It’s raining. After a hot dry week the rain is sooooo welcome! And the motorbike brought me home without getting wet
Riding the bike is very like playing the fiddle. Just as you don’t ride a bike by steering the handlebars, you don’t play the fiddle by [merely] drawing the bow across the strings. In both cases you use your whole body. It is a question of balance and rhythm – and that is as much a function of your toes as your arms.
The celtic music folk festival at Majors Creek near Braidwood – a name that combines textile with timber – really delineated those fiddle players who were folkies from those who were classicaly trained violinists playing folk music. It is a question of feel. One violinist – a very fine musician – had a lovely tone, but seemed to be making hard work of the tunes. I suggested that this person walk while playing. Walk? Where? Anywhere! – even on the spot if you need to read the music dots! The music needs to flow from the way the whole body moves and feels the music.
Jigs – dancey pieces with six beats to the bar (or sometimes nine or twelve) – the best way to play those is to play the first two notes of the bar with a down-bow, and the next one up-bow – two down, one up and continue like this throughout the tune – this will guarantee (depending on decorations etc) that you will have a slightly stronger sound on the first beat in every bar – and the whole tune will have a dancey feel to it.
Reels – God they can sound boring if you keep it all even stresses – I treat them like polkas – yeah really! play the notes in pairs – two for each direction of the bow, and play them with a jaunty bounce – a kind of dah de dah de dah, rather than a dededede – and straight away they will have more life in them.
It was a great weekend – perfect weather, great sessions, and great Guinness!
Highlights were bands like “Mothers of Intention”, “Toe sucking Cowgirls” – nice harmonies in both – good arrangements in the first one. The fiddle workshop with Jane Brownlee was a real highlight, and the session later on Saturday night was awesome!
Jerry (with the 8-string hardingfele/hardangar fiddle)