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Fiddle Lesson: Bowing Patterns for Melodies


A unique characteristic that sets bowed stringed instruments, including the fiddle, apart from others is the vast array of bowing techniques and patterns that a player can employ to alter a performance and the manner in which they execute a melody. These various bowing methods and patterns greatly impact the tonality of a tune and can drastically change the way a piece is performed.


In this online fiddle lesson, master fiddler, ArtistWorks bluegrass instructor, and founding member of the popular string outfit Hawktail, Brittany Haas, teaches a handful of common bowing patterns to provide players with a few helpful starting points from which to approach various melodies. She also shows how these different patterns can be used depending on the number of notes, note grouping, and the number of strings on which a melody is played.


LEARN MORE: Want to learn how to play the fiddle from a master musician like Brittany Haas? Try some free online fiddle lessons now!


“When I’m thinking about bowing patterns and how I’ll bow a specific melody, I try not to mentally separate how I’ll approach things with my right and left hands too much,” Brittany explains. “That being said, when you’re learning or reading a melody, it’s important to look at the number of notes, the way that they’re grouped, and the way that they lay out across the strings when you begin thinking about how you’ll bow that melody with your right hand.”


There are a few common bowing patterns, however, that are frequently utilized across classic old time and bluegrass fiddle repertoire. Despite not wanting to mentally separate the movement within your right and left hands too much, these classic patterns can be helpful when learning classic melodies, and will likely become second nature over time.


“Shuffle bowing is incredibly common across old time and bluegrass fiddle music,” Brittany explains. “This is the classic long, short, short, long, short, short pattern. If you’re playing a melody that features a quarter note followed by two eighth notes, this is the perfect bowing pattern to employ.” 


To learn several bowing patterns that will allow you to vary your approach to performing melodies, dive into this online fiddle lesson from Brittany Haas:


Bowing Patterns for Melodies with Brittany Haas:




Have you always wanted to learn how to play the fiddle? Through our comprehensive fiddle lessons online and Video Exchange Learning platform here at ArtistWorks, you can learn from internationally renowned players, like Brittany Haas, and get personal feedback on your playing.


Brittany's course starts with the basics and teaches everything from beginner fiddle to advanced performance techniques, improvisation methods, classic old time and bluegrass tunes, and Brittany's unique and critically acclaimed approach to the instrument. So, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player, all levels are welcome and all students will grow and improve their skills as fiddle players and musicians. 


Sample some free music lessons here and see what makes ArtistWorks courses some of the best online music lessons around!



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