The deadline for the 2023 Group Christmas Project submissions has now been extended to Monday the 11th of December.
Things have a strange way of working out.
I haven't been idle - been learning! The Fiddle Hell workshop with Jordan Hamilton (he's a very creative cellist) got me thinking differently about how I want to approach looping, helped me realize what I need in my playing 'toolbox' and I've been actively adding to it.
I've also been learning how to use my gear. I do still need to go over how to use my Positive Grid "Control", there's 4 switches controlled via bluetooth (I have some amp presets to put on), but I 'think' it can also control tracks, so worth considering & having ready.
I've had plenty of concerns & challenges to work around:
- the logistics of me working with too much gear on, and around, my bed so my legs are up & I'm somewhat comfortable - can't completely pen myself in!
- learning what each piece of my gear is meant for, the relationship/order & HOW to use everything
- my lack of computer & DAW knowledge
- my musical/playing limitations
- still wrapping my head around using a low F string/no E string anymore.
- my lack of practice playing just rhythms, while combining different bowing textures & dynamics
- my lack of practice playing at least simple chord progressions in my favorite keys/modes - or what works best now with my current tuning
- NOT ready to improv everything - still need to play a tune I know
- what the heck do I REALLY want to get out of all this????
I do want to be creative, but I HATE restrictions!!! I'm not even keen on playing with a click track! If I'm not playing with another human, why can't I play in a 'CROOKED' tune way? I don't want to be stuck on a repeating metronome beat & I certainly don't want to be consumed with an exact, or constant, ANYTHING!
Most people who use loopers ARE consumed with exact counting & exact timing - constantly counting & making sure the button is hit at the EXACT/CORRECT MOMENT to add another layer! ARRRGH! A beat is laid down, that's constant, with another layer of a few chords or a riff... a constant, stiff structure/framework, over which I'm supposed to be able to play a tune in my care-free manner? I DON'T THINK SO!
So, what am I doing with my 'restrictions'?
Well, luckily I ended up with a good looper (Ditto+) for my needs. I just found out it happens to have some great features, that are NOT in the instructions! Seems I don't have to stress about hitting the switch at an exact moment (there's a way to let it sync!) & there's some buttons that MUST BE ACCESSED BY HAND (easier for me than someone standing!), e.g., VERY COOL 'extended' looping (for different LENGTHS of loops), loop volume control & switching to access other loops or downloaded tracks! There's also an undo/redo of the last recorded track that isn't lost if the pedal is turned off!
I still need more practice just pushing a sequence on the looper pedal - because it's completely foreign for me to do something else with my hands while playing! ...and I thought switching to pizzacato was difficult!!!
Every effect that comes BEFORE my looper can be saved on it (my Octave pedal has extra effects, too)! Extra time to work & being able to add a long loop over a short one MAY LET ME THINK BACKWARDS! If I feel I can start by jamming against myself, instead of to a beat, think I'd be happier - but it may seem more like post editing, idk. 🤔... there's still a good chance I'll have to do all this in a reverse order - the Ditto+ may not work out right with a short loop over a long one, but I'd like to start by trying these:
- play some tune I like, however imperfect or quirky I feel, spontaneously (no counting) - loop it
- play the same tune over it, but with my new Octave pedal effects
- maybe play it a third time (3 better than 1?)
- then try playing a rhythm, but I need to make sure I can vary the the texture & dynamics of it
- try a riff with LOTS OF SPACE, so I feel more can be added & not crowded
- switch to start new loop playing part of the melody with a different effect on my Octave pedal
- bring back the old loops
- 'bypass' the looper and Octave pedal - continue or end playing with a different amp preset, if I'm recording on my phone.
Realistically thinking, I have a few more days of practicing ahead of me... but I'm not trying to be perfect, by no means! At least I have a plan now & still need to feel somewhat prepared, or I'll just throw my hands up in the air & scream.
FEELING GOOD ABOUT THIS!!!! 🤗
Yesterday, I was making headway playing some different rhythms for some music I've learned - then I hit a snag.
