Welcome to our forum. A Message To Our New and Prospective Members . Check out our Forum Rules. Lets keep this forum an enjoyable place to visit.

A A A
Avatar
Please consider registering
guest
sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register
Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search
Forum Scope




Match



Forum Options



Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
Do You Have An Over-speed Governor For Fiddling?
Breaking speed barriers.
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (17 votes) 
Avatar
ELCBK
USA
Members

Regulars
September 30, 2021 - 11:19 pm
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 2814
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Is there an easy way to break through a violin 'speed barrier'? 

Sometimes I think I might have an 'over-speed governor', preventing me from playing too fast and possible damaging myself or my Mortimer! 🤣 

Finding that using a metronome and inching my way up, a beat-per-minute at a time, is excruciatingly frustrating! 

I remember AndrewH mentioned keeping fingers very relaxed, and I found it really helps to listen to a tune played by someone else - at the speed I want to end up playing, but not always! 

🤔... think my expectations are too high?  Is it unreasonable to strive for playing a fiddle tune at 75% of it's recommended 'session speed'? 

For "Nuit Sauvage" (by Bottine Souriante), that's 168 Bpm - in the faster part (which is most of it)! 

I'm really struggling just to play it at 148 Bpm, and that's not sounding good, yet. 😕  Everything I feel about this tune makes me believe the 'perfect speed' is really 140 Bpm.  Playing it 'up to speed', at 210 Bpm - TOTALLY out of the question for me! 

Now... guessing I'm just impatient - and my creeping/crawl with the metronome is probably the best way to over-ride my 'over-speed governor'. 

I would genuinely like to know if anyone has any other suggestions to help me break through my 'sound barrier'!  

 

...if Fergal Scahill has an 'over-speed governor' - it's BROKEN! 🤣

- Emily

Avatar
ABitRusty
Members

Regulars
October 1, 2021 - 1:26 am
Member Since: February 10, 2019
Forum Posts: 1834
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

compare your speed now to when you started is a more fair comparison than to Fergal Scahill..  I do like sharing his videos though as a this is what a pro sounds like playing it!  He is excellent!  Its probably not right to do that though in the context of a party video share or something like I have... but its not meant to be negative. just kinda..wow. check his version out.

Instead of a beat per minute increase try 5.  

Try your loopz app instead.   or play with the music slowed down instead of a metronome.

take a few days off and clear your mind of it.

I feel like i make the most speed gains on tunes that i dont have to think about when playing.  unfortunately, those are few in number.  As soon as you start thinking about what youre playing things start getting tense..which tends to slow you down.  That Probably wouldnt matter to someone who has been sight reading for years, but i think at our stage of playing it does matter.  

Avatar
ELCBK
USA
Members

Regulars
October 1, 2021 - 2:22 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 2814
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

@ABitRusty -

You're starting to freak me out, but I like the new name! 🤣 

I've got 3 of these Reels now, that I know well enough to be automatic, but have a feeling my brain doesn't like giving my hands complete control... yet & gets in the way. (lol)

I'm keeping a relaxed hand, but I suppose there's always room to try to relax even more. 

I exaggerated a bit, I actually jump 5, 10 or even more Bpm - because had to start at 115 Bpm on "Nuit Sauvage"! 

This is the 1st tune I can't make to 75%  speed. 😕

140 to 145 Bpm seems safe, I suppose.  Started thinking maybe I should just let this go 'as is' for now - and just keep trying to gently push it a bit further as I continue to improve overall. 

I like this site for their definitions of Fiddling Styles and types of Fiddle Tunes (mostly based on dance) - except there's NO mention of 'Hurv". (lol) 

Still, they have a mix-up in the listed Tempos, Waltz and Reel should be switched, because I've come across more than one other source that corrects this. 

Definitions of Fiddle Styles, Fiddle Tune Types and Meter/Tempo by Dance

  • Several other sources I ran across list Reels as 160 Bpm
  • "Set Dance Competition Music" uses a much slower Tempo for Reels - 112 to 116 Bpm? 
  • I thought all those crazy Irish Step Dancing competitions were done at much higher speed, but seems the more complicated the steps - the slower the tempo.

