid strokes. But regardless of the grip, you have to get rid of the
shakes and bouncing before you can speed. I’ve only
managed this in the last few months so I still remember how
to do it wrong.

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Wow - no speaka da english today - Hayes and S Peoples
appear to play with a two-fingered grip, but appearances can
be deceiving.

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Could someone go into a little more detail on bowing action- on the basic ‘shuffles’ or however you choose to name them, that lead to that ‘metronomic’ bowing technique all good fiddlers seem to have. I have always found this rather complicated to grasp.

Is there a *simple*, generic technique, for jig and reel respectively, that gives the economy of movement needed to play at speed?

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hah! good one P-K - like llig says, there’s no shortcut. Just put it under your chin and scrape away - you’ll get there!

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"What are the main things to concentrate on?"

I’d say that the main thing to concentrate on is to not concentrate at all, just relax and play. It takes some time to reach "session speed", just keep playing and before you know it you’ll be there.

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try single bowing

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(I’m not interested in a discussion of metronomes, sufice it to say that if you gather a few people who are comfortable playing with the things, you’ll get a train wreck.)

(And just to correct jtrout, playing along with electronically slowed down music is not playing with a person. The machine slows everthing down, the attack, the cuts and taps and rolls etc. It’s a shockingly awful sound. Don’t do it)

(And leoj, another shockingly awful sound is people tryin g to play fast single bowing. Don’t do it)

However, it’s worth exploring the oft repeeated, "It’s harder to play slower".

This comes from a reaction against people who usually play fast. But this really comes from the reallity that it’s merely harder to play at speeds you don’t normally play at.

The oft dichotomy of old timers being fed up with the newcomers’ snails pace and boy racers, with the newcomers’ frustration with their inabilty to "get it up" is just people being out of their velocity comfort zone. You should be playing at a wide vareity of tempos, be comfortable with a large range.

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playing along with electronically slowed down music is not playing with a person but it is a very useful tool to learn tunes. Obviously, everything is slowed down, including the attack, cuts, etc. It’s about learning…

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PK - As others have already said above: it’s just practice, more practice - and then, more practice!

And although the HC fiddle workshops are very good, there is really no substitute for going to sessions regularly. If you’re not used to doing this, it can be intimidating - at least, initially. To begin with, you may find yourself "sitting out" of of lot of tunes. If you hear a tune that you like (but don’t know) just ask the person who led it the name of it. Then practice it at home. The chances are that you will then be able to join in with it at a subsequent session. Keep repeating this cycle, and eventually you will find that you will be able to join in about 3/4s of the tunes played, or maybe more.

Playing at speed. This is a question that I can very much relate to. Although I can play several instruments, at the fiddle I’m a complete beginner, having only taken it up earlier this year. So playing at speed is really difficult for me.

I find that when I try to play faster, the bowing that I’ve been taught tends to go "out of the window" and I resort to too much slurring to avoid losing speed. A very bad habit, I’m told. I haven’t hacked this one yet, but if and when I do, I’ll let you know. I suspect though, that it’s just a question of doing a lot more more practice!

If you can afford it (and haven’t already done so) book in a few private lessons with David Garner. He really is a first-class teacher. You’ll probably learn more in the course of a couple of lessons with him than you would in months of going to the HC fiddle workshops, (useful as they are)!

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It can be a useful tool in missing out an important part of your musical development. And yes, it does slow down everything, including getting where you want to be as a player.

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Obviously my last post is regarding slow down software. I would answer the question by saying start at the beginning and don’t try and miss out the middle. It doesn’t take years to get up to speed it takes hours. 3 hours a week is only 156 hours a year. Ten years of that is only 1560 hours. 3 hours a day instead of per week makes your ten years worth 70.

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You’re right, slow down software sucks. But if you’ve no other way of learning tunes and no regular teachers, it’s a better option than the dreaded sheet music.

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Are we talking about 40% or 80% or 90% ?

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mix has it. It just takes years of practice, no getting out of it. I am only now at session speed for a handful of tunes on the box,after a number of years battering away at it. Flute and whistle no prob, but the box is still an effort.

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I agree with Silver Spear, and with Bogman’s excellent and very pointed comment! The fact is that the human brain, with practice, can become the world’s best slow-downer. The way to do it is to listen, listen, listen, and keep listening, to that track at its normal speed for as along as it takes for the brain to absorb every nuance of the tune. When that’s happened you can "play" back the tune in your head at what ever speed you like, and without even slowing down the ornaments. You could, if you wanted to, even transcribe the tune as you are "hearing" it at writing speed. Sounds easy? Well, it darn well isn’t, for most people. It’s rather like a beginner trying to learn by ear or to control his fingers on the fiddle so as to play in tune (for which you’ve first got to have in your head what "in tune" sounds like). But like learning by ear or learning to play in tune, it will come with practice, and once you’ve got it you’ll always have it.

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PS I’ve never used slowdowner or similar products, but in the past I did use my audio editor to slow down a wave form of Tommy Peoples’ playing to see exactly what he was doing with the ornaments. I was little the wiser.

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"Could someone go into a little more detail on bowing action- on the basic ‘shuffles’ or however you choose to name them, that lead to that ‘metronomic’ bowing technique all good fiddlers seem to have"

p-k, irish music doesn’t really have "shuffles" the way that other styles do (like old time, for example). It’s not about mastering a set of bowing patterns. Your bowing approach needs to change with the tunes.