A waltz, 3/4 time. I love waltzes.
1,2,3 - really? Seriously, my brain froze - couldn't get past it. Spent time getting my head into the Latin rhythms to jar something loose, haven't got anything I'm happy with, yet - has to be more than 1,2,3 but not complicated.
It doesn't have a perfectly straight rhythm & I'd like to emphasize it - but not happy so far, definitely not chopping anything for this, have more I can try bowing & haven't tried any pizzicato. I've been playing in low Cm (instead of Em) - worked on arpeggios & some double stops, but need to do more.
This is ridiculous! Just going to pull Edgar back out tomorrow to try (in the original keys) 'accompanying' against the videos I learned the melodies from! Idk why I didn't think of this earlier - not practicing how to play with others has turned around to bite me. 😖
..okay, new outlook - will start fresh again tomorrow, with a new list of things to try!
@ELCBK - What waltz are you looking at?
The 1st one I'm concerned looping with is the "Unicorn Waltz" (written in honor of an 1824 Warship).
I have NO trouble playing this dotted, but it does change to a straight 3 beats in some measures, so I'm already not liking the idea of only looping one continuous beat pattern throughout. Even if I lay down a dotted 3 beat bowing pattern, MY BIGGEST FEAR - it will still just sound like THIS:
I think the Tannahill Weavers (1st tune in their Unicorn Set) gets away from the 'oom-pah-pah' 3/4 time feel by ONLY emphasizing the "1" beats (and with a chord instead of percussion)... but there may be more things going on than I can hear.
I'd like to do something different than what the Tannahill Weavers does - emphasize the groove more if I'm going to loop something. I have to keep it pretty simple, cause I still have to get used to pushing a button at the right time! Geez, I can't even press 'play' of a recording & start playing with it in time - going to take me SO MUCH PRACTICE! 😳 It IS worse than trying to switch from bowing to pizzicato!
I think the groove magic happens over 2 measures (most of the time) & I really like the idea of using a composite rhythm - thinking it might possibly help the groove stand out, but I understand chord changes/progression can also help with driving the groove(?)
Besides me trying some different (and subdivided) ways to bow a mix of the 3 beat rhythm, I loosely combined the midi of "Unicorn Waltz" (provided at The Session) with some Latin & Indian polyrhythm YT videos, to see how they sound (see attachments for what I liked best).
I still don't think I want to play ALL the beats - going to try a different approach this weekend. I'll have to FIRST pick out parts of the composite polyrhythms I listened to (against the Unicorn midi), then I'll try:
- practice each of the 3 rhythms using pizzicato & only the tonic note
- practice different ways of bowing each of the 3 rhythms - only the tonic
- just bowing the 1st bar of the rhythm different than the 2nd bar - using only the tonic
- bowing 2 bars of the composite rhythm using pitches that match the closest melody notes
- same as #3, but try to leave some notes out for space in the rhythm
- arpeggiated a chord when I land on the half note - or the dotted quarter
- extend a riff past 2 bars, start into the 3rd bar - with last note played held/droned to the end of the measure
I still haven't taken the time (yet) to learn how to use the Presonus Studio One software... which I'm REALLY starting to regret! I'm sure it would help me isolate what I'm looking for. Seriously thinking about taking the time to learn Presonus RIGHT NOW, but geez... been a struggle just to stay on the main path - figuring HOW I want to use the looper pedal.
...btw, found out I can ONLY do 1 longer loop over a short one, in 'extended loop mode' with the Ditto+. I can't do 1 short loop, then 1 med, then 1 longer - seems the 2nd loop is the overall determinant size. ...haven't tried a short loop over a longer one & haven't found anyone who has - I'll have to try it, anyway.
Any thoughts/tips appreciated!
I've tried many combinations, but these are the best so far - not getting the groove enough yet (for me), but think I can change that with bowing. Sorry - these are not lined up well, since I didn't use a DAW.
I'll concentrate on that one!
