Week #528 ~ Schwabisch (German traditional)

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  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    What a week it's been. As if being in basic isolation due to COVID-19, on Monday, here in the middle of the US in Iowa, we experienced what is known as a derecho, a term I had never heard, which is basically a hurricane that quickly develops on land, and is long lasting and destructive. I've heard it moved over 700 miles across the heartland. An area near us had winds recorded at about 150 mph! We only had minor building damage (comparatively speaking), we are physically OK, but had damage to about 50 trees that my man's grandfather and father had planted 100-60 years ago. And wide spread crop damage (I live on a farm)... The trees are the saddest... you can rebuild a shed or a house or a garage.... but it takes 100 years to grow a 100 year old tree!

    Anyway, our power is back on, so I'm taking this moment to post the winner of this week's poll: Schwabisch (German traditional).

    I am going to depend on someone else to some up with links to the tune, notation, whatever!
  2. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    I see that the tune was proposed by Dennis, who posted this video:

    It's a tune from an 18th century dance music manuscript, and not easily located by name (which just means "Tune from the Swabia region"). Here is the manuscript page linked from the video description:

    I don't know the tune, but it should be fairly straightforward to play as a single melody line. Any chord suggestions?

  3. Frithjof
    I wrote out an ABC in the original key:

    T: Schwabisch
    T: Tanzsammlung Dahlhoff, Westfalen, 1767 - 1799
    S: Tanzsammlung Dahlhoff: Mus.ms. 40182
    M: 3/8
    L: 1/8
    K: Dmajor
    A |dfd|a2f|gb/2g/2e| c/2d/2e/2c/2A|dfd|a2f|gb/2g/2e/2c/2|d2::
  4. Frithjof
    Terrible news about your farm and the trees, Barbara. It’s a relief you all are physically OK!
  5. Brian560
  6. Frithjof
    Interesting links, Brian. It’s every time useful to listen to and play through as many Swabian = Schwabische as you can.

    I found another recording of our Schwabisch as an ensemble piece including a hurdy-gurdy. The Schwabisch starts at 1:07. Great medieval feel!

  7. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Barbara, so sorry to hear of your hurricane damage and loss of the mature trees.
  8. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Here is my attempt at this tune, played as a solo on my nine-string waldzither, tuned GDAEB.

    1925 Jul. Heinr. Zimmermann waldzither (solo).

  9. Mike Romkey
    Mike Romkey
    Greetings also from another Iowa derecho survivor. Some tree damage and time without power but got off pretty easy here at the Duck Creek homestead. ... I found a version of this attributed to CPE Bach and figured, Why not?

  10. Brian560
    Martin and Mike: Both great versions of this tune flawlessly played.
  11. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Sorry to hear about the damage, Barbara. Did not hear about a derecho before, but it seems to be an interesting phenomenon from the point of view of fluid dynamics.

    I was not surprised that Martin could handle this tune with ease and confidence, but a dyed-in-the-wool bluegrass player like Mike sounding perfectly pre-napoleonic German has my hat off.
  12. JL277z
    Frithjof, cool bagpipes and hurdy-gurdy in the video you posted.

    Martin and Mike, nice solid playing, well done!

    I have two versions. One is me actually playing, on GDAEB electric guitar and oldtime banjo. One problem I have with this video, is that guitar has ancient worn-out strings (5 years old) which makes it impossible to tune, to have all of that guitar's notes in tune at the same time. (I ordered new strings, and a battery for my digital tuner, so maybe I can make a new-and-improved version of this eventually.)

    Oddly, even though I'd envisioned this tune as a straight-up dance tune, my playing makes it sound more like some delicate-flower thing which was not really what I had in mind, but that's how it turned out. Here it is, flubs and out-of-tune notes and all:

    (or direct link)

    Before that, I'd worked up a tentative written arrangement for mandolin, octave mandolin or GDAE tenor guitar, bass, regular guitar (with some bizarre chords that I chose because they're implied by Bach's left-hand keyboard accompaniment for this particular tune), and again with the banjo thing.

    My written version has quite a different 'feel' than my video above, even though I was reading from my written notes while I was playing the two instruments in the video.

    Below is the MIDI playback of my written arrangement - with variations - it should be a clickable MP3 that should play in this browser page without having to 'save' anything:

    If for some reason the embedded MP3 player doesn't work, I think here is the direct link to actually download the MP3 to your device rather than just playing it in the browser.

    Quite frankly, I like my written MIDI-only version better than my own playing. My written version comes off as more of a dance tune (my fav type of tune), and fuller sound with guitar chords 'n' bass 'n' all...

    I can post the written notes (and the strange chord names that sometimes change on nearly every note) that I came up with in my written arrangement. It'd take me a couple days to straighten up the formatting to make it more presentable for general viewing.
  13. Frithjof
    Three different Schwäbische/Swabian dances on three different instruments – all well performed.
    That makes a good start for week #528.
  14. Brian560
    JL277z, the difficulties you describe gave your tune a casual relaxed feel which is not something I typically associate with Bach. I like it.
  15. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Greetings fellow MC’ers I have a v slow connection at the moment so have to be quick.
    Very different versions here, nice to hear.
    Many, many thanks Frithjof for the tab!
    Will try to record a version today.
  16. Frithjof
    Great, Simon. I’m looking forward to your rendition.

