Reel rythm on fiddle

Reel rythm on fiddle

Hello everyone, I have been playing the irish fiddle 3 years, does anybody know some exercise to get the rythm of the reel and internalize it ?, because my rythm sounds too artificial like, too classical, so if anybody knows it please help me.

Thank you.

Re: Reel rythm on fiddle

Is there a particular reel (and style) you want to know about? There are different ways to play reels.

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Re: Reel rythm on fiddle

Go to some dances or dance workshops.

Re: Reel rythm on fiddle

Internalize it, you said. This is vital, of course, but I don’t think you’ll do it by playing exercises. Do it by listening. To recordings of solo fiddlers, above all, but other instruments too. And the best exercises are tunes, I think.

Re: Reel rythm on fiddle

Boots MacAllen’s idea is a good one. Also, as gets stressed so many times in these discussions, you can never do too much listening. 3 years at the fiddle isn’t that long really, and perhaps ‘internalising’ it, as you put it, can take much more than that. Try and listen to a few variations of the tunes that you play and get them into your head such that you will be consciously working on a chosen rhythms even when you don’t have your fiddle with you. You have to eventually feel the music before you can play it well. But keep listening attentively and you should eventually get there.

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Re: Reel rythm on fiddle

Sure dance is a great way to learn rhythm. But without a reference more specific than *reel* there may be numerous, nebulous possibilities to choose from. How about this for starters?
~
The Four Courts/Tear The Calico - Tulla Céilí Band
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Qu-jqvO_h0

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Re: Reel rythm on fiddle

Listening is, of course, essential to get the feel into your playing but you’ll get there quicker by following a few bowing examples to start with. I am not an accomplished enough fiddler to provide my own examples, but there are certain techniques or practices that are fundamental to (some) Irish fiddle styles, such as i. slurring across bar lines - a bar line does not necessarily equate to a bow change; ii. slurring across strings - crossing strings does not always necessitate a bow change; iii. accenting notes within a slur - you can slur into an accented note, rather than bow it separately.

There are a multitude of ways of using these techniques (if that is the right word) - and sometimes not using them, which should be guided by the flow of the tune. Although I haven’t used it myself (and probably should), Matt Cranitch’s book is an oft-cited resource for Irish fiddle bowing - he teaches every tune with specific bowings.

Re: Reel rythm on fiddle

Buy yourself Matt Cranitch’s Irish fiddle tutor book. Buy yourself the Mel Bay Irish fiddle book by Pete Cooper.

They both list bowings. They are both well worth working through slowly and methodically – irrespective of how good you are at playing the violin. Very useful if you come from a classical background. I still find such bowings counter-intuitive (I did classical violin from an early age) but I’m getting there…

A very simple starting point might be to impart an emphasis on beats two and four of the bar.

Pick a reel that’s very straight: lots of eight-quaver bars.
Try a 3-3-1-1 sequence: two three-quaver (slurred) bows followed by two single-quaver (non-slurred) bows.
Try alternating this with playing the first 3 notes separately and only slurring the second 3 notes.
Then mixing it up: 4-2-1-1 (4 slurred, 2 slurred, 2 separate)
Then really mix it up by saving slurs till the end and going over the bar-line:

But the above is really only for very straight reels. Matt Cranitch’s bowing for more syncopated reels like ‘The Blacksmith’s Reel’ or ‘Anything for John Joe’ is still so unlike what I would ‘naturally’ do, it’s taking me a while to force my right-hand to do it.

Obviously adding ornamentation - cuts, double-cuts, rolls and trebles – will make it sound less classical. But trying different bowings/thinking about rhythm etc will get you a long way. That all might sound very non-organic and technical and not much fun, but it’s paying dividends for me. I’m enjoying it, in a perverse way. It’s certainly making my playing sound more authentic. I think…

Re: Reel rythm on fiddle

…in fact, if you are going to go ‘The Way of The Cranitch’, then it’s worth also buying Matt’s book ‘Irish Fiddle Tunes’, in the Schott World Music series, and using that to supplement his ‘Irish Fiddle Book’, as then you’ve got a few extra tunes-with-bowing to play.

Re: Reel rythm on fiddle

If you can sing the tune you’ll probably find the appropriate phrasing. If you’re from a classical background you should try to avoid single note bowings and try to slur more.
But nothing beats a slow down program and listening carefully to your favorite musicians.

Re: Reel rythm on fiddle

Hi! I hope this is helpful - the title specifies triplets but I learned a fair bit about getting reels right from this video - pretty much bought a fiddle of the back of it too:
https://youtu.be/sWLzgjv522g

Re: Reel rythm on fiddle

There isn’t any one true path. If you have a lot of classical
background, say goodbye to the vibrato (mostly). Give rhythm
priority over phrasing. It’s more of a game than a particular style
since there is so much variety within the Irish trad genre on fiddle.
Get an idea of what Scottish fiddling sounds like, on average, so you
can learn to avoid that (or how switch into it if you want to play
the Scottish game too).

Re: Reel rythm on fiddle

Mark Huppert, could you explain what you mean by, "Give rhythm
priority over phrasing."? Please.

Rhythm (the term) gets used in such vague ways, if you know what I mean, it might help to hear your perspective.

Cheers,
AB

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Re: Reel rythm on fiddle

There are plenty of things to do with a teacher, but most are hard to convey with words on the internet. If you can, put on a recording of a fiddler you like in headphones. Play them loudly and play along softly. Make sure you hear them louder than yourself. Try and match their sound. Do this many times with the same track until you’re mimicking as best you can. Slow down software can help if you’re not yet up to speed. Get so used to the sound they make as you’re playing that you really know specifically what you’re aiming for. Then try playing the same thing on you own.

Re: Reel rythm on fiddle

Hi AB

Happy to help. In classical music - especially late 19th C - you push and pull the tempo to
help bring out the phrasing. You use dynamics all the time in a strategic way,
thinking of the structure of the piece.

But the main game in Irish trad, like rock ‘n roll, is keeping a steady dance beat.
If you’re not playing for dancers, you’re playing with random
people in a session. It can and does fall into chaos without a steady predictable beat.
You play fiddle with a strong steady tone and pulse, not messing around with crescendi
and diminuendi - which can’t be heard anyhow.

If you are Martin Hayes or Caoimhin O’Raghallaigh, these generalizations do not apply.
They are creative artists - love ‘em both. Most of the time they too play with a rock solid pulse.

If you are strictly a stay at home player, don’t worry about it. Do what you like.

Re: Reel rythm on fiddle

OK! By giving rhythm priority you’re saying keep the beat steady. Cheers.

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Re: Reel rythm on fiddle

I do really feel thankful for all these piece of advices that you all are giving to me, they are really helping me a lot and giving me new information about irish music. 🙂