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Playing fast, string crossings
Looking for some help at playing this fast, but still each note clear
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
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fiddlinsteudel
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June 22, 2014 - 4:24 pm
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One of things I marvel at when listening to top notch fiddlers is how fast they can play and how clear each note is. It's amazing to me. I'm working on a passage that has a lot of string crossings and I'd like to get some feedback on how to play it fast and still clear. 

Some things that I already try:

1. Practicing slowly and then speed it up

2. Minimize finger movement, so for example when I put my finger down on the an E I also finger the B because that's part of the next passage

3. *Try* to be more flexible at the wrist ... 

My guess is that I need some more technique in my bowing, wrist and fingers probably ... I also noticed while listening to it that it gets scratchy so I wonder if I either need to use more bow or less pressure? Also I'm concentrating on single bowing the passage vs changing the bow pattern to like Down Up-Slur-3 notes.

Thanks, Mark

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fiddlinsteudel
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June 22, 2014 - 4:26 pm
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Oliver
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June 22, 2014 - 7:54 pm
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At one time I was going for speed and had a surprise.  I went much faster when I looked ahead to the next measure.  Playing one measure at a time just didn't work.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Fiddlerman
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June 22, 2014 - 10:39 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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You have it right. Minimize movement in both arms wrists and fingers. Keep your right hand fingers close to the strings. Have the bow angle as close to the crossing as possible.
Right hand finger movements are good to have too.

In any case you are doing very well.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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fiddlinsteudel
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June 23, 2014 - 12:24 am
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Thanks Pierre. After practicing for a bit, I remembered Mark O'Connor talking about a exercise he came up with to work on loose wrists. Here's a video of him talking about it:

 

Also to my ear it sounds scratchy as I try and get faster and faster. Any thoughts on getting a smoother tone out of it? More movement or less pressure?

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fiddlinsteudel
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June 23, 2014 - 1:06 am
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Oliver said
At one time I was going for speed and had a surprise.  I went much faster when I looked ahead to the next measure.  Playing one measure at a time just didn't work.

That's great advice. Being that I play fiddle music most of it is learned by ear anyway, so I have a tune memorized before I even think of speeding it up.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
June 24, 2014 - 9:32 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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Faster playing usually means quick movement which requires less pressure. Later you will figure out how to balance the pressure vs amount of bow needed for speedy beautiful playing. There is a slight possibility that your sound post is too tight and doesn't allow the instrument to respond quick enough. Minute but it can make a difference. :)

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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fiddlinsteudel
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June 24, 2014 - 7:15 pm
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