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Bardan's Achievements

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  1. Was it? Fair enough. So many things seem to get attributed to him, but then he was very prolific, and at least some of his tunes might have been re-workings of older tunes and so-on. I'm just never sure exactly what is his or not. Anyway, it's the classic choice for weddings, but there are lots of other tunes like planxty irwin or fanny power or ealenor plunkett that often get played. And lots more besides that get neglected but would fit nicely like maybe O'Carolans draught or his dream.
  2. Chiming in based on the Scottish airs. A lot of people in Ireland play O'Carolan tunes at weddings. Especially Tamhair dom do lamh (give me your hand). There's never any harm in a nice waltz too.
  3. It's me again! It doesn't get quite as wild as the baroque guys did, but maybe the best way to think of it is a bit like the follia/follies d'Espaigne/whatever you want to call it. Like that's a fantastically easy tune to play. It's what, dd, dc#c#, c#dd, dee, eff, fee, edd, dc#c# (or whatever key you want to put it in.) Real suzuki book 1 territory. But have a look at I dunno farronel's version, or corelli's version, or vivaldi's, or marais'. Now that's rather more developed than anyone normally goes with a trad tune, but it's a similar principle. You keep playing the tune, and it should stay obviously recognisable to anyone listening, and you mess around with it in different ways each time it comes around. It's not the tune, it's what you do with it.
  4. While there are probably a few more technically demanding pieces out there, most authentic tunes aren't that complex. This is easy music to start playing. It's designed to be pretty user friendly so anyone who can play a bit can potentially join in. (And yes, maybe keep on playing after a few pints.) So what do people who have got good do? They don't go looking for "more advanced" tunes because they, by and large, don't exist. Instead they embellish. They ornament. They move the ornaments around. They play variations, both pre-planned and off the cuff. The secret to this music, for those who have been playing for a while, is that tunes can be as "advanced" as you want to make them. I would recommend you sit down with a nice tune or a set and work out what the musicians are doing in terms of variations and ornaments and either emulate them or use it as a jumping off point for your own version or arrangement. Maybe something like this:
  5. But how does it sound? There's a few recordings of Julia Clifford on her Stroh fiddle around.
  6. From a fiddler's perspective, (although I'm certainly not claiming to speak for everyone), having a good fingerboard surface is definitely important. I know plenty of fiddlers who have got their fingerboards redressed or scooped out a bit better. Depending on the style and the individual fiddler, this might not be so important further up. I barely ever leave first position when I'm playing Irish trad, and if I do it's to go up to second or third position, not fifth or sixth or god knows where up near the chalky end. I know there are plenty of fiddlers in other styles who spend half their time up there though, so it depends what you mean by a fiddler. In terms of decoration, again speaking for the Irish trad musicians I've known, as often as not they play on fairly bog standard fiddles. With "normal" purfling and mother of pearl inlay only in their bows where everyone else has it. I would see maybe a little bit more openness or less conservatism, but I wouldn't expect most fiddlers to reject a fiddle because it's too plain. Rather they won't necessarily reject a fiddle because it's a bit different. Especially if it sounds good. Once again, this is my perspective based on time spent in Irish trad circles. Maybe Norwegian trad aficionados have a different perspective, given how fancy some hardjanger fiddles I've seen are.
  7. presumably the stamp he was talking about.
  8. Breaking a major habit like this is hard, but eminently doable. Chances are you've long since adopted this position as an unconscious thing. So you have to go all the way back to being conscious of your wrist. Slow everything down and try to stay conscious of where your wrist is all the time. It will be really awkward. It changes the feel of holding and fingering and all sorts of things. As Evan said, avoid tension like the plague. It's bad for the sound and bad for the musician. You have to capture that feeling of a loose back, loose shoulder, loose arm, loose wrist, loose fingers. Focus on it and stay there. Eventually it will start to feel natural and even eventually become sort of instinctive. Then you can go back to worrying about tone or intonation, or whatever else needs to be adjusted. Most of us are always working on something! If your wrist position is getting in the way of vibrato, you could try and use more vibrato, to remind yourself to straighten it. Also, some people adopt a bent wrist because they're somehow nervous about dropping the violin. So remind yourself how easy it is to keep it where you want. If you use a shoulder rest, just the weight of your head on the chinrest should be enough to keep it there. No squeezing! Just relax your neck and let your chin rest on the chinrest. There's a reason it's not called the chingrip! Even without a shoulder rest, a very loose grip on the neck and a little bit of support from the thumb is enough. I once heard someone saying they were told not to hold or grip the violin, but just to stand under it. It was sitting on the table, and now its sitting on their shoulder and their thumb. It's a useful image I think. Even if its not 100% true. But overall, that's it. Stay conscious, stay relaxed and play slow simple stuff until the position feels natural. Then go back to more complicated stuff once the right habit is ingrained, but try to stay conscious of the wrist position. Use shifting and vibrato to point it out to yourself. If you are slipping back into your old habits. Go back a step. Eventually you'll retrain yourself. It's a long slow process. But you can do it! I've corrected bowing habits and I've removed tension in my back. You just stay conscious, stay relaxed, and work on it.
  9. So it's a fake French one? I've been wandering through threads trying to get an idea of how you can tell, and then when I finally get some certainty, my bubble is burst!
  10. I was taught to slide my fingers up. So the pattern would be 0-1-1-2-2-3-4-0-1-1-2-2-3-4-0-1-1-2-2-3-4-0-1-1-2 from open G to G on the E string for example. Thats all in first position of course.
  11. The obvious cause of things feeling very "grippy" would be lots of rosin. The solution is usually just to keep playing until enough of it comes off to make a smoother sound. Other related factors could come in: dark rosin can get kind of sticky in very hot weather for example. Some bow hair is more grippy than other hair too. But if you're using the same bow, and you've tried with lots of rosin and with less, we could look at other factors. How tight or slack the hair is can change the feel quite a lot. I try to tighten my bow to a fairly consistent point. Also the contact point can change how much pressure you need to produce a good sound. If you're bowing closer to the bridge you need to press a bit harder, and the sound may be a little bit rougher. If you bow closer to the fingerboard you can use less pressure and the sound is smoother. Like with the hair tension of the bow, I think consistency is key here. Try to keep the contact point right between the bridge and the fingerboard. Right in the middle. Later on you can start deliberately bowing in different places to get different effects, but first you need to learn to put the contact point in a consistent spot and develop the technique to get a good sound.
  12. Been there. "My voice isn't great today, so let's do it in C# instead of D."
  13. Well there's a few clips of this fella floating around. I don't know how good his opinions were, but I think he's pretty interesting. Then there's John Mangun, for a more modern approach.
  14. It's something people do in Irish trad often enough. More usual is to tune up a semitone, but people sometimes tune down to C# as well. Baroque musicians often play somewhere around there too. A = 415 I think? As opposed to 440. It'll give you a slightly warmer, mellower sound. I've recorded up a semitone before, and it's nice and easy once the fiddle adjusts. Gives you maybe a hair more brightness and response, but overall it's still you playing your fiddle. There's no big changes. Obviously if you're constantly tuning up and then tuning back down for another track there's a chance your fiddle will eventually rebel, and you'll shorten the life of the strings anyway.
  15. I thought JTL's symbol was a lyre? To my very amateurish eyes, it doesn't look French.
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