Rayna Gellert

Rayna Gellert is one of our favorite fiddlers. Her ability to create and sustain a pulse in solo performance is incredible, second perhaps only to her dad Dan Gellert, who is woefully underrecorded.

Here is a video of Gellert competing at the 2008 Clifftop competition (where she was robbed, taking second place). Her first piece, “Fine Times at Our House,” is a fine example of how she sets up an irresistible rhythm. Also notice how economical her playing is, creating a big sound with very short and controlled bow strokes.

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3 thoughts on “Rayna Gellert

  1. Wow, she’s really good. I’ve never seen anyone hold a bow like that.

    I do love her economical style, as you call it. It makes the music and not the musician the focus of attention, unlike certain other currently popular female fiddlers.

  2. I know very little about fiddling technique, so I can only compare this performance to classical violin. But C.Z. and I were fascinated with Gellert’s bow grip and short strokes. C.Z. has learned a bowing technique that keeps her hand in line with her arm, and she is always trying to remember to use *more* bow for a bigger sound. Could be partly the difference in the kind of music played, though.

    But, we agree that Gellert does have a lot of sound (insofar as one can tell on a recording), and that her arm looks very relaxed, another good sign. Very interesting.

  3. Like most young female fiddlers these days, Gellert was classically trained. Tracy Scwarz claims he can always spot a fiddler who was classically trained, no matter how long they’ve been fiddling, but I’m wondering if she might be an exception; her stance and grip and bowing look totally homegrown to me.

    But in the video she does give herself away in that brief moment when she works the fine tuners—and holds the fiddle with her chin! I’ve never seen a fiddler without classical training do that.

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