Week #547 ~ Song of the Seashore

  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    This week's winner is Song of the Seashore, which was submitted as a Japanese waltz. I'm not familiar with it.

    I see that it's also called Hamabe Na Uta. If anyone can link to notation, that would be great!

  2. Frithjof
  3. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Thanks Frithjof!
    It’s here too, if anyone has a computer to download the .abc file...
  4. JL277z
    Barbara wrote: "If anyone can link to notation, that would be great!"

    I have notation and mandolin tab in the key of G, as well as my try at playing it (with my usual suspect chords). I will post both those things here tonight when I get back to my computer (using phone right now).

    Meanwhile, for those of you who can handle the key of Ab (not me!), IMSLP has standard notation in the original keys of Ab (and also F). That Ab version was what I used for the source of my G version.

    EDIT: Oops, I see Frithjof and I were posting links to IMSLP at the same time.
  5. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Tamezō Narita (1893-1945): Hamabe no Uta (Song Of The Seashore)

    This is a Japanese song in waltz time, written in 1916 and made popular in the West by James Galway's 1979 recording. I have played it on mandolin and tenor guitar, using our group's own arrangement, which is in the more mandolin-friendly keys of G and C major. I'll dig out the leadsheet and post it.

    Mid-Missouri M-0W mandolin
    Vintage Viaten tenor guitar

  6. Frithjof
    Thanks, Martin. You give us a nice example how to play this beautiful waltz on mandolin.
  7. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, Frithjof.

    Here is the score, from our own arrangement: Link.

    I'm posting the first mandolin part only -- we also have a harmony part, but it's not in my repertoire folder. The chords are:

    Intro: Play melody unison with mandolin for first six bars, then two bars of G.
    Melody in G: G G C C G G D7 D7 G G C C G D G G D D+ G G C C (DG) D G G C C7 G D7 G G
    Melody in C: C C F F C C G7 G7 C C F F C G7 C C G G+ C C G G (GC) G C C F F7 C G7 C C

  8. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Well played, Martin. It is a very wistful tune. Thanks for posting the notation too.

    I assume the traffic sounds on your recording are a sign that the Covid restrictions are easing a bit in your area down south?
  9. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, John. Yes, that and the fact that I'm playing in the front garden which is closer to the traffic than my previous patio recording.

  10. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Very nice version Martin! And with the right chords. I found an arrangement at Everyonepiano that has a and e minor chords.https://www.everyonepiano.com/Piano-5773.html At least I added the augmented chord. Here's the result:
  11. JL277z
    Very nice versions, Martin and Christian!

    Here's the key of G Song Of The Seashore mandolin tab and chords I worked out from the 1916 IMSLP piano score. The large-font chord names are what I would suppose would suffice as easier alternatives to the fancier chords (shown in parentheses in a smaller font) which seem suggested by the piano notes.

    Here's me trying to play it:

    (or direct link)

    Seems like all the pro recording artists always choose their own set of chords to use, so as with anything chord-related, there may be more than one correct way.

    Christian wrote: "e minor chords"

    Now that's interesting. I had not even thought of that, but it makes sense. That might explain why a couple of my measures of G seemed to still need a little something, maybe they should be Em instead. I was perhaps a little mis-led by the composer's piano bass line, which doesn't always contain the root of the chord, even though his arpeggios don't leave too much doubt as to what a suitable chord name would be. G and Em are so similar, as I should know by now because I've played enough Irish music over the years, but somehow I missed that possibility in this tune.

    My 105 bpm tempo is a bit at the upper end of the composer's specified "andantino" range, which a Wikipedia page says is "80–108 bpm".

