Tatering Level 4 – chopping technique. I know, most materials at Fiddle Jam Institute are presented in a nice and simple 3 level system, but “chopping” seems to need its own level separate from the rest. Simply explained, but more difficult to do, chopping has it roots in Bluegrass (Richard Green’s story video coming soon), but has more recently (since the mid-1990’s) developed into a highly detailed and much more funky/rocking technique that sounds more like beat boxing in Hip Hop music! The spread of this very cool technique is largely thanks to Darol Anger who learned it from Richard Green (the father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe’s fiddler), but then took it to another whole level while in the Turtle Island String Quartet.
Simply explained: Chopping is just creative scratching of the bow, done in rhythm, and mixed with key notes that may harmonize with the chords of a song. Sounds easy right?… maybe not. To do it well (I think) takes a good Classical bow hand technique where your fingers actually all flex, move and flow. Though not chopping yet, as a prep, check out this “bow finger flow” video below: it is honestly not very interesting to listen to (you can turn the sound down if you want to… I will not be insulted!), but could be one of the most influential things you may learn on the violin! Achieving this in your bow hand is a “watershed” moment for most students that brings a more natural grace to everything you will play after!… including chopping.
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