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The Trials and Tribulations of a Beginner
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caeman
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Joined: 11 Dec 2008
Posts: 143

PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Blues.

I have been attending a few local blues open jams this past two weeks, playing harmonica, bass guitar and drum set. I think may start up a bit of side research into blue fiddlin'. From a google search and presence of a section on the Fiddle Forum for blues violin, it should not be too difficult to find some source material to adapt.

I have also been getting curious about diverging into some bluegrass fiddle, as well.
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techfiddle
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Joined: 17 Jun 2009
Posts: 122

PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I'm sure you know, blues and bluegrass are *entirely* different genres. I'm trying to think of any historical commonalities, and can only think of socioeconomic ones.

There is a short list of jazz materials for violin here:

Jazz and Blues

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caeman
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I know they are different. One aspect of bluegrass that draws me to it is from my childhood. My parents listened to it and country and all the time, so it was kinda engrained in my brain. And bluegrass is evolved in many ways from the irish music I am learning and play on other instruments. Though, the odd tunings used on banjo for the different songs is mind boggling!

As for the blues, this has been a recent attraction. When I began learning harmonica, I tried at first to learn irish tunes, but something kept drawing me to the blues. I have been to a couple of open jams now with my harps and it is a lot of fun.

And thus we return back to the fiddle. A little googling found me listening to Macon Ed and the Mean Florida Blues. I placed the order a CD of Macon Ed's stuff today. Soulful, whining fiddle, simple words, simple rhythms, but such a rich style of music when combined.
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Amalia
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Joined: 05 Apr 2007
Posts: 129

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Chad,

Are you still fiddling?

I watched your video "tests".

Of course you know I'm going to urge you to move that violin up, (if you get the right position and the right shoulder pad, it should NOT hurt), but only because it will greatly help you to be able to play better in the end.

But, ok, I won't belabor that point. Smile

Here are a few comments on what I saw in your videos:

1. Loosen your bow. It's too tight. The stick should curve toward the hairs in the middle of the bow. At the closest point, the stick should be about 1/4 inch from the hairs when the bow in not being played. You might have to tighten it a little more than that if you have a poor bow that does not have a stiff enough stick, but the stick should not be straight.

2. Keep your fingers down whenever possible. In your videos you are picking up all your fingers between each note and then playing the next note with only one finger on the string. Work toward keeping all the fingers down that you can, on the string you are playing on at least. So for example, if you play your 1st finger on the A string (a B), then you play your 2nd finger (a C), the first finger should remain down as you are playing the second one. And so on. There's no need to pick it up and this will help you stay in tune by keeping your position stable while still allowing you to move the rest of your hand and wrist to do vibrato, etc.

3. Your bow was pretty straight in the videos, but be FANATICAL about this all the time for a looooong time and it will pay off big time. This is another negative to playing with the violin at your chest, you can't use the entire bow in the straight position, as easily. MOST of the squeeks and scratches that we often hear are the result of a crooked bow. Hint: Learn to "feel" whether the bow is straight, by positioning it first on TWO strings, with the hairs very flat on the strings and taking long slow bow strokes. Pay attention to how it feels and sounds. When it sounds best is when it's straight with the hairs evenly contacting the strings and not slipping from side to side. Once you know that feeling on two strings, try for the same feel with one string.
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caeman
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing

We all have a different goal for our music, and I guess I am not just trying to play the old time and irish trad, but also emulate the whole holding style. At some point, I am going to combine singing while playing.

That bow straightness was pointed out to me a while back. It does seem to make playing easier with it bowed toward the hairs.

Tomorrow night when I practice on fiddle, I will work on keeping my fingers down.

Tonight, I am resting from actual practice and I am just studying music. Tonight's object of study is the Carolina Chocolate Drops.
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Amalia
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
We all have a different goal for our music, and I guess I am not just trying to play the old time and irish trad, but also emulate the whole holding style. At some point, I am going to combine singing while playing.


Go for it! Fixing your bow tension and keeping your bow straight wil still be necessary, but forget changing the position of the violin - it fits with what you are trying to accomplish. Smile


Last edited by Amalia on Sun Oct 04, 2009 1:14 am; edited 1 time in total
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caeman
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand that my method of holding it will limit me to mostly first position, but for all of the music I have attempted on tinwhistle that I will be tackling on fiddle -- which is primarily irish trad -- keeps within first position. Actually, I have been practicing G and D major stuff so much in my young learning, that in trying to learn Hatikvah (yes, I know, not irish or bluegrass, or the blues) in F-major, my finger keeps pressing F# instead of F. I find that somehow amusing.

I have four main music areas that occupy my mind right now:
1. worship music (christian and jewish)
2. irish traditional music
3. blues
4. bluegrass
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Amalia
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd love to be steered to some good violin/fiddle worship music, so if you come across any good links let me know. I can play the traditional hymns of course, but I'm not good at improvising and I'd love to be able to find arrangements that sound beautiful (in whatever style) and don't require a piano accompanyment. In fact, I was just searching the internet a couple of days ago looking for violin duets of the worship/hymn type.

My kids have all the Smokey Mountain Hymn CDs and love them. And someday I'm going to dust off that banjo I have sitting on the chest in my piano/violin nook!
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caeman
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2009 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tonight, I began experimenting with vibrato. At least what part of the folks over on the Fiddle Forum think vibrato means. I am lightly varying the pressure of the bow as I push and pull it across the strings to get a high-low wavering pattern of volume. It was interesting just how little change in pressure was needed to get a noticeable effect.
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techfiddle
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have arranged a few hymns for my students, available on the "Free Music" page:

http://beststudentviolins.com/freemusic.html#freeviolinmusic
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caeman
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hymns? Now you are talking my language. I will check them out.
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techfiddle
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You might like the Anniversary Walt, too:

http://beststudentviolins.com/AnniversaryWaltz.pdf

This is an old time piece my family always insisted I play for them.
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techfiddle
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You should also check out a couple of YahooGroups:

bavs (beginning adult violin study), which has close to 4,000 members and a lot of people who can't, for whatever reasons, get private lessons:

http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/bavs/

and especially

devilsbox
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/devilsbox/

You'd love devilsbox; again, a lot of adult students, and they hate me (I'm "snobby"). In fact, I daresay they started the group just to get away from me and my ilk.
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miamia
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Joined: 24 Aug 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for posting those two groups. I already lurk on bavs but I'll go lurk on devilsbox too =).
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techfiddle
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a third one which I hesitate to mention as it's operated by a madman, a Canadian barber/fiddler who calls himself "Vitali." He's ripped off everything from everyone (me included) for the few years he's been at this. He added an additional "s" to devilsbox:

devilssbox
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/devilssbox/

Take what he writes with a HUGE grain of salt...and maybe a prescription for Valium.
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