Week #234 ~ Sandy Boys

  1. laura809
    I got an early start on this week and figured I would go ahead and get us started. Here are some links to tab, standard notation, and ABC for the tune. This tune reminds me a lot of Old Joe Clark.



    T:Sandy Boys Reel
    "A"a=g eg|e/d/c Aa-|a=g eg|a>b aa-|!
    a=g eg|e/d/c AA/B/|ce "E"e 19d /d/c|"A"A2A2:|]!
    "A"e2 e2|d/A/c AA/B/|ce "D"dA/B/|"A"ce d/c/A|!
    "A"e2 e2|d/A/c AA/B/|ce "E"e/d/c|"A"A2 A2:|]!

    Here are a couple youtube videos that I found:

  2. laura809
    Here is my version, based on the tab from traditionalmusic.co.uk:
  3. AaronVW
    Got a head start on this one this morning as saw Sandy Boys in the lead but it looks like Laura still beat me to it! Just finished my second mandolin and wanted to get a sound clip up. Also, a question for some of you out there on recording. I am using iMovie and found it hard to get a sound level that didn't clip the loudest spots. What programs are you all using for your recordings? Here is my attempt:
  4. Marcelyn
    This is a really fun one to play in cross tuning like AEAE or GDGD one step down.
    Here's a helpful slow clip I found on FiddleKid's Sessions.
    Nice job, Laura. It reminds me of Old Joe Clark too--I guess because they're both in that fun mixolydian mode.
    Congrats on finishing a really Nice sounding mandolin, Aaron. To answer your question--most clips I just record straight on a Zoom 2 camera. For multitracking, Jeff and I use Adobe Audition 3.0.
  5. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Laura, thanks for taking the bull by the horn!
  6. OldSausage
    Yes, very nice job Aaron, on the tune and the mandolin. Webcams that come with or attach to computers produce horrible sound (they usually have terrible mics and often have built-in compressors whose aim is to level out speech, not make music sound nice), so you need to record that with something else. The easiest and cheapest thing is one of those mp3 recorders like a Zoom H1 or Tascam handheld unit (about $99 new). You then import the sound and match it up with the video in your video app - anyone who can make as neat a job of a mandolin as you did could do it easily, I would think. iMovie will do fine for that.

    Nice tone from you on this one, Laura.
  7. laura809
    Beautiful mandolin Aaron Sounds great too. As far as recording, I use iMovie with a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 usb interface and a Rode NT1 microphone. When I multitrack, I use Logic This week i just played along with an iReal book backing track directly in to iMovie. I would suggest going to the "Settings" on your mac and adjusting the input volume of your microphone in the sound panel. It just sounded like it was overloading slightly.
  8. Pasha Alden
    Pasha Alden
    Hi all and to Laura thanks for the advice on recording. At present I only make sound recordings on an Olympus mp3 recorder. It works well but it still sounds a little thin and tinny.

