Thursday, September 13, 2007

Scottish fiddle practice

I've been swamped with work lately and have not been practicing (or writing) as much as I want to.

Yesterday, though, I worked at the string shop and had a few moments of downtime, so worked on my Scottish fiddle tunes from camp. I sort of learned these by ear at camp, and am now learning/memorizing them by referring to the sheet music. I brought them to my lesson this week, and my teacher noted the discrepancies between what I was playing and what was written in the sheet music. Some differences where those I had decided to make (that was the way I learned it at camp), and others I was completely oblivious of. In particular, there was a part where I felt I was rushing, and could find no way to slow down. My teacher noted that I was dropping an eighth note. Suddenly it made sense. I didn't add the note back in, but extended the previous note. [It's folk music, and, as I said to my teacher, it is my tune now. :-)] She suggested a bowing change, which was a great improvement. She recommended marking in all the bowings on the music, even though I don't use the sheet music when I play, just to clarify to myself what I am doing. Also very helpful.

There is much more I want to say about fiddling. I have had some good discussions with various people, including Seylan Baxter, a Scottish cellist who plays with harpist Cheyenne Brown. You can hear their music on their MySpace site. We've been talking about learning by ear, what octave to play in, and other interesting topics. More later, when I have a bit more time!

My brother and his wife are visiting, and I would like to wish my in-all-ways-beautiful sister-in-law Barbara a very Happy Birthday!


cellodonna said...

Looks to me like you've been pretty up-to-date on your writing. I also noticed that you changed something up on the top of your page, didn't you? (unless it's my imagination ... I have been on a lot of sites lately) Anyway, it looks good.

I like that idea of making a tune your own. Hey ... go for it!

Maricello said...

Hi Donna, Thanks. I added a photo of a cross-section three cellos from the shop at the top of my page. I was randomly taking photos in the shop, intending to use them for art inspiration.

TopChamp said...

I play in an early music group with a cellist. In our most recent concerts we used some Scottish tunes which she played on 'cello. They can sound beautiful. Written for fiddle she had to decide what key she liked them best in - I loved them. My favourite was called 'how can I be sad on my wedding day?' and ends with poignantly without resolution. It was said to have been played by the bellringer of St Giles' cathedral in Edinburgh on the day Scotland passed the Act of Resolution between England & Scotland.

Maricello said...

Hi Topchamp, Thanks for writing, and for the information on the Scottish tunes. I like your description of "How can I be sad...." and will look for it. I have only recently discovered Scottish fiddle/cello music and am having a great time exploring it. I have found some arrangements for fiddle and cello or other instruments, but it is good to try to arrange them yourself too.

Maricello said...

Hi again, Topchamp. I found this on this tune on the Internet: How Can I Be Sad On My Wedding Day?

Is this the tune your cellist played? I haven't tried it yet.