Lazyhound has the best advice on this thread, in my opinion. The more solid your technique is, the faster you will be able to play. A loose wrist is essential! The only video I’ve been able to find on developing a loose wrist is from Todd Ehle, here:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=gpQvd_PD_88&feature=related


He spends a lot of time talking about rotating the forearm, but if you go to the point at about 1:40 into the clip, he shows what Carl Flesch taught on the wrist, and you can see his wrist moving quite a lot—-that’s how I was taught to bow. Get your wrist moving like that from string to string, starting slow and speeding it up. Get the wrist like that on the same string. Put it into all your tunes. It took me months to get it reliably, but once you have it, it can’t leave you, and it will bring a great facility and smoothness to your playing.

The other thing you need to combine it with is a good tone—-it’s not so easy to keep a good tone from string to string, so that’s another thing that takes practice. Ehle has an excellent video on tone production:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=WZR_vx0Ghfc&feature=related


Anyway, those are some things that helped me. There are lots of other things to learn like finger pressure, finger movements, etc., but the wrist and tone are good places to start. Good luck!

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Find recordings that you like and try to play along with them. Keep working at it until you get it. This takes time.

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I can’t find it now, but somebody mentioned playing with people who are just beyond you in skill level. My favorite, gold-standard session (RIP) was like that. If they launched into a tune I knew well, I could ride their coat-tails and play at a faster tempo than I could normally manage. Exhilarating.

But of course the bottom line is the usual, "Practice, practice, practice." You won’t be able to play a tune at a quick tempo until it’s all automatic, all the way through, and you don’t have to think about it. You can’t just know the tune in your head, your fingers have to be able to do it automatically.

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I agree with all the posts above that say play with others and play some more with others. Session speed is subjective. Even within a session, one player’s jig speed may be faster or slower that another’s. Like llig says, play at a wide variety of tempos. When you do that, you can play in any session (if they will have you, of course). :-)

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Session speed can also be subjective another way. If you come into a session of really good players they can sound slower than they actually are because their synch, timing, articulation and all is so precise that you can hear every note they’re playing. This deceives you into thinking that their playing isn’t really all that quick - until you take up your instrument …

On the other hand, it’s rather more common to come across the other extreme where perhaps only one or two are capable of playing accurately at the speed they’ve chosen, and the rest are desperately trying to keep up at a level beyond their current capabilities. The result, to the listener, is invariably a bit untidy.

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That other extreme is a horrid thing. There’s no way I’d start a set of well known tunes at a pace that’s beyond the company. As I’ve said anyway, I like to play slow.

However, the idea of not welcoming a more obscure set of tunes at an exciting pace that deliberately excludes the majority is always on the menu

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P-K in asking for a ‘break down’ about how to get to "session speed" asks a really good question, but the solution(s),as experience shows, aren’t always that obvious even maybe to players who *can* play at "session speed" (subject to views about whatever "session speed" is).

Mickray comes close to nailing it though, I think, when he says:

"You won’t be able to play a tune at a quick tempo until it’s all automatic, all the way through, and you don’t have to think about it. You can’t just know the tune in your head, your fingers have to be able to do it automatically."

*your fingers have to do it automatically". Spot on - with a couple of buts - you fingers might do it automatically at a slower than "session speed", but not (yet) at "session speed".
So, almost there, I think. Motor skills, motor skills, motor skills, need practice, practice, practice - and if you stop practising, the motor skill can backslide. What sort of practise?

The post further up by fearfaoin about gradually increasing speed, then dropping back (consolidating I suppose), then progressing again is a technique that is used in acquiring a lot of motor skills, especially keyboard type finger skills ahm, e.g. typing, and machine shorthand.

I know these sorts of discussions don’t like analogies that well. But.
If you see a typist typing something *fast* e.g. 90 words a minute or more, and you are familiar with every single word that typist can type - you still won’t be able to type them at that speed if your typing speed is 60 words per minute. If you then practise, practise, practise at 60 words per minute, you’ll get very accurate at that speed, but when you try to type at 70 or 80 words per minute, you’ll make mistakes, and more mistakes as you try to keep up. It isn’t the speed that’s making you make mistakes, it is hesitation caused by the *unconscious* decision-making you are doing about where to put your fingers to produce a particular letter. (Looking at the keyboard makes it an even slower process because you’ve know got a visual step in the decision-making process - a bit like learning music from the dots.)
Your brain will always do the decision-making (as long as it’s normal and functioning well - tiredness can slow it down though obviously - but the responses will become faster with practice at higher at higher speeds, up to a point.- which might be different for everyone actually - up to a point. When hesitation is at it’s lowest, then, in the context of "session speed" you might be there then.

With playing the music, we have the added problem of not knowing the tune, so there are two quite separate jobs to do, imo - being able to play your instrument to "session speed" and learning the tunes. Difficult for sure. The other problem is changing from one pattern of notes (one tune or a set), to another sequence of notes (e.g. another tune or set of tunes), your brain has to deal with those changes as well - at speed, and without hesitation.

It sounds to me, P-K, like you haven’t been playing for that long, sticking my neck out a bit there, that you are new to playing the fiddle? as in other genres either?

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That’s a beautiful analysis of the problem.

