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Thread: What is "Crosspicking"? Fun with definitions...

  1. #26
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    Default Re: What is "Crosspicking"? Fun with definitions...

    In 16th century lute and vihuela music, the arpeggiated technique that we now perform on a mandolin with a pick and sometimes refer to as "cross-picking" was often referred to as "campanella."

    Same musical result, different [but related] instruments, some variation in the mechanical execution [pick vs. fingers]; but for all practical purposes, the same musical device. A very old one.

    The Chinese were bending strings on their zithers and dulcimers 2000+ years ago. There is little in music that hasn't been around for a very long time, except changes in technology.

  2. #27
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    Default Re: What is "Crosspicking"? Fun with definitions...

    rcc55, You added another good point to the discussion--so many things we think of as new and starting "HERE" have been around a long time. I used to teach advanced music theory, and was confused when my bluegrass friends referred to I IV V as the "Nashville" system. On the other hand, some things did start gaining usage at a certain point, like Western European music being thought of in triads, and Roman numeral use for chords coming into use around Mozart's time.
    Do you have any recorded examples of this campanella by an early music group, lutenist, or yourself?
    If the 16th centuriers used fingers rather than quills or picks, was that more like the banjo roll technique?

  3. #28
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    Default Re: What is "Crosspicking"? Fun with definitions...

    The Alonso Mudarra Fantasia No. 10 is sometimes played with this technique, but not always. I will have to look for a recording of this later.

    What's the difference between a "banjo roll with a flatpick" and "crosspicking with the fingers?" Musically, they are similar. The difference is the choice of a pick or the fingers to strike three adjacent strings in a repetitive, consecutive manner.

  4. #29
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    Default Re: What is "Crosspicking"? Fun with definitions...

    Perhaps some will find this interesting: www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFXaRorc10U

    Also, this guitarist uses plenty of campanella with thumb, index, and middle in the first 20 seconds of the Mudarra fantasy: www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCTEnn8XCgg

    On a banjo, it's called "Keith style," Dan Crary does it on guitar with a pick and calls it "floating," Jesse McReynolds calls it "cross-picking," etc. . .
    Last edited by rcc56; Mar-27-2019 at 12:00am.

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  6. #30
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    Default Re: What is "Crosspicking"? Fun with definitions...

    I teach research methods for a major university, so I had to track this down; I found an old Cafe closed thread on the topic where I think people were finagling to get a free copy of copyrighted material. But it did contain some helpful and legit leads--as I tell my students, when you find a good source, go to their sources. I did find (and purchased!) the Jesse McReynolds video lesson from Homespun, and I am holding my breath until tomorrow (Monday) morning because according to their online catalog a small town local library has a copy of the McReynolds book by Statman. Saw its value on eBay and Amazon--crazy!
    To back a bit off my dissertation lecture notes, I should say the science does NOT imply there are no limits or no defining characteristics, just that limiting cross-picking (or any category) by way of one or two absolutes goes against human nature and empirical linguistic evidence. Some of the examples offered in this thread are clearly not cross-picking, just picking across strings. Some categories are more categorical than others. And an emu or a penguin is a bird, but a border collie is not.
    I'll ask again, JR--when you coming back to Oregon? Love to get a lesson in, cross-picking or otherwise!

  7. #31
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    Default Re: What is "Crosspicking"? Fun with definitions...

    Crosspicking is fun to do and is a different way of thinking about mandolin. More like banjo or finger picked guitar as you play across the strings. Real handy for medium paced songs and turnarounds, and some rags.

  8. #32

    Default Re: What is "Crosspicking"? Fun with definitions...

    Another way of looking at these accent patterns is as poly-rhythms.

    In all kinds of music eighth or quarter note triplets are played against a "straight" time. Crosspicking is an example of a subtler poly-rhythm which keeps the rigid eighth note structure while using accents to create triplets and other variations on the time signature.

  9. #33
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    Default Re: What is "Crosspicking"? Fun with definitions...

    Yes, that's a way of looking at it, but (back to definitions) historically a triplet is a grouping of three within a count of two, whether eighths, sixteenths, or even half notes. That doesn't happen in cross-picking, although you do correctly describe it as variations on the time signature--it is not the "expected" pattern. There are numerous examples of the grouping of 3's without actually creating triplets. Bo Diddley's BUM, BUM, BUM, BA-DUMDUM is one. Another is the hemiola within a triple meter ("I like to be in A-mer-ri-ca") also typical in many 3/4 cadences in baroque music. The reason I agree with those looking for a clear definition is it affects performance: which notes get the accent, pick direction, etc. so it's not just theoretical or pedantic. If you sing "And the Glory of the Lord" from Handel's Messiah you will find some words seem to be misplaced, accented on the wrong syllable--that's where the hemiola comes in, the accents are shifted. And it's those shifting accents that are essential to cross-picking.

  10. #34
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    Default Re: What is "Crosspicking"? Fun with definitions...

    Found the McReynolds-Statman book in a local small town library; also signed on to the Homespun video. I always find it interesting that the historians and students of a master insist on arguing over labels. Palestrina wrote music, it became "the rules of counterpoint;" Mozart wrote music, it became "sonata allegro form." Jesse played an original mandolin style imitating the "backward roll" of bluegrass banjo, it became cross-picking. I have to admit that as yet I have not seen or heard the Shuffler stuff, need to get that in my ear. I do see and hear the difference between cross-picking and cross-string picking in the rhythmic emphasis and patterns, and I am having fun trying to get the McReynolds c-p thing down. That's the important thing.

  11. #35
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    Default Re: What is "Crosspicking"? Fun with definitions...

    Here's Tristan Scroggins' recent post on Instagram. His notes in the post: Sleepy Saturday morning. Working on Jesse's arrangement of I Don't Love Nobody. Still can't do the pick directions correctly up to speed. I just got my Stelling #mandolin back from @danvoightmandolins after some adjustment and it's never sounded so in tune!


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