FAQ for Irish Set Dances

Advice sought for playing for dancers - The Session Discussion

Guess I'm just looking for an excuse to stay where I'm at, I certainly don't mind more reasons to adjust my goal to below 160 Bpm! 😊

Was wondering, do you (or anyone else) have a specific speed that you just don't want to go over? 

 

 

So, Is all this speed just to show off?

Thanx, for helping me re-think all this! 

- Emily

Avatar
ABitRusty
Members

Regulars
October 1, 2021 - 11:07 am
Member Since: February 10, 2019
Forum Posts: 1834
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

couldve swore we shared those links about tempo suggestions before.

i guess if it makes you feel better to suggest that people playing above the tempo listed on xyz site are just showing off then you could use that angle.  I dont feel that way about them though.  think they are enjoying themselves.

i think the reel tempo is listed in cut time.  youre probably setting metronome 4 beats at 112 which is not what they meant i believe.   i think its probably closer to 220 the way youre thinking.

 

***edit

idk if this helps.  the whole tempo speed thing is confusing. this is at 90 

Avatar
stringy
Members

Regulars
October 1, 2021 - 1:26 pm
Member Since: August 23, 2020
Forum Posts: 802
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I honestly didnt know that there were recomended speeds for sessions. Personally I play any tune at the speed I am comfortable with, unless its classical of course. I think the faster you play the more it covers mistakes so isnt a good idea, but thats just my opinion and I could be wrong.

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

Avatar
ABitRusty
Members

Regulars
October 1, 2021 - 2:06 pm
Member Since: February 10, 2019
Forum Posts: 1834
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

i dont think this was neccesarily about sessions .  The ones ive been to generally are labeled slow medium fast but honestly whoever starts the tune picks the tempo and people just play.  whats fast for some would be slow for others but most just like playing together and dont get to wrapped up in it... That may just be a local thing.  The recomendations Emily listed are for backing dancers not a session.  I think we are trying to reconcile listed tempo's against our perceived speed.

 I think the faster you play the more it covers mistakes so isnt a good idea, but thats just my opinion and I could be wrong.

totally opposite experience. 

Avatar
stringy
Members

Regulars
October 1, 2021 - 2:19 pm
Member Since: August 23, 2020
Forum Posts: 802
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

As I said, I could be wrong.

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

Avatar
AndrewH
Sacramento, California
Members

Regulars
October 1, 2021 - 5:40 pm
Member Since: November 5, 2017
Forum Posts: 1273
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

This is based on playing in orchestras rather than fiddling, but I think it applies regardless.

One of the main barriers to playing at a very fast tempo is tension. It's especially important to maintain a relaxed right wrist; if your wrist gets tense when you're playing quickly your bow swings back and forth and you get a choked sound.

One thing that helps with this is thinking of notes in groups rather than trying to consciously process every single note. If you can recognize patterns of notes you've practiced before, and your fingers move automatically within a group of notes that you recognize, then you don't have to think as quickly and you're not going to get as tense. Playing fast is as much of a mental game as a physical one. This is where scales, arpeggios, and certain etudes (Schradieck and Sevcik), or even just having played a lot of music before, can come in handy.

Avatar
stringy
Members

Regulars
October 1, 2021 - 6:33 pm
Member Since: August 23, 2020
Forum Posts: 802
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

While we are talking about fast dance tempos, thought You may enjoy this russian dance, cossack tune I Believe, 

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

Avatar
ELCBK
USA
Members

Regulars
October 1, 2021 - 8:39 pm
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 2814
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

WOW! 

Now, it's getting interesting! 

What speed do you ALL like to play the most? 

 

@stringy -

You are definitely hitting on the viewpoint of 'arbitrary speed' for Fiddle tunes. 

I'm wondering how much should we be concerned about 'original intent' - and how are we supposed to really know? 

Seems to me, in the process of trying to simplify Fiddle tune notation for people, no one wants to conform to a good standard - making it, ironically, more confusing.

@ABitRusty - 

We have talked about some of this before (sorry, I forgot) - about Kevin Burke saying tunes should be notated better, but some things still didn't make sense to me. 

