Fiddle technique recap

Fiddle technique recap

Tonight we had a fiddle technique recap, going over various aspects of technique that we’ve worked on during the term. We played through all the tunes we have learnt in the class since September, and reminded ourselves of some of the things we worked on when we first learnt them.

Roxburgh Castle (reel)

We went over some of the things we can do to help us to be able to play reels faster:

  • Use short bow strokes.
  • Think about bowing patterns.
  • Keep our bow close to the strings when we’re crossing from one string to another – minimise the vertical movement in the tip of the bow.
  • Use a circular wrist action to help with crossing from one string to another.
  • keep our fingers close to the strings when we lift them off.
  • Keep fingers on the strings where possible, if we’re coming back to the same note.

We tried playing the tune without looking at our fingers, to help with playing more from our subconscious.

Ramnee Ceilidh (reel)

We went over the second part of the tune again, and worked on the syncopated rhythm.

I See Mull (slow air)

We’ve been working on different aspects of  fiddle technique to help create a good tone on the fiddle:

  • Keep the right hand thumb bent and relaxed. It’s important not to let tension creep into the bowing arm.
  • Use the thumb as a pivot, and add a little pressure on the pinkie. This takes a bit of the weight of the bow off the fiddle. It’s  especially helpful when we’re playing on the e string.
  • Use pressure on the bow with the first finger to ‘dig in’ to a note.
  • Keep the bow perpendicular to the strings throughout the bow stroke.
  • Keep the bow close to the bridge.
  • When lifting the bow, bring it back down onto the strings close to the heel of the bow. Get the bow moving in a down bow direction before it actually hits the string.

We played through the tune, and then played it down an octave.

Danse des Petit Filles – Dance of the Little Girls (waltz)

We played the tune, and some of us played through the harmony. We broke into pairs and practiced playing single long down bows, lifting the bow between notes, while our partner checked if our bows were perpendicular to the strings.

At the end of the night we played through some of our tunes together

We started off with Fionn’s (a tune from last term) and then played The Aird Ranters, The Devil in the Kitchen, Brenda Stubberts, and Jenny Dang the Weaver.

Next week is the last week of term. Anne seems to want chocolate cake for some reason! 😉

Fiddlers playing together
Photo ©Ros Gasson