Analyse my playing #2

Analyse my playing #2

I was relistening to my recording just then and realised some ppl’s points were valid, so id like to go ahead and take your advice if youll still have me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWfMcD1Nrfs&feature=youtu.be


The main reason i took the vids down was cos i dont want to show myself on the internet for all and sundry so id like to keep it to audio.

I know some might want to see my movement and holds etc but i prefer not.

I think if its kept to a call and response then if i regularly upload reiterations youll be able to see if im improving or not.

in this video i wanted to concentrate only on the pressure.

some ppl say add different lengths to the notes but i dont think thats a necessity to sounding good and in fact think the unswung style of playing sounds better and is what im going for. i specifically like the players who dont do that. johnny canning, brid harper (sometimes) listening to johnny canning ive slowed it right down and he plays notes pretty much exactly the same length- even on hornpipes! i think playing like this makes tunes sound even cleaner and succinct. he just adds pressure instead, which is what i want to work on.

Does the pressure sound ok on this one? I know its sloppy but its 1st attempt. do i need more pressure still? it already feels like im really forcing on the bow so i dont know how you get even more without damaging it!

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Yeah! Get out to the pub and do it. Stop fretting! (unless you are a banjo botherer)…

Re: Analyse my playing #2

It’s hard to tell how much or little pressure you are using owing to the nature of microphones, recording equipment and Youtube compression. If I had to take a stab, I would say your are using enough, or even too much, but not to good effect. It sounds as though you are pressing on the strings in such a way as to prevent them sounding, rather than to get them singing. Choking them, as it were. If you think about it, you are actually holding something against the strings, which is going to stop them doing their thing. If the frequency generated by the bow isn’t the same as the frequency of the oscillation of the string, there is going to be a bit of cancelling out going on.
With regard to the ‘different lengths’ thing — I, too, prefer an unswung, squarer rhythm — but it is possible to change the lengths of the notes without swinging. If you think of the notes as a series of dashes
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
you can cut some of them short to varying degrees so that the gaps are bigger, but the starting point of each note remains the same. In fact, you do that in the clip in some places. It adds a bit of variety, but, more importantly, you can increase the rhythmic effect by changing the values of the notes rhythmically, for example every fourth note would produce a noticeable change. I’m not suggesting you should do that; but bear it in mind.
Instead of concentrating on bow pressure, try to make the string — no, try to *encourage* the string to vibrate by getting the pressure, speed and bow positions right in combination. Think of the fiddle as a wine glass, and the bow as your finger going round the rim.

Posted by .

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Aaggh —- "I would say you are…" blah blah

Posted by .

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Arthur, I think you’re doing OK with pressure from the sound of things. I can hear that you’re going for the accents on notes, which is good. Maybe if you kept the same pressure for the accented notes, and less for the other notes, you’d get what you’re aiming for. May I compliment you on your good intonation too, and that’s something that many early players struggle with (and many people poo-poo too).

I could put up an audio example if you like, to explain what I mean, if you’re OK with that. It would be only how "I" would interpret the tune, perfectly valid, but not a definitive answer.

Just thinking, is your camera flexible enough just to capture your upper body area? That way you’re pretty much anonymous. That plus another fake name should do it. What about R. McGeddon? :)

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Arthur, I am not a fiddle player, so I will not be specific, but you sound to me like someone who would benefit from a teacher. I know you have not had success with that before, but it sounds like you are more ready to listen to advice than you were in the past. It can be hard to swallow your pride and put yourself in someone else’s hands, but I don’t think you will make very good progress going it alone. And certainly, advice over the internet is a poor excuse for face to face instruction.

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Sure Jim if you are wanting to do that, gratis, if not I will do without :P.

Cheers, Gam.

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Nono Al, no (real life) teachers!!!!!

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Arthur, yes, gratis, just don’t want you to think I’m muscling in on your act :)

Ever considered the Tandy pzm mic for recording audio (instead of the webcam mic I assume you are using?) They have decent quality for the low price.

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Sure ill take a listen then Jim, Could you listen to some of johnny canning’s recordings and do an emulation of his playing, id be interested to hear that.

Im happy with my webcam mic for the moment. :)

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Anyone else have the chops to add one of their recordings? i think its a good learning experience for all if others throw in their recordings for other’s perusal.

Re: Analyse my playing #2

I could do a couple of sets on mandolin, if you guys would want.

Re: Analyse my playing #2

I’d like to hear how your mandolin’s coming along, TBB.