    A Google-translated Japanese Wikipedia page says that "Narita wrote a song on the rhythm of the Viennese waltz that was popular at the time". Waltzes were always dance music, as far as I know, so I don't feel guilty about playing this tune at 105 bpm. Sometimes dancing is a good way to get past the blues anyway.
  12. Frithjof
    Two well played versions by Christian and Jess.
    Thanks to all for making accessible the different sheet music the work with.
  13. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Two more excellent versions here, Christian and Jess, and I like both of your arrangements very much. Your chords look just right for this tune, Jess; the G major and E minor are virtually interchangeable and if you make it G6 then it shares the same four notes with Em7 (G, B, D and E). The tune is a great one to put visuals against, as your two videos demonstrate.
  14. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Three lovely versions. The ukulele sounds great Jess, like a Hawaiian song. (Also, it’s fine to just copy the first verse and paste it as the second - no problem! )
  15. Frithjof
    Wow, Simon, you are soooo smart!
  16. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Thanks everyone and a big BAVO!! to Jess for her fine version of this Japanese waltz. What bothered me a bit in the chord progression found at Everyonpiano was the a minor chord. If you play a C major instead, the a in the melody adds the sixth to a simple C major chord, giving the C6 a little gentle friction that lacks in an a minor chord. The a minor works too well. Sometimes, music needs a little friction.
  17. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Ha, ha, Frithjof what DO you mean? I have to admit I’ve done that a couple of times (only) with bass or backing octave when I had reached 2.30 am...

    Actually listening to Jess’ version again, I really like the fade out, it could be a bit more gradual but I really like that feeling of a distant memory moving on. Well done Jess!
  18. Gelsenbury
    That's a fast start on this tune! Well done, everyone.
  19. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Very nice recordings, Christian and Jess.

    Jess: yours has a bit of a country & western feeling to my ears, rather than the Celtic flavour of most recorded versions (influenced by James Galway) -- I like that, gives it a new direction.

    Interesting that most of the scores linked here are notated in 6/8 time. I've always seen it as a waltz, and it certainly sounds like one.

    No minor chords in our settings!

  20. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Here is my attempt at this lovely tune. Played on octave with guitar, piano and bass accompaniment. I used Martin's notation complete with his intro and the chords with some alterations, including minors, from Jess's score. I did not repeat the tune but instead changed key from G to C (as suggested by Martin's notation) for the second time round. Second melody line and fill-ins done on my Telecaster guitar (after watching Jess's Strat in her video!)

    Video clips taken this afternoon on the shoreline of the Firth of Clyde near my home.

  21. Frithjof
    You did a very beautiful recording of this lovely waltz. I love the tone of your octave mandolin. Interesting how the Telecaster sings to/with it.
  22. Gelsenbury
    That counter-melody works very well, John. You are bringing some of your instrument collection to bear here.
  23. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Very nice John, I like the balance of instruments here.
    I watched it on my iPhone, turned it to landscape view and was suddenly surprised to hear it in sterio!
  24. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks, all three of you. It is a tune that grows on you the more you play it.

    Interesting to read your comment about the iPhone and the stereo effect, Simon. I had never thought about the effect of hearing a video in landscape rather than portrait configuration! I had the octave and bass centred in the mix and the piano panned 45% left and Telecaster 45% right. I mix using both headphones and studio monitors and realise that listening on a phone or on laptop speakers can give a very different sound quality, often sacrificing the bass.
  25. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    I already wrote it on Youtube, I really like your version of this Japanese waltz, John.
  26. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    I’ve only just realised I get that effect on the iPhone because the software sends left speaker tracks to the bottom speaker on the phone and right speaker tracks to the headset. It’s a tiny home cinema
    -I miss the rest of the audience though.

    ´Feed the birds’! Mary Poppins
    I knew this tune reminded me of another one.
  27. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks for comments on both YT and here, Christian. Much appreciated.
    I wonder if Apple have thought of bringing out an iPhone that dispenses popcorn, Simon? Then the cinema effect would be complete. I can picture you settled in under your favourite recording tree with the phone, enjoying the popcorn and the film.
  28. JL277z
    Super nice, John! Love the Telecaster too, nicely chosen notes, very sweet!

    Now going back a bit, since I've been MIA here for a couple days...
    Thanks Christian, Frithjof, Gelsenbury, John, Martin, and Simon, for the kind words!

    Christian wrote: "music needs a little friction."

    I agree. I've come to appreciate its usefulness, in small quantities.

    But I didn't think so when I was younger. I remember complaining to my piano teacher about why were there so many 'clashy' notes, I didn't see any reason for them. She tried to explain about 'tension' and so forth, in music. Some of the exercise pieces did seem to overdo the "play two adjacent notes at the same time for almost the entire tune" thing though, they didn't ever seem to resolve to anything, as I vaguely recall.

