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  #16  
Old 04-02-2024, 01:50 PM
Skarsaune Skarsaune is offline
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I'm a long-time fiddler and recently took up Trad Norwegian fiddling - posting my own learning progress. Feel free to post yours! https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/g...hp?groupid=109
Snakker du Norsk?

I don't but that's where my Dad was from and I still have a bunch of family there.

Kinda fascinated with hardanger fiddles and swedish nyckelharpas, but my attempts at bowed instruments haven't been very successful.
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  #17  
Old 04-02-2024, 03:42 PM
catt catt is offline
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Snakker du Norsk?

I don't but that's where my Dad was from and I still have a bunch of family there.

Kinda fascinated with hardanger fiddles and swedish nyckelharpas, but my attempts at bowed instruments haven't been very successful.
I do not, unfortunately Some years ago I played trad Norsk with a fellow who spoke, whose father also emigrated.

You could get a nyckelharpa-type sound without the bow with a hurdy-gurdy; turning the crank is easier to get the hang of than bowing - though you may be more inclined to French than Swedish music with a gurdy. I had one for a while - i like medieval music.
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  #18  
Old 04-03-2024, 06:55 AM
Skarsaune Skarsaune is offline
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You could get a nyckelharpa-type sound without the bow with a hurdy-gurdy; turning the crank is easier to get the hang of than bowing - though you may be more inclined to French than Swedish music with a gurdy. I had one for a while - i like medieval music.
A local-ish guy has had a nyckelharpa for sale on Marketplace for a while. I like your hurdy-gurdy idea too.

More instruments, more better.
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  #19  
Old 04-03-2024, 03:11 PM
zuzu zuzu is offline
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The past few days have been interesting. I decided to start again by ignoring my left hand and just concentrating on pulling the bow across the strings evenly and with timing, left hand supporting the violin in playing position, but not fingering. As elementary an exercise as can be done really. By concentrating strictly on my body form, violin position, and bow angle, not my fingers, I began to notice something that I thought I left behind long ago; I can't hold the **** thing still. When I noticed that, I went to the mirror to observe and, sure enough, the violin is constantly sliding toward my neck hand, trying to escape my chin and shoulder, and gets worse as soon as I begin fingering notes on the neck. I have a very nice, and not inexpensive, shoulder rest, the fourth one I've tried, which can be custom shaped to conform to your own shape, and quite a nice chin guard as well. I thought these things, and tips from my violinist daughter, had cured the "squirmy fiddle" thing I had going in the beginning a couple of decades ago. Evidently not, even though my body form isn't bad and I maintain a good angle with the instrument, not pointing it at the floor.

I do believe it is time to belay the routines I have used to learn this instrument thus far and try a wholly different approach. I am currently looking into the "chest hold", "arm hold", styles I've seen the old-time players do and may well abandon the classic hold altogether. I will never play the thing fluidly if I can't keep it in position. While a new position might be a sidetrack, it also could be a help, I won't know until I try it awhile. Thanks to all!
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  #20  
Old 04-03-2024, 05:14 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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You should be able to completely support the violin between your chin and shoulder. You should be able to drop your left hand and everything stays right where it is. When in playing position your left wrist should be straight. If you're bending your wrist backward so the palm is touching the violin neck it makes fluent fingering very awkward and can cause the violin to sag forward.

Lots of great fiddlers use non-standard technique, including how they hold the fiddle. In the vast world of playing violin/fiddle, they are the exceptions. Let's be honest - most of us are not exceptional. I strongly recommend learning the correct way first, barring some kind of physical deformity.

This requires the correct shoulder pad and chinrest. There are several styles of each. It will depend on your physiology.

I prefer the Poehland violin/viola shoulder pad and a low profile Dresden style chin rest.

IMO you should seek out regular in-person lessons with a good teacher vs trying to come up with your own unorthodox method. That's a good way to cause injury and limit any potential progress. I've been playing classical violin and viola and bluegrass fiddle for several decades.
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Last edited by Mandobart; 04-03-2024 at 05:24 PM.
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  #21  
Old 04-04-2024, 07:14 AM
Charlie Bernstein Charlie Bernstein is offline
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I am embarking upon my 4th or 5th attempt at learning to play the fiddle in the past 20 years. I have spent more time on the basics of it than on any instrument I can play, but competence eludes me. Which, of course, wounds my confidence.

Any encouraging stories of some similar musical challenge being finally overcome with grit and determination would be appreciated.
Not musical, but I went through it with Gravity's Rainbow.

I love Thomas Pynchon, but I couldn't get more than fifty pages into Gravity's until my sixth try. All the banana recipes were a bit overwhelming. But I finally cracked it, and the book turned out to be a wild ride. I was glad I'd kept pounding on the door. And I'll bet you'll be glad if you keep pounding on the fiddle.

Then there's this: Robert the Bruce and the spider

If it worked for Robert and the spider, it can work for you!

Last edited by Charlie Bernstein; 04-04-2024 at 08:18 AM.
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  #22  
Old 04-04-2024, 08:57 AM
zuzu zuzu is offline
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That's a great story Charlie! And sorry, Mandobart, I attached a length of paracord around the neck block and endpin of my fiddle last evening and hung it around my neck, achieving a vague approximation of the playing position of my ukulele. Bowing in this position is...interesting...but it is quite comfortable, balanced, and stable, no small feat with an instrument which is, frankly, an ergonomic nightmare. I'm going to stick here awhile I think, and give it a go, but am sincerely thankful for your advice and experience, and especially for your willingness to share it!
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  #23  
Old 04-04-2024, 10:40 AM
catt catt is offline
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The "classical" violin position, with instrument high on the shoulder held under chin, is but one method of skinning the gato. While it's how we start children on violin, an older adult interested in fiddling is free to adapt ergonomics to suit them: If playing mostly in first position - Irish and old time tunes, trad Norsk, etc - folks have played in more relaxed positions for hundreds of years. This alleviates the supination of the fingering hand and stress on shoulder/arm. Collapsing of the wrist is also ok if that style gets it done for the music you wish to play.

I began playing in this position when i started on hardingfele, as it's been done for generations.

*btw it's the same with guitar: if a student wishes to learn "classical," i teach classical. If we're learning steel-string guitar, then it's a completely different ergonomic approach.

Last edited by catt; 04-04-2024 at 10:32 PM.
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