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Rue
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For the last 4 years I have spent a day at a local FiddleFest - because I like a bit of fiddle music...and because I really don't learn by ear - so it's a real challenge for me to be 'made' to do it...

 

Yesterday was my Fiddle day...and a beautiful day it was!  :wub:

 

I went with a friend this year (who also doesn't play by ear)...and we had a good time.  I picked up a new book of Waltz duets - and we played through some of those on a break (both of us momentarily back in our comfort zone with something printed on paper to work from  :ph34r:)...and I think my ear playing is getting marginally better!  I did find - and print off -  one fiddle tune when I came home -  and I did have it right...lol... :D

 

Now I need to get back to my classical music...I'm trying to work out the 2nd position (so frustrating for me) bits ( to speed) in my orchestral excerpts of Gershwin and Haydn...

 

ALL of which got me wondering...what is everyone else working on...what problems they're currently having/working on/overcoming...choices, etc.

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When I started out on fiddle, I was lucky to find a teacher who never wrote anything down.  I had to learn everything by ear, and he had a great method with a cassette recorder.  He would record the tune up to speed, then play it slow, and then we would record him playing a phrase and me trying to get each phrase (just getting it to the point where I made it through) and go through each part of the tune that way.  When I sat down with that tape later, hearing myself trying to play what he played, it really got into my head.  At the next lesson, we'd start the next tune, recording over the part where I struggled along phrase-by-phrase, and saving the fast/slow versions of the previous tune.  I wonder if you could find a fiddler who could do something similar for you on a few tunes.  After doing this a bunch of times, I was much better at learning tunes by ear.

 

Myself, I am working on getting a distinctive rhythmic effect Kevin Burke gets from up-bows on reels, which is surprisingly difficult, since it involves completely re-bowing tunes I have played for decades.  I'm also trying to get the super-light-and-sweet bowed "triplets" (everyone calls them bowed triplets, but they are two 32nd notes and a 16th) Martin Hayes uses by learning his version of  "Jenny's Welcome to Charlie."  And I am teaching myself the Bach E major Partita, playing around with how danceable I can make that awesome prelude.  That's today, anyway.

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The dance company just gave me the list of 60 or so dances we'll be doing this season so I'm getting those up to speed.

 

I've got a 4 hour solo gig next weekend and have a 100+ tunes set list I'm working through for that.

 

One of my favorite fiddlers is coming into town in October and I'm working on picking up a few more of her tunes for her visit.

 

I gotta go practice!!!

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I ran into a pretty good violinist and cellist and set to work organizing a summer concert.

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/14995534@N05/14698552303/

 

Our program:

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/14995534@N05/14688176051/

 

Also getting ready for Silverton Fall Colors Chamber Music Fest 2014

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/14995534@N05/14675025477/

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I've been practicing the fifth Bach Suite for 'cello.  One of the challenges I'm facing is that I've never memorized anything that's played scordatura.  With my top string tuned down a whole step, when my muscle memory fails, I can't depend on my musical memory to save me.  It has been fun and frustrating.  One of my practice solutions has been to write more bowing instructions into my part than I would usually.  Hopefully, while I'm thinking about my right hand, my left hand will absorb the fingering patterns.

 

I've also been practicing John Harbison's collection of short solo works, The Violist's Notebook.  These are excellent little pieces.  Each one requires a different set of characters.  It hasn't been hard practicing these at all; it's been a pleasure.

 

I rehearsed with an early music ensemble in town this week.  I'd never played with the group before.  So, I've been working on my early music performance practice, ornaments, bow strokes, transposing…

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Nice idea Rue! Rather rarely there are two amateur orchestras with pretty major concert events coming up in my area, and I've signed up to both!

 

One is the final performance next Sunday in commemoration of the 100 years since the start of WWI. We are playing a work written by  a local composer Paul Pavior, and while it is a great work (when it comes together) it is difficult, in an awkward, modern way. There is also a rather lovely little ditty by Elgar which should go down well.

 

The other is going to be fantastic. The performance is in September and we have a Wagner Overture, Mozart Trumpet Concerto in Eb (?), and Dvorak's 9th. While this program is significantly larger than the other, and the notes trepidously higher, it is much easier to play (and more enjoyable) than the other one.

 

 

I'm also writing various bits of fiddle music when the ideas come to me, which any fiddlers interested can just ask and I would be happy to send through the dots.

 

 

Aldavaloch, from the first book of Gow’s Complete Repository.  It’s a slow Strathspey, and very pretty.

 

http://imslp.org/wiki/Gow's_Repository_of_the_Dance_Music_of_Scotland_(Gow,_Niel)

 

This looks interesting! I'll have a play through and might take it to the next session night.

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I'm really enjoying reading about everything MNers are working on...which is a bit of everything! Very cool!  :)

 

Rue, Congrats and hat's off to you for learning to play by ear. Would love to hear that fiddle tune. I'm working on some Texas fiddle stuff when I'm able.

-em

 

Thank you!