    Who knows, maybe that was the musical equivalent of old-fashioned typing classes where they had you do 30 minutes per day of exercises of words containing letters typed completely with only one hand (without looking at the typewriter even once, of course), or other exercises of an entire page full of numbers, or other exercises consisting entirely of words that contained 'difficult' letter combinations seldom encountered in real life, just as training. My school had manual (non-electric) typewriters that had long key-presses that you had to put some pressure onto, and most students required those types of training exercises to get the finger muscles and coordination built up, especially pinky fingers, so the fingers would cooperate. Already playing music was an advantage in typing class though, as far as finger coordination.

    Martin wrote: "Interesting that most of the scores linked here are notated in 6/8 time. I've always seen it as a waltz, and it certainly sounds like one."

    Yeah. When I was putting the IMSLP notes into MuseScore, the first thing I did was swap out 6/8 for 3/4. 3/4 is easier for me to read and visualize (not as many flags and beams or whatever those things are called, I forget now). I can handle reading 6/8 for jigs though, got used to that.

    For users of the iReal Pro chord-chart and backing app:

    FWIW, I made chord charts for this song (matches the notation I posted here earlier) and put them on the iReal Pro site, so those charts are now accessible via the app. There had previously been no entry at all for this song. Took me like forever to get the posting to work right though. With the sound settings I used (can be changed in the app), the iRealPro MIDI playback sounds like this - note that it always adds one extra measure at the end of each song:

    Fortunately, playing/reading iReal Pro charts, is a lot easier than writing the darn things.

    So, if you're using the iReal Pro app to access their forums to find new chord charts, just type "Song Of The Seashore" into the search box, then go to that page and then skip *past* the first 8 posts (the first eight posts are irrelevant/outdated - I was having problems posting, earlier), go to the 9th post which has the updated chord charts. You can download and modify/change them as you wish.

    For those already comfortable with editing/writing iReal Pro charts, if you want to add your own chord charts for this song there, that would be cool. Everyone's chords here at Song-a-Week, for this tune, sound very nice, IMO. If you're willing to share your chords with the world, that could be helpful to a lot of people in the future trying to play this song. Always good to have plenty of options!

    I think (?) the usual iReal Pro procedure is to append a new post onto an existing thread for a song. Although I could be wrong, since I'm a total newbie there - as the mod was quite happy to point out during my initial tries at posting there, which kinda ticked me off (yes, mod, of course I'd read the documentation, I might be stupid but I'm not entirely clueless), anyway (figuring that the mod probably meant well) I managed to exercise remarkable self-control and prevented my itchy fingers from typing something rash.

    Personally, I don't use iReal Pro for much, but I can see its usefulness and it seems to have a large user base of people who like it. Kinda like TablEdit in that regard, I seldom use that either (I prefer MuseScore for writing everything nowadays), but I will write using TablEdit format if there's reason to believe there's a need for it.
  29. JL277z
    Simon wrote: "Also, it's fine to just copy the first verse and paste it as the second - no problem!"

    Lol well I haven't ever done that (would be impossible to pull off without camera cutaways or just no video at all), but even if I'd wanted to, it wouldn't have done me any good in this case because the problem was the mandolin, not the uke. I couldn't get through the mandolin part much more than once without some ridiculous flub ruining the take.

    Probably the errors were from experimenting with too much improv without being familiar enough with both the melody and the chordal structure that I'd chosen. I can "get away with" straying from the prescribed melody (i.e., making stuff up *while* I'm playing) *if* I know the tune so well I can play it in my sleep, so to speak. But I haven't got sufficient practice hours in, yet, on this tune, to be able to *consistently* play it acceptably while at the same time doing my favorite thing of letting fingers wander around the fretboard for various riffs and whatnot. Some of my impromptu things work, some don't, but it took me about 15 takes just to finally get one good take.

    I finally just resigned myself to having a short video. (I'd already made up my mind I was going to record all the instruments that same morning, as it's a bit of a hassle getting the camcorder set up, so I wanted to get all the recordings done in one sitting.) I'd recorded the mandolins first. So when it came time to record the uke, I already knew I had only once-through the tune on the mandolins, so I bailed from the uke after only once through the tune.