Re: Analyse my playing #2

I’ll record some tomorrow when I have a bit of time. I’ll do a few slipjigs, a jig, two reels and a polka :)

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Hey TBB, you’re doing slip-jigs? Then I HAVE to listen :-D Lol, mandalin is a nice instrument too.

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Arthur, good on you for reposting in a better mood. Sorry I previously suggested that you shouldn’t. I was having a bad day too. Your fiddling is fine and I like it, but as I think most of us agreed last time, Gam’s advice is pretty positive and acurate.

Posted by .

Re: Analyse my playing #2

I picked up the rhythm through listening. I may not have it down completely, but a set consisting of "the snowy path" and "comb your hair and curl it"
both nice tunes, I like them :)

Re: Analyse my playing #2

I’ll record some tomorrow after I finish up a paper I’m working on :)

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Arthur, I don’t know what your learning situation is, but, when you ask for advice over the internet, don’t let it get you down. I did something similar a while ago and had to start from block one. My playing has gotten loads better since. Just, relax and don’t take it too hard, it’s just music, it’s supposed to be fun :)

Re: Analyse my playing #2

The playing is really rough, I fumble a few times, if needed, I can record another one, but, here you all go:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/elzjqo4z7b6yi6f/Progress.wav

First set is the snowy path and comb your hair and curl it
second tune is the swallowtail jig
next set is rolling in the ryegrass and the red-haired lass

Re: Analyse my playing #2

I will be recording another one, come to think of it. I just wanted to get you guys something concrete to listen to.
I was picking something up off the floor earlier and stood up, slamming the left side of my head into my dresser and immedately started bleeding a lot. I’m all fine now, but, that was scary, especially since I got dizzy a while after and had to drink lots of water.
I’ll record you guys something more when I finish a paper and am feeling better
I recorded that for Joefidkid, because I was asking him for some advice, so, parden the introduction at the beginning :) enjoy

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Got to go to bed now, BB. Most of that is not bad at all. I liked the reels best. :-)

At the start of The Snowy Path, you’re doing that thing again, where you put in an extra beat in the bar. There’s just three beats in every bar - or should be - but, if you count, you’ll find that you’re putting four beats into the first bar, the third bar, and wherever that pattern recurs. You’re just putting in an extra note.

As far as I could tell, you’re not doing that in any of the others, although I thought there was something a bit odd with the other slip jig, but hey, they’re hard at first. The rest were nice. Just need to keep working at it, but it’s coming. :-)

Posted by .

Re: Analyse my playing #2

[*I could put up an audio example if you like, to explain what I mean, if you’re OK with that. It would be only how "I" would interpret the tune, perfectly valid, but not a definitive answer.*]

Here it is : roughly the 1st part of the tune that you posted. Played straight, no accents, then with accents.

Then - drilling down to a more basic level, how bowing affects the tune (or any tune) - depending on where the accents are.

Simple at first, then a little bit more complex. Hope fully the verbals will help explain :)

http://worldfiddlemusic.com/guest/arthur-gondolar-02.mp3

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Thanks for that post, Jim, you’ve given me some interesting things to consider and play with :)
As far as lift goes, is that supposed to be a constant thing, or can you change it from phrase to phrase? putting an accent on a particular beat then changing it next phrase?
I really like your voice :)

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Thanks jim, knew all that already tho. Just the usual basic info from a book.

You also did a recording for me before which had the same content even for the same tune. :P

Re: Analyse my playing #2

[*Thanks jim, knew all that already tho. Just the usual basic info from a book.*]

So, are you going to apply the methodology? That would be the next step forward. You won’t really be able to emulate good players’ music if you don’t have these basics fluent.

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Hi BB,

I couldn’t get your tunes to play - something with the Dropbox feature.

[*As far as lift goes, is that supposed to be a constant thing, or can you change it from phrase to phrase? putting an accent on a particular beat then changing it next phrase?*]

Yes, you could change it from phrase to phrase. You’d need to hear what the resulting sound was, then decide if it works.

Re: Analyse my playing #2

For your information, I’m applying the methodology, Jim. It helps knowing what you can do in any given situation - even if you end up doing the more likely stuff (usually the stuff that is easy and/or sounds best).

