Playing with expression

Playing with expression

Last night we learnt a harmony for Jennifer’s Jig, then spent some time working on playing with expression.

We played a long open A, and tried varying how we were playing the note. We played an  angry A, happy A, sad A, timid A etc. Then we tried playing a long A starting with one emotion and ending with another. We talked about why we want to play the fiddle – there were various different reasons in the class, but a sense of being able to focus so completely on it that you could forget about everything else was a theme that repeated.

We talked about finding ways to shift our approach to playing. We’re aiming to move away from it being a ‘thinking’ process, where we are concerned with the practicalities of where the bow is, what notes we are playing, getting the notes in the right order, and so on, and moving to a much more intuitive and fluid mental state, where we trust our bodies to do what is needed to play the music, and we allow ourselves to express something through the music we’re playing

Then we went back to the jig, and played it in different ways – it sounded strikingly different when we played it with different emotions.

We worked on our tuning for a while, with each person round the room playing one of the notes from the arpeggio of G. We played and listened carefully to the people either side of us, working on blending and tuning. Once the tuning had settled down, we all shifted one note further up the arpeggio, and repeated the exercise.

Playing with expression