Week #455 ~ The Birdfeeder Waltz

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  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    This week's winner, by overwhelming majority, with more total votes than we've had in a while.... The Birdfeeder Waltz. This is an original composition by one of our members, John Kelly. He actually just posted quite recently, so there is another rousing discussion of it here..... I suggest you go there to read all about it!

    Maybe John can put the links to the notation and notation/tab into this discussion, I'm having a little trouble locating them, although I've already downloaded them, so I know that they are out there.

    I expect to see some great submissions this week! I know I love this tune, and have pretty much got it memorized....

  2. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Wow! I am left feeling rather humble but also very pleased that the tune has been chosen by our members for this week. Looking forward to hearing all your versions.

    Here is the link (I hope) of notation plus TAB as Barbara has suggested above.

  3. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    John, I know you also posted (somewhere, maybe the main forum?) the notation without tab.... can you link to that again?
  4. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
  5. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks, Barbara.
  6. mandoween
    Can't wait to tackle this one!
  7. Frithjof
    Thanks, John, for this beautiful tune and for the provided sheet music. I hoped to make a recording these days but unfortunately my spare time vanished like a shy little bird.
    Since I rarely get a chance to access a computer in the next week I hope I can watch some new videos at YouTube with my android device.
  8. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Here is my go at John's beautiful waltz.

    I have played the tune as a trio of mandolin, mandocello and tenor guitar -- the mandocello takes over the melody at the start of the repeat.

    1921 Gibson Ajr mandolin
    Suzuki MC-815 mandocello
    Ozark tenor guitar

  9. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    Martin, that was absolutely beautiful! Question, though. How are those of us who only play mandolin supposed to follow that?
  10. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Martin, that is a very fine interpretation of the tune, and your choice of instruments with the mandocello taking over the lead in the repeat fits the tune really well. There's a very scary-looking big bird near the end of your video - if it comes near my garden I am moving!

    Sherry, do not worry about not being a multi-instrumentalist. Some of the best versions of tunes on this forum are often just solo mandolin. Can I suggest that you maybe try to put in a few double stops in your version, using the suggested chords to get suitable notes. You can PM me for some help with it, but do not let a mandolin-only offering put you off having a go.
  11. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    Thanks, John. I may take you up on that help! I do plan to post a video when I feel I'm ready.

    I went too far with Martin. I really enjoy the other instruments and all the videos he posts. I need to figure out how to separately record my melodies and chord accompaniment with my limited equipment and technical ability. If I can't find a thread, I'll start one!
  12. JL277z
    Great job Martin!

    This tune is awesome fun to play! Here's my go - two mandolins (actually one mandolin, but I played it twice for 2 tracks - once for the melody on the treble strings, and the 2nd track I played mostly on the G & D strings for an octave lower variant), + CGDAE 'half-size' classical guitar (the guitar is doing a very simple I-V bass-line thing). I thought the low-flying drone shots might be appropriate to get a "bird's eye view" of the waterfront & landscape. I never realized, until I found these video clips, how fast & efficient birds are at shelling sunflower seeds and spitting out the shells (at about 2 minutes into the video) like they're in some sort of bar contest! Anyway, it starts as just mandolin, and then at 0:23 my accompaniment/backing starts.

    (or direct link)
    (I got the free pics and bird-video clips from Pixabay.)

    Thanks again to John Kelly for making this tune public, it's such a great tune!

    I hope John isn't mad at me for my little impromptu variations... I was pleased at *first* with my recording but after listening to it 50 times while assembling the video, a couple of my repetitive variation notes started to get on my nerves a little...

    So if I were to re-record it someday, I'd play those parts closer to how it's written. That's what I set out to do anyway, but I have a bad memory and it's hard for me to play anything as written unless I'm actually looking at the score, even if it's something I wrote myself - when I close my eyes to play, the fingers take over and I just let 'em go to see what happens. Sometimes that turns out ok.
  13. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    Don't change a thing, I love it just the way it is. Great harmony and all around vibe. Really good stuff.
  14. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    JL, that's a great version you have there. I can assure you I am not at all offended by your variations and welcome the chance to hear how other folk might interpret a tune. Much more satisfying than if nobody felt it was worth their effort to have a go at it. I recently wrote a tune, a reel, to mark the retiral from office of Girlguiding UK's Scottish Chief Commissioner and this tune was played at the official farewell party by a young ceilidh band from the Scottish Borders. I had sent the tune to them as a score and as an mp3 and their playing of it at the party, as part of a set for the Virginia Reel dance, was great to hear, as it was the first time I had heard a live band playing it or seen folk dancing to it.

