Week #50 ~ Brenda Stubbert's (Cape Breton)

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  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    This week's winner is Brenda Stubbert's (Cape Breton). I think it was David Hansen who submitted this tune to the poll tune suggestions.

    Mike has posted this tef file (I hope that link works. He has left for the weekend, and asked me to link to it!)

    I don't know this tune, or anything about it, so if other's would like to submit some ABC or links to this tune, please do!
  2. Martin Whitehead
    Martin Whitehead
    Barbara, that link worked fine. I looked for it on YouTube and couldn't find a mando solo of it, but here's a clean free reed version at a reasonable tempo that might be helpful.

  3. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    According to the discussion on www.thesession.org, this tune was written by Jerry Holland for Cape Breton fiddler Brenda Stubbert.
    Here is a link to an mp3 of the tune.

    Here is a link to the tune on www.thesession.org

    Here is the ABC from www.thesession.org

    X: 1
    T: Brenda Stubbert's
    M: 4/4
    L: 1/8
    R: reel
    K: Ador
    |:B|A/A/A (BA) GAAB|A/A/A (BA) edde|G2 (BA) BGGB| c2 (BA) BGGB|
    A/A/A (BA) GAAB|A/A/A (BA) edda|gedB GABd|{d}e2 dB eAA:|
    |:B|A/A/A a2 A/A/A g2| Aage ageg|G2 (BA) BGGB| c2 (BA) BGGB|
    [1A/A/A a2 A/A/A g2| Aage agea| gedB GABd|{B}e2 dB eAA:|
    [2A/A/A (BA) GAAB|A/A/A (BA) edda| gedB GABd|{d}e2 dB eAA|]
  4. CelticDude
    Here's a wild fiddle/whistle version, along with a couple of other tunes:

  5. Rob Gerety
    Rob Gerety
    Great tune. The composer was Jerry Holland. Jerry died at a fairly young age not long ago. He spent a great deal of time in my area playing and teaching and he was much loved. I was fortunate to have met him and to have seen him perform on few occasions. Brenda Stubbert's is a common tune for contra dancing around these parts. I have a slow midi for this tune for the ear learners - but I can't see to get it to upload. When I try I'm told that it is an invalid file. If I get a the time I'll try to convert the midi to an mp3 and upload it.

    If we get in a Waltz mood sometime he wrote a wonderful waltz - My Cape Breton Home, (many others as well). Jerry was born in the US but spent a great deal of his adult life in beautiful Cape Breton. He started performing at the age of six.

    Here is the Jerry Holland official web site: http://www.jerryholland.com/bio.htm
  6. Marcelyn
    Hey Rob, if you can't get that midi to upload, would you mind emailing it to me? My address is notesonmusic@gmail.com
  7. Kyle Baker
    Kyle Baker
    As soon as I heard the tune Brenda Stubbert's it took me back to when I was a kid and bought my first album from Canadian Fiddle player Ashley MacIsaac. This is a crazy rocked up version, but is pretty cool with the highland pipes.
    Those of you who know of Ashley MacIsaac will already know he is far from "traditional" and a wee bit eccentric...

    Check it out.
  8. Rob Gerety
    Rob Gerety
    Marcelyn - I just e mailed the midi to you.

    Here is a link to an mp3 recording of a slow midi of Brenda Stubbert's for the ear learners out there. Its a little rough - but I think its all in there. Ignore the first 2 seconds ---

  9. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    I thought this might be a good excuse to get my waldzither out. So, here is my rough-and-ready runthrough of Brenda Stubbert's, played on my 1925 Zimmermann waldzither, tuned GDAEA. I didn't know this tune before, so this is the best I can manage after a few runthroughs this afternoon.

  10. KeithMcIsaac
    Quick work, Martin! The waldzither rings nicely. Nicer than mine from the same period.
  11. KeithMcIsaac
    This is one of the tunes I learned when I first started playing mandolin to play along with my Dad who is a Cape Breton style fiddler. It has remained one of my reliable go-to tunes.

    Played on my FloodTone mandolin.

