Week #537 ~ Sunset over Ayr

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  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Happy New Year 2021!!

    The winner of this week's poll was Sunset Over Ayr, submitted as a Scottish waltz.

    Here's notation on abcnotation.com

    When doing a YouTube search for this tune, almost all the hits are from Mandolin Cafe SAW members! That led me to do a search here, and found that it was originally submitted as an other tune here back in 2014.

    Here is that discussion. It contains several different videos our members have contributed over the years.

    Please submit any videos henceforth, to this discussion, and I'll make sure to link the two together!
  2. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Thanks for putting this one up for vote Barbara, it is a lovely tune.
  3. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    This is a tune I learned from one of Evelyn's arrangements -- I don't know how she came across it, as it appears to be really very obscure with few if any commercial recordings. However, it is absolutely gorgeous, especially with Evelyn's harmonies. Most of the usual suspects recorded this only a few months ago, in the other thread linked by Barbara above. Here is my recording from last May (a re-make of an earlier 2014 recording):

    1921 Gibson Ajr mandolin (x2)
    Suzuki MC-815 mandocello
    Vintage Viaten tenor guitar

  4. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    A fine addition to the other entries, Martin.
  5. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    Very nice, Martin. Nice tremolo and backing make it very professional.
  6. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    As Ginny said, sounds very professional, Martin!
    Listening to the versions in the other thead, they sometimes use instruments like whistle or flute.
    I play only plucked string instruments and my usual combination is classical guitar and mandolin.
    But for my version of this beautiful tune, I tried to play the melody on my cheap tenor guitar:
  7. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Once again you have produced a beautiful arrangement of a lovely tune, Christian. The tenor carries the melody well and your arpeggio guitar backing is especially well played and tasteful.
    I loved the pictures, and the last one of Ailsa Craig and The Heads of Ayr is a view I can get from near my home!
  8. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, Christian -- sounding very good on the tenor!

    Thanks also for the nice words about my recording. To avoid confusion, this is the same recording from last May as already posted in the other thread, not a new recording.

    For those interested in Evelyn's arrangement, it's in the second volume of her "Big Book For Mandolins", available from Amazon: Link.

    Her notes on the tune are:

    "Sunset over Ayr" is a beautiful waltz thought to be Scottish in origin. Ayr is a port located on the Firth of Clyde in southwest Scotland. I am unaware of any print sources of the tune, other than regional band collections. However, it appears in the Nottingham Folk Music Database (www.cs.nott.ac.uk/~ef/music/tunes/) as well as in John Chambers’ ABC tune finder (trillian.mit.edu/~jc/cgi/abc/tunefind). On the Nottingham Folk Music Database, the source given for this tune is Bryon Bonnett. I inquired of Bonny Sartin, a member of The Yetties English folk music band, for information she might have on the tune’s origin. She replied: “Bryon Bonnett did play with members of The Yetties as The Ranters Dance Band back in the early 1960s. He did write quite a few tunes so I suspect it is one of his. He died some years ago and I'm not in contact with his children but I suspect he would be delighted if you used his tune.”

  9. Gelsenbury
    Very nice, Christian! That slide at the beginning and the occasional chords suit the tune very well. You played this with a lot of feeling, and as a result the recording is super nice.
  10. Frithjof
    If it hadn’t happened before, your recording would make me love this tune, Christian.
  11. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Beautiful all!
  12. Callum Murray
    Callum Murray
    I enjoyed listening to all the versions both on the old thread and this new one. It is such a lovely tune to learn. Here's my version for solo mandolin.

  13. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Such an enjoyable solo version, Callum. Great tune and a lovely blend of solo, double stops and chordal work. Sorry you only played it through once!
  14. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Beutiful solo arrangement with those bass notes and chords, Callum!
  15. Pierpaolo S.
    Pierpaolo S.
    I enjoed all these recordings.
    This is mine with mandolin guitar melodica and bass.
    Short but hopefully sweet.

  16. Jairo Ramos Parra
    Jairo Ramos Parra
    Pierpaolo, that's really beautiful
  17. Frithjof
    Callum – you fond a nice way to play the tune solo on mandolin.
    Pierpaolo – you recorded an enjoyable version with your instruments.
  18. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Good choice of instruments, Pierpaolo, and a fine arrangement and playing. As I said to Callum above, I would have liked to hear you play this lovely tune at least once more.
  19. phb256

    I thought I'd give this one a shot on my mandocello.
  20. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Two nice new versions: Pierpaolo's mandolin rendition with melodica and bass harmonies and phb256's big mandocello.
  21. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Callum: That's a really nice solo mandolin arrangement -- I really like the way the harmony notes fill the gaps in the melody notes and the very clear voice leading between melody and harmony. As John said, another repetition would have been nice.