Jeremy Harman was new at Fiddle Hell this April - just watched replays of his 2 workshops tonight! Even though he taught on cello, great tips on chord patterns & voicings (including dim, sus & inversion patterns!), GREAT chord progressions, rhythms, & tips on borrowing chords!
Mostly pertaining to rock & popular music, but everything he taught seems appropriate for other genres, wish I could've sat in on those live! Idk why, maybe it's just because it's relevant to me at this moment, but these 2 hours made a lot clear for me. I'm going to have to go over & practice - might change some of what I want to try with looping.
...I'm at my brain limit for today, though! 😵
"I still haven't taken the time (yet) to learn how to use the Presonus Studio One software... which I'm REALLY starting to regret! I'm sure it would help me isolate what I'm looking for. Seriously thinking about taking the time to learn Presonus RIGHT NOW, but geez... been a struggle just to stay on the main path - figuring HOW I want to use the looper pedal. "
I cant remember exact order.. i had a ditto+ with some built in band type thing. that was about the time i found band in a box and then later presonus. I just never clicked with a looper like i feel like i do with a daw but its whatever tool lets you create with easiest that matters. theres going to be a learning curve with any of it.
Yeah, I'm still not sure what that is for me. 😒
I've been watching videos on different ways to loop without a looper & also looked at a great array of Midi controllers (to try to easily control everything) - some have a drum pad & keyboard.
The ATOM SQ' caught my attention, but (after watching a lot of reviews) it's got it's drawbacks, so I'm not rushing into anything.
Can't seem to get away from a feeling I don't want to just play over a beat, or little riff and improv over it, right now. I like the features of the Ditto+, except I'm obsessing over 'counting' & remembering what to do. There's more visual info on the Ditto+ than many other loopers, but I don't really want to deal with pedals, amp controls, laptop keyboard, and Positive Grid Switch Controller (which I can't tell which switch is working at a time) all separately! Too much to think about during playing - and what if I want to add kitty noises!!!!
PLUS, I keep coming back to the question - how am I supposed to loop to a 'Crooked' tune? I want to be able to play any tune 'crooked', whenever I feel like it!
I'm still thinking 'backwards', like I should record my tune, how I want to play it - then treat IT as a backing track & impov over IT! ...still wouldn't be able to loop anything all the way through, so I have to decide if I really want to loop anything at all, or something short & stop, maybe change to something else. Idk if I really want to do this with buttons on the Ditto+, or laptop keyboard... the ATOM SQ is probably not much help, except if I want to add stuff from another instrument (and I'd HAVE to learn to use Studio One).
I have to think about all this later, didn't really want to learn to use Studio One right now. Had a wonderful, unexpected visitor today, so tomorrow (with a clear head) I'll get back to practicing rhythms & chord progressions while I think about this.
...I do have in mind what my perfect controller would be - don't think it exists, or else it probably costs more than my house!
i never was interested in looping like you are. i was more interested in recording full arrangement multitrack type stuff with a mix of real instruments and virtual. so presonus is perfect for that if not the best as far as ease of use and features vs cost. ableton is more live type loopy stuff.
sometimes ill record a rhythm track 1st sometimes a melody. depends on the day. either way i record a whole track at once.. no loops with the possible exception of drums.. those sometimes are 4 or 8 measures and then a repeat with a fill between maybe.
id say keep working at the looper. you just started! dont go for the most elaborate thing first. start simple..forget about crooked and crazy rhythms.. master 4 beats and starting stopping those for a while ..a good excuse to practice chopping. i bet youre trying to do way too much right now. if you add another piece to the puzzle now itll just be something else to learn.
Thanks! ...that was one of the 1st videos I watched. (lol)
I'm back trying to figure out how to use my performance of a tune as a 'backing track' with the Spark App.
I'm supposed to be able to upload music from Spotify for jamming & wondered if I could somehow upload my music & access it with the Spark Control switches. I read the Spark App actually uses Spotify to search YouTube, by title - but that would mean it couldn't access my 'private' library.
