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Tune Of The Month, May 2015: Da Slockit Light


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#1 Jim Besser

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Posted 30 April 2015 - 07:48 AM

And we have a winner: the lovely Shetland air Da Slockit Light.  Composed in the Sixties by fiddler Tom Anderson, this was once a session favorite in my neck of the woods.

 

Here’s what - to me -  is the seminal version by Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser and cellist Natalie Haas.

And a wonderful version on Hayden concertina.

 

Another, this time on strings and piano, with gorgeous harmonies.

 

On nyckleharpa and Northumbrian pipes, a pretty strange combination, I think we can all agree.

 

And a nice version from Japan.

 

Here's some notation to get you started.  If you want more and use ABC,  The Session offers several different settings.  A Wiki article on Tom Anderson offers some some of the haunting background of the tune. And a somewhat different explanation of its origins here.

 

I've heard it played with the characteristic Scottish "snap," but some musicians smooth it out; notation on the Web has it both ways.  It's most commonly played in D, but choice of key is entirely up to you.

 

This is a very concertina friendly tune; let's see what turns up! Beginners, you're more than welcome to participate; advanced players, give us versions we can all learn from!


Edited by Jim Besser, 30 April 2015 - 09:54 PM.


#2 cboody

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 12:32 AM

There's a youtube of Tom Anderson and Aly Bain.  

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=J4sHjkDDWqE 

 

That should settle the question at least of how the composer viewed it.  And, There's the Tom Anderson "Hand Me Doon Da Fiddle" on line with lots of info about Shetland Music.  

 

http://www.malcolmrutter.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/hmddf.pdf 

 

Here's One ABC version

 

X:1

T:Da Slockit Light

R:Air
C:Tom Anderson
M:4/4
L:1/8
Q:120
K:D
|:FE|"D"D3F "F#m"A2d2|"Bm"fedc "D"d2A2|"G"B2d2 "D"A2d2|"Em"BAGF "A7"EGFE|
"D"D3F "F#m/C#"A2d2|"D6"fedc "D"d2A2|"G"B2G2 "A7"AGFE|"D"D4- D2:|
g2|"D"f2a2 "A7"e3c|"G"d3e "A7"dcBA|"D"f2a2 "E7"e2^g2|"A7"a4- a2=g2|
"D"f2a2 "A7"e3c|"G"d3e "A7"dcBA|"G"B2G2 "A7"AGFE|"D"D4- D3g|
"D"f2a2 "A7"e3c|"G"d3e "A7"dcBA|"G"B2d2 "D"A2d2|"Em"BAGF "A7"EGFE|
"D"D3F "F#m/C#"A2d2|"Bb+"fedc "D"d2A2|"G"B2G2 "A7"AGFE|"D"D4- D2|]

 

And here's the Tune as set in a Collection of Slow Tunes I publish.  Not so many harmonies...

 

X:19

T:Da Slockit Light
C: Tom Anderson
M: C|
R: reel
K: D
|:FE| "D"D3F A2d2| fedc d2A2| "G"B2d2 "D/F#"A2d2| "G"BAGF "A"EGFE|
    "D"D3F A2d2| fedc "Bm"d2A2| "G"B2G2 "A"AGFE| "D"D4- D2:|
\
g2| "D"f2a2 "A"e3c| "Bm"d3e "A"dcBA| "D"f2a2 "E"e2^g2| "A"a4- a2=g2|
   "D"f2a2 "A"e3c| "G"d3e "D/F#"dcBA| "G"B2G2 "A"AGFE| "D"D4- D3g|
   "D"f2a2 "A"e3c| "Bm"d3e "G"dc"D/F#"BA| "G"B2d2 A2d2| BAGF "A"EGFE|
   "D"D3F A2d2| "A"fedc "Bm"d2A2| "G"B2G2 "A"AGFE| "D"D4- D2|]
W:Used by permission of the Shetland Music Trust
W:
 
Finally here's the background from the composer:
 
Here's Tom Anderson's description of why he wrote Da Slockit Light, taken from his book Ringing Strings: 

"I was coming out of Eshaness in late January, 1969, the time was after 11 pm and as I looked back at the top of the hill leading out of the district I saw so few lights compared to what I remembered when I was young. As I watched, the lights started going out one by one. That, coupled with the recent death of my late wife, made me think of the old word 'Slockit,' meaning, a light that has gone out, and I think that was what inspired the tune."

 
 
Do you get the idea that I like the tune?  Never tried it on  the 'tina though.  Always on the Hammered Dulcimer....


#3 blue eyed sailor

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 01:32 AM

Chuck, this makes an overwhelming start for taking possession of tjhe tiune - thanks a lot for that.

 

Unfortunately, the composer's video is not available in Europe (at least not in Sweden right now), neither is the PDF.

 

I'll take the ABCs and see what to make out of them, bearing the lines of the composer in mind...

 

Best wishes - Wolf



#4 blue eyed sailor

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 03:00 AM

Chuck, this is me again - as I can't listen to the video, I startet with my playing freely, then comparing it to the 120 beat as notated in the first ABC file. Albeit finding that tempo somewhat exaggerated I could very well imagine that the composer himself doesn't resp. didn't play the tune all too slowly. Am I right about that? However, it's a really lovely tune...

 

Thank you in advance - Wolf



#5 Jim Besser

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 03:22 AM

 

There's a youtube of Tom Anderson and Aly Bain.  

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=J4sHjkDDWqE

 

That should settle the question at least of how the composer viewed it.  And, There's the Tom Anderson "Hand Me Doon Da Fiddle" on line with lots of info about Shetland Music.  