It’s really simple: either we accentuate a note or we don’t. (Hint: capital letter=accent)
No accent: xxxx xxxx
1st note: Xxxx Xxxx
2nd note: xXxx xXxx
3rd note: xxXx xxXx
4th note: xxxX xxxX
1+2: XXxx XXxx
2+3: xXXx xXXx
3+4: xxXX xxXX
1+2+3: XXXx XXXx
2+3+4: xXXX xXXX
1+2+4: XXxX XXxX
1+3+4: XxXX XxXX

And for the bowing, we can slur notes or not.
Separate strokes: xxxx
Slur the first two: (xx)xx
Slur the last two: xx(xx)
Slur the middle two : x(xx)x
Slur 1+2+3: (xxx)x
Slur 2+3+4: x(xxx)
Slur 1+2, 3+4: (xx)(xx)
Slur all four: (xxxx)

Does this help, Arthur?

Re: Analyse my playing #2

The answer is that no one will sound like Johnny Canning unless they put in years of hard bloody work and careful listening. No one. There is no one on this website, or anywhere, who can say, "Do X, Y, and Z, accent these notes, and you will sound like that," because it just isn’t like this. Sure, you need a basic grasp of technique, but then you need to internalize what’s going on with good playing, and that takes long years of considered, sensitive listening to a lot of Irish music.

Re: Analyse my playing #2

SS PhD’s advice above is very valuable, Arthur. I urge you to take it to heart (heart, not head) and to stop looking for formulas, or rules, or patterns, or anything else produced by analysis.

In the end you can only teach yourself to play the way you want to sound, and your ears are ultimately more important than anyone’s technical advice.

Re: Analyse my playing #2

[*You also did a recording for me before which had the same content even for the same tune. :P*]

@Arthur, that was over eight months ago. In the Forbes video you posted, you still have that *exact* same issue with sounding robotic, so I don’t know why you are ignoring the advice I gave earlier.

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Arthur, please don’t take any of this as insulting or degrading, we’re trying to help you. I haven’t contributed much advice: fiddle is not my instrument, but many great people have contributed advice and lots of it isn’t going to be easy to figure out. I’m still trying to work on getting rhythm into my playing. it’s something difficult and something that takes lots of listening and even more listening to really get.
The idea of "lift" is slightly less confusing to me after a few lessons from one of the posters here (Hi, Will, hope all is well!) and learning over the internet is a shallow comparison to working with somebody face-to-face.
It’s going to be hard, because of muscle memory. starting from the first blocks sucks, but if you can get it, your music will thank you, it’ll start sounding like music rather than notes strung together.
Best of luck to you and I hope you can understand the advice given.

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Jim, Please stop giving Arthur the same old advice—it does little good—he appears ready ignore it just like he ignored the information in the books. I doubt he will ever be happy until you give him the easy gimmick he needs to become a great fiddler overnight.

Re: Analyse my playing #2

So far I have not said anything but now I must!

If you received instruction from some of our resident teachers, then you should follow it!

I asked for, and got, good advice which I am following. I don’t need to share that here but the person who offered to help gets no reward except my thanks

Now for a novice who is yet learning I can think of no better advice than to; A., do as the teacher says, and B., DO IT SLOWLY

That has always been my bugbear, going too fast too soon. Not saying it yours but hey, what do I know?

Have a nice practice playing slowly on a simple tune so you can learn the basics on some notes before needing advanced skills on every note!

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Summary of this thread:
Someone asks for advice
People give advice
This someone says he already has that information

I scratch my head and ask myself:
1 Why did he ask for advice in the first place?
2 If he has all that information - why didn’t he use it?

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Who knows, Jeff :(

Re: Analyse my playing #2

@jeff_lindkvist: Isn’t it obvious? It’s because he’s been to ten different teachers, and they’ve all told him the same thing, therefore teachers are useless, compared to books. So he came to this august group to hear all the same things, and deem all of them useless, too. ;-)

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Exercise in futility, much?
If 10 teachers tell you the same thing, maybe that’s something you should pay attention to and work on? There’s no reason not to practice the basics as religiously, or more, than the fancy diddly bits and other stuff.

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Yeah, when a teacher suggests somebody to work on the basics, it’s either because it’s necessary in order to get any further or because the teacher has limited knowledge. Guess which scenario I think is more likely in this case.

If I were about to play a tune, compare it to a Youtube clip, and ask knowledgeable musicians what the differences are, and why I don’t sound like this experienced fiddler, the worst thing I could do is to ignore the replies.

Re: Analyse my playing #2

I think it’s really a case of absolute stubbornness, coupled with totally unrealistic expectations.