    So I fear no submissions from me just yet. Though you all sound beautiful.
  9. Sasquatch
    This tune sounds like a hybrid of 'OLd Joe Clark' & 'Clinch Mtn. Backstep'.
    I have missed a couple of weeks due to a family sickness & death. I have really missed this so I need to get busy!
    Laura, smooth as usual! Aaron, one beautiful piece! Great tone and great playing! I have great respect for luthiers. Its an art that I simply love but do not have the patience to pursue.
  10. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Nice job Laura! And I love the sound of that mandolin.
    Aaron that is one spectacular sounding and looking mandolin. The flamed maple is especially tasty...
    Sasquatch – sorry for your loss. Looking forward to your post. I, too, thought this tune bears a resemblance to the Clinch Mt. Backstep.
  11. Marcelyn
    Yeah, I definitely thought of Clench Mountain Backstep too. It's kind of fun to hear how two such similar songs have a really different feel based on one note giving them different modes.
    After tossing out the term Mixolydian in the post above, I'll confess it was only a few months ago that I decided to figure the different modes out. I was thinking that it's helpful stuff to know with this week's tune and that there might be some newer musicians here like myself who were curious about terms that get mentioned around here with all these Ot and IT tunes like modal, Dorian, and Mixolydian. I think the theory is pretty cool, but skip this if you know it or will be bored to tears.
    According to my simplistic understanding of it all, there are seven modes--Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian ("I'd definitely play like Monroe after lessons" for anyone like me who likes mnemonic devices). Each has a different pattern of whole and half step intervals going up the scale. If you think of playing a scale, noting that Each fret on the mandolin is a half step, you'll see which notes in the scale jump a whole step over two frets and which only jump a half step. The Ionian mode which we know as the major scale or, "doe ray, mee, etc." has the pattern of whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, whole step, half step. If you're playing some of these OT tunes and they sound a little different or maybe kind of minor, They're probably in a mode other than Ionian--meaning the pattern of whole and half steps is different. Here's how I figure out which mode it is.
    1. I look for the tonic or root. It's the note the song finds resolution on, and is usually the last note of the song. Once I know that note I know the key of the song. This week's tune ends on A, and is in the key of A, but obviously not A major because of its modal feel.
    2. I play the notes that make up the song in order up and down to see what major scale they are grouped in. For example, Sandy Boys has A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G, and A. It's almost an A major scale except that the seventh note, the G# is flatted. When you play these notes but start on a D instead of on an A, you hear the familiar step pattern of whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half, making the "doe, ray, mee," D major scale.
    3. Since I figured out we're using a D major scale but in the key of A, I start with D and count, D, E, F#, G, A and see that A is the fifth note of the D major scale. Then I count up through the modes to find the fifth mode--Ionion, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian. So Sandy Boys is in A Mixolydian.
    Dorian is sometimes called Mountain Minor and is probably the mode you come across a little more often than Mixolydian in OT tunes. It's similar because it has the flatted seventh but also a flatted third. In A Dorian, the tonic is A, but you're using the G major scale. A is the second note of the G major scale, and counting up through the modes--Dorian is the second mode. Clench Mountain Backstep, Cold Frosty Morning, Red Rocking Chair, and Pretty Little Cat are tunes we've done around here in A dorian.
    Feel free to correct anything I got wrong. I ran this all by Jeff but he says he's even more Phrygian confused than before, so sorry if that's the same with y'all.
  12. James Rankine
    James Rankine
    Laura -It's great when you get in early. You always play so cleanly and there's always a good shot of your left hand so you're the perfect learning tool.
    Aaron - beautiful mandolin, and a lovely lazy front porch old time feel to your playing.
    Sasquatch - looking forward to you being back in action.
    I'd say you're right on the mix A mode Marcelyn. The only formal musical training I've had is on the piano and though I don't play much these days I've never regretted it. Things like the different modes are so much easier to understand on a keyboard as it's all laid out in front of you and you get a better over view of it all. In fact my understanding of the fretboard on the mandolin is closely linked to scale patterns on the piano. Doesn't make it any easier to play the mandolin though!
  13. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Modes fit the mandolin and fiddle very nicely. Look for the 4 note patterns on each string and you'll soon notice how they change and repeat as you go across the finger board to a new string set. Each mode has a different pattern, but if you think about it, these patterns are all part of the major scale and should seem familiar, you're just starting from a different point for each mode. Marcy's explained the nuts and bolts quite well above. And James, you're right -- a little knowledge goes a long way, but you have to go to the woodshed to master anything on the mandolin...
  14. maudlin mandolin
    maudlin mandolin

    Nicely played Laura and Aaron and a great looking mandolin too Aaron.
    This is in cross tuning as suggested by Marcelyn
  15. Francis J
    Francis J
    Great versions Laura, Aaron and Maudlin, all very different! Thanks Marcelyn for your modes explanation, I struggle with music theory, but what you say makes sense to me. I've used the fiddlekid link you suggested, and tried to get an old-time feel. The usual 3 mandolin mix (to conceal any slips!) and here it is...

  16. Marcelyn
    That's one great old timey arrangement , Francis. Your three-mandolin method of covering slips must work for you because I didn't hear any. I'm thinking for me we'd get to hear three times the slips.
    Nice work with cross tuning, Maudlin. The drone notes are really fun in this one.
    I went with cross tuning too, but it's in the key of G instead of A since this old mandolin sounds really nice in GDGD.