I have absolutely NO desire to offer up any of my performance videos to the general public, right now - even though there's public access to the videos I post here, on the forum!
As for the Ditto+ looper - just about had my mind set on using it only as a practice tool, not a production tool, for a little improv fun right now, BUT... I'm supposed to be able to download tracks to the Ditto+ looper! If I can upload me playing a whole tune (as a track) I should be able to loop over that, might have to upload it multiple times (as separate tracks), cause I'm not sure how many loops I can undo (or even if I always want to undo all) just to get back to my original track - need the easiest route.
Just found a promising video! Looks like I 'should' be able to upload my private YouTube video music, because this way accesses by URL!
Wow, I remember reading about needing to change mp3's to 'wave form' for something I wanted to do, WAY BACK, when I first discovered there was audio & video editing software stuff being used here, by people on this forum... 😒 I couldn't find how to easily do it, at that time!
...need to take a break, before my brain explodes & just play some tunes, now - maybe enough for today. 😊
EDIT! Just realized I probably can't use a recording of me playing EV for a 'backing track' this way!!! It would be going through effects TWICE!
...maybe an acoustic recording using my Viola would work... or, think I've seen something about splitting my PC screen to play a backing track while recording... rats, something else I have to learn about.
Ah, looks like I've finally got a quiet house (just temporary), so FINALLY got time to experiment more with my pedals! I should have more time this weekend, before the house gets back to crazy. Geez, it's been a month & a half since I've touched them, barely had any time to practice at all (and I'm still focused on both pinkies, bowing pressure/attack & intonation) - either no energy, no quiet, or no motivation. At least it's better to help get things in order now, don't want to just dump all our stuff on our daughter after we croak... still a daunting task, even with all the help we are getting.
I've mentioned, many times, that I never use a metronome 😣 but I've changed my mind because of our recent discussions about gaining speed on tunes. Thought I had good speed on the The Humours of Tuaimgréine (no, I haven't recorded it yet) - hadn't even thought about BPM. So, 140 BPM fits the video - found I still needed to tighten it up a little & by playing to the metronome, it actually helped! 🤗
Metronome is still a distraction for me when I'm learning something new, or fixing things, but I'll be using it more, from now on. I can't count on being able to play along with a video anymore, don't always want to play in the same key with the way my violin is tuned.
Think I should put a plug in for Rondo strings at this point - these strings have been crazy steady, kinda scary how well they stay in tune... and I've been playing HARD on them, even though I'm not practicing as long each day as I used to. Super glad Fiddlershop started carrying them!
Okay, I'm outta here!
@ELCBK My thoughts on using metronomes:
Characterize people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words.
So, I mentioned (not too long ago in the Syncopation Thread) that I had started learning to play "The Smokey Lum" & "Maggie's Pancakes" from the Tannahill Weavers.
I LOVE these tunes, but STILL trying to get up to HALF speed! Sorry, not going to share a recording until I get sounding good at that speed.
To begin with, I thought it was pretty cool I can play it lower - using an Ab on my Low F violin string, a Bb & C on the A string (my highest violin string) for "The Smokey Lum", so it's a tune for ALL 5 of my strings!
I don't usually bother too much with the notation, but since I'm only playing it an octave lower than the video, I took a look at versions of The Smokey Lum at The Session (there's 2) - neither one is in the correct key.
What I mean by 'correct key' - this is a Stuart Morison tune, he was a fiddler with the Tannahill Weavers & I can't find where Stuart has recorded it in any different key, other than the videos with Tannahill (Stuart actually left a comment that is kinda vague, probably not caring what key people use). I don't usually care what key a tune is in, but people in the notation discussion were pretty emphatic it's in Bmin. I'm playing 'Cmin', it starts on Eb with phrases ending in 'C'. I triple checked to see if I was screwing up, but really don't think so - this tune is in 'C' Minor!
I haven't exactly felt 'qualified' to put my '2 cents' in at 'The Session', yet - this might be my first - may seem silly, but facts are facts.
