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Thread: old timey challenge

  1. #1
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default old timey challenge

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

    The entire staff
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  2. #2
    music with whales Jim Nollman's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Jeff, this sounds like great fun. My only comment is that one person's war horse is another person's quagga. What's a quagga. Precisely. Does anyone out there in Mando land besides me regard the Scottish fiddle tune, The Rosebud of Allenvale, as a war horse?

    I am now recording a CD of traditional tunes, using the deconstruction tools often found in rap remixes and even bebop. Give a listen to the waltz linked to my signature, for one example. This starts off as a classic Scottish fiddle tune, but eventually deconstructs into a jazz improv. There's 8 other tunes done this same way. I'm happy to share more tunes from this project if people want to hear more.
    Explore some of my published music here

    óJim

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    Mandogenerator Mike Black's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    I do that to Angeline the Baker already. I play it in C. It sounds cool in the low register.

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Nollman View Post
    Jeff, this sounds like great fun. My only comment is that one person's war horse is another person's quagga. What's a quagga. Precisely. Does anyone out there in Mando land besides me regard the Scottish fiddle tune, The Rosebud of Allenvale, as a war horse?

    This starts off as a classic Scottish fiddle tune, but eventually deconstructs into a jazz improv. There's 8 other tunes done this same way.
    First of all, yea Rosebud of Avondale could be considered a war horse. I remember being real tired of that tune.

    Taking it into jazz, well yea thats cool. There was a duo, I remember from a while ago, Hamish Moore and Dick Lee, bagpipes and sax. They did these great Scottish tunes that slowly and lovingly morphed into an almost dixieland arrangement. Really cool.

    But thats different than what I was thinking though. I was hoping that a tune could be made interesting again, and still be within its original tradition. Perhaps a harder challenge?

    But while its a challenge, its not a competition, so lets take all comers and see what happens. Could be very interesting.
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Black View Post
    I do that to Angeline the Baker already. I play it in C. It sounds cool in the low register.
    Just tried it and yes thats true.

    I am trying something with extensive whiney double stops that shift up an octave.
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    One thing I sometimes do is to play a super-familiar tune in as many keys as possible. it is a great exercise and gtes you in upper positions as well.

    I used to play for a clogging workshop and the teacher would teach for 1/2 hour straight with continuous music. We used to play what i called warhorse sets and I would call out the next tune in a mega-medley. It was also a challenge to see if I (or anyone else) could actually remember it to start. One time I was the only musician so I just played what I wanted and even switched keys since there were no old time banjo players. Oh, BTW I was playing fiddle. if it were mandolin i doubt I could hear myself in a room full of cloggers.
    Jim

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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    You could look for other variations of the tunes. A long time ago I dismissed Angeline the Baker but when I heard The Critten Hollow Stringband play their version, I liked it again. They had good vocals and a slight twist to the melody that I had never heard before, Fast forward many years and Crooked Still did the same thing, made it fresh for me.
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    A hammered dulcimer friend of mine turned Devils Dream Hornpipe into a waltz. Really fun.
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

    The entire staff
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    It's not old time , but " Fox On The Run " has become somewhat cliche in many bluegrass circles and sessions . On the album " Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular " Tony Trischka has given it a fresh treatment that has made it new and interesting to me again. So far I have just been listening to and enjoying it again , one day soon maybe I can deconstruct it and see what they have done differently .
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Haven't heard it but thats what I am talking about.
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

    The entire staff
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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    This might be disqualified under "No big changes to the tune," but at a recent concert I heard Natalie MacMaster play St. Anne's Reel with a section in the middle where she shifted it down to a minor mode for a few repeats, and then back to major for the finish. It sounded terrific, with that big lift back to major key. I've been fooling around with it, trying to figure out how she did it, so I can ambush the local OT players at the next jam...

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  13. #12
    Registered User Mike Snyder's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Yes, I like to do that with Red Haired Boy. Funny, it seems kinda intuitive on the mandolin, but throws the hammered dulcimers into a quandry. They're good musicians, too. Lots of tunes could stand that minor shift in the middle. Gotta go try St. Anne's now.
    Mike Snyder

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    music with whales Jim Nollman's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Our contra dance band sometimes uses meter changes as a way to challenge ourselves in rehearsal. Some of them are very musical. We often do this with St Ann'sReel, which sounds equally good as a waltz, as a jig, and as a hornpipe. I especially like it as a waltz. Tobin's Jig also sounds good as a waltz. Calliope House sounds as good as a reel as it does as a jig.