    Pierpaolo: Very different but equally lovely treatment. Great to hear the melodica which gives it a very nice texture. I need to learn some non-plucked instuments.

    phb256: Good to see another mandocello here -- yours looks to be a longer scale than mine. Great depth of tone! Have you tried playing the tune a bit higher in the instrument's register, e.g. a fifth higher (same fingering but use the next higher string for every note)? Melody playing on the low C of the mandocello is tricky.

  22. Frithjof
    Well done on the mandocello, Paul. The dark tone suits the tune.
  23. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    phb256, an interesting delivery on the mando cello. That instrument certainly gets low in the register! I would love to hear you putting in drones or double stops on this tune to hear how it might sound then -or maybe (dare I mention this?) bring it up in register by using a capo? I have been listening on headphones as well as on the laptop's own speakers.
  24. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Well done Callum, I really like the way you use the double stops and sort of alternating bass. If you could make it five times longer that would be great!

    Pierpaolo very nice, Great balance between the instruments, very smooth, and that melodica sounds great.

    Phb256 Nice to see a new instrument, and well played, have you tried listening to some of the Greek bouzouki players? They have a technique for very fast left hand movements on long scaled instruments. Thanks for posting this.

    John, capo?
  25. phb256
    Thanks for the nice comments, everyone. I've been experimenting with double stops, but it pushes the limits of my dexterity. I will look into bouzouki players. I don't feel like I have a lot to go by in figuring this instrument out.
  26. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    phb256: As John said, the mandocello is great for drones. Play double stops with adjacent open strings, or in fifths or fourths, or exploit the superior sustain of the 'cello to let notes ring on to build up layered harmonies while you play the next melody note on a different string. I played around with a few simple ideas like that in my solo mandocello version of "March Of The King Of Laois" last year (link).

  27. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Here’s a bass line track to help in learning.
    You basically play the root note of the chord for each measure and then a pattern (with waltz) of it’s third or fifth.
    -note that the third and fifth is almost always in the same RELATIVE position depending on if it’s a major or minor chord.
    And it’s relatively easy to learn just the root notes of the key of G major to start with, along with the relative jumps.

    The notation: http://abcnotation.com/tunePage?a=ab...ltzes.txt/0046
    The bassline of 1,3,5 : https://www.bandlab.com/revisions/0f...7-0050f28a2802

    -actually this is kind of important, I might do a vid on this tomorrow.

    Good luck!!
  28. Gelsenbury
    That mandocello has a very nice sound. We have a nice variety here now.
  29. Callum Murray
    Callum Murray
    Thanks for the comments everyone. My next video I'll play the tune a few times through
    Nice playing phb256 and Pierpaolo. Good to hear it played on the melodica and mandocello.
  30. Frithjof
    I posted a video of this beautiful waltz in the other thread in October when I played it spontaneous with the family of my brother-in-law. I decided to record a new version as it is an official tune of the week now.

  31. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Good choice of instruments and a fine arrangement, Frithjof. Very well played too!
  32. Pierpaolo S.
    Pierpaolo S.
    Very nice sound and arrangement, Frithjof, I like your band!
  33. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Simon, I just had a listen to your bassline over on Bandlab and it seems to be in 4/4 time whereas Sunset Over Ayr is a waltz, in 3/4 time. This might cause some problems for anyone trying to learn the tune while following your track?
  34. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Thanks John, I think it’s the fact that there’s little or no emphasis on each third beat.
    With a waltz jazz drumbeat behind it then it sounds fine, I’ll add that.

    Usually with chord strumming the time signature is obvious because there is a 1,3,5 in each chord which make each measure exclusive. With a bassline it’s difficult to discern chord changes -and therefore measure time signatures.
    This is why jazz musicians love it.
    (I’m not a jazz musician)

    Oooooooooh noooooooo! Now I feel really bad.
    Just listened to it and it IS the 4/4 time version after all!

    Ok it’s sorted out. Here it is slowed down and using 1,3,5 of each chord for each measure, definitely waltz time and tempo Enjoy!

    I do have other bass riffs like one FIVE SIX one And ONE five seven one (Capitals is octave below)
    The idea is to see that these patterns, on the fretboard, are VERY similar no matter what chord arpeggio you are playing, it’s just the root that changes.
  35. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, Frithjof -- that sounds really nice! What's the instrumentation?

    Simon: I think 150bpm is a bit fast for this tune.