    I fully agree with you about playing from the score. Many of the videos I have submitted to this forum have been recorded from the notation, reading the dots as I play, and often by the time the tune is absorbed into memory after many goes I find I will have changed something from the original. I find this especially when interpreting bagpipe tunes (one of my big loves) and getting phrases jumbled in my head. At our weekly informal session we often have this happening when we start a pipe set and there are fiddle, accordion, mandolin and guitar and small pipes all playing and someone will repeat a part or bring in part 3 instead of part 2 or whatever. We also regularly alter the rhythm of a tune, playing a march as a Strathspey, for example. All fair and all great fun.

    Thanks for taking the time and effort you have obviously put into your offering, and it is so interesting to compare your and Martin's versions.
  15. Frithjof
    I enjoyed the vids by Martin and Jl and just found a way to follow the discussion here on my android phone.
  16. Gelsenbury
    It's a lovely tune indeed, and we're all honoured to be able to play it.

    If I'm stretching the definition of "able to play it" here, it's because my life at the moment seems to be giving me the choice between recording tunes too soon or not at all ... so, on this occasion, I opted for the former! It's passable after a few takes, but I'll continue to work on it.

    Edit: I wanted to comment on all the other versions too, which have been a great help in learning the feel of this piece. It's interesting how it sounds good with triplets and without! I, personally, like the triplets and have tried to keep them in the tune. In the process, I realised how hard they are to do. The tune appears simple at first, but I take off my hat to John, Hendrik, Martin and JL for arranging it so nicely and keeping in time. Splendid work!

    I enjoyed making up some melodic variations, which the tune seems to invite. There seems to be a passing resemblance to "L'inconnu de Limoise/The unknown Piper", which we had as our song of the week recently. Perhaps I had that tune at the back of my mind when I was playing.

    Only when recording the bass line did I notice that I was speeding up. No wonder it seemed to get harder to play all those notes!

    Thank you for sharing this great music with us.

  17. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    JL, if ever a parrot turns up at John's birdfeeders, I'll know it's time to bring a sunshade and swimsuit to Scarista Beach (instead of the sweater and oilskins which are appropriate in today's summers)
    Lovely version, and don't waste your time making more perfect what is perfect already.

    Dennis, that arrangement has a detached serenity, like a golden sunset watched from an armchair (overlooking the bay, and with a small table beside it and a bottle of Bowmore, OK I'm getting carried away...). Very tasteful.
  18. Brian560
    I do like this tune and all of the versions played so far. Glesenbury, I can relate to the time constraints and your approach. I do like the tone, tempo and overall feel of your piece.
  19. JL277z
    Thanks all, for the kind words.

    Gelsenbury, sounds good! Very pleasant listening.

    Bertram wrote: "JL, if ever a parrot turns up at John's birdfeeders, I'll know it's time to bring a sunshade and swimsuit to Scarista Beach (instead of the sweater and oilskins which are appropriate in today's summers) ..."

    Thanks Bertram for that video link, pretty cool stuff. After I watched that, YouTube autoplay showed me more drone videos of Scotland, very intriguing scenery there.
  20. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    JL, "cool" is the right word, literally . I dipped my feet in there, but that's all you can do. Even if you put up with Atlantic temperatures, swimming is out of the question - the tidal currents around the Hebrides and also the northern isles are among the most dangerous in the world. It's a forbidding beauty.
  21. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Another fine rendering of the tune there, G.
    Snowing here today, Bertram, so if I decide to have a quick swim in the Firth of Clyde I'll be sure to wear a hat and gloves!
  22. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    You get the weather before we get it, John. Hold a wee dram up in the air, please, so that I can smell it, too
  23. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    I really love this tune! It even inspired me to try to do a multi-track version! So, that means trying to figure out my Garage Band. Then, realizing I need my headphones (that are only for this purpose)... and do you think I can locate them??? NO! I might have to settle for just a solo version, again!
  24. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    Lovely versions of a lovely tune - nice work folks!
  25. luurtie
    I enjoyed all versions too! I can't wait to hear your multitrack version Barbara.
  26. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    I was never able to find my headphones... so no multi-track version! Here's my simple one (still stumbling on some of the triplets!) twice through on my Collings MT2O mandolin!

  27. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    A very accurate and well-played version, Barbara. Worth waiting to hear, and I hope the headphones turn up soon so that you can go on to the multi-tracking. Have you tried just using your speakers on a very low setting,getting away from them a bit and getting your instrument close to the mic? There will obviously be some bleed, but it is surprising how little can be heard sometimes.
    Thanks for learning and recording the tune.
  28. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    I love all the different versions of this wonderful piece! I hope more will be posted (including my own!).
  29. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    John how wonderful to hear your tune played and interpreted by all these great players! I hope ta add one soon!
  30. dustyamps
    Congratulations to everyone on their recordings.
  31. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Very clear version here, Dusty. I liked your tempo too and the pictures were interesting - imagine the tune getting to the Klondyke Dance Hall!
  32. Gelsenbury
    Those clean and measured notes from Barbara and Dusty were what I was aiming for too. I'm still working on it! Isn't it great how this tune is inspiring so many submissions?
  33. Brian560
    Barbara and Dusty your versions sound great!
  34. JL277z
    Barbara and Dustyamps, nice pickin' !