    I myself made a similar decision like Martin.
    To play the Schwabisch of the Dance Collection Dahlhoff I took my 1949 Kurt Roth Thuringian waldzither – only mine is tuned in the original open-C tuning (c gg c'c' e'e' g'g'). In the second round I tried to make some use of the bourdun qualities of the instrument.

  17. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Frithjof: nice sound on the waldzither. I think yours is quite a bit bigger-bodied (and I think also longer-scaled) than mine. You're a braver man than me -- I never got to grips with the open-C tuning.

    Mike/JL: Both very nicely-played renditions of the same Bach schwabisch. Does either of you have a link for the score? I don't think it's the JCF Bach tune that Brian has posted, and it isn't the tune that Frithjof and I have played. Is this by CPE Bach, as Mike has said?

    To avoid crossed wires I should clarify that "schwabisch" (or "schwäbisch", both spellings exist) is not the name of a specific tune but rather a genre of tunes, derived from folk dances of the Schwaben/Swabia region in Southern Germany. Like the allemande, sarabande or gavotte, the style was picked up by baroque/early classical composers as a form of short keyboard piece. Thus, the two JCF/CPE Bach pieces above are original compositions, but the schwabisch Frithjof and I have played is from a late 18th century collection of actual traditional folk dances, written down by a family of church musicians in a small village in Westphalia (more here in German).

    To add to the confusion, the other score linked by Brian is not a "schwabisch" in this sense at all, but a choral setting of a well-known folk song from Swabia, "Rosenstock, Holderblüh".

  18. Frithjof
    Many thanks, Martin.
    - Scale length is 46 cm = 18,11 inch, body depth 15 cm = 5,9 inch.
    - I knew you would (better than me) be able to put into words what I myself thought.
    - The link to Richmud is a treasure!
  19. Brian560
    Nice playing on that one Frithjof, the waldzither was a perfect choice for the tune.
  20. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    that instrument totally fits the tune, Frithjof, even though it's from a different federal state...
  21. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, Frithjof. Not much difference in scale length (mine is 44cm), but a huge difference in body depth: mine is only 6.5 cm deep.

    Yes, the Richmud site is great. I have had only the most cursory look at the modern transcripts of the Dahlhoff collection, but there clearly is a lot going on there. Hundreds of 18th century folk dance tunes, many of them in two or three voices. There are a number of other schwabische, but if you're looking for the modern transcription of "our" tune, it's on page 3 of this PDF: Link.

  22. Sasquatch
    This is such a lovely melody. I am going to attempt learning it and playing it on the octave mando. Great renditions everyone.
  23. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Fine and varied versions of this one, everyone.
  24. Brian560
    Here is my version of this tune, I added a slide show this time
  25. Frithjof
    Brian – I guess your video is private. Please change the settings in public so we may watch it.
  26. Brian560
    Thanks Frithjof. I fixed it
  27. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Nice Frithjof that instrument has a great authentic tone.

    Brian well done, I thought I’d add some slides too.

  28. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Simon, that sounds lovely. The chords are great to give it more of a dance feeling!

  29. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Thanks Martin I appreciate it, yes I did try to get that medieval dance rhythm with the slight hesitation before each fourth quarter note in the measure. Mostly worked!
    -still a bit fast though, couldn’t help it!
  30. Frithjof
    I agree with Martin. Great sound and rhythm, Simon.
  31. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    These are all excellent. Is Schwabish a type of dance?
    We heard about your weather, Barbara and Mike up here in Ontario .Yikes! Especially losing the trees. That is so sad. Stay safe.
  32. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Music from this region of Swabia, Germany, though the dialect and presumably the music is found in other areas too.

    I guess it’s a bit like calling a single tune, The Cajun. And imagining that Cajuns (the people) live on both sides of a national frontier. And also having a musical culture where there are few names (or many different names) for the musical pieces.

    I guess? Haven’t heard from Dennis in a while...
  33. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    Martin answered my question about what a schwabish actually is. So if someone says, what type of music do you play, you can say Schwabish. Apparently it's not Cajun. And now we need to go in search for Dennis.
  34. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Ginny you asked the question today at 3:02 am.
    Martin was able to answer your question on the Aug 14 11:55 pm.
    -that’s more than three days before you asked it.

    Even on the USS Enterprise at warp 8, Captain Kirk can’t do that.
    So if Martin now has powers of divinity, why not ask him where Dennis is hiding out? -unless of course Dennis is using his invisibility cape?
  35. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Dennis has been on holiday in France, and has got caught up in the quarantine restrictions when he returns to Britain. I know because we are working on a wee collaboration, so no warp speed or Captain Kirk involved, but maybe a touch of "Beam me up, Scottie!" He has been away from his studio and other gear.
  36. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Oh, I ‘m sorry to hear that, hope he’s safe.
  37. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Last e-mail I had he was fine, Simon. Just having to obey regulations re returning to the UK.
  38. Leo37
    Its so funny to be here.
    45 years ago I bought this 'Zimmermann - Thüringer Waldzither' from a friend. I've never played on the instrument until today. I had no idea how to do.
    When I saw the fine videos of Martin und Fridjof (thanks for ABC) I'd remembered my Waldzither. It got new strings and here is my attempt.

