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Classical and Traditional Fiddle Training Differences ?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (14 votes) 
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cid
September 25, 2019 - 12:38 pm
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Rather than quote all the last replies, @starise, @GregW, @Gordon Shumway, @Pete_Violin, and everyone else I may have missed, thank you for all of these tips and explanations in Starise’s thread. They really do help, at least they help me. I remember these comments when I am playing. For many things, I need to know the “why do we do this” to help understand the, “How do we do this.” Always been like that. I always need reasons and all these comments are painting the picture I need, making the suggestions and tips more useful.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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BillyG
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September 25, 2019 - 1:00 pm
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Gordon Shumway said
Re the differences between violin and fiddle, the difference for me is that fiddle is a) mainly done from memory and b) no offence to Billy, but all fiddle tunes sound the same to me. Both seem like insurmountable difficulties to me, although if the second were true, it might make fiddle easier, lol!

  

ROFL Alf -good pointshats_offAndrew - @Gordon Shumway - indeed at (a) I would "largely" agree with you, and that often tends to be the case - although (as Tim @starise suggests "some of the more esoteric fiddle tunes I would say seem less alike" ). I'll maybe later, share some further thoughts of my own on this since it kind of goes outwith the remit of this thread.....  and as for (b) absolutely no offence taken at all my friend !  We all get to "where we are" and "what pleases us best" by differing routes.   It's why we do what we do!   

At the end of the day be it a solo fiddler or solo violinist - hopefully - what we do, satisfies ourselves, and makes our audience (if/when we have one) appreciate the performance !

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AndrewH
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September 25, 2019 - 3:04 pm
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starise said
Gordon LOL! 

To answer cid on type of strings/violin projection as it pertains to fiddle music .vs classical music. Seems to be a lot of variation there, at least in Irish music. I mean, you generally want a high projecting instrument for loud bar situations or no one will hear you. Exceptions to every rule. If not playing jigs I like to hear a more discrete sound. Say with Irish waltzes, reels and such. Much of this has more to do with technique than the violin or strings, not discrediting either as factors. I think it can be done with either though, at least the "darker" violins I've heard have a different flavor to the tone, yet can still be heard.

In classical music it seems the soloist or group leaders are intended to be heard, so some of them have high powered violins for that. Sorry I don't have a better term than "high powered". Maybe similar to an Irish musician playing in a loud bar...you need to be heard. The flip side of this for classical is, those who play 2nd and 3rd parts often probably have the goal to blend and not stick out....so firecracker violins might be prohibited or discouraged? Some violinists need ear protection to practice because those violins are so loud.

  

cid said

So, do they at times, maybe amp up the solist with a little hidden mic in the instrument in orchestras? Is that something a person has to get used to, or does it not really affect the player the first times doing it? Or is it not done at all? 

It always seems soloists are pretty clear in videos I have seen. Take into account, I generally look for non-orchestral videos because I am focusing on specific instruments. Given that, maybe I just have not seen that enough to get an accurate idea of how clear they sound above the background.

  

 

I want to address the idea of classical violin and projecting. Although soloists and section leaders tend to have violins that project more, virtually all professional classical violinists have "firecracker" violins no matter where they sit in the section. Their role today may not be the same as their role tomorrow. A section player in a major orchestra like the Los Angeles Philharmonic may be a concerto soloist with a regional orchestra such as the Long Beach Symphony, and a section player in the Long Beach Symphony may play as a soloist with a local college or community orchestra. Also, because most professional orchestras are part-time, it's quite normal for someone to be a section leader in one orchestra and a section player in another. On top of that, there's chamber music, where everyone is a soloist to some degree. Any good violin is capable of either projecting or blending depending on what the violinist does with it.

And no, there are no hidden mics. Acoustic instruments are capable of projecting on their own. Concerto soloists get quite a bit of help from the composer, it turns out. There are various orchestration tricks that help the soloist get noticed, even if the soloist isn't necessarily louder. The composer will typically clear the range above and below the soloist, for example, so no one is overlapping in a similar range. Or the composer may place either the soloist or the orchestra off the beat, so the soloist's attack on each note isn't drowned out by the orchestra's. 

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BillyG
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September 25, 2019 - 3:16 pm
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Interesting, and now I know, well understandablethumbs-up

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Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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GregW
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September 25, 2019 - 3:31 pm
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cool_gif..human EQ faders... 

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starise
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Greg, that's a very unique take on it.

Sliders are tactile and....never mind 🙂

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GregW
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starise said
Greg, that's a very unique take on it.

Sliders are tactile and....never mind 🙂

  

Yeah..probably shouldve left it... Adjusting the low mid frequencies could get dicey there huh?  Dang..did it anyway confused facepalm

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starise
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It wasn't you. I'm the one that took it there.surprised You just extrapolated on it some. I've been hanging around another forum too long and it's beginning to rub off. *Good excuse* . Truth be told my mind wandered a little. What were we talking about??duncecap

Oh yeah, that's right. Classical .vs Fiddle. 

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damfino
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starise said

Not long into learning I knew my focus was going to be Irish fiddling. Even still, in my lessons much of my training was in classical techniques. My teacher emphasized she wanted me to be a well rounded fiddler, and I appreciated that.

damfino you are a young adult learner and there's no reason to think you won't go far playing Irish music. 