    I've also uploaded a group of tunes with Brenda Stubbert's in the middle of the group.
  12. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    Very nice Keith. You wouldn't be related to Dave McIssac, would you?
  13. KeithMcIsaac
    Thanks. Well, I have a brother named Dave but I expect you're referring to the Cape Breton musician Dave MacIsaac. I'm not related to him as far as I know though my family did come from Cape Breton several generations back.
  14. Martin Whitehead
    Martin Whitehead
    Wow! Well done, Keith. Thanks for posting that!
  15. Manfred Hacker
    Manfred Hacker
    Thanks for the excellent demonstration, Keith
  16. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Keith, thanks for your comments on my version, and for your great demonstration of how the tunes sounds played at session speed.

  17. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    This is a totally new, and mesmerizing tune for me! I've almost got it memorized, but will have to wait a few days till things calm down around here, and I can use my daughter's webcam, and try to record it. I'm having a time missing the triplets, and I think it's because I've gotten so used to playing my Collings with my Blue Chip Pick, and I've got my Mid-Missouri, which is a great mando, but I'm thinking the fretboard is flat, and the Collings is radius, and I've got an old pick in the smaller shape... the A strings seem to be lower than they are on my Collings...
  18. KeithMcIsaac
    Thanks, all!

    Barbara, I've also noticed that which pick I'm using makes a difference in my ability to hit triplets reliably.
  19. Martin Whitehead
    Martin Whitehead
    Nicely played as usual David.
  20. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Hey David, that was great.... would you share the chords you came up with?
  21. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Nigel Gatherer gives the following chords for Brenda Stubbert's:

    Am/Am/G/C Em/Am/Am/G/Em Am

    Same for the B part.

  22. mikeyes
    About two years before he died, Jerry Holland taught at the Milwaukee Irish Fest and I got a chance to talk with him at length about his music. (I sat in on his fiddle class, if anyone was going to challenge me I was going to say that I was a parent - which is true, just not one of the kids taking the class. No one bothered and Jerry was very gracious.) He was admant that the start of Brenda Stubbert's had to have a triplet the way the McIsaacs' do it here. He said it always bothered him to hear it done otherwise. I pointed out that the tune is so good, probably his best known tune, that there are a multitude of variations. He mentioned that it didn't bother him as much as it used to as he realized that his music was appreciated by so many people.

    I remember him for his passion, his love for his family and his generosity. I have all of his tune books and there is no question about his genius. I urge everyone to consider getting his music.
  23. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Ok, I've got a question. As I am practicing this, and also, as I'm listening to Keith McIsaac's super fast version of this tune, it seems that when you start amping it up, that in the place of the triplets, it's actually 4 or 5 notes being played... does anyone else sense that too?
  24. Manfred Hacker
    Manfred Hacker
    Barbara, I think that it is just the note following the triplet that is of course closer to the triplet at this speed.
    Just a thought. I am sure Keith can clarify that more competently.
  25. mculliton123
    Yes, Barbara, i agree. i finally had to toss out the TABs and try to learn it by ear, the notation doesn't seem to be what is really being played, at least to my ears. in the first full bar i'm thinking i hear a single A just before the triplet, is that what you mean?

  26. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    I think those "triplets" are really short bursts of tremolo, given that they are played on a single note. Keith seems to get four notes into the space, not three. For what it's worth, I used Nigel Gatherer's version here for m video, but I think it's pretty close to the TEF file posted by Barbara.

  27. Rob Gerety
    Rob Gerety
    Jerry wrote it with triplets - and it was written with the fiddle in mind, not the mandolin. Personally, I think tremolo would not be appropriate - given how it is written - and also it just sounds right with triplets to my ear. I know this tune and I heard Jerry play it a few times - but in the past I was always playing back up on guitar and I never learned the melody - until now. Its not easy for me - but no melody is easy for me. I really just started playing melodies about a year ago. Those triplets are hard once you get up in speed. Right now I'm at about 70 bbm (two clicks per measure) but it really needs to be up over 100 for dances. Not sure I'll be getting it up to that speed anytime soon. I'll be happy if I can get it nice and clean at 80.
  28. OldSausage
    Am I going completely mad? Where has David Hansen's version gone?
  29. KeithMcIsaac
    I'm just playing three notes. I originally learned this from Jerry Holland's first book of tunes but I've been playing it for so long I'm certain it has drifted from the way I originally played it.

