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Timothy Smith
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It would seem that some reels and jigs have some good technique lessons in them. Take these two for instance, they seem excellent for working on low string bow control and string crossings. 
I appreciate any advice on how to better play the low strings fast more cleanly. I'm tripping up here and there. It seems that generally more of my upper body needs to go into the lower strings. I need more pressure to get the sound in those ranges. Am I going about it correctly?

The song titles are
The titles are clickable links to the music. Take a shot at it and see what you think!
Timothy Smith
11 Responses
Posted: July 8, 2019
Last Comment: July 13, 2019
Replies

Mariana Aguirre
Posted: July 13, 2019
En mi opinión debes practicar más lento escuchando cada nota. Luego acelerar poco a poco siempre escuchando las notas

Vicky
Posted: July 12, 2019
As you learn fiddle tunes, it is important to remember fiddle tunes are dance tunes. 

Often times the bowings are done in a particular way to coordinate with the dancer's steps.  Other times the bowings and open string notes are set up to accentuate particular beats adding to the overall feel and pulse of the tune.  And other times the bowings are set up to facilitate the execution of specific ornaments that will be added to the tune once you learn the basic tune.

But pretty much all the time fiddle tunes are just fun to play  (-:
 

Timothy Smith
Posted: July 11, 2019
This discussion includes members-only video content

Dianne, Maybe this helps. A better description of how he does this. He tends to roll  his fingers over momentarily to get certain notes. I was covering two strings with one finger.

I haven't had the time to try his techniques, but I plan to investigate what He's doing more.

In thinking more about seeing my body move slightly side to side while his movements were strictly up and down with the bow. I would venture to guess that many who struggle with speed are unknowingly applying a circular motion to the frog end of the bow when playing fast. If you could see the bow in slow motion looking at the frog you might see a circle or maybe just a sloppy back and forth that roughly resembles a circle. Our arms want to push or pull because that's the way we are designed. I think maybe the trick is to refine that circle into a straight up/down motion. With me I think it's more push than pull. Imagine a merry-go-round with 5 kids on one side and none on the other side going around fast. That energy is transferred into my shoulder and seems to cause sloppy string crossings. The tendency to bring the elbow too high on the low strings also effects it.
Please feel free to disagree. To my thinking weight not efficiently distributed can throw off those minute movements necessary for clean fast playing.
Thoughts?

Lesley
Posted: July 11, 2019
Well, these are very exciting to discover... as I head off to a three-day fiddle camp! Going to give them a try now.

Dianne
Posted: July 10, 2019
I don't think I can play fiddle tunes because my left hand was killing me after an hour with this tune, trying to get those G string notes in tune with the 4th finger, while crossing over to the 1st finger on the D string. But it was good for me to discover I had that issue. Also, this tune is catchy, and has been in my mind taking over from the Vivaldi!

My observation on the video you posted is that the bow hold he is using might be giving a pinched sound. So much of our sound comes from the bow hand, so to instead hold the bow deeper into the hand with curved & flexible fingers can help the sound to resonate and not have to press with the bow. You then can draw or pull the sound out. I have a violin that will not allow pressing and it was quite a challenge to learn how to play on it. Also, I don't think I could keep up that bariolage-like string crossing he is doing on the Tam Lin- it looks exhausting. Also, if I feel brave enough, I would like to sight read some of these fiddle tunes, as they seem to trip me up.

Timothy Smith
Posted: July 10, 2019
Further info on Tam Lin if anyone is interested.


Timothy Smith
Posted: July 10, 2019
This discussion includes members-only video content

Can you hear the old man grumble at the beginning and the woman's reply? Hence the reason for the title, lol! One added advantage to using these kinds of tunes for some technique building is you can play them out if you know where to go.

Dianne, as for the speed. I'll post a video here. The contrast between this player and me as I see it is his body is moving more on an up/down plane when he plays the lower notes. My body in contrast has more side to side movement meaning I need to use more down/up wrist arm motion on those lower notes. He might be holding his violin a bit more downhill too, making the low string reach easier.

 This is hard to do with my setup unless I sacrifice some volume/tone in exchange for faster more accurate playing. It would appear his violin is a bit more responsive to pressure so he has the luxury of using less pressure. Whether that's a bow/rosin/tension issue I do not know. As a side note- I wanted to thank you for your explanation of  the "square" in that other thread. I looked more into that and I think I am also playing close on the "square". I let that thread go because I didn't want it to get too long and distract others here.Also thanks for the revised bow direction ideas!

I would agree with Elke, I am clearly struggling a bit more in the crossings  on Tam Lin. FWIW I used my heavier wood bow which isn't a very good one and seems to loose some focus over the CF bow. The main advantage being a louder tone using it because it's heavier. Should I blame the bow? It's probably mostly me.

Sonia, yes I enjoy the 4th fingerings on many of these but the tone also suffers in comparison to my E string. Sometimes it's a trade off. I would usually prefer the open E even if it requires more effort or is a more difficult move. Sometimes I am forced to use an alternate fingering and sometimes it seems the music actually calls for a more muted version of a note..though I think you were referring more to my lower string 4th alternate fingerings which aren't generally as overt. I have looked at those videos from Beth and they are helpful. Thank you for the reminder.

Sonia Lancaster
Posted: July 10, 2019
Hi Timothy,
It is easy for the bow hand to trip the left hand up on these fast pieces that switch strings a lot. Beth’s Practice course details how to learn the right hand first so that when you add the fingering back in, at least the right hand knows what it’s doing! You simply play the strings as written but no fingering. Start slowly and build up speed. Only when you can play this right should you slowly add the fingering back in. Don’t forget if you play 4th fingers rather than an open string, you will need to stay on the correct string according to your chosen fingering. Eg if you play 4th on G for your D, then when practising you’ll need to play the G string not the open D.

Sonia

Dianne
Posted: July 9, 2019
Also, Tim it sounds like you are playing it at ~184bpm/quarter note (am I calculating this right? That hardly seems possible!) whereas I play it at 120bpm/quarter!

Dianne
Posted: July 9, 2019
This Was A Workout
First, I want to say, this is harder than it looks! I played this this morning and intonation after a 4th finger raised the hand a little on the G string and it was hard to clean that up, but using a 4th finger there on those two notes made more sense to me than an open string. Also, the e naturals on the D string felt better to be played with a little air in them, or shorter. I also added in different bowings toward the end as these felt more natural to me. Seriously, bravo for getting such a workout on the G string. This really is a good etude for that, and the second part really lets the E string ring out for practice with getting good tone on the E string.


Elke Meier
Posted: July 9, 2019
Yes, these sure sound like good "etudes" for lower string practice - and fun to play. Just, I think you still have to practice them slowly to get the coordination between left hand and right arm right. "Finger first, then bow" is still a principle. To my ear that is a bigger problem than lack of weight into the string. If the finger has not stopped the note completely when the bow starts naturally the tone suffers also. It has this split second of the old note followed by unfocused tone while the new finger goes fully down.

Someone mentioned at some point a piece of information that I found very helpful - becuase it is something I am often culpable of: When I practice and notice an error, either unclean bowing or an intonation inconsistency, I start repeating this measure - until I get it right. Then I go on. That, this person said, is the biggest mistake you can make. Because you have already trained your brain 10 times how to get it wrong. This pattern is not reversed just by managing to play it right once. You need to repeat it the RIGHT way often enough to make the right way the pattern and replace the wrong pattern.