Maggie West's Waltz

  1. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    This is a Scottish waltz composed by one of our finest young musicians, accordionist Mairearad Green from Coigach in Ross-shire. She wrote this tune for her grandmother.

    Mairearad has a lovely version of her tune on YouTube playing along with her sister Eilean on fiddle and her cousin Rachel Newton on harp.

    My version is played on mandolin with guitar backing.

  2. Frankdolin
    Beautiful John! I listened last night on YT and loved it. Another add to my learn list. Like wishing for Simons beat keeping skills, I wish I could smile like you while I play.
  3. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Níce waltz. beautifully played, John! Do you record without headphones?
  4. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    What a lovely waltz and lovely playing as well John!
  5. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    A nice little gem, thanks John.
  6. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks so much, all of you. It is a very catchy tune that really seems to want to be played!, and it has a great lift to it.

    Christian, you ask about whether I wear headphones while recording. Generally yes, adding tracks as I progress. For this one I had recorded the mandolin lead then put on the headphones to record the guitar backing. Maybe you can see the two REAPER tracks on the laptop screen in my video. I then just removed my headphones and turned the monitor speakers up; you can see the right hand speaker in the video. I started the camcorder, sat down in my seat then pressed PLAY on the laptop and just played the mandolin melody along to the mix. The camcorder picks up the live sound from my mandolin and also the sound from the speakers. When I have finished filming I render the REAPER mix to mp3 then load this along with the camera footage into my video editing program, lining up the REAPER track with the camcorder's sound track - this done visually and aurally. I can then delete the camcorder sound track and sort the start and finish of the video and add in credits.
  7. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    A beautiful tune John, sweetly played as usual. I like your production explanation - too many times I see people just wing it and it sounds as though no effort has been put into making a MC/YT post. I wish more people could see what it takes to put something like this together.
  8. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks, Ginny. I always feel it is important to try to post something that folk will appreciate has had a bit of effort put into its making. The SAW group seems to encourage this when you see the high quality of the offerings here.
  9. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Very lovely playing and a great tune. Your mandolin keeps sounding better and better. How old is it now?
  10. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    Michael - years ago I asked John about making me a mandolin and octave - but apparently it's the Scottish climate and the tone woods he uses that gives his instruments such tone. Maybe also he's a good player - lol. The woods he used would not stand a North American climate.
  11. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Hi Ginny! I live in Beaumont, California in the mountain pass between Palm Springs and the Inland Empire and our desert climate is extremely rough on instruments. We have low humidity and high temperatures most of the time, however, when the sun goes down the temperature drops into the 60 degree F. range. Great for sleeping, but the range of temperatures daily takes its toll on instruments. Lots of finish checking and occasional truss rod adjustments to the guitars especially. In fact, my Simon and Patrick guitar is a Canadian build and has become used to our climate down here, but it looks like it's been through the wars. Perhaps that is why I don't have any high end instruments... that and because they are so expensive.
  12. Frithjof
    A lovely waltz well performed, John. Your experience and your kind of production process delivers a nice and cheerful video.
    Additional you support the young musicians of your home region. Great!
  13. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks, all. Michael, the mandolin I am playing now was one I made in August 2015, so just over 6 years old now and quite house-trained!

    Ginny, it is the changes in temperatures and humidity rather than the choice of timbers that were the factors in my not being keen to sell a mandolin to you, plus the fact that I could not realistically offer you any sort of meaningful warranty should problems have arisen. The woods are basically the ones used by most builders: various spruce types or cedar for soundboards, mahogany or Indian Rosewood for backs and sides, maple for both when I had access to some and various hardwoods such as ebony, rosewood or maple for fingerboards, etc.

    Frithjof, I have always appreciated the great friendship and support that the SAW group gives us all, through advice or encouragement and useful tips on playing or recording, and the support we can offer younger players is all a part of keeping our music alive, though in Mairearad's case she is a true professional player who needs no support from me - rather I can learn so much from her and her generation.
  14. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    I like those little flutter-by repetitive phrases and the sunny mood this has in general. Very danceable.

    Re recording technique: I always do the audio and video parts separately and always have an earphone in one ear in the latter (on the side turned away from the camera in order to hide it, not always successfully )
  15. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Frank, there’s an exercise for everything in life.
    That too!

    It’s to do with positive associations. You can encourage a three way neural connection in your brain between your left hand finger muscles, your joy feeling in whatever gland in your body produces it, and the muscles in your cheeks that control a smile.
    This exercise works better in 6/8 time (for me), but everyone’s different.

    -probably good to avoid the clinical, all-teeth smile; like a rabbit in the headlights, staring and confused.
    Though for SAW it would obviously be most entertaining.

    Notice that John occasionally does this exercise -quite well, I may add, though the smile arrives right at the end of the tune.
    Now I’m no psychologist but perhaps this is just relief, knowing that in two or three seconds he’s going to be able to shut down the camera!
  16. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks, Bertram. I love your idea of the "little flutter-by repetitive phrases" in this tune. Just describes it so well.

    Simon, regarding the smile at the end, I reckon you have got it absolutely spot-on with the idea of a flood of relief at reaching the end of the tune and having a version that might well be useable. I would be reluctant to admit to the number of fluffed takes that happen before I think I have a satisfactory version for public consumption. Modern technology allows us to be very profligate with our filming when there is no actual film involved in either video or still photography. I can only imagine what the floors in the old studios must have been like with all the discarded and highly-combustible film footage coiling up.
  17. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Fritjhof, if you want to support Mairarad, you can visit her in her studio in Ullapool or have a look at her website and commission a tune or buy one of her paintings, she is also a fine painter. brought me to her website, was the fact, that I found the melody of this beautiful waltz at abcnotation, but the example with the chords led me to her site.
  18. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Christian, you have put together a lovely tribute to Mairearad in your video here. It is great to hear someone else having a go at the tune, so thanks for your posting here. Well played.
  19. Frithjof
    Thanks for the link, Christian. Nice to learn something about the composer (no time to visit Ullapool this weekend ).
  20. Frankdolin
    I can echo Johns' comment Christian! And add that your video and playing always have a wonderfull feel.
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