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Old 01-12-2012, 05:29 AM
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Somegeezer Somegeezer is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Leeds, UK
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Originally Posted by hyperskeptic View Post
I hope the violinists won't throw things at me, but I play fiddle.

(In truth, though, I still tend to refer to myself as "a recovering violinist" rather than as a "fiddler".)

The story is that I played fiddle back in school, from age 9 until age 18. I was pretty good, but really not conservatory material. When I went of to college, I threw myself into my studies, and set my violin aside.

In grad school, I started contra dancing. If you don't know what it is, it may be worth your while to find out. My wife and I, who got to know each other on the dance floor, stopped dancing during the early child-rearing years, but started again about six years ago.

About a year after that - five years ago this very month - I pulled out my violin, called it a fiddle, and started learning dance tunes. I now play for contra dances on a regular basis, in two different bands.

Even though I currently live in the American South (in the Piedmont), I don't play a lot of old time music (that is, the traditional music of Southern Appalachia). Contra dance started in New England, and New England tunes suit it best . . . though Quebecois and Celtic tunes work, too. There's also a growing repertoire of new tunes in traditional (and less-traditional) styles, written specifically for contra dance.

I can read music, but I generally do that only long enough to learn the tune; then, I set the music aside and just play. I can also learn by ear . . . sometimes on the fly. I also aspire to improvise more freely . . . something that's developing only slowly. I think I've given up on my dream of playing like Stuff Smith, though.

I've taken up mandolin very recently, mostly just in order to learn chords. It's part of my recovery program, you see . . .

I've also recently acquired a (really) cheap (but pretty good) electric fiddle - it's blue! - mostly so I can practice quietly at night, using headphones. One of these days, though, I'm going to get a small amp and some effects pedals . . . and my journey to the dark side will be complete.

P.S. If you want to see what modern urban contra dance looks like, check this out. I'm in the background of this video, but not in the band . . . I'm not nearly this good. The band is an amazing duo who combine traditional music with electronica, especially live looping; nothing in the music you hear is pre-recorded or sampled. The tune is actually a contemporary tune called "The Flying Tent." Note that this video was taken at a weekend-long dance festival, and that this particular dance sequence is really intended for experienced dancers; most contra dances are much, much more accessible than this.
Not my kinda music and certainly not my kinda dancing. I'm definitely more the let my hair do the dancing type. ;] I do love violin though. Beautiful sound to it and an amazing instrument to play about with in electronic music. Th drones and squeals you can make with the thing... wow.

Originally Posted by FelixTheCat View Post
Let's see... I played the cello since I was 10, all through high school and a little bit in college. I used to be in the local symphony, but had a falling out with the director a few years back and haven't touched it since. The rust on my fingers is probably 3 inches deep and my callouses are gone.

During college I dated a gal that tried to teach me saxophone. That was pretty different for a string player, lemme tell ya...

Recently, I've been trying to teach myself the bass. Got an el-cheapo four string (plus amp) and right now I'm able to do a passable major scale and the first few bars of Rush's "New World Man." Going from a fretless instrument to one with frets has also been kinda interesting; one definitely has to be more careful with finger placement, I've found.

Oh, I also used to sing quite a bit. I had a beautiful boy soprano in my youth which dived for the basement as I got older. I was involved in choirs during school and even did some musical theater. Unfortunately, I don't do much singing anymore (except in the shower, though my wife would disagree with me calling that "singing" ). I have been wanting to get back into musical theater a little bit lately, but so far nothing has piqued my interest. One of these days, maybe...

Felix The Cat
Good on you for picking up bass, I say. ;] Both mine are the "el cheapo" too. One being a 5 string though. My next one will be a Warwick. Most likely the Corvette $$. 6 strings. My amp is a lot more on top though. Gallien-Krueger 1001RB-II. Made in California too, for all you guys who love American made. =] Then I have 2 Laney Nexus NX410s. Made in England. ;D I generally only gig out with one of the things, but I got my other one for the price of fixing a broken speaker, so I'm not complaining. =P

Some of my other gear too: EKO acoustic, made in Italy; 2 cheap electrics, one of them battered and bruised, but I got for free. The other an unknown Stagg model. I wanna get rid of those electrics and perhaps get myself an 8 string Hufschmid or Mayones.
Cheap Yamaha, I got when I first got into music. Never pushed myself into it and it's now just hooked up to my computer for MIDI work.
Studio Projects B1 microphone. Amazing cheap mic. So much for so little money. I got it second hand too, so I got it for even better money. =P
I record to my computer using a Presonus Firestudio Project, going into Studio One.

I'll be getting myself an electronic drum kit later this year for recording/MIDI work and probably next year or the very end of this year, I may put some money towards a Theremin. It's an instrument I've wanted to learn for years.
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