is accenting that important?

is accenting that important?

Hi just looking for some advice
Getting fiddle lessons and my teaacher says im not accentIng in the right places! I feel like giving up now! Is this something that will come with time ? I dont know how to fix it at the moment cos I was nt told where to accent the tunes as I was learning them? Do I need to go back and learn them again or will it come it time! Very disheartened!

Re: is accenting that important?

the feel is super important, listen to recordings of people playing the tunes you know and try to figure out what is different about their feel.

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Re: is accenting that important?

Dont worry this comes in time the more you listen to the tune the better you will play it accenting in all the right places for now get to know your instrument and in time you will play perfect with little effort

Re: is accenting that important?

If a teacher doesn’t tell you what you are doing wrong they are no good as a teacher. If a student can’t learn from the criticism of a teacher then …

Re: is accenting that important?

I practice very hard and as much as I can and im doing well for the time im playing! Just feel is someone wants to point it out back it up with some advice! I haven’t played in days now just feel it sounds stupid over the teachers comments but no advice!

Re: is accenting that important?

I dont mind getting criticized I prefer to know but giving out about things I dont know how to fix is just disheartening and frustrating!

Re: is accenting that important?

The best advice I can offer is to listen a lot. Don’t just listen to fiddle, but listen to other instruments, get a feel for how they do things when they are playing tunes.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Playing music should be fun and relaxing.
The most important thing is that you get a good rhythm going first, before you try to accent things. If you can get a good rhythm going, you can worry about accenting things later.
What Tunes do you know right now?

Re: is accenting that important?

If you have a skype account, I would be happy to listen to your playing or try and give you some ideas.

Re: is accenting that important?

How long have you been learning? Maybe your teacher is getting ahead of her/him self. Sure accenting is really important but it takes time and a bit of playing experience. You get there by doing as much, if not more listening than playing.

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Re: is accenting that important?

Amen, Gobby.

Re: is accenting that important?

Oh, it will come if you listen!

Do you want to post a video or Soundcloud audio file of your playing? Maybe the collective here can help you figure out what your teacher might be trying communicate!

I know sometimes a teacher can tell you something and the lightbulb might not come on for months: "Oh, so THAT’S what he meant!"

Jason

Re: is accenting that important?

There is no substitute for listening. And there is no reason not to start right at the beginning to incorporate good listening habits into your method of learning. There are certain things a teacher can try to explain, but until you hear the difference yourself, it is not really so easy to understand. Get some good, clean recordings of people playing the tunes you are learning and listen carefully to what they are doing, to the flow of the tune, to the phrasing. It might take a while to get it right, but it is very educational to figure it out yourself. Everything starts with your ears.

I remember learning to play some tunes and asking my teacher how to time certain ornaments and how to bow certain sections. I was told to listen and figure it out for myself. I have heard many other people say this is the way they were taught — they are given a recording and told to figure it out. When you do this, you notice what things matter and what things don’t. And you bring more interesting questions to the teacher — giving them an opportunity to share some of the wisdom they picked up over the years.

It is sometimes good to struggle a bit to appreciate the value of doing it right. But, the good news is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and most people who want to get it right, eventually do get it right.

Re: is accenting that important?

If you let criticism from your teacher upset you, it is going to be a tough road. If all you get is praise, you will never improve.
Be patient, work on what you are told to work on, and it will come in time.

Re: is accenting that important?

The difference between a tune played without ‘accents’ and one played with, is the difference between a midi file and a real person. Listen to your favourite current tune, then listen to a midi file of it (I’m sure there will be one you can download from the Tunes section here) and try to work out what the difference is.
Don’t be disheartened — criticism of your playing is not criticism of yourself.

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Re: is accenting that important?

Thanks I know! But im trying my hardest! is there any way of teaching accenting! I was to stress the first note of reels and then I read its the second and fourth! Also one teacher told me by bo wing is tom short and to use long bows and another says there too long! Are they short for jigs and reels?confused!

Re: is accenting that important?

One says your bowing is too short and the other says it’s too long? I had a few lessons from Josephine Nugent (about 20 yrs ago) from county Clare, who insisted on a separate bow stroke for every note. Later, I found out that Donegal fiddlers play several notes on a single bow stroke. Who’s right? Well both of them of course! Listen to everyone, agree with everyone, then go yer own sweet way!

Re: is accenting that important?

I’d suggest listening as others have said and learning the tune from a recording so that you can sing or better still lilt it before tackling it on your instrument.

Re: is accenting that important?