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Thank you, lazy,I hope it is helpful. I teach these keyboard skills for years now, and I am a very fast typist, and the things I see written in discussions about just this issue, are very similar to what my students say about the frustration and suffering they go through trying to "get up to speed".
The problem then becomes, sometimes, a self-fulfilling one, because you *can* get worn down emotionally by the experience, and dump the pursuit. It happens.
The other issue seems to be that the younger one is when we go after these motor skills, the less "pessimistic", I suppose for want of a better term, we are about our own limitations - I don’t know, there isn’t one explanation for it.
Persistence and practice are the solutions given by students as advice to other beginning students - but - you need a handle to put on it e.g. increasing speed, but maintaining accuracy - how do you do that. There’s a structure that works well.
To me, *session speed* (depending on what it is), is the equivalent of a fast professional speed in keyboard work - typing or machine shorthand. Most people can get to a level easily enough with persistence, to a frustrating slightly lower speed than that, but have a bit of trouble just getting to that last level. To me, a bit like getting to play the music at say 100 beats per minute, and the session you are playing at is usually at 110 - very very frustrating.
Basically, I think, you have to be able to play at a speed just slightly above where your session speed is going to be at, to feel confident and comfortable. So - I guess the question is - how do you get to that point - in a definitive explanation. Being definitive about this is hard - there are courses of study devoted to what it is to learn a particular skill, - and what it is to understanding the mental, physical process, and then formulating a teaching experience around it. That’s what *education* should be I think.

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I’ve read through this thread a couple of times now, and it reminds me how glad I am to be part of this gathering- you folks are great!

I know a ‘how do you?’ question sometimes seems like a call for a quick fix, but here it’s a symptom of leaving it a bit late to start. Four years in, a couple of hours or more religiously a day, and- dare I say it?- it’s coming!

Practice, motor skills, foot tapping, knowing a tune inside out, getting a teacher, getting out to more real sessions…single bowing, or slurring (that seems a bit of a minefield)…so many useful ideas to implement.

And the bow?….aargh, the bloody bow….:)

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And in the spirit of lightening up….

(Not one to tell your friends, unfortunately…)

——————-When does a bow not sound like a bow?

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When it’s a curtsy…..

(I’ll be off now…)

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I vehemently disagree with the statement, "You won’t be able to play a tune at a quick tempo until it’s all automatic, all the way through, and you don’t have to think about it."

You hear people playing like this all the time. Fast, automatic. It’s possibly among the most tedius and irritating music on the planet. These are the people who find it hard to play slow, because there is no content to the music, no humanity, they play like machines.

You have to be in control, concious at every level, thinking about the music as you play. I was going to say breathing life into it, but it’s more than that. The tune is you and you are alive. And you owe it to the tune to let it show.

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Guess I missed you P-K ~ good discussion.
Not being a fiddler myself I hope you enjoy this.
1st of all, I’m doing a thread detour. aka ‘hijacking’
Quite accidentally I stumbled on a clip of "Green Fields Of America" played by Michael Coleman.
It originally came from cranford publications website.
Though I could not locate it their.
Carry on. I am enjoying reading the comments
http://www.cranfordpub.com/mp3MonthlyTunes.htm
http://www.cranfordpub.com/mp3s/michaelcoleman2.mp3

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Breathing life into anything is alot.
Cheers llig it’s grand to hear you there.

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** still hijacking ya’ P-K

& if you are still about …
Earlier this evening I was playing some recordings for a friend I searching YouTube. It all began w/the Vallely’s below & ended up with Michael Coleman after I do not know how many in between.
Tell me if they’re breathing life into this one; http://ie.youtube.com/watch?v=mRXe_HFvQ0g

The Singing Stream - Vallely Brothers & Tiarnan O Duinnchinn

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Random, thanks, that’s a great clip with the pipers- (no-one minds a hijack for something like that).

‘The tune is you and you are alive’- isn’t that just it? Nice one, llig.

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The most important thing is to learn to play well. Be patient, everything else will come in due time.

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Gee, llig disagrees—that’s a shocker!

OK, maybe "automatic" is the wrong word. Maybe I should have said that you have to be able to play *naturally*, without consciously thinking about the notes. ‘The tune is you and you are alive’ is another way of saying that.

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The tune is you; and you are the tune, in the glory of the universe - for ever and ever - brothers and sisters.
Amen. Let it shine.

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Didn’t Ian Paisley say that?

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Nah; you’ll be able to play fast before it’s
automatic: it just won’t sound like it’s
automatic.

Just concentrate on tunes like Kesh and
Sally Gardens at hyper speed and you
will be able to play at session speeds.

From there just smooth your bowing to
get more automatic. Then spread it to
other tunes.

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Well, this is all talk, anyway, and talk is cheap. Words, words, words.

I just read the following in Walter Isaacson’s biography of Benjamin Franklin:

"Franklin ended his ‘Apology for Printers’ with a fable about a father and son traveling with a donkey. When the father rode and made his son walk, they were criticized by those they met; likewise, they were criticized with the son rode and made the father walk, or when they both rode the donkey, or when neither did. So finally they decided to throw the donkey off a bridge. The moral, according to Franklin, was that it is foolish to try to avoid all criticism."

Re: How to Get Up to Session Speed on Fiddle

That seems like sense, dogma- get up to speed on the familiar ones, and the skill will spread gradually in time.
I guess in the end everyone has their own opinion on the best way of getting there- as Aesop’s fable showed.
‘Saddle The Pony’, I say- and let’s enjoy the ride.

