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Jim Besser

Tune Of The Month For April: Waltz From Boda

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Here's mine

 

I've been playing this waltz at dances for many years and it is still one of my favorites.

 

This is truly delightful, Jody! And then again totally unique, played in that certain vigorous style of yours...

 

Blue Eyed Sailor... " that certain vigorous style" of mine is the result of playing music for decades at dances with other dance musicians.

 

Jim, you say... "And played at a good waltz tempo. I tend to play waltzes too fast when I don't see dancers."

 

I know what you mean, but for me, even when I'm playing at home alone, I do see dancers in my minds eye and I remember what worked for them musically in the dance hall and I try to keep those qualities in my solo playing when there is only a microphone listening.

 

At a contra dance, if me and my band do something with the music that makes the dancers smile or whoop out loud (they actually do that sometimes), then I know we've done something right and everyone has a better time. Folks dance better at the right tempo and they join us with varied energy as we vary our textures, dynamics and tempi. There is a strong feedback loop between musicians who watch and dancers who listen. Being part of this non-verbal communion, being at one with lots of people at the same time... that is the true joy of playing for dances be it contras, squares, English country or ritual or even ballet and modern. The tunes, arrangements and strap configurations are all important but secondary. The primary consideration is connecting with your audience... IMO.

Edited by Jody Kruskal

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At a contra dance, if me and my band do something with the music that makes the dancers smile or whoop out loud (they actually do that sometimes), then I know we've done something right and everyone has a better time. Folks dance better at the right tempo and they join us with varied energy as we vary our textures, dynamics and tempi. There is a strong feedback loop between musicians who watch and dancers who listen. Being part of this non-verbal communion, being at one with lots of people at the same time... that is the true joy of playing for dances be it contras, squares, English country or ritual or even ballet and modern. The tunes, arrangements and strap configurations are all important but secondary. The primary consideration is connecting with your audience... IMO.

 

Yes ,exactly ! This is why your rendition sounds much more settled and 'complete' in comparison to those of us who only learned the tune last week.

 

Playing for dancers is one of my greatest pleasures too and I feel privileged to be doing this again, here in France, after a many years sojourn in Ireland where people mostly 'Drank' to the music.

Thanks for the nice version.

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Here's mine

 

I've been playing this waltz at dances for many years and it is still one of my favorites.

 

This is truly delightful, Jody! And then again totally unique, played in that certain vigorous style of yours...

 

Blue Eyed Sailor... " that certain vigorous style" of mine is the result of playing music for decades at dances with other dance musicians.

 

Jody, now you're just kiddin', aren't you? B)

 

Anyway, you won't mind me taking that seriously in order to reply from my own point of view - IMO there are two sides which of course go pretty well together in the great music you are playing:

 

1. You are an incredibly accomplished player in masterful control of every aspect of the instrument. I take it from you that joining other musicians had been part of the context of developing this skills.

 

2. Nevertheless it is a very personal style to me (albeit located in the wider field of American blending of Anglo-Irish, Scandinavian a.s.f. folk music). I might call it delightful, or even exhilarating, uplifting, whatever - not only to rate it that highly but in order to try to name a specific quality of an approach which is so successful (but unique as well, in terms of your likable and funny personality) in any regards.

 

What I personally am trying (and beginning) to achieve (with the EC and not the Anglo, as you know) seems to "look" somehow different, just based on my own musical experience as a listener and a player of the piano, a flock of recorders and some free reed instruments over the years - and having that certain fiddle sound in my ears which I want to include in my playing (as you said you do regarding the banjo for instance).

 

I won't ever reach your degree of perfection and mastership on our instrument (taken in the wider sense of Concertina.net). But IMO the difference in the approaches is pretty much evident when listening to your take on this Boda waltz and mine.

 

IMO this may well stand for the diversity of (folk) music in general - and I love to involve myself in that - and will be happy to listen to your CDs and, hopefully, again gigs further on!

 

Best regards - Wolf

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At a contra dance, if me and my band do something with the music that makes the dancers smile or whoop out loud (they actually do that sometimes), then I know we've done something right and everyone has a better time. Folks dance better at the right tempo and they join us with varied energy as we vary our textures, dynamics and tempi. There is a strong feedback loop between musicians who watch and dancers who listen. Being part of this non-verbal communion, being at one with lots of people at the same time... that is the true joy of playing for dances be it contras, squares, English country or ritual or even ballet and modern. The tunes, arrangements and strap configurations are all important but secondary. The primary consideration is connecting with your audience... IMO.