This is a fine illustration of why I am very sceptical when it comes to ‘teachers’ of traditional music. The best way to learn, IMO, is to watch, listen, and ask. Every musician I have questioned about something has been only too pleased to explain.
"How do you do that?" is better than "How should I do that?"
If one teacher tells you you’re bowing is too short, and another tells you it’s too long, either one of them is wrong, or both of them are wrong and your bowing is fine. Ask them *why* it is too long or short. Never trust a teacher who tells you, "It is very important that…" or "You should…" without also telling you *why* it is important. And if he or she doesn’t tell you, ask. If they can’t tell you, go elsewhere.
Teachers are there to provide you with the information (and incentive if it is needed) you need in order to be able to do what *you* want. You are not there to do what the teacher wants.

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Re: is accenting that important?

Hi Joanofarc! What are some of your favorite tunes to play?

Re: is accenting that important?

Phrasing/accenting is not an easy thing to learn, or explain. When I was learning, I found it wildly frustrating because I knew my phrasing was off, but didn’t know how to fix it. I had assorted lessons and workshops with good players and would ask them how they thought about phrasing and accenting, how they gave the tune ‘lift’ and ‘nyah’ and all that. No one could explain it, nor say, "Do this" in any particularly enlightening way. I continued to play, listened to a lot of music, and I diligently attended sessions with players who were a lot better than me (sorry, everyone). It did come, eventually, just through hours of playing and as much exposure as I could manage to competent players.

Re: is accenting that important?

You were probably not told where to accent initially because the focus was on other things, like where to put your fingers to learn the tune, intonation, tone, that sort of thing. That you are being given a new thing to worry about is a sign of progress.
If there’s one thing you need to develop if you want to learn the fiddle (probably anything worth doing, really), it’s frustration tolerance.

Re: is accenting that important?

Don’t give up. Take a deep breath and relax. Music is supposed to be fun.
Even teachers are going to disagree.
Everyone has already said it, but, listen to the music, on Youtube, albums, sessions or other live performances. Listening will be your greatest tool for learning ITM.
Don’t just accept statements like ‘your doing it wrong’ . Ask why it is wrong. If the person who said that can’t give you a reasonable explanation, then they probably don’t know what they are talking about. Ask other ITM musicians for technique tips and advice, but remember, what works for them may not work for you. What they tell you is not etched in stone.
Above all, patience and perseverance. Each instrument is a language. Each style of music is a language. It all takes time. Sometimes years. But it is rewarding when it all starts falling into place.

Re: is accenting that important?

For myself, I find it hard to get the detail of accenting right until I know the basic melody of a tune really really well. Fundamentally, my fingers and bow need to be so comfortable with where they are going next that the tune is almost automatic, and only then I can start playing around with accenting. If I try and do this too early, I just get confused and everything goes wrong.

So personal recommendation would be to go round and round the tune many times with a relatively "plain" style, and then start to experiment with what you like, to try out different variations, even if they feel non-traditional. And, as others have said, listen to recordings and try and integrate what you hear as well, so that you can replicate what other players do.

When you come to playing in public places, you need to be able to flexibly fit in with what the established musicians there are playing, so flexibility in terms of how you play things is a very useful attribute to develop.

And, as others have said as well, don’t worry! This fiddle journey takes a lifetime ;) And don’t be afraid to swap teachers if this one isn’t working.

Re: is accenting that important?

Is accenting that important?

Yes it is. Good accenting is what makes the tune "Irish". So much good has already been said about how to acquire it. A good teacher is a very useful idea. A good teacher who understands ITM is a better idea. My biggest failure was in trying to learn from a wonderful young woman, a stellar flute player, and good teacher, who was still clueless about how the tune was supposed to sound. I learned a lot but not what I needed to.

Like many have have said, listen. When you think you’ve "got it" listen some more. Then go back later and listen again. Yet one more time doesn’t hurt. Don’t try at first to learn the accents in a whole tune at once, or even the whole tune. Learning to play a single phrase (I suggest the last phrase first, but that’s a whole ‘nuther" discussion) at a time. Pretty soon it gets easier to hear and play longer phrases with good accents, lift, groove, whatever you want to call it.

Remember it only costs $10 to have 250 business cards printed that say " (insert instrument here) Instructor".
Your instructor is likely pretty good, but he or she is only one voice in a world if sometimes diametrically opposing voices. Stick with it, keep your sense of humor, and before long you can add you perfectly valid voice to the mix.

Re: is accenting that important?