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You have to listen to music. You have to hear the music. You have to be possessed by the music. There’s no fun listening to a selfish fiddler who hasn’t been taken by the devil, his heart filled with the music, and his body reeling away inside to it. That reeling inside is then harnessed and concentrated in the tiny movements on the finger board, and most importantly in the bow. The bow is where it’s all at, and the wrist is where the bow is all at. The wrist has to be loose so that it can dance for the fiddler. The wrist translates the rhythm to the bow, and the bow pulls from fiddle a melody singing in rhythm. Above all listen, and by osmosis imitate real fiddlers in your mind’s eye and in your heart and finally on your fiddle. The fiddle sounds like absolute sh*t when played from the head, carefully and overly consciously. The fiddle is played from the bow.

Re: How to Get Up to Session Speed on Fiddle

Kennedy- belated thanks for reminding us about Todd Ehle’s excellent videos - I hadn’t got as far as his speed stuff before, but that clip on rotation is just the kind of thing I need right now.

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My one big regret in life is that I didn’t grow up with the music around me, listening in the flesh and reeling inside it, as Scratch so beautifully describes. There is always the danger, when you come to it late, of having too cerebral an approach, born of impatience to make up for lost time.
‘Listen…imitate real fiddlers in your mind’s eye, in your heart, and finally on your fiddle.’
Osmosis is a hard road now, but undoubtedly the most fulfilling, and it’s good to be reminded of it so eloquently. Thanks, Scratch.

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Wow, I missed this one. Great discussion folks.

Indeed P-K, don’t fret the journey, for really, that’s all there is. There is no destination, just a wonderful journey, enjoy the ride. Osmos away. ;-)

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Thanks, SW- the scenery is great, too isn’t it?
Actually there’s an interesting point here- do you think *imagining* yourself into the skin of a great fiddler, osmosing the spirit of the playing, brings you on at all?
In terms of pace, I’m osmosing Martin Hayes relaxed at the moment, and I like that- think of his Carraroe/Out on The Ocean. To get out there in sessions and keep up, I would need a touch of the Frankie Gavin’s. Does that mind stuff really work?

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Lol! Loving the ‘scenery’, indeed!

Mind over matter? Yes. For sure. Hasn’t someone written ‘Quantum Theory and Traditional Music’ yet? No? Slackers! ;-)

I’m a lucky feller. I had some intense classical training as a child, ages 7-13. I gave it up in the errors of youth. I picked it back up about 8 years ago as an adult to play ‘the music’ here, that was a layoff of 15 years.

After a few early years of ramping back up, I’m happily at the point where I can hear and then do. It’s as simple as that. I hear it, I do it, and then I keep doing it until it sounds like what I’m hearing. It gets quicker and better the more I do it, just like any other skill. This is why I encourage but can’t help those on here with their very detailed analysis and meta-cognition about fiddle technique, etc. I play so subconsciously at this point that I find it a hindrance to think deeply about bow direction and other little technical items. I’m assuming this is because I internalized all these mechanics as a young lad.

Also, I beat this analogy to death, but here goes. It’s like learning a language, it is a language, actually. They say the best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it and to speak only that language. You’ll never learn German if you live in an exile enclave in Berlin where they speak nothing but English, for example. Conversely, you’ll never learn to play fiddle in the Irish style unless you listen to it and try to speak it, all the time. So yes, immerse yourself! Keep listening to Hayes and Gavin

Many of the previous posters have given good advice. It sounds like you have a session with some good musicians to drag you along? I found that a huge help, to get dragged around the floor, so to speak, continually playing with folks better than I.

They will keep you steady as you try to push that edge Llig was talking about. That was a great analogy too, keep pushing the edge on tunes you know well, don’t cross the edge, but by continually pushing the tempo a little on the tunes you know well, that edge will keep moving.

No tricks, I’m afraid! Listen and keep playing at your speed. In fact, challenge yourself with the tunes you know well by pushing that tempo a little, not so it’s out of control, but give it a little juice by your lonesome, just for fun. Then, those ones that you know well, hopefully your local session trots them out, or they ask you to start some, or maybe ask one of them to start them, so you can hang on while they take you for a ride! Keep at it, and you’ll be the one giving rides eventually. ;-)

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P-K, that point you’ve just raised actually occurred in my violin lesson last week. My teacher placed a few bars of a slow movement from Bach (which I knew and could play) and asked me to play it in a variety of moods (but not altering the speed) including,
assertive
relaxed like playing to diners in a restaurant
assertive and aggressive
boisterous and joyful
gentle as a lullaby to a child going to sleep
as I imagine Heifetz would have played it in a concert
as I imagine Bach himself would have played it
as it would be sight-read by a hesitant beginner - which was more difficult than I’d expected.
Each one gave me a fresh insight into the music.

Re: How to Get Up to Session Speed on Fiddle

Wow, mind-expanding stuff indeed.
Thanks to some kind putting-in-touch by Mix (in a brief pause where he wasn’t dodging slings and arrows!), and after a two year spell in the wilderness, I have now found a top-notch tutor for some lessons in the New Year- so that should give you all a break from answering my damn-fool fiddle questions for a while :)

Re: How to Get Up to Session Speed on Fiddle

Wow, trevorhound, great exercise!

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I’ve heard that one before, about fiddle playing being all in the bowing/wrist. I’m sorry, but it’s simply not true, not accurate, or even a useful abstract description. This may be true of a fair few styles of fiddle playing, but certainly way way off the mark with good Irish fiddle playing. Sure you can use the bow to define phrases. But also, it’s very important to develop the ability to articulate whole phrases with just your fingers. It’s about learning how the flute and pipes can play.