Time Signatures (Clarity!) Thread

You said: 

@elcbk   what makes sense to me and what ill stick with, even though i may not express it in my playing all the time, im working on that!  i know i have more to do there.. :)   alot...but this is what im doing...

REEL- set a metronome to beat half notes ( 2 clicks per measure of 4/4)  if the measure has 8 eighth notes the 1st and 5th eighth note should get more emphasis.  or you could think of 4 quarter notes and tap foot on 1&3 and thats the beat.  Youll get carried away if trying to count 1,2,3,4  for reels.  2 taps or beats a measure works and feels more relaxed.  im sure theres deeper thoughts and technique especially with off beats and how to play around with those, but i gotta think like this to keep it straight for now.   8/8 was another way used to exain it..but grouped  in 4's ..  idk..4/4 but two taps a measure seems easier.

Then, I said:

Here's what I got from Burke:

Reel - 8/8  Even rhythm - strong, weak, strong, weak, etc... You loose any swing or swagger because of speed. 

BUT, don't we REALLY need a "Tempo Designation" - quarter note = (?) speed? 

 

"Cut Time" - now THAT makes sense of what I thought was an overly slow tempo! 

So, did I just miss something?  I mean, I just wonder why I can't find where anyone ever mentions 'Set Dances', or Reels, are listed in 'Cut Time'. 

This does get VERY CONFUSING! 

Ah HA! 

Finally, found a LIVELY discussion at thesession.org - one that mentions 'Cut Time' for Reels! 

Tempo For Jigs and Reels on The Session

I feel like I just got the veil lifted from my eyes, just to show me more confusion. (lol)  ...it gets WORSE! 

Now, they 'talk' about Reels being in 'Cut Time', but they are notated in 2/2, or 4/4 - but 4/4 is supposed to be "Common Time"!   

IMHO - all boils down to sloppy transcription, meant to be a loose guide - I feel the reason is because it's inferred/expected that everyone will interpret a tune differently.  This is all well and good, ONLY because it is also 'inferred/expected" you've heard the original way a tune is played - otherwise this all seems pure chaos, to me!

  • So... pity upon the poor soul of a new Fiddler who wants to learn new music without access to hearing how it's played? 
  • I think speed IS arbitrary, but feel it is important to understand the composers intent. 
  • AND, I feel Fiddlers should be obligated to notate Fiddle tunes as accurately as possible - no matter how difficult it may be to read, because fiddle tunes are meant to be memorized! 

Btw, in my previous post, from that link to thesession.org discussion - seeing, 'Treble Reel' used to throw me off. 

A treble reel is just a dancers term for a normal reel…..
the difference is with the shoes they wear..

A treble reel is danced in hard-shoes / also at times know as treble shoes…
The normal reel is danced in light shoes or pomps…

That is the only difference. 

AND, to make it even worse, I didn't know there was even a difference between "Show Dance" and "Dance Competition"! (wikipedia) 

- Emily

Avatar
ABitRusty
Members

Regulars
October 1, 2021 - 9:14 pm
Member Since: February 10, 2019
Forum Posts: 1834
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
11sp_Permalink sp_Print
5

im not sure i agree cut time is 2/4 but im wrong alot so doesnt mean that it isnt.  i think when you say cut time its meant as more of a feel than a literal time signature.  youre still talking about notated 4/4 measures but ypure feeling a strong beat only twice..either 1 and 3 or 2 and 4 depending on how you play. You dont have a strong beat on every quarter note.  Trust me, Im still struggling with the concept but ive got this twisted understanding that for now seems to fit my thinking so dont feel lost...

i think weve talked alot on the forum over time that speed is a personal thing..even in this thread..so, and especially playing alone, dont sweat it so much that say some youtube video is at double your speed.  I personally also like reels played slower..  I want to be able to play faster.  That doeant mean I think everyone sbould be playing as fast as any random youtube fiddler.   Theres room for both.  If your goal is to be playing some official contest dance then i would think youre at the mercy of those competing and if you cant play fast enough youre out a d someone that can is in.  so it seems to me there is a place for a certain expected speed...but for our purposes from what I know here, playing is the real joy.

as far as no one listng cut time in explanations and such...i think youll hear alot of talk about beats 1 &3 being stronger or  beats 2 &4 so that sorta takes care of it i think.

