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Thread: Tips for hambo and mazurka

  1. #1
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    St. Paul, MN

    Default Tips for hambo and mazurka

    Looking for techniques to help differentiate the two while playing melody. Since it's largely emphasizing different notes, how do you do it?

    I can get there playing rhythm, but am stumped with melody. The different polska forms just sound too alike on mandolin. At least when I play it.

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Tips for hambo and mazurka

    The differences between the tune types are all due to the different dances they go with. If you see and play along with dancers, you know what to do. If you actually live in Saint Paul MN, the local dancers and fiddlers would be able to teach you. That's where I started playing Swedish fiddle. They'll probably try to make you learn to dance though.

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  4. #3
    Notary Sojac Paul Kotapish's Avatar
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    Jul 2003
    Alameda, California

    Default Re: Tips for hambo and mazurka

    You'll learn a lot by listening a lot and paying attention to how traditional players phrase the tunes. Also watching how the dancers step and what secondary rhythms they emphasize with their feet as the move.

    You are probably already doing this, but ...

    One really basic tip for playing 3/4 tunes in many (if not most) folk traditions is to think of them with the pulses on the downbeat and the third beat, with a lighter feel on the second beat. Tapping your foot on the one and three helps, and I generally count the tunes so that I'm really emphasizing that third beat as a lead in ONE two AND/ONE two AND/ONE two AND. Works for me.
    Just one guy's opinion

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  6. #4
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Ann Arbor/Austin

    Default Re: Tips for hambo and mazurka

    My understanding was that the whole point of the mazurka was that the emphasis is on the second beat (and sometimes the third) rather than on the one, as in a waltz. Counting as Paul suggests ought to work, but you'd need to shift it back one beat.

    That's why I've always found them rather fun and tricky.

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