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Re: How to Get Up to Session Speed on Fiddle

Also, I’m not just talking about playing fast when I mention pushing the edge on tunes. Try also pushing the edge on hoe slow you can take it. And push the edge on how dense, and how open. And how bright and how quiet. etc. Like Lazy’s thing a couple of posts above.

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Re: How to Get Up to Session Speed on Fiddle

"fiddle playing being all in the bowing/wrist. I’m sorry, but it’s simply not true, not accurate, or even a useful abstract description"
"Just put it under your chin and scrape away"

I’m sorry, too, to read these comments :-(

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I don’t know enough about fiddle playing to comment on the wrist question, but I think the latter comment was intended to be taken tongue in cheek, lazy, a bit of fun.

The correct quote (as I recently learnt!) is : "Poppycock, stick it under your chin and scrape away"

(as I understand it, meaning "just do it!")

I’m sure, too, that llig appreciates just how much goes into ‘just doing it!’

Re: How to Get Up to Session Speed on Fiddle

llig, when you talk about ‘articulating whole phrases with your fingers’, and how it’s ‘about learning how the flute and pipes can play’, I’m guessing you are you pointing to some mildly percussive movement in the finger action?

Re: How to Get Up to Session Speed on Fiddle

A late comment on this one: I adopted the "stick it under your chin and scrape away" technique at first, enjoyed learning lots of tunes, but generally found (obviously) that my bowing went to pieces at session speed. I then went back to various books (sorry llig) with bow markings such as Cranitch and Pete Cooper, practised much more slowly and paid attention to the bowing even though it did my head in. Guess what? Speed, economy and rhythm much improved. A long way to go yet of course. Scottish and Shetland books too - Tom Anderson’s bow markings are very helpful. Christine Anderson’s book on Traditional Scottish Fiddling is brilliant (it was really cheap on Amazon a couple of months ago so I’m glad I got it when I did - I’ll be giving it the attention it deserves over the Christmas break_

Re: How to Get Up to Session Speed on Fiddle

I mean copying exactly the cuts and taps and rolls of piping and tongue-less flute playing. You should be learning to articulate the tunes without the bow. Otherwise you will end up relying on the bow for your rhythm and it will be repetitive and therefore dull.

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Re: How to Get Up to Session Speed on Fiddle

Richard,

Last night, a mate (fiddle player) and I were sitting out a set of tunes and being enthralled by three terrific players sat next to each other over the table. We were looking at how the bowing looked like complete anarchy. The only time their bows kept any semblance of unison was at the end of certain strong phrases in the tune, otherwise, all over the place. My mate remarked that if you were trying to get some tips of good bowing technique, you’d be absolutely flummoxed.

Scottish music is different, there really are set ways to do it. But anarchy rules in Irish fiddle bowing. It’s all about flexibility and invention, never getting stuck in a rut with it. If your books helped you, it was probably because you were stuck in a rut with what you were doing before. Just be careful that you don’t get stuck in a rut with reproducing what you read.

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Er, I guess that’s for the advanced class- I’m not up to doing those things properly on the fiddle yet, never mind copying how they’re done on other instruments.

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Thanks Michael, yes, I do agree with you. No-one would get far if they thought bow markings set out a compulsory way to play a tune, but they do provide a pattern if one’s bowing is totally unstructured. I was finding myself constantly on a weak up-bow on the strong beats, losing the rhythm and getting in a tangle. I’ve been addicted to playing fiddle for about 8 years, with three and a half years of regular session playing, and I feel I’m just starting to turn a corner. The most obvious area of recent improvement is in the bowing.

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Two things there Richard. Firstly, get your up bow to sound as strong as your down bow. I know that theory about gravity making your down bow the stronger one, but it make it not matter. The idea is to be able to do everything either way, then you won’t get in a tangle.

Secondly, getting in a tangle is exactly the way to get yourself out of repetition. Do it deliberately. Dig your self into a hole inside a phrase and scare yourself with not knowing where you are. Then learn to enjoy digging yourself out again, without losing it. This is where the creativity is in bowing.

Bowing should be unstructured. If you are doing it to a pattern, you’re doing it wrong.

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Unlike Richard, I have instinctively steered away from bowing patterns in books- mainly because, having tried, I can never remember the sequence, and prefer to keep what brain I have for the tune.
And yet, I have always *thought* the good fiddlers were applying some kind of formula to their bowing to get their speed, so the idea that anarchy may lie at each end of the spectrum of ability is really encouraging.

Re: How to Get Up to Session Speed on Fiddle

A great thread that just keeps going!

Anarchy rules indeed, love the comparisons of bowing.

Was at a Barn Dance last night playing for dancers with some other folks, a few Old-Timey musicians, etc. They did some Irish, some Contra, some ECD, pretty nifty.

After the dance, we had a nice long jam by the bonfire. It’s Florida, it was 60 F outside. ;-)

Got into a long chat with a very talented Old Timey fiddler. We played back and forth, enjoying each others’ music. What was funny is that we remarked to each other how we each ‘sound’ either ‘Old-Timey’ or ‘Irish’ with our fiddle styles.

I was asking her about the ‘shuffle’ and she was demonstrating, very interesting. She then asked me about bowing patterns in Irish music, and I thought of this thread.

