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December 2008 · Bimonthly

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Introduction to Bowing Workshop #1 - Shortening Bread

by Brad Leftwich

[The following article was originally published by The Old Time Herald vol. 2 no. 2 (November 1989 - January 1990) and is reprinted with permission.]

These five recorded examples correspond to the 4 examples in the box, plus the melody, on page 2 of the workshop on Shortening Bread. Example 4 is intended to illustrate what I've called the "beginning lick," illustrated by the 4th example in the box. The beginning lick has to be attached to something to make sense, so for context I've taken the bowing used in lines 1, 2, and 4 of the tune and used that pattern for example 4 in the box. Line 3 of the tune (first phrase of the low part) is slightly different -- it uses ending lick #1, whereas the other three lines use ending lick #2 -- but the beginning lick works the same way in any case, so I didn't bother to create a specific example for it.

Example 4 (and mp3 #4) shows how the beginning lick is just the first 3 saw strokes slurred together on a long down-bow. The example shows it with ending lick #2, but it works just the same with ending lick #1 as well.

Example 5 (the 5th mp3) is Leftwich’s setting for teaching Shortening Bread, which is diagrammed on the bottom of the 2nd page of the workshop. There are four phrases in the tune:
The first two phrases (the high part of the tune) are using ending lick #2.
The third phrase (beginning of the low part) uses ending lick #1. The fourth phrase (end of the low part) is back to using ending lick #2.

Hope that makes some sense.


[Check out the October 2008 issue of Fiddle Sessions for more information on the first 3 music examples - the editor]

     Wkshp1X1.mp3 | Wkshp1X2.mp3 | Wkshp1X3.mp3 | Wkshp1X4.mp3 | Wkshp1Shortening.mp3

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About the Author

A highly respected fiddler, banjo player, and singer, Brad Leftwich has been performing and teaching traditional music for more than 30 years. Recordings of his music appear on the County, Copper Creek, Rounder, and Chubby Dragon labels. Brad performs with his wife Linda Higginbotham, and also with Tom Sauber and Alice Gerrard in the trio Tom, Brad & Alice.

For more information check out his web site at

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