Week #239 ~ The Morning Star

  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    This week's overwhelming winner was The Morning Star, which was submitted as an IT reel. I'm not familiar with it.

    I first did a search on Session Tunes, and found that there are 7 settings there for the tune. Here's the link to that. If you scroll down to the comments section, there are several more submissions for variations of the tune!

    Here's a link to notation and abc from abcnotation.com

    Here's a link that has an mp3 of the tune being played on a flute.

    Here's a link to some sheet music in the key of G.
  2. Francis J
    Francis J
    I had time on my hands today, and made a pre-emptive recording. its a simple tune enough, but watch out for the high b. It's the usual mandolin and bouzouki.
  3. luurtie
    Wow, that was very nice Francis. This is very helpful with a tune witch lacks examples.
  4. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Francis, I looked as hard as I could but I saw no time on your hands - you must have washed them before recoding
    A very bouncy rhythm, almost like a hasty hornpipe.

    I am not sure the tune name is about astronomy - "Morning Star" is a common name for fishing boats in Ireland and Scotland.

    My version has not much changed since I recorded it 3 years ago, so I post that one (with Tripping Down the Stairs, buy one get one free...)

  5. James Rankine
    James Rankine
    Great versions here, bouncy and fast from Francis, beautiful arrangement from David as usual and driving from Bertram.
    I've taken Francis' advice to beware the high B by leaving it out altogether.

  6. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Great you guys! Those who have recorded with a rhythm instrument... what chords did you use?
  7. Francis J
    Francis J
    David, I like your choice of chords, it gives it a different feel.
    Bertram, a hasty hornpipe indeed!! Your second tune is a great one too. In fact Morning Star played as it is (ABAB rather than the usual AABB) form is a bit naked on it's own and benefits greatly from descending the stairs. I noticed after recording that I had set the camera on "follow my face" which accounts for the strange zooming and panning during the video. Since it couldnt find a face it went looking for something else............
  8. James Rankine
    James Rankine
    I've gone G C G D for the A part then Em D Em D Em D Bm Cm G for the B. I did try kicking off in Eminor - if you drone an E with the first note -the B then it puts the tune in E minor to my ear (or E dorian since there is a brief C sharp). I decided there was sufficient emphasis around G to put it in Gmajor - particularly a heavy emphasis on the G first note of the second measure. I may have just started a debate into what key this tune is in
  9. Francis J
    Francis J
    Well documented, and well played there James. Pretty much the same chords for me, although I tend to play it differently each time, being a "by ear" type of player!
  10. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    James, nicely played and again I'm liking the bouzouki backup, I wish I could play the damn thing but every time I tune my octave to bouzouki tuning it ends up sounding like K**P.

    Barbara, these are the chords I used:

    A Part ||: G Em | C D | G Em | (C D) G :||

    B Part ||: G Em | C D | G Em | D C :||
  11. James Rankine
    James Rankine
    David - who needs a bouzouki when you have a spare harpsichord lying about!
  12. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    camera on "follow my face"

    huh? as if recording isn't scary enough as it is - a camera that rolls its eyes at my playing would be the last thing I'd accept
  13. James Rankine
    James Rankine
    I've had another go at this with a droning E which puts it, I think, into E dorian. It's interesting that I'm playing basically the same notes as before but the whole character of the tune changes - not very reel like.
    Played on the Tom Buchanan Bouzouki with a capo on the second fret putting it into AEBE tuning.

  14. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    I have played along with that, James, and
    a - it works, but is kind of melancholic,
    b - it's E aeolian (aka E minor, parallel minor of G)