My answer to her was exactly what Mr. Llig says above. The tune is king. If you use the same pattern every time, it’ll sound like a midi file. Best to have no patterns, and live by adapting your bowing for each tune on the fly. Then, you will enjoy the freedom to deal with whatever comes your way, plus you’ll be able to create variation with your bowing, and not sound like a midi file. :-P

Also, the flute/pipe idea is so important. The very first musician I strove to copy was Liam O’Flynn because of Planxty, not any fiddler. I tried to make my fiddle sound like pipes, or articulate like pipes. Now I’ve got a good friend learning flute, and from talking to him I’ve gone even further towards articulating with the left hand, like the fluters do with their fingers so they don’t have to break their wind. Or pipers, who have a continuous, mechanical flow of air to deal with. Trying to play the whistle properly also has helped me to concentrate on this idea and what ‘it’ should sound like.

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Poking my nose back into a fiddle discussion. I am wondering how much of what Michael just wrote about getting into a tangle and digging yourself out would apply to breathing with instruments that you blow. Well, it happens, its whether it is useful or not.

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Ha. Crossed. Current project is Planxty’s Merrily Kissed the Quaker, focusing on the pipes !

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Sw, believe me, I’d settle for sounding predictable like a midi file sometimes :) - but, seriously, this pipes stuff is interesting. If I get your drift, re. the fiddle, you’re talking about that sort of continuity of texture in a tune, that kind of continuo for want of a better way of putting it (not necessarily a drone), where the bow stays on the strings and the notes all hang together in articulated fashion- rather than coming out as random entities- the stuff that makes the tune flow- your reference to the pipers’ continuous flow of air put me on to that.
I think that flow is what sorts the men from the boys among fiddlers- and I’m afraid I’m still wearing the grey flannel shorts!

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Coincidentally, I have just been watching the Ceird An Cheoil on pipe making (from the link over on the Music on TG4 thread). Pipes made (and played) by the ace fiddler who coached Jeremy Irons- can’t manage the Gaelic spelling of his name just now- we all know him anyway.

Re: How to Get Up to Session Speed on Fiddle

Good man david, and don’t be so hard on yourself P-K, you keep at it and it will be a little better all the time. Enjoy the ride, right? ;-)

Right, here’s the absurdly simplified theory, use with caution, YRMV, IMO, blah blah, insert disclaimer here. Imagine your bow as the bellows. The bellows doesn’t bow up or down, it just blows, and so should your bow. Same with the flute, though obviously a fluter can stop blowing and pipes have staccato effects and can stop blowing too, but the way the music appears to sound to me, when I hear those instruments played well, is that it’s a flow. On particularly complex reels at rip roaring speeds I call it ‘barfing up a stream of notes’. Often I can ‘barf’ out a whole buncha of ‘em with the left hand on just one bow stroke. Well, with those tunes I’ve sliced away at for a while, at least. Enjoying the ride!

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…and that’s the key with any of this stuff. Not on tunes you’re just learning, on the ones you’ve beat to death. Whenever I find myself saying I’m sick of a tune I ask myself sternly if I’ve sliced it every which way possible yet. Then I sheepishly go see what else I can squeeze out of it. Or scrape out of it.

Re: How to Get Up to Session Speed on Fiddle

…so back on topic, and then I have to go have some tunes at a Christmas Eve party, how to get up to speed? It’s only going to happen on the ones you’ve played for a long time, at first. Shoot, here’s some heresy, why not bpm count yourself with Sally Gardens or something like that? That’s probably the first one I shocked myself with by playing at ludicrous speeds.

Not that speed should be the goal yet l if oomph, lift and nyah are lost in the process, of course. In a perfect world.

If you’re playing for dancers, you’ll have to crank it up, and they’re not listening anyway. No, I tease. I like to do crazy variations in those cases to see if they ARE actually listening. :-P

Re: How to Get Up to Session Speed on Fiddle

"barfing up a stream of notes"… nice image! But sounds right to me. A more polite description from a well-known fiddler—oh heck, it was Randal Bays—"nonstop series of notes, like a babbling brook."

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‘Barfing up a stream of notes’- LOL.
Quick, Pete, the t-shirt :)

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I don’t like the analogy "barfing up a stream of notes". It’s a horrid analogy. Being sick is horrible. That uncontrolled retching, you can’t breath, it’s painful. it’s distressing. What a daft analogy to playing tunes.

Your stream of notes should be controlled and, above all, enjoyable.

The very one thing it shouldn’t be is analogous to vomit

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It’s hard enough as it is to keep the windway on my fipple clean & clear.

Posted by .

Re: How to Get Up to Session Speed on Fiddle

Sometimes you have to look beyond a literal take on the terminology to the nub of the message (scrape away, fer chrissake…)- though perhaps I’m immune on this one, as ‘barf’ has never been part of my active vocabulary.

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La- la-la- la-la la-la….don’t worry, I’m just trying to make the ton before Christmas is done…

Re: How to Get Up to Session Speed on Fiddle

Well, P-K, reply to this one and you get your wish. It’s still Christmas, out here on the Left Coast of Amerikay. ;-)

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"I mean copying exactly the cuts and taps and rolls of piping and tongue-less flute playing." (llig leahcim on 24 Dec)

I can understand that philosophy when you’re playing a pipe/flute tune on the fiddle, but is it necessarily appropriate for a tune composed by a fiddler that is intended to be played on the fiddle (and there are hundreds of them)?

