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Irish fiddle tunes - bowing ?
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Michelle.Lea
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November 27, 2018 - 5:11 pm
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hey guys!  i'm finally getting back to practicing, and picked up a small course on udemy for irish fiddling.  they have a few tunes in to learn, but the sheet music doesn't tell me whether i start on up or down bow, or when to switch etc

should i just be experimenting with what sounds the best and feels 'logical' while i'm playing?!   my first instinct is to slur 3 notes at a time (the timing is 6/8)

edited:  i decided to scroll through the further lessons, and he goes over bowing later, after the notes?!  

but the instinct question stands,  do most of you just see how it 'feels'?  

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1stimestar
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December 2, 2018 - 3:09 pm
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I just see how it feels.  If you watch a few Irish fiddle tunes, you can get the feel of it a bit more. 

 

Opportunity is often missed because it wears suspenders and looks like hard work.

 

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wtw
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December 3, 2018 - 1:48 am
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Same here, I see how it feels, it's more or less improvised.

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damfino
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December 3, 2018 - 11:00 am
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There are some common bowing patterns, but in the end it is what feels right, you don't want to feel like you are bowing backwards. For me, the book "The Complete Irish Fiddle Player" by Peter Cooper was a huge help in learning the common patterns.

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Pat
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December 3, 2018 - 6:30 pm
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As I've been learning it, typically the first note of the measure is a down bow, but when you get a mix of note types you'll have to slur some to keep the down bow pattern. However, when you get into standard Irish bowing (I agree with Damfino's recommendation of Cooper's book) the down bow at the start of a measure may not apply when slurring across bar lines or when throwing in grace notes, triplets, etc., so don't get too hung up on it. I spend quite some time working through the bowing in a tune and then play it that way every time. If I don't, I'll get lost with what I'm trying to do and everything suffers. And watch that you don't bow it differently when playing slow to learn it than you would playing at tempo. Happens to me. Maybe one day I'll be good enough to vary as I play, but that day is yet to come.

So basically, find what works for you and fiddle on!

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mookje
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December 3, 2018 - 10:50 pm
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For me it’s also the feeling and where do you want a beat or a off-beat. A same tune can be played different. 

 Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about dancing in the rain!!

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Mark
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December 5, 2018 - 6:54 am
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These might be of interest.

MarkRhythm-bowing-patterns.jpgImage Enlarger 

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Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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Andrew Shumway
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December 5, 2018 - 12:37 pm
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This is interesting and maybe it is part of a bigger issue.

I've got some ABRSM books for practising and they contain the occasional "groovy" piece, such as Glenn Miller. Now, I remember how bad Menuhin was at imitating Grappelli, and I belong to a uke group where we do some Western Swing.

I've decided to avoid the groovy numbers in my formal violin playing and play them only with a different hat on. One of the skills is automatic use of the shuffle rhythm (i.e. triplets), and also stressing the 2nd and 4th beats of the bar instead of the 1st and third. There's also the matter of syncopation. And I wonder if all this requires special bowing technique to aid the feel. Applying classical bowing technique may have been one of Menuhin's shortcomings.

Or maybe this is all speculative nonsense, and I'll find out when I'm not just all talk.

I always wanted to be a juvenile delinquent but my parents wouldn't let me.

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BillyG
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December 5, 2018 - 1:03 pm
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@andrew fryer - https://www.blogs.hss.ed.ac.uk/revival-fiddle/2014/06/03/mr-menuhins-delight-edinburgh-1985/

and - 

I *vaguely* recall seeing a TV program with Menuhin and - possibly, just possibly, Aly Bain ( if not him, then for sure a hugely well known Scottish fiddler ) - trying - and I mean trying - to get into the touch and feel of the traditional playing - he ( Menuhin ) took it all in good fun !

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

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

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Andrew Shumway
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December 5, 2018 - 1:09 pm
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That's a very nice video. I'm fascinated by his chin and cheek placement relative to his fiddle and that "chin"rest. It would be fun to post that video to all those threads about people not finding their chinrest comfortable, lol!

I always wanted to be a juvenile delinquent but my parents wouldn't let me.

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BillyG
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December 5, 2018 - 2:18 pm
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LOL, indeed @andrew fryer - in fact - and this will probably alter over time - I currently prefer the center-mounted chinrest style - and currently play without a shoulder-rest.  The transition to no-shoulder-rest is making me think again about returning to a side-mounted chin-rest....  I can readily experiment with that.   Down side is that, at the moment, what vibrato I CAN manage is further limited by the fiddle wanting to take-flight from under my shoulder on anything other than a narrow hand/finger vib - but I love the freedom that playing without the shoulder rest brings...  It's all a journey of discovery I guess !

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

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

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Andrew Shumway
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December 5, 2018 - 2:26 pm
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I started with no shoulder rest and a high Teka chinrest.

My teacher said I needed a shoulder rest, so I bought one (Hidersine), but the Teka is too high, so I've got a low Guarneri with Hill mounts on order. And that will have to do!

I always wanted to be a juvenile delinquent but my parents wouldn't let me.

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wtw
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December 5, 2018 - 3:34 pm
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Got no shoulder rest (from the start), I do have one but find it very uncomfortable, can't move like I want to… maybe a matter of habit. That, plus anatomy. I've never experimented with chin rests.

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Al Cramer
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December 5, 2018 - 8:51 pm
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I'm in New England, where the style is basically a mashup of Scottish, Irish, and French traditions.  Over the years I've tried to make my Irish tunes a little more Irish (whatever that means). On reels, you jhave to slur notes on the up bow. That's actually a pretty simple thing to learn. Slur across measure breaks and string crossings, put your down bows on the 2's and 4's and you'll instantly sound a lot more like Kevin Burke than Yehudi.

Jigs are harder. For me they're are all about the rolls, and when 3  8 notes turn a dotted quarter note followed by a short note. I think the bowing on jigs is mainly dictated by these rhythmic variations.

Actually that would be true of reels as well, as regard  rolls. Here's a suggestion. If you want to quickly sound Irish: 1. learn the rolls and cuts; 2. tie notes together on the up bow. 

Good luck!

 

Al

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Andrew Shumway
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December 6, 2018 - 4:07 am
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Ugh, last night my Teka started to feel comfortable. Never mind, I've started a collection!

I always wanted to be a juvenile delinquent but my parents wouldn't let me.

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Demoiselle
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December 6, 2018 - 4:37 pm
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Al Cramer said
I'm in New England, where the style is basically a mashup of Scottish, Irish, and French traditions................    Jigs are harder. For me they're are all about the rolls, and when 3  8 notes turn a dotted quarter note followed by a short note. I think the bowing on jigs is mainly dictated by these rhythmic variations. ..............

  

See, I avoid Gigues in improvised baroque music. Three and a half years after having started on the violin I'm doing much better. It was a painful struggle until May 2017 (for 24 months) but in the meantime I gained some ease. Nonetheless I still avoid dotted eights like the devil holy water. Because those dotted eights would only spoil that ease. Actually those dotted notes aren't eights, but fast triples which are partly tied. So I have to be able to improvise phrases in fast untied triples to easily manage dotted eights. It has to wait. Maybe for a year or two.....

My violin is a 3/4 violin, made for right-handed players, though I play it left-handed. As I felt she was the best in the shop of all 3/4 violins I tried and the luthier agreed. I prefer Obligato strings together with Eudoxa E string.

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