    To emulate the Cape Breton fiddle style I think it's important to play the triplets as a two 16th notes and an 8th note as shown in the abc notation instead of evenly spaced triplet notes. This is the same as Holland's notes although the abc notes differ at other points. As Rob pointed out, this was written as fiddle tune and this is a standard Cape Breton fiddling device. I think they refer to it as a cut, but I could be wrong on that point. It's not the same as a cut in ITM.
  30. KeithMcIsaac
    You're not mad OS. It's missing from his Youtube channel as well.
  31. Rob Gerety
    Rob Gerety
    Yea, I agree, 2 16th notes and an 8th note. The rhythm of the thing is key. There is a groove in there that makes the whole tune. I wish I could find it!!! If you go to Jerry's official site and scroll down you will find the dots and a recording of Jerry playing the tune. Here is a link - http://www.jerryholland.com/tunes.htm.
  32. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    David Hansen.... I hope you are going to put a video back up of this tune! Even though you were not playing triplets where noted, I thought it sounded great, and was using it as my practice tool... I could play along with it at the speed you were playing! Please, put one back up!
  33. OldSausage
    What Barbara said, please bring it back soon if you can.
  34. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    I've never been to a contra dance, or have I ever experienced Cape Breton fiddlers.... if one were playing this tune for dancers, how many times would you repeat it?
  35. Marcelyn
    I completely agree David. I was confounded by the rhythm of this song until I heard your version. Something about your backup accompaniment and playing helped the song fall together for me.
  36. mikeyes
    That Scottish style/Donegal ornament is not like a banjo triplet and is defintely a fiddle ornament. Randal Bays likens it to flipping snot off of your finger. While this is a graphic image, it fits the motion of the bow. didilly-dah is closer as mentioned above but since it is an ornament it is not just as written. You really need to listen to Jerry Holland play the tune. I still have a hard time getting it at speed.

    Mike Keyes
  37. Rob Gerety
    Rob Gerety
    The length of time you play an individual dance depends on the length of the contra line - but in a typical big dance I'd guess you might play for maybe 10 - 15 minutes or even more. The tunes can get boring when you have to repeat that many times. So usually (not always) you play two - or three - tunes in a set non-stop. This keeps things a little interesting. But even more than that - the skilled bands will vary the tunes in some way - maybe first time through the fiddles will take the melody, then next time the mandolin - the guitar etc. Also, the back up is varied quite a bit - often you will have a basic set of chords and then one or two alternate sets of chords. Also, in the modern dances - the rhythm can change to add interest - you might go from a straight boom chuck sort of thing into a motown or reggae rhythm for one time through if the tune works with it, or you might quiet down and use a drone over the basic chords. The idea is to keep changing otherwise after 8 times through the same tune everyone will be bored to tears. It is challenging and you need to know the tunes cold and be able to play by ear and listen to one another closely so you keep together with the arrangements and the tune changes. Also, keep in mind that the beats per minute is up there - usually around 108 - 120 counting two beats per measure in 4/4 time. It's a work out.

    Barbara - you MUST to go to some contra dances - you will LOVE it. Plus - if you get plugged in there are lots of opportunities to play as well. This is the web site that lists virtually all the dances in the country - just put in the dates and area and type of dance (Contra) and it will tell you when and where there are dances in your area - http://www.thedancegypsy.com/index.php. Here is another source for dances in Iowa - http://www.contradancelinks.com/greatplains.html#Iowa.
  38. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    What I used to really like about this group was that we didn’t have any “tune police” ie people who want to tell you how a tune is supposed to be played. Without that type of constraint the variations in tune interpretations here were truly inspiring. I appreciate the encouragement for my video, sans triplets but in my own defense I purposely sacrificed the triplets for speed. Perhaps one of the “tune police” could offer the group more than an opinion and provide us with an instructional video on how Brenda Stubbert’s is supposed to be played. Maybe then there might be an appreciation for the amount of work that goes into creating videos. We seem to have a lot of posts but only a few videos.
  39. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    What I've really enjoyed, and appreciated (as the 'moderator' of this group) is how we've gone all this time, with everyone 'getting along'.... I understand, David, that you felt your version was being criticized, but I really didn't take it that way. I took it more that Mike was relating his encounter with the person who wrote this tune, and his thoughts on it... You are right, the diversity of this group is one of it's more awesome aspects.... how boring would it be if we posted a tune, and then had 20 videos of it being played exactly the same way? I like the way the OS can make anything sound like bluegrass, and appreciate the fact my feeble attempts at anything bluegrass aren't openly scoffed at!