Accenting can mean different things to different people, so I’d be wary of any teacher who says you’re not doing it "right" but doesn’t follow up by showing you what he or she considers "right." In other words, your teacher should be able and willing to demonstrate to the point where you yourself can tell the difference, and can appreciate it. As mentioned above, make sure your teacher understands and plays ITM, and is not a generalist "fiddle" teacher.

Also, do listen to good players — and don’t be in a rush. Relax and enjoy what you’re hearing.

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Re: is accenting that important?

Give yourself a break.

IMO accenting is the most important aspect of playing a tune, but everything else about the tune - right notes, right time value, right order, right basic rhythm, right (steady) speed - needs to be in place before how you might look at subtler things like phrasing, stresses and accents.

My experience has been that, if I’m still having to think your way through the notes of the tune as I play it, there’s not a lot of point in worrying. Once I get the whole tune flowing easily, it’s time to look at the accents etc. and that’s when playing the tune gets really interesting.

Be prepared to revisit the notes thing - I don’t play much fiddle, but on box I often revise fingering and bellows patterns (equivalent to bowing) to facilitate the phrasing etc. that I want. You may find that you have to do the same thing.

The posts about listening to others are dead right. You’re ready to do accents etc. when you can hear and understand it in others’ playing.

Don’t give up. You’ll get it. And when you do, trust your own judgement.

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Re: is accenting that important?

@Joanofarc, has your teacher actually explained how to put an accent on a note? Like increase bow pressure, using your 1st finger, or make the bow length a little longer, or both? Has teacher suggested any isolation exercises (simple repeating phrases of just a few notes) to enable you to produce the accents and in different places?

As for length of bow strokes, they will be long if the tune is played slowly, and shorter as the tempo increases.

As with many aspects of playing, I think it’s important to isolate the problem / challenge so you are not distracted by everything else.

Re: is accenting that important?

No no constructive criticisim just comments that its wrong! That is why I am frustrated I dont know how to fix it! If she had given pointers on how to improve it would be great and I would nt be here! thanks for all the comments after how long of playing should one be accenting notes?

Re: is accenting that important?

Sorry I did nt see all tho comments before I sent the last post! Thanks for all the comments again! I dont think im ready for accent ing yet im still concentrating on other things as someone mentioned! I just felt disheartened at not getting advice and I felt that if I dont have it now I never will! Is seems that is something I can work on and start paying more attention to - along with the long bows - short bows - timing - pitch - and posture 😛

Re: is accenting that important?

When you’re starting fiddle - it’s overwhelming; it’s like juggling a fish while riding a unicycle.
At least that how it felt to me. Then after a while a lot of it becomes automatic and you
stop thinking about it.

You can’t undo those automatic things even if you try. I think that’s why it can be
so hard for a good player to be a good teacher. They cannot pull apart their own playing any more.

Somewhere in that process, you will be able to fool around with accents but it might take a couple of years.

Re: is accenting that important?

What, just one fish? Easy peasy!

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Re: is accenting that important?

@ Joanofarc
"long bows - short bows - timing - pitch - and posture"
— remember to breathe as well 🙂

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Re: is accenting that important?

How frequently does one juggle fish and ride a unicycle?

Re: is accenting that important?

Hey Joan,
First off, congratulations on all your hard work for your persistence in really trying to understand what your teacher was saying. The Power of Intention..with such desire, you will definitely find the answer..🙂. It’s wonderful to see such dedication, you should be very proud of yourself.

Words mean different things to everyone of course. In this case maybe instead of the word ‘accenting’ we could think of a different word that makes sense. Jigs are the hardest to get that distinctive lift and flow. It’s in 6/8 time and the last thing you want to do is bow-per-note to get that 123-456. It’s more of a pulse and an intimation of the flow with the bow. Now this takes great command of the bow. When learning fiddle, the first focus should be tone. Then it’s bowing and lastly ornamentation. And in the course of all of that, the ‘accenting’ comes. Learning a tune by ear is how you learn that -not alone are you learning the notes, you are learning HOW the notes are played. I can hear it right away when one of my students has learned a tune by ear or by note.

I also recommend playing with a metronome and with that solid structure, the phrasing falls into place and then you play without a metronome to develop your own style and flow / feel when you play the music. These are the tools that you can use to develop muscle memory and then the your spirit gains confidence and takes over, when you are ready to shine..🙂.

100% perspiration and 1 % inspiration and this is one way to get there.

Again, you are doing fantastic. Keep up the good work! You have a great and supportive group here so you are in good hands.
Beannachtaí,
Éilís Crean