As I mentioned in Volume I of this series, Gil Kiesecker is my idea of a dance fiddler. This stems in part from his solid sense of timing, awareness of the dance steps and exuberant bow work. In addition, he’s got a few tricks up his sleeve which add some zip, punch and snap to his playing and which you won’t pick up on unless you watch him closely. These also tie in to some of the roots of Northwestern style fiddling.
I’ve made some bowing suggestions that demonstrate Gil’s general approach to a schottische (and much of his hoedown fiddling as well). He plays it a little differently each time through, but this is mostly a matter of reshuffling the deck so to speak, putting the patterns in different places. Measure 15 has back to back pairs of slurred 1/8 notes (Scandinavian influence) followed by simple down-up saw stroke. Measures 1 and 5 are similar, but the up-bow slur has a brief lift in mid stream, turning it into two short up bows in a row, known in Scottish fiddling as the “updriven bow.” Measure 12 demonstrates the so called “Nashville Shuffle” (despite its moniker, this pattern is particularly associated with Scandinavian influenced styles). Saving the best for last, measures 2 and 6 show the kind of “down-driven bow” Gil frequently employs. As in the Nashville shuffle, you get the long-short-short rhythmic pattern. But, play the opening 1/4 note on the down-bow, lift briefly before continuing down for the first of the pair of 1/8 notes. This gives a more percussive attack to the phrase, making the dance rhythm just pop out of the fiddle. Give it a go and see what you think. Check out Gil on his two CDs on Voyager Recordings, VRCDs 356 & 360 (Gil’s Schottische is on the first of these).
You may recognize this from the September 2005 Evergreen Fiddler and Volume III of the tunebook series. My apologies, but life sort of got in the way and I was unable to submit a new tune for this month. I trust you will enjoy this rerun.