 

Yes ,exactly ! This is why your rendition sounds much more settled and 'complete' in comparison to those of us who only learned the tune last week.

 

Playing for dancers is one of my greatest pleasures too and I feel privileged to be doing this again, here in France, after a many years sojourn in Ireland where people mostly 'Drank' to the music.

Thanks for the nice version.

 

So Geoff, would you play Boda at a French dance? Also, another question... do you play concertina at your dances?

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At a contra dance, if me and my band do something with the music that makes the dancers smile or whoop out loud (they actually do that sometimes), then I know we've done something right and everyone has a better time. Folks dance better at the right tempo and they join us with varied energy as we vary our textures, dynamics and tempi. There is a strong feedback loop between musicians who watch and dancers who listen. Being part of this non-verbal communion, being at one with lots of people at the same time... that is the true joy of playing for dances be it contras, squares, English country or ritual or even ballet and modern. The tunes, arrangements and strap configurations are all important but secondary. The primary consideration is connecting with your audience... IMO.

 

Yes ,exactly ! This is why your rendition sounds much more settled and 'complete' in comparison to those of us who only learned the tune last week.

 

Playing for dancers is one of my greatest pleasures too and I feel privileged to be doing this again, here in France, after a many years sojourn in Ireland where people mostly 'Drank' to the music.

Thanks for the nice version.

 

So Geoff, would you play Boda at a French dance? Also, another question... do you play concertina at your dances?

 

Well Jody,

I would play Boda at a French Dance if the other musicians and dancers liked the piece. There are some bands here that use tunes from many other traditions for those types of dances that are generic forms , like the waltz. Most of the tunes and dances, though, are traditonal French and/or recently composed or revived material.. My wife and I introduced a couple of Kerry Slides to our band repertoire for circle dances and they went down well.

 

Yes I play concertina at the dances, mixing it with the usual Diatonic accordions,bagpipes and hurdy gurdies. I began playing the H/gurdy with the band but as we had several other excellent H/G players I thought I would try using my EC..... then the search began to find one that was loud enough so that I could hear myself...

Most people in this area have never seen a concertina before so I get asked what it is called and if it is a Bandoneon etc etc. Concertina certainly adds something to the band sound.

 

Also playing for square dancing with another group at our local Bar...

 

I have just recieved the Waltz Books of Bill Matthiesen which I learnt about on this thread)...so perhaps a more diverse selection of tunes might be evident locally soon.

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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So Geoff, would you play Boda at a French dance? Also, another question... do you play concertina at your dances?

 

Well Jody,

I would play Boda at a French Dance if the other musicians and dancers liked the piece. There are some bands here that use tunes from many other traditions for those types of dances that are generic forms , like the waltz. Most of the tunes and dances, though, are traditonal French and/or recently composed or revived material.. My wife and I introduced a couple of Kerry Slides to our band repertoire for circle dances and they went down well.

 

Yes I play concertina at the dances, mixing it with the usual Diatonic accordions,bagpipes and hurdy gurdies. I began playing the H/gurdy with the band but as we had several other excellent H/G players I thought I would try using my EC..... then the search began to find one that was loud enough so that I could hear myself...

Most people in this area have never seen a concertina before so I get asked what it is called and if it is a Bandoneon etc etc. Concertina certainly adds something to the band sound.

 

Also playing for square dancing with another group at our local Bar...

 

I have just recieved the Waltz Books of Bill Matthiesen which I learnt about on this thread)...so perhaps a more diverse selection of tunes might be evident locally soon.

 

You will enjoy those waltz books, I'm sure. Now I'm curious where I can hear this highly unusual French concertina with your band. A link...?

Edited by Jody Kruskal

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So Geoff, would you play Boda at a French dance? Also, another question... do you play concertina at your dances?