  17. woodenfingers
    Great versions by all as usual. Aaron - I want one of those mandolins !!

    The version here is brought to you by the Art IN Hand String Band. We are a group of artists that recently started playing music together. I retired from a science career and have been flogging my woodwork (woodenfingers) at Art Shows and in the Art IN Hand Gallery. Carrie Wild on fiddle, Dusky Loebel on guitar, and me on mandolin. We only played it together 3 times and I recorded the last one on an iphone. The only real flub in there is mine, of course.

    Marcelyn - what do you call our version? I flatted the C# to C natural so it looks like it is in the key of G and I made all the chords minor but it still revolves around the A. Is this your Mountain Minor?

    I borrowed Michael's dustbowl pix for the video. Needed something haunting.

  18. Marcelyn
    Yeah, you're right. if you flatted the C#, you'd get A Dorian. It's a fun experiment to hear the way that changes the song. It's also fun to try out things like that when you want to write your own fiddle tune. I did that all yesterday by accident while I was learning the song because I'm so used to playing in A Dorian. You guys sound really nice together. What a fun group and cool name.
  19. Francis J
    Francis J
    Marcelyn, the cross tuning, coupled with your natural feel for this type of tune works so well! There's so much going on in your version and yet it looks simple in your hands. Woodenfingers, I guess ensemble playing is where the fun lies in playing music, and you have a great blend in your band. "Ok guys two runs through, and then we're recording..........." very impressive!!
  20. James Rankine
    James Rankine
    I agree - great version Marcelyn - deceptively simple.
    It's a horrible grey wet day here so I've gone for woodenfinger's A dorian (great group sound you have going there). The minor feel matches the weather.
    Tuned GEAE for an A modal drone, since modal music appears to be the order of the day!

  21. James Rankine
    James Rankine
    They say if you don't like the weather in Britain, wait 5 minutes. The sun is now shining so I have recorded it again in the A mixolydian mode for a happier sound. My fingers were still wired to play it in dorian but hey ho. Recorded straight into the camera so the sound quality has suffered a bit as well.

  22. woodenfingers
    Hey James, glad to see your weather turned and you and your mandolin are in a happier mode.

    Marcelyn's treatise on modes made me curious as to what they would all sound like. Thinking about this nearly made my head explode but I think I got it. So for the curious, here are all the modes for Sandy Boys:

    The locrian was a tough one to do...

    I still like Dorian best but the others have something to say for themselves.
  23. woodenfingers
    OK, I'm still curious - about the chords. The original mixolydian notation had chords specified. For Dorian, I just changed them all to minors ie A to Am, E to Em etc and that seemed to work. I say seemed because I am lousy at figuring out what chords to use. How would the chords change from one mode to another?
  24. Francis J
    Francis J
    I Love the Locrian Mode wodenfingers, sounds Romanian or Bulgarian! You'd have to call it Пясъчен момчета !!
  25. James Rankine
    James Rankine
    Well done wooden fingers. A tour de force which must have taken some effort to work out. An alternative way of approaching this, and arguably easier, is to keep the key signature the same and start at the first note, then the second etc to see what effect the change of mode has on the same notes. An easy way to do this on the piano is in the key of c since this is all the white keys. In fact it is interesting to play the same melody with the right hand and then drone a different root note in succession with the left hand because your brain then measures the notes against the root and changes the mode. Clearly our brains always judge a note relative to what has come before and what comes after, one note after all isn't music. I got interested in why we perceive minor keys to be sad and remember reading about an experiment that was carried out on a "lost tribe" who had had no exposure to western music. They were still able to judge minor keys as sad, but not as well as a group brought up with western music. So there seems to be an innate element as well as a learned one. One theory is that with a major 3rd the frequency lies mid way between the 1st and the 5th whereas a flatted 3rd is not symmetrical, adding dissonance which makes us feel uneasy. It may have something to do with speech patterns and on a simpler note we view quiet music as sadder, and when we are sad we talk quietly.
    It's also interesting that the different modes have never really taken off in classical music, other than the obvious ionian and aeoilian, presumably because the orchestra is full of chromatic instruments. The converse of course is that the different modes allow different keys and changes between major and minor in diatonic instruments stuck in one key - whistles etc, hence the popularity in folk.
    Disclaimer - I am no expert and none of this has been seriously researched - if you have a degree in music and I am talking rubbish I apologise, but then I'm probably better at medicine than you
  26. James Rankine
    James Rankine
    Woodenfingers - yes you need to use a minor chord for dorian, since like aeolian the 3rd is flatted. As you demonstrated if not all the notes are played the mode can become obscure or indeed change during a tune. Modal chords (root and the fifth, without the 3rd) work really well in this situation, since they can be used with major and minor keys. That's why I retuned my mandolin in the first clip to get an A and E drone. This is the whole basis of using an Irish Bouzouki as accompaniment in ITM.
  27. Marcelyn
    Wow, woodenfingers! That's impressive! I thought the Lydian mode sounded pretty cool. (Definitely not old time, but fun!) This is a really interesting discussion to me. I'd like to figure out the rules on chords in different modes, too.
  28. woodenfingers
    Francis - While my knowledge of Eastern European music is extremely limited, I did also think that the Locrian was in that vein. Many of the modes sound very strange to me but I wonder if that is just a case of limited exposure. I gravitate to the A-Dorian (Mountain Minor) perhaps because that is what I know. I wonder if Romanians would turn their noses up at that and say give me a good Locrian...

