MacDonald, Paul - Cuts explained | Bowing Down Home
PM – Paul MacDonald
KP – Ken Perlman
KP Now what did they show you about cutting?
PM Okay. The first thing - This is a funny story; I don't know if I should say this on tape. I went to Cape Breton when I was about twelve and a half, thirteen with my parents, and Kenny Johnny Joe [Chaisson] came with us, and his wife. And I went over to Iona, Cape Breton to play. And I had just been playing for six months: Scottish music. So the Chaissons went over with three vehicles, and we're on the boat coming home, the ferry. And I go down and Peter Senior [“Old Peter” Chaisson] was having a bit to drink. So anyway he was on the boat. I went down, I was only 13; he says, "Young fella, you played really good over there." He was praising me up, and he says, "One thing you gotta learn how to do," and I said, "What's that?" And he says, "You have to learn how to cut." See I just got started so – I was playing a medley of Jerry Holland's, the My Lilly medley from his Master Cape Breton Fiddler album, you've probably heard it. So, anyway, he sat on the boat, he sat at the edge of Kevin's van , and he sat there and he explained it all and he took out his fiddle and he was showing me how you do it and such.
KP What did he show you.?
PM He just basically said there's two short notes and one long one, and in musical terms what it is two sixteenth notes and an eighth note at the end. And he said whenever you have a long note, which meant a quarter note, you can substitute in "cutting." See so it's just those three notes, it's just those three notes...
PM: And he told me that it was always down up down with the bow. So that was -- And I sat there for the whole ride practicing cutting and I worked on it in the car all the way home in the back seat, and when I got home I thought I had it, I was coming along fairly well with it. And after a week or so I caught onto it a bit. Now you don't even think about it, if you're reading a tune off sheet music, it happens automatically. It's not written there, but you put it in there.
KP So you would put it in on your own?
PM Oh yes.