    If you accompany the tune in a session with this (provided you're the only accompanist), you'd get incredulous glances from the melody players, like they don't know if they are dreaming; I have tried things like that and had people shouting "MAJOR!" at me in mid-tune. Shifts like that are a good trick for temporary variation to make the tune more interesting, but are easily overdone.
  15. James Rankine
    James Rankine
    Bertram - you're right it's very miserable. If I played like this, at the local session, at this tempo, they'd all have finished and be propping up the bar for the next round of drinks before I'd finished the first A part! Thankfully no such rules apply playing in your bedroom.
    Love your story of the melody player dictating the chords. Does it work the other way round? Can you shout "no more banjo triplets!"
    As to the key, I can see an argument between G major with an accidental C sharp in the B part (the way it is usually played) and a minor sounding E key but you'll have a hard job convincing me to call that "E minor" aeolian rather than dorian. If I played this on the tin whistle with droning E minor accompaniment I wouldn't view it as playing on a G major scale with an accidental C sharp. It's just playing out of the D scale that comes as standard on the whistle with the tonic the second note as is the case with the majority of E minor Irish tunes which are actually E dorian. Nevertheless an academic point since there is only a semi-tone in it!
  16. OldSausage
    Well I think it sounds cool!
  17. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    The power of accompanists and their choice of harmony is often underestimated. One accompanist can change the mood of a whole tune and thus the experience for all the other players and the audience just by pressing down one more finger, like a weather god (a banjo player's triplets are mere toys compared to that). Imagine you could stand in the rain, shout "sunshine please!", and the sun came out - wouldn't you do it?

    I suspect that's why strictly traditional players often prefer to have no accompaniment at all - that way the harmonic ambiguity of many tunes stays intact and everybody are free to hear whatever chords they happen to hear through the melody. Just as this tune has always been a standard G in my ears (which makes the E an aeolian), I admit that somebody else may hear a D tune (which would make E a dorian), and they have Paddy Keenan's drone note of D on their side.

    I have always one foot in both camps, because I play melody with doublestops and cannot avoid a harmony choice. E.g. when you listen to my rendition you'll find that I start with a G major triplestop and thereby make the decision. However, in newer renditions I have started to gamble with E minor/C major triplestops in the B part (x223 vs. x233).
  18. dustyamps
    The Morning Star from O'Neill's Dance Music of Ireland recorded on my 1920 A model.
  19. 9lbShellhamer
    Francis- Nicely done as usual. I liked the rhythm on the backing track, keeping true to the celtic heritage, it held up nicely. Maybe taking the place of the drum beat that is usually heard... i hope that makes sense.

    David- Even with the slower tempo it sounded really good. You gave it a new life. It didn't sound like a slowed down version, but a new song in itself. Well done

    Bertram- Very cool with the solo bouzouki. It sounded good with the arrangement you chose even without backing tracks since you tossed in some chords too.

    james, the first go round with your eastman sounded very much like clockwork, true to the original! A great example to follow while I tried to learn the song from the mandolintab site.

    James, your second version with the bouzouki is awesome! It totally changes the whole song. It sounds very lonely and desolate, like a soundtrack song for a movie or something, where someone is stranded...sort of haunting. I like it!

    Dustyamps, very pretty arrangement, that goes to show you needn't use backing tracks if played seamlessly. Kudos to you! Now I have no excuses for mine sounding the way it does!

    Here is my version. I have been running around all morning to the PO, etc. I sold my Breedlove and am left with my tried and true beater, the Kentucky, until my new mando shows up next week.

    One other note...You guys all seem to be into session playing. I'm enjoying listening to the chatter among you as I have very little knowledge of session playing...I'm guessing the IT version of a jam. I'm also thankful for the chance to play so many ITs... I still have no idea how to read music in the format thesession.org uses, but I'm trying to figure it out.


    Here's my quick stab at this little reel. My playing may be a little off since I decided to speed it up a little, becuase I wanted that bouncy reel feel. I had fun with it and let myself off the hook a little!

    (Yes, there is a giant pink monkey behind me...my daughter loves that thing... )
  20. maudlin mandolin
    maudlin mandolin

