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Thread: old timey challenge

  1. #26
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    This challenge was brought up at a party, and I thought I would put it up here.

    Here's the idea.

    Take an old war horse of a tune. Preferabley something you have heard a thousand times more than you ever want to hear it. Something that makes you fidget when a newbie plays the tune with enthusiasm.

    Take that tune and find a way to make it interesting again. No big changes to the tune, but can we play it in a way that the tune shines again, and will make the most jaded of old fiddlers want to play it.

    Pick any tune you want, but make it something very common, something we all probably know, and have stopped listening to. Something that has become trite, and dorky. Then add your own style or technique or enthusiasm to bring out the tune in a way you think will make others take a new interest in the tune.

    I would like to share them here, but the challenge of course goes beyond the cafe into your home jam sessions.

    I am presently working on Angeline the Baker. I have some cool sounding ideas. I will share when ready.

    Lets see what we can do to pump some sunshine into dead horses.
    I've been working on a version of Angeline in 7/4. Don't quite have it yet, but it kinda works.

  2. #27
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Nollman View Post
    Mike I am guessing that this is 2 mandolins, and not 2 tracks of 1 mandolin. Correct? Plus bass, guitar, and accordion? Anything else? tell us something about the mandolins. If that is a live recording, I think someone did a terrific job of it.

    And i can see why you have positive comments about my own new CD creation. We are definitely flying on the same airship.

    No apologies for that accordion. We mando players usually do well to add something that widens the field of our sound. They way it speeds up sounds Greek to me. Greek and gorgeous.

    Do you play in Victoria? Anywhere else in the general vicinity? If so, and you are interested, I might be able to get you a gig at our local theater.
    Yeah, it's live. I forget what we used to record. Nothing fancy, I'm sure of that. The guitar player doubled on accordion (which I was only jokingly aplogizing for). The speed up was always the way Rick played it but I had been listening to lots of Hungarian gypsy violin around that time, so we were all about the speed up. As for gigs, that band is no more, unfortunately. I think the website mandolirium.com may still be up.

  3. #28
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Have you ever heard Red Wing, mandolin and C-clarinet. Woohoo!
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

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  4. #29

    Default Re: old timey challenge

    I really like this, it is almost classical in this elegant arrangement. The sound and feel of the sustained accordion is perfect.
    P.S. a review http://www.mudcat.org/thread_pf.cfm?threadid=25230

  5. #30
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Bunting View Post
    I really like this, it is almost classical in this elegant arrangement. The sound and feel of the sustained accordion is perfect.
    P.S. a review http://www.mudcat.org/thread_pf.cfm?threadid=25230
    Thanks for noticing. This one was pretty straightforward, but Mandolirium had some pretty complicated arrangements, which were done by me. I was unemployed at the time and really wanted to learn more about arranging. I didn't start the band, but I did manage to turn it into a vehicle for some crazy ideas I had. We did a medley of the theme from "For A Few Dollars More" and "Pipeline". Another was "Secret Green Things", which was "Secret Agent Man", "The Green Leaves Of Summer" and "My favourite Things" (not in that order). We did "Delila" with the theme from "The Godfather" and lots of silly stuff. One of my faves was called "Tell It To Beaver", which had parts of eight different tunes, starting with the "William Tell Overture" and ended with the theme from "Leave It To Beaver". "RH Boy/My Maggie" was one of our more, ahem, serious pieces.

  6. #31
    music with whales Jim Nollman's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    The William Tell Overture merged with the theme from Leave it to Beaver and My Maggie! Gotta love it. There's a certain irony, Mandolirius, to hear you owning up to such outside musical tastes on the "old-timey" forum. Why do I doubt that you'd encounter a discussion of such music on either the rock or the jazz forum.

    Reminds me of a song I am now producing. It is, recognizably, the inspired hornpipe, "Rights of Man", and with a rather traditionally performed mandolin lead. But it's three minute length also includes two choruses of a T Monk-inspired piano solo, and a prelude that features the very big sound of the Antarctic Ross Ice sheet splitting apart.

    Maybe we should rename this forum: old timey + post avant garde.
    Explore some of my published music here

    óJim

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  7. #32
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Nollman View Post
    The William Tell Overture merged with the theme from Leave it to Beaver and My Maggie! Gotta love it. There's a certain irony, Mandolirius, to hear you owning up to such outside musical tastes on the "old-timey" forum. Why do I doubt that you'd encounter a discussion of such music on either the rock or the jazz forum.

