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Fiddle Lessons: Loud and Soft Playing

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All right, let's talk about
some back up you know, playing, playing
back up to whatever else is going on.
Bluegrass music of course, is
a music that involves bands and band
members, and everybody's playing at once.
And everybody's fitting in to the overall
flow of the music.
And great ways.
You know, and a lot of times people have
very specific roles to play.
The fiddle usually is playing a lot of
melodies and busy stuff.
And, and stepping out of front.
And a lot of times it's playing backup.
It's like behind the lead instrument or
it's behind the vocal.
And fiddle has a unique role in that it's
the most.
Vocal like instrument we can play the long
We can sort of glue things together.
That means that we have kind of a big
responsibility to,
play, stuff that is, that fits you know
Because, people hear the fiddle so well.
It cuts through so well, and
if we're always playing with our big full
lead tone all the time.
It might get distracting.
It might.
Distract from what is supposed to be going
on in front.
So, there's a few little things that we
can do when we're playing back up to
change our tone a little bit, so that we
sound softer.
However that we don't quite come out as
We can play more and be more.
Less intrusive.
So let's try some things.
When I'm playing my lead tones, I'm
usually pretty close to the bridge.
Playing with some pressure, bow pressure.
Playing very, you know, strong.
playing that big sound that big bluegrass
fiddle sound.
Almost like a saxophone or something like
that, but
it's got the in, unmistakable sound of the
You know, if I was playing that way behind
somebody trying to sing it might get
a little unhappy and a, a singer might get
unhappy or just distracted.
And even if I backed away from the
microphone, it might still be too much.
So there are ways to change your tone.
We talked about this a little earlier.
I, what happens when we play.
A little slower bow, with a little lighter
close to the finger board, we get.
We get a beautiful.
Lovely soft sound compared to.
both of these have their place, but if
we're playing backup we might want to,
especially in the shorter tunes, the
slower tunes, we might.
bow pressure closer to the fingerboard
might make more sense.
There's also kind of a cool thing that you
could do where that the instrument, make
the instrument sound farther away even
though you're not really farther away.
If you listen to an instrument or somebody
15 or 20 feet away,
there are things that happen with the just
the sound of their voice.
The bass, the bottom frequencies tend to
drop away and
you just hear this sort of high, a sound
engineer would say the high and
mid frequencies, which are those
Which are the Ps, and Ts, and Ks that sort
of [SOUND] you know,
that kind of thing where you get, where it
sounds like
something's on a little tiny speaker, like
your cellphone.
That's the sound of the mid range
We can kind of duplicate that, make the
sound of the instrument farther away by.
Bringing the bow closer to the bridge, and
playing lightly.
So, it'll be something like this.
As opposed to.
We get all that bass.
But if, if you bring it a little closer to
the bridge.
that also can be very useful when you're
just kind of cutting away some of those
powerful bass frequencies, making it sound
like it's a little bit more far away.
And that way we can in on the mike and get
a lot of detail in our playing, and
still make it sound not like we're trying
to step all over the singer.
So, we've got a soft sound here, and a
soft sound up here.
With a light bow pressure.
And slow bow.
So I encourage you to experiment with
those alternate tones for
when you're backing up.
Or maybe just different kinds of tunes,
that you might be writing or
thinking about.