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Playing Fast
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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
February 28, 2011 - 5:57 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11702

A few Questions to better help you:

Reading ahead has to do with reading music. Can you play fast on pieces that you memorize and or scales?

You said that you keep your hand and fingers over the strings. Do you lift them minimally as well?

Is your difficulty the same weather you play fast separate bows and slurred notes or is it more of a problem when you play separate bows?

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

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
February 28, 2011 - 8:44 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11702

OK, you can try this,

Play your simplest scale, for example G major, up and down one octave with one slured bow. Start slowly and work your speed up. Memorize the finger patterns and concentrate on lifting them the absolute bare minimum and see how fast you can get. Fill me in on the details.

After you work that scale up do the same thing with separate notes. Since you like blue grass you can even practice slurring 2 and 2 separate up and down which will surely be a little more difficult at first.

As far as sight reading is concerned, I think that there are no shortcuts and that you hit the nail on the head when you said that you read ahead. That is the only way to read fast. Some people are incredible site readers while others struggle. I learned the violin with music from the very beginning and I think therefor reading is easy for me. For those that learned to play by ear it requires much more effort to read fast.

You should also work on memorizing your pieces and then working up the tempos without music.

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

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Oliver
NC
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March 1, 2011 - 11:59 am
Member Since: February 28, 2011
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I'm playing 16 th notes.

G scale.  Up to mm 90, "OK".  90 - 100 mm starting to lose notes.  Bow not working.  Fingering getting sloppy by 100 mm.

A scale (from open A).  Maybe OK to mm 103.  Bow angle feels better.

FIDDLE TUNES from MEL BAY.  Do samples.  Key signature is definitely a factor for speed.

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

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
March 1, 2011 - 3:56 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11702

OK, good.

You need to think finger patterns. This will also come in handy when you play your bluegrass. Memorize the distances between the fingers in the different keys and feel patterns in your fingers when playing up and down. Don't think individual notes. Get a few common keys down perfectly rather than trying to learn them all fast before going on to the other keys. Through repetition you should feel progress. Also continue to concentrate on minimizing the lifting hight of your fingers. Did you also try détaché (seperate) bows?

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

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Oliver
NC
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March 1, 2011 - 11:35 pm
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Separate bow results.  Lost about 5 mm count on both "A" and "G" scales.  "A" faster at about 95 mm. 

Problem became one of synchronization right/left hands.  Fingers faster than bow (?)

( Poor right wrist ? )

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

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
March 2, 2011 - 8:45 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11702

Try doing the same thing (seperate bows) while only concentrating on the right hand. Then do the same thing while only concentrating on the left hand. I would be curious to hear whether or not the coordination will be better between the two.

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

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Oliver
NC
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March 2, 2011 - 8:28 pm
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The answer is very clear.  Concentration on the right hand was very beneficial.  I did not have my software metronome running in the music room but I'm sure my speed was at least as fast as reported previously.

I also noted that I was not at risk of surpassing the left hand which, I see, is really the faster of the two.

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

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
March 29, 2011 - 12:17 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11702

Oliver, I made this video yesterday for you.

Let me know if you find it helpful.

 

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

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Oliver
NC
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March 29, 2011 - 1:38 pm
Member Since: February 28, 2011
Forum Posts: 2439
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Yes, the video is useful but mostly to review basics.  Since I wrote the original post I have made very good progress.
One interesting point has to do with patterns as I realize that much fiddle music is in the key of D and then G and A ..... all sharps.  So, I AM becoming faster IN THOSE KEYS but not nearly as fast in the flat keys ! 
I think that the reason is that I can recognize patterns of notes so that I do not have to really read each individual note in the # keys.  ( On the other hand, I like best to play in A flat to avoid open strings !!)
I noticed in your video you were pulling nice long bows but I anxiously wait to see what you say about right/left hand coordination exercises ; )

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

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artoliva
west palm beach
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March 29, 2011 - 4:59 pm
Member Since: January 28, 2011
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Very informative video Pierre, in addition to some of the items you went over, the articulation of each finger (on the left hand) as you place it or take it off of the string is important when you are developing the muscles in your fingers and training them to go fast. For example going very slow on the G major scale as you suggest but also moving your fingers as fast as you can when you place it on the string and snapping it off (almost a left hand pizzicato) when taking it off. This will train your fingers to go fast even though you are going slow. Slurring at first as Pierre says and gradually decreasing the number of notes slurred. Eventually three octave scales are great for all types of exercises for left and right hands...my two cents worth PS Pierre thanks for the wedding musicKiss

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fiddlefaddle
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March 30, 2011 - 3:39 pm
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WOW, I really picked up a lot from that video. My arm was way too far out. Still feels a little weird to bring it under so much but the fingers have no problem reaching at all.

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Oliver
NC
King
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October 19, 2011 - 9:26 pm
Member Since: February 28, 2011
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I am resurrecting this topic from March 2011 because it has proven to have an amazing benefit.  The discussion included instructions by PH about difficult or too slow passages.  He suggested playing the problem passage with a mental emphasis on the left hand and then the right hand.  The suggestion meant that one of the hands was the "weak sister" and the passage would improve by concentrating on the weaker hand.  It was just a matter of thinking about it and not necessarily a monster practice session for the weak hand.

I have been trying the idea on many occasions now since March and I can report that it is really spooky and it works.  Sometimes when I'm fighting with a tricky passage, I simple go into right/left drive and the problem is over.

I have no idea why the success rate is so high.  Maybe I'm right-brained or left but it is not always the same hand that gets the attention.
I did not believe all this when PH gave the instructions but I can only agree at this point.

coffee2

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

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