    Marcelyn - Thanks for opening up this can of worms. It is interesting. Yours was the first explanation that I have actually understood, or at least think I understand.

    James - It wasn't so hard to do the recording. I recorded the modes individually and then appended them all together. A couple of practices of each and then record. Muscle memory of the 'pattern' was good for all of them except the locrian where clearly it was a hindrance. I believe I understand your easier method to get to a similar result but I had to take Marcelyn's treatise and work it out backwards, ie, where do I need to find the A and then what key do I get. The patterns became clear fairly quickly and also resulted in the recordings all resolving to A. I agree with your sadness theories. The pentatonic scale is universal and messing it up creates tension/dissonance. I don't understand your point about Ionian and Aeolian being the accepted modes in classical music, but I also have limited classical music knowledge. I understand Ionian but why Aeolian? How is Aeolian that different from the other less common modes?

    I am muddled about what 'KEY' anything is in now. Marcelyn clearly states that the published notation is in the key of A-mixolydian whereas the key signature on the notation is D. Hmmm. That hurts my head a bit but OK. That brings me back to chords again. I'm still stuck on chords. The published A-mixolydian notation has the chords as A, D, and E. Your typical I, IV, V combo. That fits with the key of A. I previously stated that I just made all the chords minor for A-Dorian. A to Am, E to Em etc. I now think that was wrong but it sounded OK enough when we did it. I now presume that I should have used the relative minors A to F#m, E to C#m for example. But, do you make them all minor or leave some Major?

    James suggested using the 1st and 5th to form chords and that would work but on the backing guitar you want a full rich sound so what might those chords be in some of these other modes? For a perhaps complex example, in locrian, the 5th is flatted so that in the Amaj scale the 5th, E, becomes a D#. In A-locrian, does the Amaj chord become A, C#, D#? Call it an Amaj5 ?? Haven't tried it but it looks like it won't sound good, but then playing a regular A maj chord on top of a D# won't sound good either...