  39. Frithjof
    Great you joined in, Leo. You played the Schwabisch very nice.

    This Böhm-Waldzither looks like in good condition. It should be played more often.
    Good idea to show the label of your instrument.
  40. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Fascinating sound from that instrument, Leo. The tuners look amazing too, with the key for tuning the individual strings. I have a friend who has a Portuguese fado with a similar tuning arrangement, though each string has its own winder. You must now be wishing you had played it years ago when it sounds so good!
  41. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Very good, very authentic, Leo. That Waldzither with the Preston tuners looks like the one Andy Irvine had in his early years (with the 9th string removed).
  42. JL277z
    Good to hear everyone's versions.

    Simon, cool sound!

    Brian560 wrote: "JL277z, the difficulties you describe gave your tune a casual relaxed feel which is not something I typically associate with Bach. I like it."


    Martin Jonas wrote: "Mike/JL: Both very nicely-played renditions of the same Bach schwabisch."

    Thank you, Martin!

    Martin Jonas wrote: "Does either of you have a link for the score? I don't think it's the JCF Bach tune that Brian has posted, and it isn't the tune that Frithjof and I have played. Is this by CPE Bach, as Mike has said?"

    JCF has two different "Schwaebisch" tunes in the same 1787 book, one tune is in D major and the other is in F major. Score at IMSLP Musikalische Nebenstunden page (Book 1, page 11 and page 31), and also, for the D major version, I made an easier-to-read modern treble-clef version (not that other weird clef that Bach uses) in my printable PDF sheet music with mandolin tab, tenor guitar harmony tab, guitar chords, uke chords etc arrangement (includes banjo! ha!) (viewable in browser, or click the Download button to download and print whichever pages you want). Hopefully there aren't any typos left.

    Anyway a scan of the unaltered JCF Bach D major score is at the top of the last page in my PDF linked above, and for comparison there's a treble-clef exact transcription (no modifications) at the bottom of that page.

    So here's a video showing part of that MIDI playback. My goal was to make the video readable on small screens such as phones, so only some of the 'instruments' are displayed. Purists will probably hate it but that's ok, I'm just a folkie, I change things around to suit myself. YMMV. Here it is:

    (or direct link)
  43. Leo37
    Thank you Fritjof, John and Betram for your coments. I'm not so familiar with the protagonists of celtic music, and so I'm happy to learn to know Andy Irvine, Betram.
  44. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Interesting laid back versions of Mr. Bach’s music, JL277z, and nice to see you posting, I didn’t hate your experiment with the app so I guess I’m not a purist!

    Fine playing Leo, that nice looking instrument of yours looks pretty serious!
  45. JL277z
    Thanks Simon!
  46. Brian560
    Nice version of the tune Leo and exceptionally well played considering it is your first attempt at playing the waldzither. I do like the sound of those instruments.
  47. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Very nice, Leo -- that Boehm waldzither does look immaculate. Have you tuned it in the original open C tuning (like Frithjof), or in fifths (like me)?

    Interesting that all three of the Germans who have tried the tune have played it on solo waldzither. Despite the different sizes and makers, our three waldzither do sound more alike than I would have anticipated, and distinct from similarly-sized mandolas.

  48. Leo37
    Brian, thanks a lot for the compliment.

    Martin, yes, it was new when my friend Rainer bought it in the early seventies at Musik Gläsel in Gelsenkirchen. Seems to be a GEWA Böhm Modell B5. Some years later he sold it to me for 100 DM. Most of the time the instrument sleeps in our bedroom wardrobe.
    I like the sound very much, and now since I have an idea about possible uses I'm sure to work with it. It's in C tuning.

  49. Gelsenbury
    I'm now considering retirement from the SAW group because it just doesn't get any better than this. It's great to see so much activity on the tune I suggested - only some recondite 18th-century German dance, after all - as well as some new instruments coming out. And now Leo mentions Musik Gläsel in Gelsenkirchen, my home town! I remember my dad taking me to the same shop, and a Waldzither being on display near the entrance - probably not the same instrument, but certainly the same shop.

    As John says, we're all fine. Thank you for your concern. We had a very nice holiday in the south of France, and managed to stay healthy. Unfortunately the British government decided to remove France from the list of quarantine exemptions on the day we travelled out, so we've just come to the end of 2 weeks of domestic quarantine. I had no mandolin on holiday and very little time to play since coming back, so I decided to put off visiting this group until I can play more regularly again. It's nice to see that this tune won and has generated quite a lot of interest already.

    I'm sorry to hear about the devastation in Iowa. The bright side, as you said, is that you're safe. And planting trees is something of which we should all do more.

    Tomorrow, I'll start learning this tune. Your versions so far are inspiring.
  50. Frithjof
    Like all our fellow SAW members I’m very happy to have you back here. It’s a relief to know you and your family in good health.
    Now we are looking happily forward to your contribution to this tread.
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