    This is my first attempt at a Cape Breton styled fiddle tune... and I've never heard this tune before. I'm enjoying learning it.. so much so, that I'm also toying with the idea of trying to learn to play the fiddle!
  40. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Here's something to bring a smile to everyone's face...

    Ecco on Easter.... jelly bean overload~

  41. Rob Gerety
    Rob Gerety
    David, did I offend? If so, I apologize. I certainly didn't intend to be critical. I have huge respect for all your posts and always look forward to them. I feel a bit of a connection with you because I know you play some contra dances as do I. For what its worth I thought your video was excellent and I wish you would put it back up. Someday maybe I'll get the courage to put up a video and I assure you and everyone it won't even come close to your excellent efforts.

    Please accept my apology if I offended.
  42. Rob Gerety
    Rob Gerety
    Here is a video of this tunes namesake - Brenda Stubbert's - playing at the Red Shoe in Mabou Cape Breton. Also some pictures taken at the Red Shoe. Jerry Holland - and all the great Cape Breton players - frequent this wonderful place -

  43. KeithMcIsaac
    Holy heck! I hope it's not ME that's the tune police. I meant that the Cape Breton style ornaments are important IF a person WANTS to emulate the Cape Breton fiddle style but by no means do I think that people are obligated to interpret the tune that way. If everybody played tunes the same way music would get awfully boring.

    Still, I really do not think that a discussion of how to play in a certain style is out of place on this list. I know for certain that the few bluegrass tunes I have attempted didn't wind up sounding like bluegrass but I would have no problem with people discussing how get that bluegrass sound. This is especially true if other members ASK about the approach someone takes in their video as was the case here.
  44. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    You know, it's not getting the 3 notes right that is the hard part... it's hitting the 2nd beat of the measure as a down stroke that is hard. When I'm doing it slow, it's not a problem (2 sixteenths & 1 eighth), but up to speed, I tend to hit 4 sixteenth notes (DUDU) for the first beat, so that the 2nd beat is a down stroke...
  45. Martin Whitehead
    Martin Whitehead
    Aww, what a precious little girl with jelly-bean juice trickling down her chin. Have you started her on mandolin yet?
  46. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Martin, thanks! I was hoping someone would comment on her! She's just 2 1/2, and is very interested in playing the mandolin. She sits in my lap, insists the strap goes around her shoulder, but really wants to play it flat like a mountain dulcimer... we're working on it, though! In my travels, I've found a Kiddie-Mo.... a smaller model of a Mid-Mo (not a whole lot were made, I don't think), so I've got one ready for her as soon as she's ready!
  47. mculliton123
    Yeah, Barbara, that's why I love the grandchildren SO much, ya can spoil them with jelly-beans and music and love, then give 'em back to Mom!!!! haha
    "Where did you get the jelly-beans?"

  48. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Interesting, Barb, that about innocent-looking* Ecco wanting to play the mandolin flat. My first instrument as a little boy was a local German relative of the dulcimer called Schmalzither. Maybe slide guitar players are the really young at heart?

    * reminds me a bit of Wednesday Addams: "I haven't seen uncle Fester's vampire bat"
    Also reminds me of my own cute little daughter, who suddenly grew 18 overnight and announced she had a boyfriend - I'm still working on coming to terms. It's all too fast.
  49. mculliton123
    Bertram, yes it happens too fast but, actually, we have truely enjoyed the 'empty-nest' years. it's like a second honey-moon. after you pay the last of the college tuition or that wedding you suddenly get your life back. Don't get me wrong, i wouldn't trade my children for the world. but, now that they are raising their own families we can relax, travel, play golf, well, you get the picture. plus the grandkids are a Bonus!!
    AND, whilst watching the Master's on TV......PANTS OPTIONAL!!!!!

  50. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Barbara --

    My daughter (who turns four next week) got a ukulele for her third birthday, which I restrung and retuned GDAE using Aquila nylgut strings for fifths tuning. She enjoys strumming it, although the concept of fretting is alien to her, and she always has it flat on her lap when strumming. I think the "proper" position facing away from the player is counterintuitive for the little ones.

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