    James, no degree in music here so your theories are all safe with me. I might challenge you a bit on the medicine though, depending how medicine is defined. I have a PhD in chemistry and was the Director for Metabolic and Cardiovascular Disease Medicinal Chemistry for a major Swiss pharma company. Unfortunately the Nobel committees have passed me up once again so mostly these days I am a woodturner who tries to play music.
  29. Sasquatch
    I am really liking this tune. I will continue to develop it for future endeavors! Every rendition presented on the posts are well played! Kudos to all!!
    I like the the music theory discussions but I must admit, you all lost me! I have a general knowledge of what has been discussed; just enough to be dangerous.
    This tune appears to take on many faces. Each version has its own subtle qualities. Here is my interpretation as butchered as it might be.
  30. AaronVW
    Nice Sasquatch! If you butchered that one, you must have only taken off the tastiest cuts!
  31. OldSausage
    Nice job, Tim, I love it.
  32. jonny250
    You guys are all sounding really good and i enjoyed reading the discussion on the different modes. There is a really good lesson on it in the artitworks new theory section, all based around a c scale as someone suggested above.
    I'm in brussels this week, so no picking for me but i did find a guitar/mandolin shop and a music instruments museum
  33. James Rankine
    James Rankine
    Sasquatch - you may have got lost on the modes discussion but you know your way around the fretboard and that is arguably more important. I think this is you best performance to date - really enjoyed it.
    Woodenfingers - I only have a limited practical knowledge of modes which allows me to function as a bouzouki player in a Ceilidh band where music is handed out often without any chords attached. You get used to identifying where the key signature and keys don't match. Playing with melodean players who only have the D and G scales in practice this is only ever A mix or E dorian, and then you just treat them as if they were A major or E minor in terms of accompanying chords, kicking off with those chords and working around variations of 1, 4, 5 and relative minors from there. In fact my ears aren't good enough to distinguish E dorian from E minor, and I would only recognise this if I was playing the tune and playing on a D scale from the second note of the scale, or a G scale, 6th note of the scale and there is only one note difference, the C, and as you identified if a piece doesn't have that note the modes are effectively the same.
    Quite what happens with chords in locrian mode is beyond me. My understanding of locrian is that it doesn't work musically and is only included as an academic exercise. I suspected this is for the very reason that you have identified, it is the only mode where the 5th is flatted and a 1 and flat 5 sound dissonant (not sad, just horrible).
    Aeolian in Classical music? Because aeolian is the standard relative minor scale.
  34. woodenfingers
    Sasquatch - I'd trade just about all the theory I know for your ability to play and improvise. That was an AAA Prime cut.
  35. dusty miller
    dusty miller
    All outstanding versions. I hope to get a better way of recording other than the webcam sooner or later. Michael Kelly mandolin, critique always welcome. Tried to play with Laura's to get it down properly, thanks Laura.
  36. richieb
    Great versions all! What a nice little tune, with room for many variations. I had a lot of fun just whacking it out and making a lot of noise:

  37. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Had so much fun listening to the fine versions above, I just had to give it a try. This one is in G because the banjo player (that's me) was recorded first and I didn't put on a capo. The guitar chords are mostly partial chords. For the G chord I just didn't hit the 3rd so it's not really minor or major. The IV chord is a C. I only hinted at the V chord (Dm) with a bass run using the flatted 7th instead of the natural 7th. As to which mode it's in, I believe I blurred the lines between the G dorian and Gm pentatonic with maybe some G major in there too. Anyway, it was lots of fun...

  38. dusty miller
    dusty miller
    Well done Richie, Michael! Nice to hear so many versions this week.
  39. Manfred Hacker
    Manfred Hacker
    Laura, thanks for starting this and giving such a nice example.
    So many great versions and different sounds here, topped off with Michael's gold standard rendition.
    I have chosen a fiddle arrangement, minus the fiddle:
    Oh, and it's in the Bavarian mode

  40. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Great playing on a tone monster mandolin in the Bavarian mode... well done Manfred.
  41. Marcelyn
    Getting home from a short vacation, it's fun to see how this thread piled up with such amazing versions and interesting discussion.
    Tim, your version has so much going on. The double stops and bluesy notes are awesome!
    Kris, even with just a web cam, you're getting nice clean tone to come through in the videos. And Richie, the chords really bring your rendition to life.
    It's always a good day for me when Michael puts together a stringband version and when Manfred brings out my favorite sounding mandolin, so what a treat to see two in a row. Whatever the Bavarian mode is, it sounds great to me.
  42. dusty miller
    dusty miller
    Manfred, Always well done with good clean picking. Nice job!
  43. Marcelyn
    I like that version David. The run up in the B part was a fun idea. It's a really happy sounding arrangement.
  44. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Very cool picking.
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