Of course there's ALWAYS the possibility that I'm mistaken... 🤫🤭
I'd REALLY appreciate opinions on
what scale YOU ALL HEAR(?)
"The Smokey Lum" is played in the video!
...might want slow the video down to hear it better.
i dont think Id be able to tell you by just listening what key a tune is in. I could tell you major or minor i think.. I could probably guess depending on how the octaves are falling and what ive picked up from other tunes a swag at the key.
Id probably have a good shot at saying if its in maybe dorian or mixolydian mode..but id have to try and play it first to nail down a key signature.
whats funny is alot more times than not on new tunes the fingers know where to go without thinking for more notes now than when i started. but i have to have the strings to make that process work.
wonder if he tuned down in the recordings? and thats not saying i hear that or anything. just thinking could thqt be whats throwing you off
Thanks for thinking about it!
I play exactly what I hear in the video (which I believe is C minor), so 'if' the music was being played tuned down a HALF step in the video, for me to be able to hear Eb & the phrases end in 'C' - the standard notation would show a half step higher, a key of C# Minor. Or, if the video is actually being played a WHOLE step tuned down, the key notated would be C Mixolydian (for me to hear 'C' & 'Eb'). Either way, NOT Bmin.
...boy, you made me THINK about that one!
I'm like you - wouldn't be able to tell without playing along with the video. ...and didn't think about about what I was playing until today, when I looked at The Session notation & discussion.
What's worse - to figure out what notes I'm playing I had to 1st remind myself my 'E' string is really an 'A' string, my 'A' string is really the 'D' string, etc... Then, I had to at least check to make sure I was really playing Eb's, C's, because I haven't used any tuner for ages now. I didn't need to check more than those 2 notes - was enough to tell me it is NOT the B Minor scale.
Half the time I wonder if my violin is really in tune, so I like to make sure my ears aren't foolin' me. 🥴
...been a lot of loud microtones emanating from elated, sometimes angry, grandkids lately - could be messing me up!
I had a look at the discussion you mentioned from thesession. I havent analyzed/played this at all so tqke anything i say with a grain of salt or whatever...
First off I noticed that in the first posting of the tune, the lower G's are played as naturals while the upper octave G's are G#'s in line with the 'A' key signature.
later in the discussion Stuart the original composer says that the postwr had the notes correct. So we have to think that we are using the 'A' key signature 3 sharps.
I would think if it was another he would have mentioned that if he took the trouble to poat so Ill have to take him for what he said.
so given that and that the tune sounds minor-ish to me as well its going to be F# minor or B dorian ..leaning B dorian but thats just with what little ive been exposed to this in the last hour or two. Those measures where the G's are flattened or raised depending on how you look at it make it a bit tricky, and make me wonder..lol.
Someone notated in D and thats probably wher Bm came from. But even they throw in accudentals so which is it. 🙂 Those last 2 notes of last measure sound like a pickup to me.. so if you leave them off and back to next note its a B... that coupled with all the other B's that seem to be where the tune returns to sorta tend to make it have B as home note. another Bdorian clue? IDK.. interesting tune.
Im not saying youre wrong... and to be honest if the intervals are correct that would be all that matters unless you were trying to join in with someone else or play to a backing.
but then that 'D' version notated below first post...hmm. idk.. Bmin.. 🤔 playing around with chords may help. It just doesnt know what it wanna be lol.
lets just play kesh
Think I edited my last post, or fooled around with it, while you replied!
The phrases of the 1st version at The Session end in 'B' - makes more sense to be B Dorian, than A Major - it still sounds like the tune, but if you line up the sound of this with the Tannahill video sound, it's 😖!
I think what Stuart said ("You’ve pretty much got the notes right") was up for interpretation, like 'yeah, you got the gist of the tune'.
Btw, I'm NOT saying it can't be played in Bmin - or in any other minor key/minor mode.
You probably won't be able to see what I'm talking about unless you try to play what's on the video - please don't bother to go to that trouble. This isn't a big deal, I'm going to keep playing what I have been, anyway - just debating about saying something at The Session.