 

Well Jody,

I would play Boda at a French Dance if the other musicians and dancers liked the piece. There are some bands here that use tunes from many other traditions for those types of dances that are generic forms , like the waltz. Most of the tunes and dances, though, are traditonal French and/or recently composed or revived material.. My wife and I introduced a couple of Kerry Slides to our band repertoire for circle dances and they went down well.

 

Yes I play concertina at the dances, mixing it with the usual Diatonic accordions,bagpipes and hurdy gurdies. I began playing the H/gurdy with the band but as we had several other excellent H/G players I thought I would try using my EC..... then the search began to find one that was loud enough so that I could hear myself...

Most people in this area have never seen a concertina before so I get asked what it is called and if it is a Bandoneon etc etc. Concertina certainly adds something to the band sound.

 

Also playing for square dancing with another group at our local Bar...

 

I have just recieved the Waltz Books of Bill Matthiesen which I learnt about on this thread)...so perhaps a more diverse selection of tunes might be evident locally soon.

 

You will enjoy those waltz books, I'm sure. Now I'm curious where I can hear this highly unusual French concertina with your band. A link...?

 

A link ? I will ask around and see if anyone has made a video . I assure you that my concertina playing would be nothing unusual to us, just an instrument that has not been seen around these parts before.

 

This weekend the local Trad association is hosting the English band Blowzabella and tonight we are to have a 'session' with them, which should be great fun. All the gang are down at a local Hall today trying to make it look like a Pub and I am cleaning our house from top to bottom ready for a house full of visitors. :) Thanks for your interest Jody, I will look-see if I can find any recorded material.

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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Hi

 

Here is my contribution, recorded on my G/D edgley. Forgive the hesitations, messed up notes, etc...

I'm not very good at recording. Still hope you enjoy.

 

http://soundcloud.com/erbafdavid/boda-waltz-g-d-edgley

 

PS

I'm new to soundcloud and not very happy with the quality. I did the recording with audacity and a good mic, but the uploaded version much less good

than the one I can hear on my computer. Any advice on how to use the soundcloud ?

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Here is my contribution, recorded on my G/D edgley. Forgive the hesitations, messed up notes, etc...

I'm not very good at recording. Still hope you enjoy.

 

Sure thing! Quite different, once again... Very lively, with consistent chording... Love to listen to that bold Maj7-chord in the B-Part... B)

 

And regarding the recording process, I know exactly what you mean - but some flaws don't mess the whole thing up at all, and (against obvious expectations) you will be able to nearly ignore them yourself on repeated listening I'd guess...

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Hi

 

Here is my contribution, recorded on my G/D edgley. Forgive the hesitations, messed up notes, etc...

I'm not very good at recording. Still hope you enjoy.

 

http://soundcloud.com/erbafdavid/boda-waltz-g-d-edgley

 

PS

I'm new to soundcloud and not very happy with the quality. I did the recording with audacity and a good mic, but the uploaded version much less good

than the one I can hear on my computer. Any advice on how to use the soundcloud ?

 

 

Well, whatever your reservations about your playing and recording, David. I like it! It is played at a good tempo and has a nice "swing" to it.

 

Chris

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And regarding the recording process, I know exactly what you mean - but some flaws don't mess the whole thing up at all, and (against obvious expectations) you will be able to nearly ignore them yourself on repeated listening I'd guess...

 

 

Against obvious expectations, after listening again on the next day :

"wow ! I'm not that bad !" :)

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Finally, and after quite a struggle (I've never seriously played with harmony ... we have a couple of melodeons in the session, so I work on melody )

here's my offering. It all went a bit mournful, so I'm hoping the backdrop will distract everyone :ph34r:

 

 

Chris

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Finally, and after quite a struggle (I've never seriously played with harmony ... we have a couple of melodeons in the session, so I work on melody )

here's my offering. It all went a bit mournful, so I'm hoping the backdrop will distract everyone :ph34r:

 

 

Chris

Well done Chris ! You're on the slippery slope to a new kind of fun.

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Finally, and after quite a struggle (I've never seriously played with harmony ... we have a couple of melodeons in the session, so I work on melody )

here's my offering. It all went a bit mournful, so I'm hoping the backdrop will distract everyone :ph34r:

 

 

Chris

I was going to ask what that background is - then I saw your signature!