    Reminds me of a song I am now producing. It is, recognizably, the inspired hornpipe, "Rights of Man", and with a rather traditionally performed mandolin lead. But it's three minute length also includes two choruses of a T Monk-inspired piano solo, and a prelude that features the very big sound of the Antarctic Ross Ice sheet splitting apart.

    Maybe we should rename this forum: old timey + post avant garde.
    Yeah, it's funny how some discussions wind up in places you'd never imagine. But speaking of that band, we did a tune someone showed me years ago. He called it "Dusty Miller Hornpipe" but I'm pretty sure that's not the right name. For one thing, it's not a hornpipe. I'll try to find a version of it from one of our shows and post it. Maybe someone will recognize it.

  8. #33
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Here's a live recording of my old band of a variant of the jig Off She Goes converted to a Latin rhythms. Not the best recording however... sorry about that.
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  9. #34
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Nollman View Post
    Maybe we should rename this forum: old timey + post avant garde.
    I suppose. But the original intent of the challenge was not just to take St. Anne's Reel and play it bosanova, it was to take an old war horse tune and play it in a way that re-expresses something great about the tune. Whether the result is bosanova or still old timey. Thats why I really like what mandolirious did, because the dark and sad feeling came through, which is usually overlooked in the "funny" lyrics.

    Of all the trades a going, sure the begging is the best
    For when a man is tired he can sit him down and rest
    He can beg for his dinner, he has nothing else to do
    But to slip around the corner with his old rigadoo

    After hearing Mandolirium play the tune one gets re-interested in the tune. It's not just funky different or old made modern, its hey listen to that, where did that come from.
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

    The entire staff
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  10. #35
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Here is a perfect example, though outside of OT, of what I am getting at. When I first heard this (as a kid) it broke my heart.

    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

    The entire staff
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  11. #36
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    I suppose. But the original intent of the challenge was not just to take St. Anne's Reel and play it bosanova, it was to take an old war horse tune and play it in a way that re-expresses something great about the tune. Whether the result is bosanova or still old timey. Thats why I really like what mandolirious did, because the dark and sad feeling came through, which is usually overlooked in the "funny" lyrics.

    Of all the trades a going, sure the begging is the best
    For when a man is tired he can sit him down and rest
    He can beg for his dinner, he has nothing else to do
    But to slip around the corner with his old rigadoo

    After hearing Mandolirium play the tune one gets re-interested in the tune. It's not just funky different or old made modern, its hey listen to that, where did that come from.
    Gosh Jeff, that's awfully nice of you to say that. I always loved that melody but it got played to death around here, in both the bluegrass and celtic circles, to the point where people were starting to roll their eyes when it was suggested.

  12. #37
    music with whales Jim Nollman's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Jeff, can we agree that the main point in your statement comparing the Streisand to the St Ann Bosanova, is that you personally like the Streisand, and personally don't like the SA bosanova

    Its great that you think the Streisand is great. It's not my thing. I have never heard a recording of the St Ann Bosanova. It might be great.
    Explore some of my published music here

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  13. #38
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Nollman View Post
    Jeff, can we agree that the main point in your statement comparing the Streisand to the St Ann Bosanova, is that you personally like the Streisand, and personally don't like the SA bosanova
    I am not a big fan of Barbara actually. Just that she turned "Happy Days" from a pep rally string band tune into a ballad, and found in the tune a certain sadness or bitterness that could be heartbreaking.


    I have never heard a recording of the St Ann Bosanova. It might be great.
    Oh it might very well be great. I am into it. But cooler yet is if addition to being great it brought out something inherent in St. Anne's Reel that we all miss when we diss the tune at a jam. Thats all I'm saying.
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

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  14. #39
    music with whales Jim Nollman's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Now you got me thinking. I love playing St Ann's Reel, usually as the second of three tunes in one set. Actually, it was the first tune i ever learning as a grouping. It was very easy to learn, whether it followed another reel or a jig, because the beginning of the A part is played with a 6-times repeating double-stop: 0520. [bang, bang, bang) X 2]. All I ever needed to think about to make that transition was to bang out that double stop as if it was the beginning to "Dust My Broom" by Elmore James. So easy to do. And the dancers always love it whenever our band can bring such a push to any song transition. This transition is the king of emphatic.

    As all contra dance musicians soon learn, some transitions can be a burden to learn correctly. This one was learned in a minute.

    Now, of course, when you listen to any proper recording of that tune, no one plays it that way. When the song is being performed by itself, to add that Elmore James beginning, displays little finesse, no grace. Nor do I play it that way, whenever I play it by itself at a dance, or in a performance.