Avatar
ELCBK
USA
Members

Regulars
October 2, 2021 - 12:27 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 2814
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

@AndrewH -

Thank you for the advice about the right wrist! 🤗

I always try to keep my right hand relaxed, but I have to admit while playing these reels I've really put all my focus on relaxing my left hand.  I'll try switching some of that focus to my right. 

I've also had to change my attack on some notes because of shorter bow strokes - to try for cleaner sound. 

@stringy -

Thank you!

I have listened to some of the other videos recorded by "The Violin Brothers" - they are GREAT. 

If we didn't have these examples, no one would believe it! (lol) 

@ABitRusty -

You're really making my brain hurt - having me do all this thinking! 😵

I went back and edited my post a little, because I felt I needed to look deeper into "Cut Time"

I misread about "Cut Time = 2/4" - it's only similar. 

I still saw on thesession.org where they were all pretty freely using "Cut Time", 4/4 and 2/2 interchangeably - which I don't think is a good idea. 

NOW, I'm trying to wrap my head around how there's even more to understand about the use of "Cut Time" and "Common Time" - that could help determine speed.

This video might explain why many classically-trained Violinists can have a hard time with 'Fiddle' tunes - because they understand notation differently! 

Cut Time vs. Common Time : NOT Twice as Fast!

Guess I'm foolish for trying to see all types of music in one light.  

Here's Classical Terms for SPEED to know AND relative Bpm: 

What is The Musical Term For Fast? - Hello Music Theory

Sometimes I just don't word things right to find all the answers on thesession.org - but there is a lot there to explore.  Here's an obvious one I missed. (lol) 

How to Get Up to Session Speed on Fiddle - on The Session

One comment, in particular, struck home - think it was in the back of my mind, all along! 

If you’re playing at a perfectly comfortable but "slow" speed and you WANT to play faster, you’ll naturally speed up as you play over and over since you’ll remember where to put the next finger quicker and will WANT to put it down quicker. Kind of obvious I guess. Building up speed on the fiddle takes so long that it’s hardly noticeable, but you’ll get there. Basically, don’t try to fiddle faster than is comfortable, because you’ll just mess up and get frustrated. Your comfort speed will naturally increase as you play.

 

I did read somewhere (can't find now) that there are only 2 ways to gain speed.  I think a combination of these is good.

  1. Use a metronome and keep increasing it. 
  2. Play at speed right from the beginning, getting only a few notes right to start, then more and more. 

 

Now, what about "Half Time"?  😁

- Emily

Avatar
ABitRusty
Members

Regulars
October 2, 2021 - 1:46 pm
Member Since: February 10, 2019
Forum Posts: 1834
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
13sp_Permalink sp_Print
5

so probably the only time youd even think.. hmm cut time... would be in a situation where a tempo is listed and youre needing to setup your metronome or whatever for it or maybe youre notating out some music and dont wanna use a bunch of 16th notes..( maybe got that part backwards )  since youve heard enough examples from music youve listened to youll naturally sorta mimic the feel..hopefully...what do you think?

  now working from the other direction its easier to understand as far as note lengths and tempo but the feel maybe more difficult... in other words it makes more sense when thinking about cuttime listed on sheet music and playing...because youll know. half note gets beat. 2 half notes per measure and so on.. so your likely to play the notes at tempo correctly but then will you  get the feel right? idk.. i think as long as you can think about beats and why some listed tempos seem so happily low compared to what youre hearing in recordings youll be able to figure out whats going.  

Avatar
ELCBK
USA
Members

Regulars
October 2, 2021 - 10:11 pm
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 2814
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

@ABitRusty -

Thank you.  Hope it doesn't take me too long to get all this. (lol)

You ARE helping me - it's not easy to get all the answers about fiddling!

What still bothers me is: how is a new Fiddler supposed to interpret Celtic notation, unless they miraculously come up with all the assumptions normally made by very experienced Fiddlers?

