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Thread: John Goodin mandolin duets

  1. #1
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default John Goodin mandolin duets

    Most of you will be familiar with John Goodin and his wonderful website and blog which are a goldmine for his original compositions and his editions of (mostly) 18th century music for cittern and mandolin:

    John Goodin's Mandotopia

    I've been playing his mandolin transcriptions of the "Twelve Divertimentis for the Guitar" by James Oswald for some years now and thoroughly recommend them.

    In addition to the more classical material on John's website, his blog has many original dance tunes written for his contra dance band, with sheet music in PDF and his own MP3 mandolin/guitar recordings, all published under a Creative Commons License.

    I've been playing around with two tunes written as complementary companion pieces: "St Francis and the Birds" and "St Anthony and the Fishes". John has designated them as reels, and is playing them as such on his own MP3 recordings on his blog. More recently, he has added a second voice to them, making them mandolin duets. I've played them slower than John, partly because I can't play them cleanly at his speed and partly because it brings out the melodic interplay between the two voices. I really enjoy these two tunes!

    Here are links to the PDF sheet music, and John's own mandolin recordings (without the second voice), which amply demonstrate that John is a better player than me:

    "St Francis and the Birds" sheet music



    "St Anthony and the Fishes" sheet music

    [mp3=2]http://www.contratopia.com/smt2008/StA.mp3[/mp3]

    I have played both tunes as mandolin duets with tenor guitar backing, using my Mid-Missouri for St Francis and my Embergher bowlback for St Anthony:





    Thanks for the music, John!

    Martin
    Last edited by Martin Jonas; Jan-17-2013 at 7:30pm.

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  3. #2
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: John Goodin mandolin duets

    Nice, Martin, they almost sound renaissance-like.
    Jim

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    Registered User MLT's Avatar
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    Default Re: John Goodin mandolin duets

    Martin,

    Thank you for sharing your playing of these two peices by John. I very much enjoyed your video presentation that you put together to go with each piece as well. And John, thank you for so freely sharing your composing talent with us all. I am off now to learn these peices.
    MLT
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    Default Re: John Goodin mandolin duets

    Hi Martin, the check's in the mail!

    Seriously, thanks for the compliments (Jim and MLT too) and nice playing on your versions of my little duets. I'm going to make a serious attempt at revamping, improving the Mandotopia site this spring. I have finally purchased the "mandotopia.com" domain name and I will try and move the content over to a new webhost.

    I have lots of my own music and a variety of transcriptions/arrangements that I just haven't made time to add to the site in the last couple of years. In particular there are five or six mandolin orchestra pieces that I want to share more freely. I'm thinking of running a small Kickstarter campaign, mostly to publicly commit myself to bring the site up to date.

    I'm getting ready this morning to post another new tune to the So Many Tunes blog. This will be the 15th week in a row for that. Hearing that people enjoy the sites is a real incentive.

    John G.

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    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: John Goodin mandolin duets

    Thanks for the kind words, John (and Jim/MLT).

    Jim: The renaissance feel is a bit accidental on my part as I've been playing a lot of early music lately. John plays the pieces with a fair amount of syncopation giving them a more contemporary Irish feel, but I had already got used to playing them with straight eighths before listening to his MP3s, and I rather liked them that way.

    Martin

  9. #6
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: John Goodin mandolin duets

    Here are my recordings of two more of John's mandolin duets, quite different from the two saints. I've recorded both of these on my modest Embergher.

    1. "January 22, 2005": This is a fast(-ish) waltz for two mandolins, named (I think) after the day it was written. John's original PDF and MP3 recording are here:

    PDF sheet music

    [MP3=3]http://www.contratopia.com/smt2008/01222005aduo.mp3[/MP3]

    I had originally recorded a tenor guitar rhythm track for this, but decided it cluttered up the mix and it worked better without (as indeed was John's own demo).



    2. "Stonehead": This duet is technically very straightforward, and my recording is basically sightread, but it's an intriguing and effective piece.

    John's PDF and MP3 are here:

    PDF sheet music

    [MP3=4]http://www.contratopia.com/smt/stonehead.mp3[/MP3]

    For my recording, I've doubled the second mandolin an octave down on tenor guitar to boost the bottom end of the mix.



    Martin

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    Default Re: John Goodin mandolin duets

    Martin, very nice renditions of these tunes. I especially like the octave doubling on "Stonehead." You reminded me that "January 22, 2005" gained an official title at some point. It's now called "Halfway Home" and appears under that title in my Midwestern Mandolin Duos book. Thanks for taking time to share your recordings and for digging out the links to my own versions.