 

The fiddle tunes are fairly easy (especially when you see them in print) to accommodate the ability of the fiddlers...but in the three "intermediate" sessions I attended we learned:

 

1. Dreamer's Waltz

2. Saut du Lapin (there are two versions...each with its own variations. ^_^ We learned a variation of this one:

 

http://abcnotation.com/tunePage?a=trillian.mit.edu/~jc/music/abc/Contra/KC/reel/SautDuLapin/0000

 

...and at the last session...since we were sidetracked and running out of time...a very basic tune 3. Glise de Sherbrooke.

 

I tried - several years ago - to attend an advanced session...but I'm just too slow to pick up the music...but if they provided sheet music I'd be fine there too.  However...if my goal is to relax and memorize I'll stick with the easier stuff...

 

I don't know what it is about memorization.  I can memorize if I really have to...and when I know a piece really well, I only use the sheet music as a guide and for the difficult sections...but if I don't have it at all?  Nada...can't play... :angry:

 

I have great respect for anyone who can play concertos (or an endless number of fiddle tunes) from memory...including all the talented 8 year olds out there... <_<

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I have the opposite problem... I don't read.  Yeah, I know what lines correspond to what notes, and can eventually figure out what it is, but that's like reading a book when you need to look up every word in the dictionary.  Painfully slow.

 

I was fortunate to have been living near Tom Sauber, a good fiddler, who taught by playing slowly and calling out the bow stroke direction as he played.  So you could record and follow along later, getting the bowing right.  And in oldtime fiddling, the bowing is everything.  So, by background is almost entirely learning by ear, although I have on occasion written out tunes and bowing for memory assistance.  I'm too lazy to do that any more, and now have the Amazing Slow Downer to help learn from recordings.

 

I seldom learn new tunes... maybe one every few years... but I am kindof working on "New Broom" from a recording of Lue Berline, Byron's dad.  Byron also recorded it, but his version is way too slick and smooth; I far prefer his dad's rougher, more rhythmic version, with all the genuine old time bowing features.

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There is no slower way to learn a fiddle tune than to learn it from notation.  I do it sometimes, something from O'Neill's that I think looks interesting, for example, but I have to teach it to myself by playing off the page enough times to get the thing in my head, and THEN I can finally learn how the tune goes, and THEN finally sort out how I'm going to bow it and whatnot.  I often have to stretch the process out a few days so that my brain can absorb it.  But I can learn a new tune in about 20 minutes from a good recording, if I've listened to the tune a bunch of times.  In fiddling, if you need the music, you don't know the tune, and you sure aren't fiddling.  

 

One such project that I mess with now and then, involving reading and trying-to-turn-it-into-fiddling (besides the Bach I mentioned above), is the 1st violin part from the finale from Mozart's Symphony #12 in G.  That thing is a reel!  I am doing a little surgery (especially to the section in G minor), so that it would be usable for dancing, but I am not decided on ornamentation and, of course, the bowing had to be significantly revised. 

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Yes...the viola is very different.  I've put mine away for the moment to focus on the bassoon (as my double)...

 

I have such a hard time with the C clef...and really none (in comparison) to learning the bass clef...can't figure out why...

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Yes...the viola is very different.  I've put mine away for the moment to focus on the bassoon (as my double)...

 

I have such a hard time with the C clef...and really none (in comparison) to learning the bass clef...can't figure out why...

 

Interestingly enough, viola sections in even the best of orchestra are very slightly behind while cellos don't seem to have a problem. It seems you quickest with what you learned first. :)

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Corelli's La Folia variations from his violin sonatas (Op.5 , No. 12), with occasional retreats back to "Danny Boy" or "Moon River" to lick my wounds  :lol: .  I like Corelli, not too easy, but not a major stretch for me (p.i.)   ;) .

 

I both read music and play by ear, and tend to use them to complement each other.  Once I've heard something, it's always easier.  IMHO, Easy ABC is a marvelous tool for furthering understanding, BTW.

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I farting around with Bach suite #4 and agonizing over #2.  And working on gorgeous the first movement of Benjamin Britten's 1st Suite for cello, but not excited about three of the nine movements so not sure if I will work up the whole thing. I thinking of Hindemith's Three Easy Pieces, but not likely I'll find a pianist here so I'm stuck with me. 

 

 I have ben interested in fiddle pieces for the cello, but I have not idea where to start. Does anyone know if cellists have any books for or fiddle tunes to learn by lear for cello? 

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Corelli's La Folia variations from his violin sonatas (Op.5 , No. 12), with occasional retreats back to "Danny Boy" or "Moon River" to lick my wounds  :lol: .  I like Corelli, not too easy, but not a major stretch for me (p.i.)   ;) .

 

I both read music and play by ear, and tend to use them to complement each other.  Once I've heard something, it's always easier.  IMHO, Easy ABC is a marvelous tool for furthering understanding, BTW.

You're like me!  Classical mixed with fiddle and folksy stuff! :D

 

It's funny about the ear training...my teacher has said (and we do some singing too) that if you can hear it in your head, or sing it, you can play it...