Re: How to Get Up to Session Speed on Fiddle

My naive perspective on lazyhound’s point is that, in choosing a new tune to learn on the fiddle, I would shy away from pieces that seemed intended for flute/pipes, on the grounds that they seem more difficult to play, particularly at pace, until you have full mastery of the instrument.
However, ‘imagine your bow as the bellows’ probably applies well to those tunes in particular.

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Thanks, mickray, we have dalmatians :)

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The best tunes aren’t "intended" for particular instruments.

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Maybe not, but some lend themselves to particular instruments, don’t they?

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Thinking about things like Ambrose Moloney’s, Eel in the Sink- great for whistle, flute etc. primarily, no?

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Poppycock - re Cathal Hayden an Tommy Peoples

Posted .

Poppycock

Sure, good players can play anything- and at speed. Apprentices have to narrow things down to match their competence.

* "Poppycock"- from the Dutch "pappekak", meaning literally ‘soft dung’ (or diarrhoea). Also a brand of candied popcorn, apparently, invented in Detroit.

Re: How to Get Up to Session Speed on Fiddle

Make mine the popcorn.

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no, all you are doiing is hearing a musician you like and saying that the tunes they play must naturally fit on that instrument, because the playing feels natural. I remember somebody posting once that The Moving Cloud was the quintesential banjo tune, or something like that. Bloody stupid, as illustrated by Matt Molloy on Heathery Breeze.

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I never said anything like that.

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what did you mean then by naming a couple of tunes you thought were "primarily" for whistle and flute?

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I get and accept your underlying point- no segregation of tunes by instrument, but try and remember back to the days when you were struggling to learn: there are tunes you feel are going to work better for you at that stage on your instrument.

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Having said that, suggestion does undoubtedly figure: the first few times I heard Eel, it was on something other than fiddle,
and, if you look down the recordings of it on the db, there is quite a lot of non-fiddle there.

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Some tunes do however have to be transposed to fit certain instruments. some keys are more comfortable on some instruments. For example the Yellow tinker is played in Am on the C#D box and not the standard fiddle Gm(ish). I tried it in Am on the fiddle but was defeated. Anyone?
As it happens some tunes , composed on fiddle are not pipe/whistle tunes and are not suitable for those instruments. Each instrument has its own characteristics. None the less the majority of standards are playable on the main trad instruments, but some tunes do fall under the fingers more on the instrument they were composed on. So I have to respectfully disagree with Llig on this one.

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do you think that changing the key of a tune changes the tune?

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I’m not being facetious. I think the question should get people to think about what a tune is.

Yes, each instrument has its own characteristics. each key on each instrument has its own characteristics. Even each note on each instrument has its own characteristics, especially the pipes and flute. But should not these characteristics be exploited in the service of each tunes’ characteristics.

Often, playing a tune in an unfamiliar key can open up something in a tune that you miss in the original key you learned it. Though I think that to deliberately play a tune in a key you find harder merely exposes, at best, a lack of humility to the music, or at worst, a pathological misapreciation of the whole idea of everything.

I think it’s your duty to make as many tunes as you can fall under the fingers as simply as possible.

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Michael, you’re missing a lot of perspective when you say that. How about in Clare where they play so many tunes in keys like C and F and the flat keys? They’re not appreciating the tunes properly? So if Martin Hayes or Christy MacNamara comes to my neck of the woods and brings out a lovely haunting reel in C, that I shouldn’t learn it that way because it’s so much easier in G? Or how about some of the tunes I learned from my teacher, straight out of Ireland, that are in Dm, when I’ve only ever heard them locally in A? They’re a lot tougher in Dm, sure, but they have a much more haunting feel to them in that key, and I love them that way, they’re worth the finger-twisting.

I would think it’s my duty to learn the tunes as they were given to me, and then let them evolve from there.

This thread sure has gone off-topic…

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Sure has, but, tracing it back, this diversion did have some relevance. Thanks, Ionnanas, I was beginning to think I was alone in the world in maintaining that some tunes sit better with a particular instrument- not that they are ‘quintessential’, just slightly easier to get your fingers round- and hence, bring up to speed.
Departing from fiddle for a moment, a friend I play with (he plays piano accordian) often looks aghast when I bring out something like ‘The Thrush in the Bush’, or some other tune that dances across from G to E- complaining he needs time to work out the fingering etc. He usually gets there in the end, but given the choice, will tend to choose something less tricky for his instrument.

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Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that you should only play tunes in the keys that are most simple for you, though it does read like that.

Yes, of course it’s your duty to learn the tunes as they were given to you (except, of course, if you got one from some daft eedjit who deliberately played in a key they found harder). But there is a very good reason that you should be able to transpose with ease and that is that it forces you to think and play tunes in terms of intervals and not absolutes. It stops you from learning tunes as finger patterns on your instrument.

There is a long tradition of fiddle tunes in Gm and Dm, and of course you should have these tunes in those keys. And flute players should have them in those keys too. And they should be as easy in those keys as up a tone.

But often, it’s worth while transposing them up a tone for the sake of the flute players in your company. You shouldn’t be deliberately wanting to make people struggle.

There’s a fab little Liz Carroll single reel that I’ve been playing for a few weeks down the pub that I was a little frustrated people weren’t catching on to. She plays it kind of in G but with lots of Fnats and awkward string crossings (not awkward for her of course), but after I took it up a tone, it fell under the fingers really easily. I’m not sure there should be a duty to play it in G. It’s the same tune no matter what key you play it in.

