Another forum I was reading had a post that said good tone isn't all that important in Irish traditional fiddling and I am wondering what the fiddlers here think about that statement.  The poster said that since Irish trad "is dance music as is Old Time American music" that tone just didn't matter all that much as compared to rhythm.  I disagree but am looking for others' thoughts on this idea.

Thanks.

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I agree a million times over! 

Michael McCollum said:

I’m a aspiring fiddler, and I’m hoping to develop a wonderful tone, but if I had a choice between listening to a classical violinist with great tone and impeccable intonation who was murdering the music with a lack of feel or a scratchy fiddler with less than perfect intonation who had great lift and pulse I have no doubt I would tire of the first rather quickly and enjoy the latter immensely. No doubt about it whatsoever.

In the light of the last post, what does everyone think of this? It's Mr Neilidh Boyle playing his own composition, "The Moving Cloud". The importance (or not) of tone is crucial in this clip, and to the discussion in general, I think.

 

http://joefago.com/Neilidh%20Boyle_The_Moving_Cloud.mp3

 

Jim 

Well, I'd rather this piece had a less shrill, thin tone but I was assuming the problem might be the recording itself rather than the player.  Actually, it's also too fast for my taste.  But at my level I probably shouldn't be finding fault with anyone's playing.

Well, the recording is quite poor. The volume of the playing exceeds the 'safe' recording level of the machine, and that's why the sound is distorted from beginning to end.

Having said that, you can still hear the bow direction changes clearly, which suggests that the recorder was quite close to the source.The tempo at the beginning is fairly normal, but he speeds up a lot in a few minutes, which would call into question the importance of good timing, too.

I think the overall recording covers a multitude of sins.

To you, Mary Margaret : no matter what you think your level is, it's worth remembering that no one, but no one, is above criticism. So, please continue to speak your thoughts freely :)

Jim
 
Mary Margaret said:

Well, I'd rather this piece had a less shrill, thin tone but I was assuming the problem might be the recording itself rather than the player.  Actually, it's also too fast for my taste.  But at my level I probably shouldn't be finding fault with anyone's playing.

I think the fiddling in that clip was tremendous! Thanks for sharing.

I'm not a fan to be honest, don't like the style much. And now I have someone to blame for writing that tune haha. But then again, I think airs sound good on uilleann pipes, so what would I know ;-)

HA - thanks for the reminder, Jim.  But setting aside considerations of "tone" I couldn't find a melody in the tune - I heard lots of notes but failed to hear rhythm.  I suppose that was a timing issue.  

At the moment, I am listening a lot to Mick O'Brien & Caoimhin O'Raghallaigh's CD "Kitty Lie Over" and loving it.



Jim Dorans (Worldfiddler) said:

Well, the recording is quite poor. The volume of the playing exceeds the 'safe' recording level of the machine, and that's why the sound is distorted from beginning to end.

Having said that, you can still hear the bow direction changes clearly, which suggests that the recorder was quite close to the source.The tempo at the beginning is fairly normal, but he speeds up a lot in a few minutes, which would call into question the importance of good timing, too.

I think the overall recording covers a multitude of sins.

To you, Mary Margaret : no matter what you think your level is, it's worth remembering that no one, but no one, is above criticism. So, please continue to speak your thoughts freely :)

Jim
 
Mary Margaret said:

Well, I'd rather this piece had a less shrill, thin tone but I was assuming the problem might be the recording itself rather than the player.  Actually, it's also too fast for my taste.  But at my level I probably shouldn't be finding fault with anyone's playing.

I'd say it's subjective. I don't think tere's a definitive answers. If all the fiddlers players were just the same it would be boring.. in general tone is important but I like and enjoy the difference between players, also in terms of tone. And, as well, the definition itself of 'good' tone is subjective.. I personally use steel strings because I like the bright, a bit 'gritty' tone, it suits better my taste and style, but it wouldn't work for others with different styles and tastes! What is a good tone for me is not for others... and I like that.

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