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The Weekend Vote weekend vote: Which genre would you like to try?

October 25, 2008 at 5:18 AM

This week I played a symphony concert with a mariachi band and also saw Mark O'Connor in concert, thus my mind is on....crossover!

Most of us have a certain area of specialty, I'd say mine is in classical music. But the world is wide for us fiddle players, full of different genres. The violin, so close to the human voice, speaks many languages: classical, fiddle, jazz, rock, Indian....the list goes on. If you were given a week to "cross over" and immerse yourself in a different genre of music, which would you choose? And we certainly aren't all starting from European classical, though many of us are. For some "classical" would be a crossover.

For me....well, I'll see what you say first! And tell us about your choice. Maybe sometime you'll really do it!

From Jim Glasson
Posted on October 25, 2008 at 10:59 AM
What, no Electric Blues category? Blasphemous!!

-Jim :)

From Anne Horvath
Posted on October 25, 2008 at 12:37 PM
Renaissance choral music. (No one would ever pay me to sing though...)
From Corwin Slack
Posted on October 25, 2008 at 1:46 PM
I voted Celtic. Good celtic music doesn't waste bow.

Interesting so see that Mariachi has no votes yet. It is reasonably common here in Houston. But it is a bow waster and bow wasting results in disgusting tone--much like modern symphony orchestras.

From Rosalind Porter
Posted on October 25, 2008 at 2:17 PM
I would love to spend some time getting to know Chinese traditional music - perhaps learn the erhu - or find a way of playing Chinese music on our Western violin. There's something about the sound that really appeals to me.
From David Johnson
Posted on October 25, 2008 at 3:41 PM
Central Asia.
From Alison S
Posted on October 25, 2008 at 5:20 PM
For me it would be the music of north Africa (Tunisia and Morocco). It manages to fuse the rhythmic energy of African music with the tonal structure of the Middle East. An easy to find example of this style is the riff on the Chemical Brothers 2005 dance track, "Galvanize".

Rosalind, the book mentioned at the end of this discussion( has a good selection of traditional Chinese music written for western violin.

From Leslie Dawn knowles
Posted on October 25, 2008 at 5:29 PM
My "day job" is classical in the firwst violin section of the Toronto Symphony - however I have gotten into bluegrass the past couple of years and am actually nominated for "best fiddler" at the Central Canadian Bluegrass awards this year - see my website for more info -----here's a little clip
Cheers Leslie
From Laurie Trlak
Posted on October 25, 2008 at 8:02 PM
I voted for Jazz, but honestly, it was hard to decide: klezmer, Irish Fiddle, Celtic, Baroque? I'd love to do all of them!
From Rosalind Porter
Posted on October 25, 2008 at 10:02 PM
Actually, if I am really really honest, one of my ambitions is that if I win the Lottery - I'd buy a Strad, Amati or similar and get it converted back into the original baroque set-up. That would be fun!
From Bobby Keyes
Posted on October 26, 2008 at 2:50 AM
"Crossing over" sounds temporary. What's wrong with playing a little bit of 'something else' all the time? I love Bach, but can do we have to eat steak every night? Of late, I've been fiddling some Irish hornpipes... very refreshing!
From Josh Henry
Posted on October 26, 2008 at 2:53 AM
Cape Breton Canadian fiddle style. Kind of Scottish in origin, but still a distinct (and difficult--if trying to figure it out on my own!) style of fiddle playing.
Josh Henry, Bow Maker
From Pauline Lerner
Posted on October 26, 2008 at 4:28 AM
Leslie, I really liked your website and enjoyed hearing you and your band play. I'm surprised that more classical violinists don't gravitate to bluegrass music. In spite of its emphasis on improvisation, which can be daunting to violinists who are accustomed to following the written notes faithfully, it is highly technical and, at times, improvisatory. I love listening to bluegrass music because the fiddlers, even the backup fiddlers, often show real virtuosity. I've jammed with others on bluegrass music, and I always find it exciting.

My taste in nonclassical violin music is eclectic. I've played old time, country, New England, bluegrass, contra dance, and Appalachian music (all under the rubric of "American fiddle" music), as well as Irish, Scottish, Breton (as in Brittany), Cape Breton (as in Canada), and Shetland music (all under the rubric of "Celtic" music). I've also played some rock and singer/songwriter music, and even a smattering of Renaissance music.

I believe in the seamless garment theory of music.

From Jessie Vallejo
Posted on October 26, 2008 at 5:15 AM
Well, I voted for other (although I would easily jump at a chance to try all of these).

I didn't vote for mariachi, because I'm here at UCLA already doing that, so I thought that was kind of cheating on the "wish" part...

I guess my other would be between Tango, Middle Eastern, and Karnatic.

From Deborah McCann
Posted on October 26, 2008 at 7:13 AM
I am primarily classical, but have been working at learning klezmer and am in a group that is playing out and about. It is fun and challenging (especially the improve work).
From Barry Dudley
Posted on October 26, 2008 at 1:37 PM
Bluegrass players are exciting to listen to and also to watch. The Americana/Newgrass thing is also terrific! With players like Darol anger, Casey Drissen and Tania Elizabeth it seems as though there is no end to their creative imaginations.
From Peter Kent
Posted on October 26, 2008 at 2:37 PM
While generally speaking, other than classical, is a severe demotion; akin to an athlete going-down to play JV ! The greatest musical minds of the past composed their JV music under assumed names. In the Buffalo area, we have a small group: Violin, Two Guitars, and Acoustic Bass...Their stage name is Babik. Their repertoire can best be described as Gypsy Jazz...each is a great soloist, they take many solo licques,include fragments of classical literature, sometimes have a small dance troupe with their performances...I'd consider playing in this group...sort of Americo-Tzigano- Roby Lakato style, wherein they may extend any piece in their repertoire to 15 minutes if the crowd is diggin' it. They have a huge following in the area...many classical musicians included in this throng.
From Charlie Piccione
Posted on October 27, 2008 at 11:48 AM
The choice is difficult, as I have been fiddling for some time now. Over the years I have been subject to most fiddling styles so I would have to say Classic Music (Only for a week)
Fiddling is much more free feeling and self expressive and never has to be done the same twice.

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