Week #129 ~ Fire on the Mountain

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  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    This week's winner is a bluegrass tune, Fire on the Mountain. Again this week I am camping with limited internet access, so I'd appreciate some of you others to come up with notation, links, etc!
  2. OldSausage
    Here's your Bill Monroe bluegrass "Fire On The Mountain" performance, including Bill's best joke

    Here's your talky lady playing it slowly:


    Here is your tab:


    Good luck, fellow wood-whackers!
  3. Martin Whitehead
    Martin Whitehead
    It's also on Nigel Gatherer's site. http://www.nigelgatherer.com/tunes/tab/tab1/fire.html
  4. Martin Whitehead
    Martin Whitehead
    The tempo on that Folkways recording is faster than I can listen!
  5. richardoxley2
  6. Rob Fowler
    Rob Fowler
    Here's the tef file from mandozine, which also has the chords on it. Butch Baldassari has a fine version to learn from in his "30 fiddle tunes for the mandolin" book, also, which includes a twin (harmony) mandolin part.

    And then there's this version from this band you might have heard before.....

    .....but that's a totally different thing, obviously!

    I'll stick to the fiddle tune, myself!
  7. OldSausage
    Here's a very slow version from me. It has a lot in common with Bill Monroe's version, apart from being a quarter of the speed. But you hear a lot more tune that way.

  8. richardoxley2
    Thats great David, still working on my effort
  9. Martin Whitehead
    Martin Whitehead
    Frankly, David, I like that better than Bill's version, which seems kind of frantic to me.
  10. richardoxley2
    I concur a lot of bluegrass stuff is played much too fast to hear the tune ...and that's not just because I cant do it he he
  11. Martin Whitehead
    Martin Whitehead
    Yep. There is nothing about Monroe's version that makes me even want to attempt this tune. But David's version makes me have second thoughts about it.
  12. OldSausage
    Well, remember that bluegrass is often played for and by people who already know the tune better than they know their momma, so they have different goals. But before you can play a fast version of any tune, you have to be able to play a slow version. In fact old Bill was a little bit caught out in that recording, because (I think) the version of it he liked to play has a different structure to Tex's. What I'm calling the C part is just two bars at the end of the B part that re-sets the key to A

    Bill: AAAA BB AA BB

    If you listen carefully you can hear the musicians all getting caught out by Bill's quicker jump back to the B part - they react pretty fast though, so they must have rehearsed it or known what to expect. There's another live recording of this with just Bill and Doc Watson where they play it entirely Bill's way. Bill plays a lot better on that recording (IMHO).
  13. richardoxley2
    Yes I have heard that one.
    Dont get me wrong I like bluegrass a lot and some things are meant to be fast but i think it is a mistake to play everything at breakneck pace some tunes especially old time music are meant to be danced to and I think your feet would catch on fire trying to dance to some of it
  14. Martin Whitehead
    Martin Whitehead
    I like BG too, but I have always felt that fast tunes need to played no faster than the virtuosity of the player and then slowed down a two or three notches. That Bill/Tex recording, I'm sorry, but it just sounds awful to me. Now, take Doc Watson on Blackberry Blossom - I just listened to that in the car yesterday - I know that he is playing that lightening fast, but it doesn't SOUND lightening fast. He is so good on it and so clean it just sounds like a nice toe tapper.
  15. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Fire on the Mountain should be played fast out here in Southern California a wild fire moves as fast as the wind. Seriously, much of bluegrass music is at a faster pace than dancing would allow, but then it's usually not for dancing. It's a live performance for an audience who have come to listen to it! Most of the songs played will have vocals and harmony singing with various instruments taking breaks between verses. However, that same audience will want to hear a "fast one" now and again and that is where instrumentals like "Fire On The Mountain" come in. It's a chance for musicians to "show off" their chops...sometimes in an informal setting the musicians try to out do one another... fun to do but sometimes not so fun to listen too!
  16. OldSausage
    For what it's worth, I find Bill's playing on the Smithsonian Folkways recording sounds really good and enjoyable to my ear. I never used to like listening to that stuff, until one time I listened to a lot of it all at once, and then suddenly something in my brain-hole popped and I ain't never been the same since.
  17. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    You've got to get that hole fixed before something leaks out! Maybe some duct tape will work. And everyone's got to go and listen to Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys album version of Fire on the Mountain. It's got twin fiddles, vocals and great mandolin breaks!
  18. Marcelyn
    Interesting discussion... I recently heard a podcast which might have some scientific baring on the hole that popped in David's brain. There's a facinating story of what has to happen in order for our neurons to get used to new kinds of sounds. This example is a Russion crowd who'd only been used to composers like Wagner. They literally rioted during a kind of experimental opera by Egor Stravinsky. If you have thirty minutes to kill, I'll let you decide whether an audience primarily used to old time or trad might have a similar adjustment period when it comes to bluegrass appreciation. It's the second segment about fifteen minutes in called Music as Touch.


    I'm still adjusting to bluegrass myself, but hearing the explanations of musicians here in the Big Sandy River and Monroe's Hornpipe threads from a few weeks ago is really helping me to get the neurons rewired. It got me thinking about the whole brain chemistry thing then as Don, Michael, and others were describing Monroe's playing in terms like, "impressionistic," and "a wall of sound." Their inthusiasm definitely made me want to hear what they were hearing.
  19. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Marcelyn, as with all music, probably the best way to hear bluegrass is live and in person. Here's an old time mandolin version of Fire On The Mountain. This version was inspired by James Crase who was a great fiddler from Kentucky.