 
Do you get the idea that I like the tune?  Never tried it on  the 'tina though.  Always on the Hammered Dulcimer....

 

 

Thanks for that - somehow I missed that video.



#6 Bob Michel

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 03:59 AM

Nice choice. The tune's been in my head for decades, though I don't think I'd tried it on concertina before this week. I assumed I'd first learned it from The Boys of the Lough, but a glance at The Session suggests that I probably got it off Séamus and Manus McGuire's "Humours of Lissadell" LP (fabulous album, by the way). And if they haven't heard it already, Anglo players might want to give a listen to Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin's lovely version on "Traditional Music from Clare and Beyond."

So here we go:

http://youtu.be/UAwLoIma2jA

My own tempo is a bit rubato, but that seems to be the way I swing when I'm lamenting.

Bob Michel
Near Philly

Edited by Bob Michel, 01 May 2015 - 06:18 AM.


#7 Rod

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 08:27 AM

Very nice, Bob. Make no apologies for your rubato. It is an essential ingredient in the success of this performance.

#8 Pete Dunk

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 12:44 PM

Unfortunately, the composer's video is not available in Europe (at least not in Sweden right now), neither is the PDF.

 

Here you go Wolf. The video was just a soundtrack with a picture so I converted it to mp3. :D



#9 blue eyed sailor

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 02:33 PM

 

Unfortunately, the composer's video is not available in Europe (at least not in Sweden right now), neither is the PDF.

 

Here you go Wolf. The video was just a soundtrack with a picture so I converted it to mp3. :D

 

 

Thanks a lot once again, Pete (for the converted file and the "extra")! So I was apparently wrong regarding the composer's take on his own tune; will have to think about that when resuming my playing which already turned out quite nice this morning... :D

 

Best wishes - Wolf



#10 Tootler

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 03:06 PM

It needs to be played really slowly, IMO. All too often it's played far too quickly, especially in sessons and loses it's lyrical quality as a cosequence. I've been playing it on my flute for many years but not on concertina. I made a start yesterday and it was coming along nicely but Bob has set the bar really high with his superb version. Just how it should be done.

 

Lots of practice needed to try and get something comparable. My problem is maintaining an appropriate slow tempo without sounding plodding.



#11 cboody

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 11:36 PM

Chuck, this is me again - as I can't listen to the video, I startet with my playing freely, then comparing it to the 120 beat as notated in the first ABC file. Albeit finding that tempo somewhat exaggerated I could very well imagine that the composer himself doesn't resp. didn't play the tune all too slowly. Am I right about that? However, it's a really lovely tune...

 

Thank you in advance - Wolf

Sorry Wolf,  

 

I should have removed the 120 marking.  The site that came from called it a REEL!!!!!  Maybe that also is the reason for the very active harmonies, which I also doubt were in Tom Anderson's mind.  But then,  who knows.  It is an air, and perhaps best thought of as a Lament.

 

Chuck



#12 blue eyed sailor

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 04:02 AM

Chuck, thank you for the reply - and no harm done, as it was not the tempo marking that kind of mislead me. I think it's amazing how well this lament goes as a catchy up-tempo tune (as you say, supported through active harmonies). I for my part can and will let it breathe (particularly in bar 3 resp. 4, which is crucial for the character to be given to the tune IMO), but also keep it kind of andante at the same time I guess...

 

As you say, what a wonderful (and moving) tune...



#13 Chris Drinkwater

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 08:39 AM

Well, here is the definitive version of the tune, played solo by the great man, himself, from a documentary celebrating his 80th birthday, a year before he died in 1991. Da Slockit Light, played through, just the once, commences around 3 minutes into the video.

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=Xq5JBSu5tqY

 

Chris


Edited by Chris Drinkwater, 02 May 2015 - 04:51 PM.


#14 blue eyed sailor

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 02:43 PM

Thank you for that, Chris!

 

Interesting to hear him play his tune more straightly here...

 

Still more inspiration to get one's own version going!

 

Best wishes - Wolf



#15 Rod

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 03:08 PM

I wonder if a tune, even when played by its composer, need be considered to be to be the 'definitive' version. Every player has an opportunity to improvise a little bit of their own personality into a tune if they so wish, and there is of course plenty of evidence to suggest that they do so.

#16 blue eyed sailor

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 03:15 PM

I wonder if a tune, even when played by its composer, need be considered to be to be the 'definitive' version. Every player has an opportunity to improvise a little bit of their own personality into a tune if they so wish, and there is of course plenty of evidence to suggest that they do so.

 

I perfectly agree - considering the composer's playing doesn't make me feel restricted to his approach at all. However, listening can be helpful for not missing what is in the tune, but the folk process can't (and shouldn't) be controlled anyways...

 

Best wishes - Wolf



#17 Tootler

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 04:11 PM

I decided to go for it so here is my effort. Once through solo concertina then with descant and tenor recorders added (tenor on harmony).

 

Da Slockit Light

 

Just hope I'm not out of tune this time :unsure:



#18 Paul_Hardy

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 04:27 PM

Cheating slightly, here is a version I recorded as a private experiment in 2009. It's played on a brass-reeded George Case Baritone English tina from about 1860. I play it once through solo, then with a harmony part played against it. I think I could do better now - it's a bit fast, though not frenetic, and the harmony part is too loud and intrudes too much. It was more or less my first try at double tracking and it loses synch slightly at times.
 
If I get time I'll try doing it again - would be an interesting comparison!




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