    John G.

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    Registered User Nick Royal's Avatar
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    Default Re: John Goodin mandolin duets

    Martin,
    I like the duets. (I have John's Midwestern Duets book and like some of them a lot. Also good practice for my sight
    reading.) I enjoyed your photos w. the recording.
    Nick Royal
    Santa Cruz, CA (home of the Mandolin Symposium)

  14. #9
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: John Goodin mandolin duets

    I've just worked on two more of John's duets. Both of these are more on the classical rather than the contradance end of his range, and they are contemplative melodic pieces. For the first one I stayed close to John's intentions, I think, but I changed the second one around a bit.

    1) Clifty Falls

    I recorded both voices for this on my Gibson Ajr. John uploaded this to his blog at the same time as Stonehead (see above), with the description:

    "Here are two simple duets for two mandolins (or any other instruments with similar ranges) that I wrote down sometime around 1980. Clifty Falls is a lovely Indiana state park not far from my hometown. Stonehead gets its title from the memorable stone marker that you will encounter at the juncture of Ind. 135 and Bellesville Pike if you turn south off of Ind. highway 46 between Nashville and Columbus.

    Both of these pieces were written during one of the two summers that I spent living in southeastern Brown County, IN, allegedly helping out at a Catholic summer camp. One of those summers I was a part time dishwasher at Rudi's Country Kitchen in Nashville and my route back to camp involved a left turn at the Stonehead intersection.

    The challenge in playing these short tunes is to keep them from sounding mechanical and to allow them to breathe a little. Both pieces are also suitable for recorder with soprano playing the top line and alto (transposed up an octave) playing the bottom.
    "

    John's score gives a tempo of 110bpm, and I kept to that. Nice piece, and I enjoyed playing it on the Ajr which I have been unfairly neglecting lately -- its tone suits the music, I think.

    PDF sheet music



    2) Woodhaven

    This is a duo in 6/8 time. I am currently without internet access at home, so I didn't read what John has to say about the piece or listen to his MP3 demo until after I had finished my own recording. John's score gives no tempo indication, and when trying the bass line it felt to me like it needed some sustain to bring out the harmonies. It also felt rather medieval to me, so I recorded both voices on my "Baroq-ulele" bowlback uke (for a lute-like tone) in unison with my tenor guitar an octave down (to give it sustain). Somewhat unintentionally, but serendipidously, blending these two instruments in unison changed the tone considerably by removing the attack of the guitar and replacing it with the softer lute/uke attack, giving the impression of a single instrument with a rather unusual timbre. There is no reverb or other sound processing here, just the two unprocessed instruments superimposed.

    When I got to listen to John's MP3 demo this morning, I saw that he recorded it significantly faster than me, but also confirmed my impression of this having a medieval feel:

    "I think of Woodhaven as a medieval tune, a ductia maybe? In any event I've had it around a long time. I think it would also work nicely as an S/A recorder duet if the alto player transposes the bottom line."

    PDF sheet music



    Martin

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    Default Re: John Goodin mandolin duets

    Martin, thanks for these additional recordings. I'm really enjoying your interpretations, both musical and visual. I especially enjoyed all of the Woodhaven photos. The actual Woodhaven where the piece was written is in rural Maine, midway between Dexter and Dover-Foxcroft, just south of the intersection with Board Eddy Rd. So the urban photos give the music a new and interesting setting.

    I've also enjoyed your choice of instruments. Old Gibson oval hole mandolins are my baseline for what I think of as "mandolin sound" so the A jr. tracks sound great to me. But I also like your other approaches.

    Thanks for sharing!

    John G.

  16. #11
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: John Goodin mandolin duets

    Thanks for your kind comments, John. When looking for photos for Woodhaven, I didn't come across the place in Maine -- I had the choice between the Woodhaven neighbourhood in Queens/NYC, Woodhaven Michigan (near Detroit) and Woodhaven Lakes Resort in Illinois (the world's largest private camping resort, no less). Of those, the NYC neighbourhood was visually much richer than either the Michigan or the Illinois place and the contrast between the medieval vibe of the tune and the urban imagery appealed to me although I suspected that the other two places, being in the Mid-West, were more likely to have associations for you. Turns out I was wrong anyway and you were referring to a fourth place somewhere else completely...

    Martin

  17. #12
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: John Goodin mandolin duets

    One more of John's duets, and then I might take a break and play something else...

    This is No. 6 from John's set of six duettinos that he wrote in homage to the William Bates duettinos for guittar (which John has transcribed and published and some of which I have recorded here).