    And thanks for pointing out the challenge of actually changing the mode of a tune, but maybe just in one part. For no good reason, The B of Scolley's Reel comes immediately to mind as a distinct possibility.
    Explore some of my published music here

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    I just did an amazing Angeline the Baker, with the vocals done in a spoken manner, not as a song, and mandolin and fiddle playing the tune slowly between verses. Sounded really great.
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

    The entire staff
    funny....

  16. #15

    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post

    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.
    By goll Jeff...if I had read your thread this morning, I wouldn't have had to write a page on the Jack White thread!
    Randal Scott

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by catmandu2 View Post
    By goll Jeff...if I had read your thread this morning, I wouldn't have had to write a page on the Jack White thread!
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

    The entire staff
    funny....

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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.
    This is a band I was in called "Mandolirium". I wanted to do something with Red Haired Boy/Little Beggerman so I moved it to the key of D which, to me, has a darker sound than A, slowed it down and then put it in a medley with another tune called "My Maggie".
    It was a coffeehouse gig and yes, we'd drunk a lot.

    Oh yeah.........accordian alert!

    09 Track 9.mp3
    Last edited by mandolirius; Feb-11-2011 at 6:30pm. Reason: forgot to warn of accordian

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    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Really nice. It is dark (a good thing). Also, the slower tempo, and the arrangement contribute to making for a fresh, interesting and enjoyable listening experience.
    Excellent playing by all throughout.
    Also, and your high speed mandolin playing at the end is just off the hook! Well done.
    Oh, and your mandolin here has a really nice, dry, woody tone to it on this clip...I'm guessing this is the '05 Randy Wood (?)
    c.1965 Harmony Monterey H410 Mandolin
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    Registered User Earl Gamage's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Try Clinch Mountain Backstep with the guitar playing Am Em

    I guess that's Bluegrass instead of Old time, sorry

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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Goist View Post
    Really nice. It is dark (a good thing). Also, the slower tempo, and the arrangement contribute to making for a fresh, interesting and enjoyable listening experience.
    Excellent playing by all throughout.
    Also, and your high speed mandolin playing at the end is just off the hook! Well done.
    Oh, and your mandolin here has a really nice, dry, woody tone to it on this clip...I'm guessing this is the '05 Randy Wood (?)
    Thanks for the comments, Ed. We played a lot of different mandolins (and mandolin family instruments) in that band. The other mandolin player has quite a collection. I can't quite remember what we were using for that tune. I think I'm playing my old Givens A and Rick may be using one of a pair of 80's vintage Kentucky KM1000's he used to own. But I really can't be sure. BTW, that's mostly Rick's high-speed antics at the end. He played the tune, I just did backup and the low harmony.

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

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

    The entire staff
    funny....

  24. #22
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Thanks Jeff. I have to confess to re-posting this on the General forum, because I wasn't sure if this one got much traffic. But I'm not getting any more response there than I did here so, I don't know. Sometimes I can't understand this site. People will post pages and pages about the price of mandolins or someone's off-the-shelf starter mandolin. But try to interest people in actual mandolin playing and no one says much. Oh well. Maybe I'll try MandoHangout.

  25. #23
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolirius View Post
    Sometimes I can't understand this site. People will post pages and pages about the price of mandolins or someone's off-the-shelf starter mandolin. But try to interest people in actual mandolin playing and no one says much. Oh well. Maybe I'll try MandoHangout.
    Things go in waves, don't they? Folks will go on about equipment, and then we'll have a long thread about what is really bluegrass or what is and isn't really old time. We'll yammer for hours about picks and then for hours again as to whether so and so is or isn't the reincarnation of Bill Monroe.

    So it just depens on when you catch it which wave you catch. And everyone's criticial issue is a yawner for someone else.

    I like what you did with the tune.

    With the "new posts" feature, I look at all new posts, regardless of which section they are in.
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    Yeah, it's true, things do go in waves. But I noticed even David Grisman made a comment about what people talk about in these forums.

  27. #25
    music with whales Jim Nollman's Avatar
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    Default Re: old timey challenge

    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.
    Explore some of my published music here

    óJim

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    Altman 2-point (2007)
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