Re: Analyse my playing #2

analise, not analyse.

Posted .

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Kit O’Mahoney’s - I don’t have that tune in my repertoire, but apart from the intonation issues and slow pace, each beat was accentuated to heavy for my taste (Xxx Xxx) and "note value distribution" too even.

Forbes - not in my repertoire either. Same kind of heavy accent (Xxxx Xxxx) in both parts. For some reason I thought the B part sounded less forced.

Earlier in the thread, Stiomh Ionas wrote:
"I urge you to take it to heart (heart, not head) and to stop looking for formulas, or rules, or patterns, or anything else produced by analysis."

Putting a strong accent on every downbeat can be a useful exercise (as can the other permutations), but you’ll probably end up playing the tune differently after a while. Bowing is also something that can (and should) be explored.

Re: Analyse my playing #2

That had me thinking about my own playing. I have been told at a couple of workshops that in much dance music everything that follows a downbeat is preparation for the next down beat. We whistle and flute players are told that it is OK to breath *after* a downbeat but not before. A fiddler who used to post here talked convincingly about ‘playing across the barlines’ .

To me it sounds as if you have it the other way round - your strongly accented downbeats are followed by some of the tune, then another downbeat comes followed by some more tune.

I take back what I said in the other thread about large scale phrasing - I hear it now despite being punctuated by the downbeats.

I am not brave enough to post my playing.

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Well ppl said i did NO accents on my other videos hence why i was really trying to accentuate them for these ones :P.

Does downbeat just mean 1st and 5th (reels) and 1st and 4th (jigs)?

Re: Analyse my playing #2

They are slow cos i only just started doing accents and was trying that out in isolation as Jim has instructed, hence ‘taking his advice to heart’ :P

Re: Analyse my playing #2

[*They are slow cos i only just started doing accents and was trying that out in isolation as Jim has instructed, hence ‘taking his advice to heart’ :P*]

Arthur, that’s not isolation - that’s you playing a tune, and trying to shoehorn in accents, and it’s simply not working.

If you want to develop accent, rhythm, pulse etc you need to go back to my audio clip, and read Jeff’s text which follows, and work your way through that.

Forget all about tunes for the moment.

You need to be able to place the accents in each place in the line examples, at will. No tune, no left hand, just an open D string, and you need to be able to demonstrate that you can do this cleanly and fluently - it doesnt need to be played quickly, just at a speed which is comfortable to you.

You will need to be able to switch between patterns at will. That’s what happening when good players play tunes well. Sometimes there is a regular beat on the 1st note or the 3rd note, but quite often there is a subtle shift of emphasis happening all the way through the tune, which is very difficult to quantify because it’s often buried and covered by lots of ornamentation - it may even be beyond definition for some, it may be elusive to you, but it is there.

If there are no accents at all, the tune will sound bland and even robotic. If there is a single accent (eg Xxxx Xxxx) then that will bring a little bit of life to it. Changing the accent (Xxxx xxxX) will add a bit more lift. And so on. There’s no point in prescibing multiple patterns for any given tune until you can feel and reproduce those aforementioned patterns yourself, play them cleanly, fluently and change them at will.

You simply must, must, must nail this before you even *think* about going back to a tune.

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Yeah, consider these "grammar exercises". You might not end up doing a certain accent or bowing pattern in any of your tunes - ever - no matter the size of your repertoire, but it’s good to know what can be done instead of not knowing.

I read Jim’s post above, took up my fiddle and played four bars of each accent pattern (on an open D string) and bowing pattern (half a D major scale: D, E, F# and G). It maybe took two minutes, maybe three. Possibly one of the better warm-ups I’ve done.

I sincerely wish you good luck, Arthur!

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Arthur, I don’t know whether you are in the habit of singing, but if not, you have a perfect opportunity here. Learn to lilt (diddle) the tunes you want to play.

Here’s a story that may explain the benefits. There’s a lovely moment in the film from Mao to Mozart, which followed the great violonist Isaac Stern when he visited China after the end of the Cultural Revolution, when people in China were no longer banned from playing Western music. There was an explosion of classical-music activity and Isaac Stern was invited to play with orchestras there and give masterclasses to up-and-coming young violinists.