    I wasn't too sure about the correct tempo. John has indicated 100 quarter notes per minute. However, as the piece is in 3/8 time, that would be 200bpm and I can't play it at that speed. However, playing it at 100bpm sounds far too slow. So, I've gone for around 150bpm, which sounds about right for me.

    John sheet music is here: Link



    I couldn't think of a visual theme here, so I've put the score up to read along.

    Martin

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    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: John Goodin mandolin duets

    After a gap of a year or so, here are two more recordings of John's mandolin duets:

    1) November Duo, 2004

    This is a classical mandolin duet, which I've recorded on my 1921 Gibson Ajr (both parts). John has indicated a speed of 140bpm, but I've slowed it slightly to 125bpm.

    [MP3=5]http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=117277&d=1395795615[/MP3]



    2) May Frost

    This is marked as a reel, so it's presumably one of John Contradance pieces. I'm playing both the melody and the harmony on my Ajr, with tenor guitar rhythm. Played on the Ajr (melody and harmony) with a dance band-like backing of tenor guitar and mandocello.

    [MP3=6]http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=117276&d=1395795615[/MP3]



    Martin
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Default Re: John Goodin mandolin duets

    Martin, thanks for uncovering these duos, especially with the nice visuals. I always enjoy hearing your take on my stuff.

    Interested parties can find my own demo-quality recordings of these duos, along with the sheet music (taken from my Midwestern Mandolin Duos book) at my So Many Tunes alphabetical list page:
    http://mandotopia.com/SMT.htm

    The list is a couple of months behind but you can find the most recent free recordings and sheet music at the So Many Tunes blog.
    http://somanytunes.blogspot.com/

    John G.

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    Registered User Pasha Alden's Avatar
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    Default Re: John Goodin mandolin duets

    Many thanks to you Martin!

    Playing:
    Jbovier a5 2013;
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    Default Re: John Goodin mandolin duets

    At Martin, I assume these pieces are to difficult for a classical beginner like me?
    Would imagine they are more advanced?

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    Professional Cat Herder Phil Vinyard's Avatar
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    Default Re: John Goodin mandolin duets

    John: I've really enjoyed plundering your site and playing through your music.

    Played in a recital last month and performed St. Anthony and St. Francis with another mandolin player and my teacher (Bruce Graybill) backing us up on guitar. Sounded great--went over big with the audience. Hoping to play them again at Kaufman Kamp in a few months.
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  24. #18
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: John Goodin mandolin duets

    Quote Originally Posted by Pasha Alden View Post
    At Martin, I assume these pieces are to difficult for a classical beginner like me?
    Would imagine they are more advanced?
    Not really, Pasha. John has a particular knack for writing pieces that are interesting and technically straightforward at the same time -- elegant simplicity being very much his trademark. If necessary you can always play them a bit slower, but there really is nothing particularly daunting in any of this music. Very helpfully, every tune on John's blog has his own home MP3 recording on solo mandolin with it.

    The tunes I've recorded in his particular thread are all duets. Some of them work as solo pieces as well and some need the second voice for the full effect. However, John has got hundreds of solo mandolin compositions on his site. Well worth exploring and picking your own personal favourites.

    John/Phil: We've had St Francis and St Anthony along with Halfway Home (January 22, 2005) in the repertoire folder for our mandolin ensemble for more than a year now, and everybody is very happy about them. We play all three at most of our weekly get-togethers and they are particularly popular with our more recent recruits who appreciate the accessibility.

    Martin

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    Default Re: John Goodin mandolin duets

    I'm enjoying these! Very inspiring. Thank you for the work you put in to sharing them

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    Default Re: John Goodin mandolin duets

    It's always fun when people say nice things about my stuff. "Elegant Simplicity", thanks Martin. I should use that in some future ad campaign. Simplicity (for better and worse) comes to me naturally but I guess the good stuff is kind of elegant. Not a term usually used to describe me in any aspect of my life.

    It's great to hear about people actually playing these pieces too. I have too many project ideas but one recurring one is to put together a collection of some more of my simpler tunes with interesting harmony parts and guitar chords. Just more of the kind of arrangements we are talking about here. (The Midwestern Mandolin Duos book has a few of those but most of those pieces don't have chord symbols on purpose.) Nothing motivates me like the interest of actual musicians!

    Phil, I'm especially glad to hear that you had Bruce help make my tunes sound good. If Bruce played guitar for me I would sound a lot better too! You are lucky to have him for a teacher. Please give him my regards at your next lesson.