  36. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Lovely Frithjof, you still have nice accompaniment.
  37. Frithjof
    Thanks John, Pierpaolo, Martin and Simon.

    As shown in the video I recorded the tune with my old mandolin build in the Vogtland/Saxony. I doubled the melody with long scale bouzouki and English concertina and accompanied it on my classic guitar build by a local luthier, Matthias Voigt.

    Due to corona lockdown that's all me playing the instruments now.
    All instruments recorded with a Samson C03U condenser microphone via USB into Audacity. I used OpenShot as video editor.

    I feel that the 120 bpm I used are certainly fast enough for this tune.
  38. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Thanks Martin, it was because I had five versions of the bassline for this tune and accidentally posted the fast 4/4 version (that I’d been practicing for other reasons).
    Also I have a very slow internet connection at the moment so updates will take time.
  39. Michael Romkey
    Michael Romkey
    This is a pretty tune. Great job Frithjof. And everybody. I really like the mandocello version. I need a bit more time but here's a two-coffee version, along with Sunset on the Erne, which I started working on thinking it was the same thing as Sunset Over Ayr. I'm not sure if they sound similar to me because they are, or just because they're waltzes. The B part of Erne is a bit tricky. I've omitted the epic fail versions and accompanying cursing.

  40. Frithjof
    Thanks, Mike.
    Two cool sunsets by yourself. I like your chord melody of Sunset over Ayr including natural harmonic. Did you write out your version or are you playing to the basic melody?
  41. Jairo Ramos Parra
    Jairo Ramos Parra
    Frithjof, that's really beautiful too!
  42. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Two new sunsets, one with tasteful concertina and guitar accompaniment, the other a fine chord melody treatment!
  43. Gelsenbury
    Frithjof, I think this may be your best recording yet. The arrangement works really well, and all instruments add something beautiful and unique. Personally, I like this tune a bit slower still (my own version can be found in the old thread), but you have achieved a very tight and professional sound here.
  44. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Interesting pairing of the two, Mike. The Sunset on the Erne is a new one to me, and one I would like to play, having heard your version above.
  45. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Quite beautiful Frithjof, enjoyable performance.
    And thanks Mike, pioneering those double stops, it’s actually nice to see all the hard work that goes into these tunes. Makes us appreciate the effort we all go through.
    John, I did a search for ‘sunset’ on abcnotation and there are more than sixty entries for all sorts of different daylight extinguishing events.
  46. Michael Romkey
    Michael Romkey
    Thank you, all. Frithjof, I didn’t write out an arrangement per se. These days I am making more of an effort to pay attention to the chords that go along with the music, which is easier if they’re in the lead sheet. (There are a lot of Gs that I would interpret as Em, for example, but that’s probably just an oddity of how I hear things.) For a long time I didn’t care at all what the chords were — I just wanted to play all those 1/8 notes as fast as possible. Meh! I could stick to the melody, but I feel as if one valid approach is to work some of the chords into the piece to make if fuller and create some variety if playing solo. I love everybody’s multi-track versions with guitars and other instruments. I’d like to do more of that. ... I took an online class with John Reishman a month or so back on the subject of melodic double stops. It’s kind of an interesting exercise to, for example, find some of the G, C and D double stops are on the neck for a tune in G, and then see where the melody fits around those double stops on various spots on the fretboard — not as an exotic musical way to torture yourself, but to see how chords and melody fit together, and find ways to improvise and change things up in small and tasteful ways.
  47. Frithjof
    Thanks to Jairo, Christian and Dennis for the nice comments.

    Thanks, Mike, for sharing your thoughts.
    I play mandolin solo/alone most time. Therefore, I would like to include some chords and double stops in my playing. Maybe I should give this exercise a try.
  48. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Mike Romkey recently posted his version of Sunset Over Ayr, along with another waltz that was new to me, Sunset on the Erne, a lovely Irish composition by Fermanagh accordion player Jim McGrath, whose creations deserve a much wider audience than he seems to get.

    I liked the tune so much I browsed for notation (which I transposed to G major) and created this slow version of the waltz, on mando, octave, guitar and piano. You can find Jim himself playing the tune on YouTube, and at a faster tempo than I have it here. I just thought it merited the slow treatment.

    Thanks for bringing it to my notice, Mike.

  49. Frithjof
    What a lovely recording it is, John.
    Your style of arrangement and playing suits this waltz – and vice versa.
    Thanks for the hint to Jim McGrath.
  50. Michael Romkey
    Michael Romkey
    Wow, John, that is lovely! That arpeggio in the B section always grabs me. Nicely done.
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