I saw the movie only once, a long time ago, so I could be misremembering, but this is what I recall. At one point Stern was giving a masterclass to a nervous young student in front of a huge audience. Technically she was very good, but when he tried to get her to play a particular phrase more expressively, musically, she couldn’t do it - kept on repeating the phrase in a very mechanistic fashion. Stern seemed at a loss to make her understand when he suddenly said, listen to me play the phrase again… and now sing it for me! She proceeded to do so, beautifully. Now play it like that! he said. And she did. Massive applause from the crowd.

The thing is, it is very easy to sing a phrase or a tune or a song musically. Pretty hard to do otherwise in fact. So I reckon that singing, or lilting the tunes, can be of great help in getting you to feel where the accents should come. As you can probably tell by now from my recent posts, I’m keener on right-brain stuff and osmosis than exercises and deliberately learning to put accents anywhere at will. Both approaches have their value, of course, but if one isn’t working, it may be time to try the other.

In the case of Isaac Stern’s Chinese student, I guess we could say she had all the technique down - she was able to put accents anywhere. But she didn’t seem to be able to hear where the accents should go. So while technical ability is essential, it’s of absolutely eff-all use without the other component - hearing what you want the tune to sound like. And singing/lilting can, I think (or hope anyway) help you develop that component.

Cheers!

Re: Analyse my playing #2

While I never sing (and rarely lilt), I fully agree that you have to be able to hear what you want the tune to sound like (in your mind, if nothing else). If the output doesn’t match the idea, something has to be changed. Maybe the expectations are totally unrealistic, maybe you just have to alter the accentuation/bowing/melody/speed.

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Hello Arthur.
I’m new here. Thanks for raising these discussions. I’ve picked up a lot by following them and I’m sure others will have too. I have two small suggestions that follow from some of the themes already raised.

Firstly, reels scan as ‘Crystal Palace Crystal Palace’. For me this applies whether played by Johnny Canning, Martin Hayes or any between, and irrespective of tempo. I see those style differences as equivalent to saying the phrase with a different accent. Can I suggest you test that out in listening? With regards playing, I feel that any discussion of beats on other than the ‘Crys’ or ‘Pal’ is a more advanced technique than I’m up to, and perhaps you too. Incidentally, your 4/4 tune above doesn’t scan that way and plays as a march or something. but not as a reel.

Secondly, for those of us who don’t adopt verbal instruction well, who know what to do better than we can actually do it - there is a terrific exploration of all that in the book ‘The Inner Game of Tennis’. I gather you don’t like music books, but wonder if I could possibly tempt you on that one. :)

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Stiamh, I think that advice is good and is often echoed by other people, as well as similar advice like being able to whistle the whole tune first before trying to play it. These ways are good for internalising, I think.

In the case of Isaac Stern’s student (and I’ve seen similar things with Itzak Perlman’s students too), during the public lesson, they really are performing in public, and as such are prone to nerves, mind block and everything else just in the same way as if they were performing in a concert. As you say, once the penny dropped, the student was able to ‘do it’, not least because of her immense technical skills.

In this case, things are very different. Like I said, diddling, humming, whistling etc are good methods in most cases, but here, in Arthur’s case, it is very basic motor skills that are totally missing and need to be developed (being able to make, sustain and change a pulse by simple repeated up-and-down bowing). That’s why I posted the advice that I did.

@Michael - I think the eight vowels in "‘Crystal Palace Crystal Palace" would equate to "Xxxx Xxxx" as listed above :)

Re: Analyse my playing #2

I can’t listen to it right right now, but if you’ve got your patterns nailed then there should be no problem playing it.

Re: Analyse my playing #2

@ Jim. Thanks, but I disagree.
As I experience it, it is not Xxxx Xxxx. Its more like XxXx XxXx, but with the 2nd X emphasised in a different way to the first, with the possibility of that shifting, and either one being predominant. I find it to be subtle and at times elusive.

That’s probably a clumsy explanation, but just going with Crystal Palace is easy, at least in picturing how you want the tune to sound. An accomplished banjo player from Galway told me to do it several years ago and I wish I’d listened better then.

Re: Analyse my playing #2

i had no idea what you were on about tlkaing aobut crystal palace (i hate football :P).

the XxXx makes alot more sense :)

Re: Analyse my playing #2

To my ears - much better! It actually sounds like a jig. I’ve heard a lot worse than that - maybe not on recordings, but definitely on stage and in sessions.

Re: Analyse my playing #2

Michael,

I agree it’s XxXx. Let’s call it 1234. Sometimes the 3 is accented more than the one.

Try slurring into the 3, and/or into the 1. But not all the time.

Posted by .