    Later, when putting all the instruments together in my video app, I liked the effect (as you stated) of letting the mandolins and guitar trail off into the ether even after their companion instruments had dropped out - the mandolins and guitar seemed to be doing well enough on their own. So instead of my original plan to trim that part off, I thought it better to just let it run for a bit. Would have been a slower fade, I agree with you that a slower fade would have been nicer, but there were Wrong Notes coming up, had to fade out before then. Anyway, as you mentioned, it's appropriate to the song I guess, if I'm understanding the Google-translated lyrics correctly.
  30. Frithjof
    I played this beautiful waltz on my Vogtland mandolin in low and high register (all first position) accompanied by Thuringian Waldzither.
    Bouzouki and English concertina join in later.

    No seashore close enough to my home. Therefore I used some free footage and a sound track of waves.

  31. Gelsenbury
    That's really nice with the seaside sound effects in the background. Your collection of instruments looks and sounds great.
  32. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    This is a beautiful arrangement of this lovely tune, Frithjof. One of your very best performances, I'd say, and the video clips help to enhance the effect. Great work.
  33. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    All these versions, so slightly different and personal, I am enjoying them all and am only sorry I missed out on this one - although I may catch the wave (haha - pun) after all is said and done. (am working on two with Emory right now - taking up much of my time)
  34. Frithjof
    Thanks, Dennis, John and Ginny.
  35. JL277z
    Excellent, Frithjof!
  36. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Best so far Frithjof! Like an orchestra performance.
  37. Frithjof
    Thanks, Jess and Simon.

    Like you recognized I transposed the tune in C - by two reasons:
    - More convenience on the concertina.
    - I wanted to use the bordun C of my Thuringian Waldzither as often as possible. Another common tuning of a Waldzither is in G (called “Bergmannsstimmung” = “miners tuning”) but unfortunately I own only one such instrument…
  38. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Somehow, I must have missed Frithjof's verslon. Or did I write a comment on Youtube? Anyway, very fine music Frlthjof!
  39. Frithjof
    Thanks, Christian. (you did...)
  40. JL277z
    I made some minor edits to the sheet music file I posted earlier (June 7) in this thread. Same link as before, but new updated file there now. The differences are in the formatting and the text, not the music itself (same notes, same chords).

    Changes include:

    - Fixed typo in IMSLP web address (I'd somehow deleted the last character).
    - Made page numbers larger, for easier reading without squinting.
    - Fixed description (changed the word "transcribed" to the more accurate "transposed" which is what I'd intended to have there in the first place, don't know how I got those two words mixed up).
    - Tidied up formatting in piano bars 33 and 35, for clarity (editorial judgment).

    Hopefully no new errors were introduced during the process of fixing the old ones.

    Frithjof wrote: "Another common tuning of a Waldzither is in G (called "Bergmannsstimmung" = "miners tuning") but unfortunately I own only one such instrument..."

    I understand. I remember way back, many years ago, among my regularly-played instruments were 3 fiddles and 5 banjos - one instrument for each of the common tunings I was using at the time. It was more than just convenience, it also helped the instruments' structural stability to not have to be putting them through a bunch of string-tension changes all the time.

    Nowadays, while I feel fortunate to have even just one of a species of instrument, still though in an ideal world I would have 3 mandolins because there are 3 different mandolin tunings I would like to plunk around with but I seldom do because retuning is a nuisance (takes awhile for an instrument to settle in and stay in tune after drastic retunings, also bridge placement can be an issue). So with just one mandolin, I keep it tuned to normal GDAE. I (sometimes) miss the other tunings though. Sort-of more 'open' tunings such as AEAE (for tunes in the key of A) or ADAE (for tunes in the key of D) have a nice 'ring' to them, which regular GDAE tuning doesn't. Normally that GDAE lack of 'ring' or lack of excessive sympathetic resonance, is a *good* thing, but there are some tunes where the effect is useful/desirable. There were a couple of other different fiddle tunings (besides just AEAE and ADAE) that I used back then for certain groups of tunes, but I don't remember now what they were.
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