 

...and the fiddle instructor that I stalk :wub: for my annual sessions...he said exactly the same thing this year...he made all of us (and I think there were at least 20-30 of us in each session) sing the bits before we played them... ^_^

 

I think that's part of the problem for me...I never really connected the two with the classical music especially.  The Kreisler pieces I work on are easier than say, the Telemann (since they're more tuneful)...but I think perhaps in my case, the difficulty arises,  in part because there are no words to classical music?  I think it's easier with words available...but I dunno...(I don't always get the words right to a song either... :blink:)...

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Corelli's La Folia variations from his violin sonatas (Op.5 , No. 12), with occasional retreats back to "Danny Boy" or "Moon River" to lick my wounds  :lol: .  I like Corelli, not too easy, but not a major stretch for me (p.i.)   ;) .

 

I both read music and play by ear, and tend to use them to complement each other.  Once I've heard something, it's always easier.  IMHO, Easy ABC is a marvelous tool for furthering understanding, BTW.

 

You need more practice....

 

 

 

:lol:

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I farting around with Bach suite #4 and agonizing over #2.  And working on gorgeous the first movement of Benjamin Britten's 1st Suite for cello, but not excited about three of the nine movements so not sure if I will work up the whole thing. I thinking of Hindemith's Three Easy Pieces, but not likely I'll find a pianist here so I'm stuck with me. 

 

 I have ben interested in fiddle pieces for the cello, but I have not idea where to start. Does anyone know if cellists have any books for or fiddle tunes to learn by lear for cello? 

 

As you're agonizing… Steven Thomas, my colleague here at the University, told one of my students to think of that 2nd Suite Prelude as a sarabande.  I haven't been able to hear it the same way since then.

 

As for fiddling, have you heard Mark Summer's Julie-O?

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I farting around with Bach suite #4 and agonizing over #2.  And working on gorgeous the first movement of Benjamin Britten's 1st Suite for cello, but not excited about three of the nine movements so not sure if I will work up the whole thing. I thinking of Hindemith's Three Easy Pieces, but not likely I'll find a pianist here so I'm stuck with me. 

 

 I have ben interested in fiddle pieces for the cello, but I have not idea where to start. Does anyone know if cellists have any books for or fiddle tunes to learn by lear for cello? 

 

There's a fair amount of Nordic Folk Cello. Here are a few:

 

Rosenberg 7

Kirstine Sand

Skaran

Simon Simonssons Kvartett

Garmarna

The Norske Turdansar CDs also have cello on them

 

In the Celtic world, Natalie Haas has several excellent recordings. I'm not as familiar with Celtic (or other traditions') celloing.

 

Good luck! The cello is a *highly* underrated instrument for traditional music. If anyone has additional names, I'd love to hear them too...so I can hear them.

 

Cheers,

 

ALB

 

PS--Apocalyptica is not trad folk but cool stuff nonetheless

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In the Celtic world, Natalie Haas has several excellent recordings. I'm not as familiar with Celtic (or other traditions') celloing.

 

Scottish music has a long history of cello and violin.  Niel Gow and his brother Donald on cello, by David Allan, c. 1784.

 

ngs_ngs_pg_2126_large.jpg

 

... and it’s making a comeback.  Fraser/Haas, Pete Clark, and Bonnie Rideout have all recorded Violin and cello.  Pete Clark’s album Even Now was recorded on Niel Gow’s fiddle (see above), but sadly, he did not use Gow’s original scores.  Still a good album.  The track Niel Gow’s Lament for his Brother has a great cello solo.

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Scottish music has a long history of cello and violin.  Niel Gow and his brother Donald on cello, by David Allan, c. 1784.

 

ngs_ngs_pg_2126_large.jpg

 

... and it’s making a comeback.  Fraser/Haas, Pete Clark, and Bonnie Rideout have all recorded Violin and cello.  Pete Clark’s album Even Now was recorded on Niel Gow’s fiddle (see above), but sadly, he did not use Gow’s original scores.  Still a good album.  The track Niel Gow’s Lament for his Brother has a great cello solo.

 

Don't know Even Now but I'll get it on my list of albums-to-get. Any other albums you'd recommend?

 

Wasn't Mackintosh at Murthly also recorded on Gow's fiddle? I haven't given that a listen for a while. There's cello on that one too.

 

ALB

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Thanks, I looked up some of the groups you guys listed. I'll to hunt until I find something to latch onto. It also seems like some of the stuff I improvise on that I have made up myself. Putting chords together etc. 


 


The D minor suite, I've been working on it for a year, but I put it down because I don't have a teacher right now and I just felt I did not want to get caught in my own mannerisms. So I picked it back up and changed the fingerings, then saw how they work and put it back down. So it's in a state to work on with a teacher, or not, but I'm resting it while I work up something else. The Britten is overall too difficult, but some sections I can definitely play. All the double stopped canto movements are of interest now. They are like harmonized hymns with double stop harmonies. I've been playing the "melody" part of the double stop as a single line to see how it is shaped, Britten was a genius at creating a lush sound. A lot of it reminds me of double stops in good slow fiddling. 


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