    Gelsenbury wrote: "... Isn't it great how this tune is inspiring so many submissions?"

    Absolutely! It's a sweet tune, beautiful melody. I also like the chord progressions John chose for his tune, good combination.
  35. Frithjof
    John, Iím in your debt.
    During our SAW #455 I had a skiing vacation in the Austrian Alps. I took my mandolin with me and had a lot of fun playing your tune in my hotel room. On the last evening I made a recording with my smartphone. During our homeward journey with a travel bus I produced a simple souvenir video for our friends of the local skiing club. I got a lot of good feedback.
    I made my video just in time for the SAW but couldnít post it without permission of so many friends. Finally I got the possibility to make a new recording today. The birds gave their permission with a friendly chirp.

    I enjoyed the versions of Dennis, Barbara and Dusty.
  36. Gelsenbury
    Frithjof, that's a nice story and set of pictures to go with your recording. I'm sure your friends liked it. Your tone is excellent, every note is fretted cleanly and struck with a good attack.

    With regard to timing, you don't seem to get rushed like I did, which is good. But you could keep the 3/4 rhythm going better by playing the triplets a little faster. The three notes in each triplet are supposed to take the same time as two quavers (eighth note). Towards the end of the tune, your triplets seem a little faster than at the start.
  37. Frithjof
    Thanks for the comment, Dennis.
    You brought up a painful subject. Triplets are my weakness. I like them but often fail to play them accurate. Occasionally I take the time to practice them with/against a metronome. More often than not the metronome capitulates.
  38. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Very clean picking and great tone, F. In regard to Dennis's advice, have you tried counting the triplets as a "one-and-a-" rhythm with a bit of accent on the "one"? I find it helps to get the three notes fitting in to the place of two. Your double-stop works well around the 1:09 mark and at the ending.

    Love your pictures too, and I have been astounded at the interest the tune has caused since I posted it. Thanks again for making the effort to get it into your repertoire.
  39. bbcee
    A little late to the dance, but I wanted to upload my attempt at this lovely piece. Thank you, John, for this composition.

    Nothing fancy. I'm playing rhythm & melody on mandola, with some tentative mandolin harmonies thrown in. I wound up abandoning the click & playing it free, so it's pushing & pulling a bit. Listening back, I decided to emphasize the pauses that mysteriously appeared when recording. It could use a bit more "foundation" (OM, guitar), but ... here it is. Fun stuff!

    I'm finding myself spending more time these days on mandola. Slow songs & waltzes like this one really benefit from its voice.


  40. Gelsenbury
    You're not late, you're just keeping the thread alive.

    Well played! I like the sound of your mandola, and the slower ending is great.

    John must be proud and inspired to get all these great versions of his tune. I wonder if he'll come across it on the radio or as somebody's phone ringtone soon.
  41. JL277z
    bbcee, that's excellent! I love everything about it. Nice harmony notes, well-placed tremolo, beautiful tone, nice rhythm, pleasant mood, just perfect. That ending run is nice too!
  42. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Bbcee, I could dance to that (and I never dance)
  43. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    That is a very fine rendition of my tune, Bruce. I like the fact you did not work with a metronome as I always prefer the human touch in a tune with its slight variations rather than the rock-solid tempo the metronome provides. I always find it interesting that midi programs have the facility to add the "humanising" factor, modifying the mechanical beat.
  44. bbcee
    Thank you for the nice comments. JL, I copped that end run from Sharon Gilchrist, so at least I have good taste!

    John, I also like playing free, if the tempo stays swinging. Funnily enough, I find songs in waltz time more difficult to keep a good feel on than songs in 4 ... even though (when well-played) they sound so simple. Something I'm working on.

    Bertram, I'll work up another waltz just to see you dance!
  45. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    Bruce, I can think of nothing new to add to these comments. I really enjoyed listening to your video. Still working on this one myself, so if you think you're late, . . . . !
  46. Frithjof
    Thatís a beautiful performance, bbcee. I donít miss any additional instrument.
  47. Don Grieser
    Don Grieser
    What a beautiful tune and I've enjoyed all the SAW group performances of it. I didn't multitrack, but I tried to use open strings and doublestops to fill out the sound. Thanks for the tune, John.

  48. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks for this rendition, Don. Very enjoyable and I still feel very humble that so many folk have taken the trouble to produce versions of the tune. I have a few more I might well spring on you all.
  49. JL277z
    Sounds great, Don!
  50. Don Grieser
    Don Grieser
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