The Hills of Mull

  1. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    This slow air was written by Mull accordion player Calum MacLean and is one of my favourite airs with its very Gaelic feel. Played on mandolin with mandolin harmony track for the second time round and guitar backing.

    Pictures taken three days ago on Loch Eck near my home. I have not managed to visit Mull for a considerable time now, but at least we are in the same county of Argyll!

  2. Frankdolin
    Really beautiful and relaxing tune, played the same way. The beauty of that area is just stunning! We are a lucky species.
  3. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    Very relaxing and so gently presented. Love the harmony.
  4. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    John, how fortunate you are to live surrounded by such beauty. My husband and I took a land tour through Scotland 3 years ago. The scenery was amazing.

    Do I hear double stops throughout most of the melody in this piece? I enjoyed the mandolin harmony.
  5. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks, all of you. I always feel so lucky to live where I do here in Argyll. Apart from my student years in Glasgow I have never lived in any other place nor have I wanted to. How's that for a lack of ambition!

    Sherry, no double stops on the mandolin. The harmony part was added after the melody track was recorded, then the guitar backing added in by listening to the two mando tracks on my headphones while recording the guitar. I almost always have an intro on the lead track, a few bars from the melody or a strummed chord, to give me a count-in for the harmony and backing tracks. You will see and hear other posters using similar or different count-ins - Martin Jonas regularly plays a repeated note at the start of his tunes to count himself in.What you are hearing will be arpeggio notes and phrases which at times will coincide with melody notes from the mandolin tracks. The guitar track is almost all finger-picked single note phrases using the chord shapes to provide the notes. The tune is in key of D major and I used a capo at the second fret, so my D major is played as a C major shape, B minor as an A minor and so on.
  6. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Exquisite, John
    -oh, the life of the artist/musician is an ambitious adventure!
  7. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    Lovely and peaceful sounding John, just the ticket as I sit here with a cuppa taking a wee break from farm chores!
  8. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks, Simon and Jill. A wee cuppa's just the thing to punctuate the farm chores, Jill. Hope you can find the time to record something for us soon!
  9. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Very nicw recording John. Your mandolin sounds great. (Or is it all in the player's hand?)
  10. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks, Christian. I try to get the sound set up as well as I can for each recording. I like the sound I can get from the Rode NT1-a microphone which is my usual choice. I set it about 15 inches from the instrument and pointing at the neck join, and aim to get the loudest parts between -6 and -3 decibels to avoid distortion. I really need to change the strings on the mandolin soon too.
  11. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    So peaceful it makes a lion purr on your knee. So beautiful it makes a blackbird hush in shame.
  12. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    My goodness, Bertram, you have such a way with words! Thank you kindly, kind sir.
  13. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Pure poetry, Bertram. Are these words for Billy’s new song?
    Sounds like part of an opera.
  14. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Ah, Simon, Billy and poetry exist in different universes. I save poetry for those who deserve it
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