    Nice syncopation there, 9lb -gave it a hornpipe feel. In my version I have replaced the dreaded triplets with hammer-ons by way of ornamentation
  21. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Nice and cleanly played 9lb, but I am having a hard time recognizing this - you sure that is Morning Star?
    Like Maudlin said, it's like a hornpipe, with a kind of riddle around the 8th measure.
  22. gortnamona
    9lb's version reminded me of the song paddy's lamentation
  23. James Rankine
    James Rankine
    9lb -I noticed from your post on the "things you've learned from the mandolin cafe" forum that you welcomed useful comments on your videos and that you have learned to minimise pick movement. I couldn't help but notice the way the light falls on your D string that only one of the D string vibrates with each down and up pick - the string next to the pick obviously. Minimal pick movement is very laudable but not if you are only playing one string - otherwise it's a Ukuelele You have a great free, floating hand technique so shouldn't be a problem to free it up a bit for more of a sweep across the strings. I've been watching a lot of Mike Marshall's videos on the bluegrass academy site recently and he does a lot of sweeping across the strings, though one suspects he is hamming it up a bit to emphasise pick direction (one of my own particular bet noires brought into sharp focus by posting videos here).
    As to the tune you're playing - don't ask me. I have about 30 tunes in my memory database that I can play at will but I can't remember the names of any of them!
  24. 9lbShellhamer
    James- Yes. "useful" comments are always appreciated! I definitely welcome any tips you're willing to toss my way. I've actually noticed that same thing in videos before about missing both strings. I guess I put that note somewhere in my head to focus on eventually but calling it out really brings attention that it is time to focus on this now. I'll really try to work on those sweeping excercises from Jazz mando. I have been toying around with joining the ArtistWorks program as well, so glad to hear you like it.

    As far as recognizing the tune...hmmnn... I thought I had the timing on the A part down but who knows...it felt good, I got the tab from here http://www.mandolintab.net/tabs.php?...0Star&id=05538 The B part however may have been cause I was playing a little fast than my abilities allow for and so there may have been some "embelished" notes tossed in for good measure, as well as some "unintentional syncopation" on that B part. (My B part was sloppy )

    Maudlin, cool way to add the hammers and change it up, playing around with it.
  25. OldSausage
    I think you're playing it right, 9lb, it's just a different tune from the one everyone else has played so far.
  26. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    I think I have found it. There is a hornpipe (!) of the same name, which is indeed a different tune. You're taking the fast track to getting acquainted with the kinks and trap doors of Irish music here, 9lb
    For every tune, there are several names, and often for a name there are several tunes (yours is also called The Tide Coming In). This happens in a tradition where
    - tune names are created from the situation in which they were learned
    - tune names are frequently forgotten and re-invented
    - there is an implicit context of understanding between players who frequently play together

    Sample conversations from Ciaran Carson's book "Last Night's Fun":

    A: and what do you call that tune you just played?
    B: ask my father
    A: "Ask My Father"??

    A: what you want to play next?
    B: we do the one that comes after the one before
    A: right, let's go.

    So, names are not identifiers here, they are just optional decoration, monikers. A tune is identified by the tune (as heard, not as written). I have checked Barb's links in the first post, and the last one of those also points to the hornpipe, so this is kind of a legal sidetrack
  27. jonny250
    I have enjoyed listening to all your versions of the tune and theres some really good playing going on! i was also interested in the discussion about the tunings and the "power of accompanists" which has given me lots to think about, especially as i joined in with a local English Folk session last night...

    9lb, you would love Mikes AOB lessons and the whole Video Exchange format - its a great way to learn.
    James i reckon 30 tunes in your memory is pretty impressive!
  28. OldSausage
    I had a go at this with a slightly changed arrangement, where get the A part both in G AND in E minor, which I liked with the repeated phrasing:

  29. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Surprise! A video from me! In some of my warm fuzzy polka dotted fleece, to boot!

    I'm playing this rather slowly, three times through, on my Weber Bridger A (it's been a while since she's made a You Tube appearance!). The first time, with no triplets, the second and third, with triplets.

  30. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    I'll admit to being confused sometimes as to which song we're doing -- especially when it comes to some of the Irish ones. Listening to 9lb's version of the tune I can still hear distinct reflections of the Morning Star. (At least to my American ears...)

    Great to hear you play again Barbara. (And thanks for all your hard work behind the scenes too.)

    So many wonderful versions of this tune this time. As always, a fine rendition from Mr. Hansen. And also from the other David, aka Old Sausage, with his great pickin' on the mandolin and finely tuned personal backup band.
  31. Francis J
    Francis J
    Very nice David, I love the way you can personalise a tune. Your chording is really effective..... and I'd like to echo Michael's thanks to Barbara. This group is like an oasis, a musical haven!
  32. Marcelyn
    It's great to see a post from you, Barbara. I wonder if that relaxed tone I always admire in your playing is partly due to the fuzzy fleece.
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