    Thanks, everyone.

    John G.

  28. #21
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: John Goodin mandolin duets

    I'm reviving this thread, as I have been playing around with some more of John's mandolin duets over the past week or so. I had forgotten about this old thread and have posted my new recordings in two new threads. For the sake of keeping things together, here are the links:

    "July 25, 2004" and "Palmer House"

    Wyandotte Woods

    Here are two more of John's tunes which I have recorded today:

    "November 25, 2005" (waltz/air)

    This is a contemporary classical piece in waltz time, written for two mandolins. The score is at:

    http://www.mandotopia.com/smt2014/112505duo.pdf

    My recording is somewhat different from John's own -- I've slowed it down, dropped the second mandolin part by an octave and play it on mandocello for nice deep growling bass line. I start with a tenor guitar arpeggio backing and a slow air feeling, switching to a waltz rhythm as the tune builds in the second part. This recording works best on reasonably large speakers; the mandocello part is too low for good reproduction on small laptop/computer speakers.

    1921 Gibson Ajr mandolin
    Suzuki MC-815 mandocello
    Ozark tenor guitar

    Paintings by Balthus.



    "The Ice Wagon Cometh" (schottische)

    This is a lively dance tune written for mandolin with optional harmony part. The score is at John's blog:

    http://somanytunes.blogspot.co.uk/20...on-cometh.html

    I've played it on two mandolins with tenor guitar backing, with somewhat more chunky rhtyhm than John.

    1921 Gibson Ajr mandolin (x2)
    Ozark tenor guitar



    As always, thanks to John for these fun pieces!

    Martin
    Last edited by Martin Jonas; Aug-18-2015 at 6:29pm.

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  30. #22
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: John Goodin mandolin duets

    Easter Jigs 2004

    Here is another one of John's mandolin duets: a set of two original jigs, written by John Goodin around Easter 2004 and arranged for two mandolins with optional guitar accompaniment:

    http://somanytunes.blogspot.co.uk/20...jigs-2004.html

    I have played it on my Ajr (double-tracked) and tenor guitar.

    1921 Gibson Ajr mandolin (x2)
    Ozark tenor guitar



    Martin

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  32. #23
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: John Goodin mandolin duets

    John Goodin: "May 3, 2005"

    This is another short original mandolin duet written by John. The sheet music and John's own recording are at:

    http://somanytunes.blogspot.co.uk/20...-2005-duo.html

    John's own recording of this one is rather contemplative -- I've played it a bit more forcefully, with added tenor guitar backing.

    Mid-Missouri M-0W mandolin (x2)
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    Martin

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    Default Re: John Goodin mandolin duets

    Martin, thank you once again. More of your fine playing and fascinating visuals. I always get a kick out of those.

    This tune, even though it lacks a real title, has some rich associations for me. Back in the fall of 2004 the CMSA convention was held in Philadelphia. I have many great memories from that meeting but this tune was one of the outcomes.

    One of the presenters that year was the great Irish mandolinist and musicologist Mick Moloney. He performed one evening with, I think, a fiddle, mandolin & guitar trio and gave a workshop the next morning. During his concert he played a set of "Reavy tunes", reels composed by Ed Reavy who had settled in Philly and wrote hundreds of Irish tunes.

    After his set I asked Mick how to find these tunes and he said there was a book. (The Collected Compositions of Ed Reavy) He brought some the next morning and I bought one and took it home and studied it a bit.

    I'm not a real Irish player but I love the music and this "May 3, 2005" is one of a few that I wrote that year under the influence of Mr. Reavy's approach to Irish tunes. I can't play it at the tempo I imagined for it but it sounds fine to me at these more modest speeds. Let me be clear that my tune is not in the same league (genuine Irish trad) as Ed Reavy's music but it is the result of my exposure to his writing.

    Maybe slowing it down qualifies it as a "classical" piece rather than something that belongs in the Celtic .... forum? Or maybe the second part that I added in 2014 makes it more classical? I don't know. I see that I just called it a "mandolin duo" in my blog but I suppose I could have gone with "slow reel" just as easily. I understand the usefulness of categories but often they just get in the way.

    Anyhow, thanks again to Martin for resurrecting this music and sharing it with the forum regulars.

    John G.

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  36. #25
    This Kid Needs Practice Bill Clements's Avatar
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    Default Re: John Goodin mandolin duets

    Well done, Martin!
    I appreciate your "labor of love" in sharing all your performances/artwork with us.
    "Music is the only noise for which one is obliged to pay." ~ Alexander Dumas

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