Monday, January 29, 2007

Improvisational cello fiddling

I have been trying to learn to play fiddle music on the cello by learning tunes on the fiddle, writing them down, transposing them to cello, and then learning them on cello. A very convoluted route, and I don't play either instrument fast or accurately enough to keep up with others in fiddle sessions, except on very easy or slow tunes. Sometimes I tried to work out accompaiment based on guitar chords, but I am not really good at this in the midst of a session. I need to find the time to practice this and to find a fiddler who is willing to work with me, slowly, on this.

Last session, I decided on another route: not trying to play the melody, but improvising a cello baseline, not worrying so much about the chords, but trying to find notes that fit. Sometimes I played little snippets of the tune; sometimes I played long notes; sometimes I tried some pizz. or rhythmic variations. I played an improvisational solo for one tune that I did not know. It felt good.

I am lucky that the fiddlers I play with are so supportive. They like the the cello and think it adds something to the music. It is certainly better than my fiddle playing!

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