  

Haha, I wish I were a young adult learner. I'm not elderly, but I don't consider myself young.

cid said
A question, is the fiddle music easier on your repetitive motion injuries? If so, why is that? Are the movements different for fiddling? Thanks

  

I don't think it's actually easier on it, since your arm is still in the same awkward position, and you're trying to achieve lots of speed and funky ornamentation, which my fingers aren't always fast enough for, haha. For me, the only easier part was being able to cut my practice time down (the classical techniques alone were taking me over an hour of practice before getting to any tune practice). Use of the 4th finger aggravates my nerve (the extra twist of the arm) and a lot of fiddle tunes want the open string to be played to add emphasis to the note, so that helps. Playing in 1st position is also that much less of a bend in the arm, so that helps with my nerve (if I do practice scales up in 3rd, I feel my fingers going numb pretty quick on a bad day from just that slight extra bend). In general, I think violin (be it classical or fiddling) is pretty rough on your joints, especially if your body is already is a bit predisposed to issues from your day job.

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damfino
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Pete_Violin said

damfino said

Following these forums, I think we've all seen adult beginners join here all fired up and ready to learn, only to give it up when it gets hard or they get busy. 

@damfino 

LOL!!

When is violin ever not hard?

When are we ever not busy?

  

Hahaha, true. I'm thinking more if someone starts playing in the winter when they are otherwise stuck in the house, then summer comes and all the outdoor activities call them away and they never return.

Generally I think the people who get too busy, or decide it's too hard, really weren't serious about learning in the first place. 

For example, I also knit, or did prior to my nerve issue (fiddling was more important to me, haha), and I knit a lot, especially in the winter when I'm stuck in the house. I had so many friends say they wanted to learn, but they just could never find the time (but then I also get told the same thing when I build things for my home... I'm building myself something I need like a bookshelf or just improve the home, how is that a luxury? haha I just like being crafty and doing things myself). These same friends binge watch tv shows in the winter, which is prime knitting time... you're sitting in a chair doing nothing, and that's always when I chose to knit. If they were really truly interested in learning, they would put time into it, like they find for other activities they enjoy. 

That's what I think teachers want to avoid, are the people who say they want to learn until they realize they actually have to put in a little effort to do so and quit. People are lazy and often just want instant gratification. They don't want to waste their time on someone when they could be helping someone who really wants to learn.. I imagine that is also more fun, to work with someone who really tries and sticks with it.

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Pete_Violin
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@damfino 

Yeah, I was kind of posting in jest, but seriously... the player you are describing I believe wants the fun of playing without the work to get there.  Everyone knows strings are hard. 

And there are parents that believe they need to get their kids into some kind of music program for the sake of just giving them the learning experience, and never actually find out if their kids are even remotely interested in learning an instrument.  And there is the prestige factor... "Johnny is learning piano and Sally is learning violin.  We've put them in private lessons."  Notice the forced imposition these parents have... their kids are put in lessons.  These parents are to blame for their kids' attitude.

Story Time

I do have a story I'd like to tell you...  Before I purchased my violin, or even knew how I was going to even learn to play, I went to my friend who plays viola.  She'd been playing for 10+ years.  I asked her opinion about me learning to play.  Her response was.. No, don't do it.  That it was a commitment of years of learning to play.  Well, I had already made the decision to learn violin before I talked to her.  I just wanted her perspective.  At the time, I thought she was a little harsh.  But in retrospect, I have come to understand that she was just trying to help me not to get into something without knowing what I am getting into.  When she realized it was obvious I was serious.. that this was not just a whim, she was 110% supportive!  She simply just did not want me to get discouraged and disappoint myself, which was definitely a possibility.  I thought she was being mean, but she was actually being an awesome friend.

There has to be a commitment!  Especially in the first 3 months of learning to play.  It is harder than one thinks... you realize that there are difficulties you could not imagine.. pain of getting used to holding the instrument and using muscles and movement you never have before.  The difficulty of playing horribly at first and the necessity of believing in yourself to get through those weeks.  For me, it was the commitment that I was going to learn to play no matter how hard, no matter what I needed to do.  I had, and still have, a picture in my mind of where I will be in 5 years of playing, 10 years of playing...  That is difficult to get a kid to understand, and sometimes even adults.

- Pete -

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AndrewH
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September 28, 2019 - 8:48 pm
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And there are parents that believe they need to get their kids into some kind of music program for the sake of just giving them the learning experience, and never actually find out if their kids are even remotely interested in learning an instrument.  And there is the prestige factor... "Johnny is learning piano and Sally is learning violin.  We've put them in private lessons."  Notice the forced imposition these parents have... their kids are put in lessons.  These parents are to blame for their kids' attitude.

  

 

One of the unfortunate things about string instruments, too, is that many people have the idea that you have no chance of playing at a high level if you don't start before first grade. That's too early for most children to make any kind of decision about playing an instrument. I've met several string players who called themselves "late starters" because they started at 8. I was told by multiple teachers that I was already too old to learn a string instrument when I was as young as 12 -- that's why I ended up self-teaching. So parents often put their kids in lessons because they've been told it's "now or never."

By the way, there are actual late-starting string players, as in people who started in their teens or later, in professional orchestras, and even in major orchestras. Last year the London Symphony hired a violist who started at 14 with no prior music experience. They're not common, but they're also not as rare as most string teachers think. Looking through string players' bios on orchestra websites, I'd guess that it's somewhere around one in 50 professional orchestral string players being late starters, not one in thousands.

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