    I mention this in regards to your original question. In this case, in some situations, when you destroy a tune's implicit subtlety, you may bring down the house at a contra dance.
    Explore some of my published music here

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  15. #40
    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Jim, you're playing that Em double stop as two blues triplets (DDD..DDD), Right?
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  16. #41
    music with whales Jim Nollman's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Whoops. I made not just one, but two mistakes.

    1. I meant to write 0052. I play it as a D double stop comprised of the 1 (D) and its 3rd (F#). It's one of my most often used fingerings for old time tunes. And yes, the same double stop could also serve for the relative minor, in this case Bm.

    2. I only bang it out 4 times. Then I hit single notes (starting with the high E) down the scale to establish the melody.
    Explore some of my published music here

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  17. #42
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Nollman View Post
    in some situations, when you destroy a tune's implicit subtlety, you may bring down the house at a contra dance.
    Very true.

    And other times I wonder if the dancers are even listening to the tune at all, or just following the rhythm.
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

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  18. #43
    music with whales Jim Nollman's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    I wonder if the dancers are even listening to the tune at all, or just following the rhythm.
    Now you hit on an essential view, hotly argued among the musicians where I live. I take the optimistic point of view that it is the actual quality of the musicianship that prompts the dancers to listen to the music or only to the beat. When the music is good, and especially when the musicians are playing off the dancers, that the whole room seems to light up and the building itself can be seen lifting from its foundation. Seeking that status, I have been the squeaky wheel in my band to upgrade our sound system so that the nuances we work out in rehearsal even get heard. Others argue, just as forcefully, that these efforts are for nought, because all that noisy broadband stomping around by dancers kills every nuance and leaves nothing whole but the one beat played by the bass.
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  19. #44

    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Nollman View Post
    I take the optimistic point of view that it is the actual quality of the musicianship that prompts the dancers to listen to the music or only to the beat. When the music is good, and especially when the musicians are playing off the dancers, that the whole room seems to light up and the building itself can be seen lifting from its foundation.
    There is likely a symbiotic, synergistic effect taking place among dancers and players. But, I take the cynical view...I think dancers are hearing mostly the bass, too..

  20. #45
    Henry Lawton hank's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Great Idea and thread Jeff. I stumbled upon your thread after listening to rene demo his 1921 A3 in the classifieds and both are very inspiring. I'm reminded that what I'm looking for is here, I'm just looking in the wrong places.

  21. #46
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Nollman View Post
    Now you hit on an essential view, hotly argued among the musicians ...
    Well my experience is that both are correct. I am not trying to be a peace maker, I really believe this to be the case. The difference is the quality of the dancers. Experieced dancers listen a lot more carefully and appreciate subtle movements in the music. They nolonger fixate on the beat and where to put their feet.

    Inexperienced dancers, OTOH, can more easily get distracted by the melody, and hang on tight to the beat as they work out their place in the whole thing.

    I noticed this when I played a dance where we had a beginners contra, before the regular dance, with extra training and patience, because the regular dance was attended by so many experienced dancers that the beginners were getting intimidated. What I learned was that you can't, shouldn't, use the same music for each. A dance with a lot of beginners needs to have music that is a bit more predictable, straight forward, but fun. Experienced dancers like a lot more fun, switch ups, sweeping melodies, cool flingie transistions, etc.

    What the musicians might want is quite irrelevant. Ahh, but that is nothing new.
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

    The entire staff
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  22. #47

    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Good observations Jeff. Out West, seems the practice is to hold beginning instruction the first 1/2 hour...the more experienced dancers show up later. Our band's first set is usually a polka set--very regular structure and pulse.

  23. #48
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    The only dances where beginners and old pros alike appreciate the same thing about a tune is the waltz. A beautiful waltz is appreciated by everyone.

    Applying my challenge applied to waltzes might create something still playable and appreciated at a dance.

    To make a war horse waltz new again, I go and get the lyrics. And in my playing, I try and really bring out what the song is about. If there are no lyrics, I will grab any hint or intuition I have, and over emphasize it. I try and make the waltz about something. Make it about one great thing.
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

    The entire staff
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  24. #49

    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Well said...and a very musical sounding approach.

  25. #50
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    This was posted elsewhere but I linked here because it is a FANTASTIC example of what I am talking about. New life breathed into an old warhorse.

    Without an excurstion into the wierd or outlandish, or crossing the boundaries of the genre, or even scaring the neighbors.

    What is wonderful about this is that the tune still does the work. The integrity of the tune itself, now with lyrics, is the engine here, the motion. And knowing the tune intimately (having played it 984092347534985 times), one can feel some kind of "home" in the tune itself, which links with the theme of the song.

    This is brilliant on many levels.

    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

    The entire staff
    funny....

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