  20. Steve Cantrell
    Steve Cantrell
    You have a deft touch Michael. Very nice picking. Looking forward to getting into this one.
  21. Marcelyn
    That sounds amazing, Michael. When I play this, it gets really repetitive really fast, but you find ways to change it up each time.
  22. richardoxley2
    Nice work Michael great improvisation.
  23. Rob Fowler
    Rob Fowler
    Nice work, Michael and Sausage!
  24. KyleG_MandolinMuse
    Here's my first shot at it. I'm taking OS's advice and forcing myself to slow it down, learn it to speed, and then take it up by increments. I wish I'd have seen OS's and Michael's videos before I shot mine - I completely missed out on the "C" part turnaround at the end of the B part. I just thought that the tab I was reading had added a finishing lick for the tune. I wont make you suffer through the instalments of the "speed-up" process, but if you want to see them at the end of the week, I'll have them posted on my blog.

    I'm looking forward to speeding it up. I didn't make 96 bpm sound very musical at all.

  25. richardoxley2
    Thats note perfect Kyle great. I think that's the only way to do it, slow until you have it right and then let it speed up on its own.

    I have sorted my own tab version of it and I will post it with my effort. I haven't had time to do it yet.
  26. Steve Cantrell
    Steve Cantrell
    Nice job, Kyle. You have solid time and didn't miss a beat.
  27. laura809
    Great versions so far everyone, and lots of interesting discussions too. While I am impressed by the musicians that can play a lightning fast speeds, my ears often prefer a more relaxed pace. I find myself having to work hard with a metronome just to build up to a moderate tempo on these bluegrass instrumentals.
  28. richardoxley2
    Nice version Laura very precise...like the back up too
  29. Marcelyn
    Woah, nice one, Laura. Cool variations.
  30. OldSausage
    Awesome back beat!
  31. Martin Whitehead
    Martin Whitehead
    Are you sure you're new at this Laura? Maybe you played mandolin in a previous life. Bill? Is that you? Bill?
  32. Rob Fowler
    Rob Fowler
    You got a real good groove goin' there, Laura! Rock on! Kyle, like Mr. Cantrell said: SOLID!
  33. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Great fun listening to you improvise Laura!
  34. Rosemary Philips
    Rosemary Philips
    Okay, I'll be brave and post my first mandolin cafe video. Here's a pretty slow version of Fire on the Mountain. I think I was nervous because I seem pretty tense but, hey, I'm making progress...

    Not sure how to embed a video, so here's a link, I hope...

  35. Rosemary Philips
    Rosemary Philips
    Okay, here's the actual video:

  36. OldSausage
  37. Martin Whitehead
    Martin Whitehead
    Good job Ro56. I went to your profile page to see if you had your name listed and it was so sad. It says, "Ro56 has not made any friends yet." It reminded me of the note my teacher put on my first grade report card.
  38. Rosemary Philips
    Rosemary Philips
    That IS sad! My name is Rosemary--thanks. I've had a mandolin for several years but it has been mostly neglected for quite awhile. I have a renewed passion and am actually practicing now and I'm very excited to be progressing.
  39. Martin Whitehead
    Martin Whitehead
    Great Rosemary! This is a good place to post practice vids. I find that recording makes me work harder at it.
  40. OldSausage
    Hi Rosemary, I predict that you will progress rapidly based on what I see in that video. Do you play other instruments? I ask because your fingers don't move like those of someone who has mostly neglected their mandolin, plus your good timing speaks of musical experience.
  41. OldSausage
    I thought I was going to get this up to speed in a week, but a person can only do what a person can do...

  42. richardoxley2
    Sounds pretty fast to me
  43. Rosemary Philips
    Rosemary Philips
    Hi OS--you're very kind. I've played guitar since I was a teenager and played in a low-key bluegrass band about 8 or so years ago, but I haven't been playing much music at all for the past year and a half or so, either on the guitar or mandolin. Also, I've never broken through on either guitar or mandolin to being able to pick a melody quickly or being able to improvise comfortably. Also, I've never taken formal lessons. So, a few months ago I decided to really focus on the mandolin and see what I can do when I put my mind to it. Thanks for the encouragement!
  44. Rosemary Philips
    Rosemary Philips
    Wow, OS, nice job!!!
  45. Martin Whitehead
    Martin Whitehead
    David, I like it just like that!
  46. Marcelyn
    I'm Blown away, David. That sounded wonderful!

    Welcome Rosemary. You do a great job with this tough song, and I agree, you sound like you're going to be really good, really fast.
  47. laura809
    Great first video Rosemary! OS, I enjoyed seeing how you progressed on the song over the week. I think most of us would be happy to work up to the way you play when you're just getting started on a tune. I think I will check out Kyle's blog to see how his tempo progressed over the week.
  48. OldSausage
    Thanks very much folks, it's a lot of fun to come here and pick with y'all!
  49. KyleG_MandolinMuse
    So I managed to coerce my sister (and bandmate) to play some rhythm for me while we noodled around with Fire on the Mountain. I wanted to get it a bit faster than this, but we ended up settling in at the speed for now. (Her facial expression at the start probably reveals more about this process than is evident here.) We pick it up a bit through the first pass, but I think it settles in around 168 bpm.

    For those of you who want to know, she is playing a Bourgeois (Vintage D, I believe) that she saved for and bought a year ago.

    I've been posting the speed-it up process on my blog - didn't think I'd bother cluttering up this wall with it. Feel free to swing by if you want to see the other instalments.

    You've all been doing remarkable jobs on the tune. It's so inspiring being a part of this group.

  50. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Very nicely done KyleG! The variations are very tasty. Great job on the rhythm guitar from your sister. (Her facial expressions kind of stole the show though!)
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