I think the biggest things I've taken away from all this: 

  1. I now understand most reels are in 'Cut Time', regardless of how they are notated.
  2. I think until I am much more experienced, I'm a little better guessing at fiddle notation, but still pretty much screwed if I can't hear how a fiddle tune is played. 
  3. I need to accept that it takes much more time to gain speed than I expected. 

Deep down, I suspect I've been searching for a 'one stop shopping site', where everything was laid out on a red carpet - don't think that exists. 

 

 

...know I'm not the only one with these questions. 

It's starting to sink in - Fiddlers were never meant to fiddle alone! 😊 

- Emily

Avatar
ABitRusty
Members

Regulars
October 3, 2021 - 12:11 am
Member Since: February 10, 2019
Forum Posts: 1834
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
15sp_Permalink sp_Print
5

What still bothers me is: how is a new Fiddler supposed to interpret Celtic notation, unless they miraculously come up with all the assumptions normally made by very experienced Fiddlers?

Im not sure what celtic notation is but as far as the how is a new fiddler to learn.. id say how youre doing it.  I mean we pretty much have a version of any tune at our finger tips in a matter of seconds to listen to now with youtube.   Worst case we can look at a notated tune and play it like another weve heard thats the same type...jig/reel...whatever... you probably can get close once youve spent some time listening to that type of music.. fiddle music has always been aurally passed along as is said..so nothing wrong with that!  use sheet music as a guide, find a recording of it you like by someone to use as a template..and work on it..forever. lol.  

Avatar
ELCBK
USA
Members

Regulars
October 3, 2021 - 12:31 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 2814
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

 

 

YEAH! 🤣 

. . . f  o  r  e  v  e  r  !

Avatar
Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 4, 2021 - 1:32 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 15672
17sp_Permalink sp_Print
5

Reminds me of the first time I ever performed in front of an audience. My teacher and parents told me afterwards that I set a new world record for that performance. LOL
I was so nervous that I didn't think about anything except to get the job done and get off the stage.

When you play fast you should think about having minimal motion. As little movement as possible. With your bow arm, if you're bowing down and up, back and forth, you should use very little bow. With your left hand, don't lift the fingers too much.

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

Avatar
ELCBK
USA
Members

Regulars
October 4, 2021 - 3:46 pm
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 2814
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

@Fiddlerman -

Thanx! 

I've been keeping that in mind. 

I suppose that's something else I'll be working on... f  o  r  e  v  e  r. 😁 

 

Emoticon On A Grave Emoticons - Emily

Avatar
ABitRusty
Members

Regulars
October 4, 2021 - 8:09 pm
Member Since: February 10, 2019
Forum Posts: 1834
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
19sp_Permalink sp_Print
5

me and you both Emily.. it IS a good thing though

Avatar
Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 6, 2021 - 9:16 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 15672
20sp_Permalink sp_Print
5

@Emily, @ABitRusty - Does it help for you guys to think about it? I know it makes a huge difference for me.

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

Forum Timezone: America/New_York
Most Users Ever Online: 696
Currently Online: JohnG
Guest(s) 53
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)
Members Birthdays
sp_BirthdayIcon
Today Georganne, brewyet, Krootie, Bella86
Upcoming oceanwiser, PaganinisGhost, Viking Violinist, ptrckmcconn, Octopus.Violinus, xTIDx, cashierjim, FiddleDog, 1 Whiz Kid, Mouse
Top Posters:
Mad_Wed: 2849
ELCBK: 2812
Barry: 2680
Fiddlestix: 2647
Oliver: 2439
DanielB: 2379
damfino: 1992
Kevin M.: 1972
ABitRusty: 1834
cdennyb: 1815
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 3
Members: 27556
Moderators: 0
Admins: 7
Forum Stats:
Groups: 16
Forums: 77
Topics: 9248
Posts: 115463
Newest Members:
nfkjasfas, bethandmars, tmoreland, holstain12, radottb, RDP
Administrators: Fiddlerman: 15672, KindaScratchy: 1757, coolpinkone: 4180, BillyG: 3631, MrsFiddlerman: 2, Jimmie Bjorling: 0, Mouse: 3362