Be pragmatic with keys, it’s not really that important. I love Black Pat’s in F, the key it was written in, because you can roll the top A. But I’ll more often play it in G (and have to just bow triplet the top B) because it’s a t w a t on the flute in F

(By the way, is it not a bit ridiculous that some one on a piano keyboard finds a particular key hard? Surely you just move your hand? Or am I missing something? I find that one of the problems with the PA is that it’s such an easy instrument to play fast.)

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I agree with a lot of that Llig, but I find the yellow tinker in Am unplayable, and I tried!!
Im known for playing tunes in uncommon keys. Apart from the fact that its an old local tradition I do it because its fun. I would generally do it because its easier, not harder!. But my main reason is to explore the possibilites . to enjoy the different approach. Different ornaments , different phraseing, different feel, I just LOVE it.
Of course I would have the tunes in the more standard keys and would play them there to be more sociable in company .
So yes they are the same tune, yet…,
The versatility of the fiddle allows this. Some instruments are not able to do this.
Sally gardens is, if Im not mistaken, a pipe tune. In G it doesnt fall under my fingers, I dont enjoy playing it at a fast pace. In D however it is much more comfortable for me. different fingering etc. I play it in F also, but not fast! Not that we play the sally gardens in sessions anyhow,:-) but I enjoy the tunes for the pleasure of making music, not for the sessions, not for other people, not for the audience, but for the tunes.

I find transposing tunes refreshes them for me and I wish more folk did it!

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Back to the original question ! : How to Get Up to Session Speed on Fiddle? How fast is session speed!? how long is a piece of string? around here, its nice and easy in general. again, a local tradition.
For a beginer I suggest playing the bare bones without ornamentation, concentrate on clear phraseing and clear strong rhythm. IMO the most important aspects.
I have often find myself trying to ‘fit more in’ but catch myself more often these days and resist the urge and maintain the ‘feel’ and individual characteristics of the tune , maintain the ‘push’ of dance music, stay on top of the beat. Once all the notes are clearly positioned in their rightful place any feeling of rushing or dragging vanishes and all those lovely ‘diddly bits’ find their home.
Thats how I look at it, find a ‘home’ for yourself within the tunes, where the tunes just fall from your fingers like ripe fruit from a branch, dont try to ‘pluck the fruit when it is hard and unyielding’ but allow the main focus to be on the tune and its ‘feel’ , be relaxed, dont push and struggle, but think about it. Find your own way.
It doesnt matter if its fast or slow, flashy or staid, what matters is a genuine love for the music, with this IMO you will find your path .

The short answer is practice/play lots and lots and lots , for a long time. :-)

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yep.

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Ah, well, glad you clarified. That point about flutes is especially true. I always used to think that the versatility of the fiddle was such a grand thing, but it’s not so much when your flute-player friends can’t join in on a tune because they have a hard time with some of the notes. Definitely worth learning a different key just for that.

Re: How to Get Up to Session Speed on Fiddle

Several well known uilleann pipers were in a panel discussion at the Armagh Piping Festival this year, talking about what drew them to individual tunes (among other things). One said that he is much more interested in tunes which fit easily on the pipes. He found that he could better explore the tonal possibilities and range of the instrument on tunes you don’t have to contort around to play. He is very much interested in 18th and 19th century piping tunes and has access to collections of hundreds of these things. With all these beautiful old piping tunes laying about, why bother working hard to make fiddle tunes, etc. fit on the pipes?

One of the other pipers on the panel said that he often looks for tunes from the playing of other instruments and enjoys of the challenge of putting non-piping tunes on the pipes. If a tune grabs him, he learns it and finds he can explore the instrument in new ways and express interesting aspects of a fiddle tune, say, by playing it on the pipes.

I vascillate between these two perspectives depending on the day. I love learning piping tunes because natural piping ornamentation works so well on them and I can almost effortlessly find variations and I pick them up quickly. I think I’ve also benefited from trying to figure out how to play some non-piping tunes on the pipes. It increases flexibility and requires a different kind of creativity, since you have to work out how to make those tunes "pipey." I admit, I’ve a long way to go before I have any kind of handle on that. I learned the Scottish piping reel Buntata ‘s Sgadan about a year ago but could never play it very well. Then a few months ago I heard Tiarnan O’Duinnchinn playing it on uilleann pipes and worked it out from there and now it sounds much better! Tiarnan had found a setting which sounded lovely on the uilleann pipes.

Re: How to Get Up to Session Speed on Fiddle

‘I find that one of the problems with the PA is that it’s such an easy instrument to play fast.’ (llig)
It’s certainly a problem when you have a posse of them galloping along all around you.
Ionannas- the short answer sounds like a long haul, but that’s OK- I had kind of planned to spend the rest of my life on it anyway :)

Re: How to Get Up to Session Speed on Fiddle

Gee, see all the fun I miss? I need to check in more regularly.

Re: barfing up a stream of tunes

Easy Mr. Llig it’s just some humor. :-P

In particular, it’s humor beginners can appreciate when that’s what it sounds and feels like.

Obviously it should be a glorious flow, and when it doesn’t feel like barfing up a stream anymore, go ahead and pat yourself on a back, but just a little. Then get back to it. ;-)

Re: How to Get Up to Session Speed on Fiddle

Glorious flow must be an ITM thing. I’ve moved onto a Shetland reel and am battling with lots of jerky bits.

*

Silver Spear that’s brilliant.;)

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