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Posts posted by StuartEstell

  1. This may only make sense to Brits :) --- it's the theme tune for Saturday afternoon sport on the BBC in the 1970s and 80s. I've often said that if I wrote a single tune as good as this I'd die happy, and I say that completely without sarcasm.


    It's played in D on a C-core Jeffries duet. The chord structure to this tune is really lovely but a pig to play on the Jeffries! Sadly there's no way of reproducing the timpani glissando in the first section...



  2. I play a lot of mountain music, but not in what anyone would consider an authentic style -- I certainly rarely approach the breakneck speed of some bluegrass. If you alter the arrangement to remove all the fast-moving stuff, the melodies are often quite slow...

  3. A self-penned song from my performance at the Black Diamond Folk Club last month, called "The Elf Princess" -- it's a kind of English folk take on the Erlkönig. The slow jig that surrounds the verses is called "The Cherry Blossom Falls" after the line in the last verse of the song. It's the first time she's been out of mothballs in some time!




    If you like loud guitars there's also a link to a much earlier full band recording here:



    .... Thousands of people get together every week in England to perform atonal serialized music in unstandardized non-diatonic scales, to the largest audiences any kind of acoustic music gets, without even thinking about it.


    I'm hoping I'm not the only one that doesnt understand this sentence? :)



    Except peals of bells are seldom (if ever?) atonal. The intonation may vary wildly but I've never heard one that wasn't a diatonic scale.

  5. Folks,


    I will be one of two guests at the Black Diamond Folk Club in Birmingham on May 27th (this Friday).


    I'll have the demented typewriter (my trusty Jeffries duet) and guitar with me and will be playing a mixture of English, Appalachian and Ozark material -- for those of you who have seen me before, there is a much lower body count in the ballads than usual this time round! :)


    I think it's £7 in on the door.





  6. I'm a classically trained pianist and tuba player, but I only ever play concertina and guitar by ear. I certainly draw on my classical training with regard to harmony and arrangements -- and as a result often use techniques which are a bit "outside" for the usual harmonic language of folk music arranging -- but I don't feel the need to write them down.


    Despite my background I was drawn to playing by ear very early. I must have been about 7 or 8 when I started working out how to play pop songs that I liked on the piano, in a very rudimentary way. My piano teacher tried to persuade my mum that I should be focusing entirely on playing the printed repertoire I was being given, but my mum, to her credit, decided I was better off going about it the way that suited me.


    The next step was learning guitar from the age of about 13, on an abysmal Woolworth's acoustic. I taught myself with a book -- again, my piano teacher was against it, but I did it anyway.




    I find that I can use my voice training in folk singing - all I have to do to differentiate between art song and folk song is to switch from classical diction to my Ulster accent. The rest just follows from that. Bilingual - that's my type!


    Yes! Absolutely. The vocal training I had 20+ years ago has been invaluable, mostly in ensuring that I don't hurt my voice when singing for long periods...

  7. There are some phrases that have connotations now which they would previously have lacked, of course, e.g. in Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor. As I sing it (primarily from Hedy West's version), the opening verse is



    "Mother, O Mother," Lord Thomas he said

    As he went out at the door

    "Shall I marry fair Eleanor,

    Or bring the brown girl home?"


    Now, I wouldn't bother explaining to a folky audience that the phrase "the brown girl" has nothing to do with race but is about hair colour -- but would I feel comfortable singing it to a non-specialist audience without either being aware of potential sensitivity or providing some additional context? No.

  8. Herewith some smut, in the form of "Vaseline" by 90s Britpop group Elastica, and George Formby's "When I'm Cleaning Windows", in one handy medley.


    The easily-offended may wish to look the other way, although I'd argue that Formby's song is every bit as filthy as the Elastica number.


    You may need a bath afterwards.




    Hi Wolf,

    Like you I strongly believe that a piece of music without a recognizable melody line doesn't have a lot of value.

    I think a rendition of a melody-less minimalist piece like Phillip Glass's "Einstein on the Beach" might work quite well on the concertina. Has anyone attempted it? As far as emulating guitar slaps, there's always the option of sitting on a cajon and drumming with your heels!


    I've had a crack at Glass's "Opening" from Glassworks and "Mad Rush" from the solo piano collection. The first song from "Songs from Liquid Days", "Changing Opinion" also works well.


    My own arrangement of the Stone Roses' "Elizabeth My Dear" leans heavily on Glass's aesthetic.

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