Your Fiddle Tune into High Gear
with the Power Stroke
Whether you are
playing for contra dancers, a festival crowd, or just for yourself in
your own living room, you can add rhythm, and a bump of excitement by
using the Power Stroke.
This move is not
difficult. If you can play three or four hoedowns with your speed up
to 80 clicks a minute, its time for you to add this advanced
technique to your repertory.
In this lesson
the Power Stroke will be thoroughly explained. You can see what it looks
like in a tab chart. You can hear it by downloading the MP3 files from
the indicated links. You can apply it to Ida Red.
That tune is in
my book 43 Fiddle Tunes in Tab.
So, it may be familiar already. Knowing this tune gives you a head start
on learning the power stroke. I like to use Ida Red for this technique
because it is familiar. Students can focus their attention on the new
move and not have to think about getting through a tune.
in music, means doing something before it is expected. In this case
we will start playing a note
just before it normally would begin. Accent means giving an emphasis
to the beginning of the note. We just use a little more bow pressure
or speed to make a louder sound. Then, we continue playing normally.
will take a few bars of Ida Red as an example of what happens to a tune
when you add the Power Stroke.
Below is the first five bars of the tune. (Most fiddle tunes have an
A part and a B part.) We are looking at the
A part with the first bar of the repeat.
next example shows what the tune looks like in tab with the Power Stroke
added at the end of the phrase. As you can see, the last two notes of
the shuffle are not played. Instead, the first note of the phrase is
played early. Thats the anticipation. If you can add just
a little bow pressure, you give it an accent as well.
hear what this difference sounds like, download Comparison.
next example gets us from the A part to the B part with the Power Stroke.
In this case we need to fudge our finger over to the E string. (Not
lifting it off the A and placing it on the E. That would create an in
between sound that is not wanted.) When you move your finger this way,
its partly a rolling over the tip sideways and just moving the
finger tip to the next string without lifting it.
explanation of the numbers at the beginning of each bar might be handy.
Those numbers count the measures or bars. To get a better picture of
how this works, look at the tab charts with bar numbers in two formats.
One is with the repeat signs, and the other is without the repeat signs:
Ida Red with and without repeat signs
a way to get into this technique that is easy. My students pick this
up in the studio in five or ten minutes by doing a little drill. The
drill takes the last bar with the anticipated note and carries it one
or two beats into the next bar. See the example of the drill for the
part A power stroke below.
way to do any drill is to repeat it. Take three times as a minimum.
There is power in the number three. Do the drill three times in a row
with no flubs. Then go on to something else. Come back again and do
the drill again. This is the most basic approach to doing drills. Download
B part drill would look like this:
it sounds like this: Download
is what it sounds like when you do the drills accurately? Download