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Finally, and after quite a struggle (I've never seriously played with harmony ... we have a couple of melodeons in the session, so I work on melody )

here's my offering. It all went a bit mournful, so I'm hoping the backdrop will distract everyone :ph34r:

 

I myself have been distracted only by that signature since I read the first post of yours! :)

 

Reminds me of childhood dreams: Prior to heading for the music (which I missed as well in terms of a profession) I firmly wanted to study the astronomy. One of my books had a moody painting of Jodrell Bank Observatory as to be seen in late dusk, with stars and planets starting to shine brightly... Just the stuff to dream of doing my job out there sometime...

 

Regarding the music I agree with Geoff: You are surely exploring new territory (or should we say: a new universe) with your nice first attempt... The EC is such a great instrument for doing a one man/woman show, not in terms of showing off but to give people (being the first of them oneself) delight...

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Finally, and after quite a struggle (I've never seriously played with harmony ... we have a couple of melodeons in the session, so I work on melody )

here's my offering. It all went a bit mournful, so I'm hoping the backdrop will distract everyone :ph34r:

 

I myself have been distracted only by that signature since I read the first post of yours! :)

 

Reminds me of childhood dreams: Prior to heading for the music (which I missed as well in terms of a profession) I firmly wanted to study the astronomy. One of my books had a moody painting of Jodrell Bank Observatory as to be seen in late dusk, with stars and planets starting to shine brightly... Just the stuff to dream of doing my job out there sometime...

 

Regarding the music I agree with Geoff: You are surely exploring new territory (or should we say: a new universe) with your nice first attempt... The EC is such a great instrument for doing a one man/woman show, not in terms of showing off but to give people (being the first of them oneself) delight...

 

 

The not so secret ambition is to record a TOTM in the bowl :lol:

Tuesday is maintenance day when we're all parked nicely, but I must admit that from shouting tests, the acoustics are dire! I may settle with trying the little whispering dishes next time. Here's http://www.flickr.com/photos/mjpointon/4927373495/ someone else's photo - I'd have to figure out how to bungee cord the tablet to the focus of one, press the record and rush down to the other to play )

 

Back on topic, I'm floundering around a lot with this "playing more than one note at a time lark, it's like rubbing your head and patting your stomach at the same time ... so any tips will be gratefully received.

 

Chris

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Back on topic, I'm floundering around a lot with this "playing more than one note at a time lark, it's like rubbing your head and patting your stomach at the same time ... so any tips will be gratefully received.

 

Chris

 

Try finding a simple Piano score for some piece that you like.... much of what is available will be Classical music... but lots of arrangements exist for the begginer pianist and these can prove to be very usefull to get more notes going. Even if just for the exercise I would recommed doing this. However, don't underestimate how much extra time it might take at first to learn a tune this way. I downloaded a normal piano score for "The Entertainer" one mid winter day several years ago... I had been trying my hand at it for an hour when my wife came into the kitchen and listened whilst she made some coffee... "Hmmm sounds like that could be ready for next Christmas". What 12 months to learn one tune !! ............... I'm still working on it at the moment.

 

Another simple thing is to play a tune you know well and then play it an octave higher, or lower.. then when you have that play both octaves together... this gets the fingers moving about and loosens the hands .

 

Next play the tune through with thirds above the melody , minor or major , you will soon find out on which notes this sounds wrong.

 

Now join the two paragraphs above ( play thirds and octaves) where possible and make the sound corrections to fourths or fifths as and when.... perhaps not quite so easy this one but take your time. This is not really playing with accompaniment of chords in a direct sense but I find it works for me and is something I can do by ear.

 

When you have that try putting an easy fifth below what ever note you wish by rolling a finger backwards down the row (only works if the fifth below is in the same row.

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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Back on topic, I'm floundering around a lot with this "playing more than one note at a time lark, it's like rubbing your head and patting your stomach at the same time ... so any tips will be gratefully received.

 

Simple to moderate guitar music sometimes works really well, especially if you're prepared to make some modifications - either due to not having the low F and E on the concertina, or to stop low notes drowning out the tune. Elizabethan tunes arranged for guitar often work reasonably well, and get your fingers used to playing the different shapes underneath the melody. There are some good 19th century pieces that get you playing counterpoint too... after a while your brain stops thinking about which fingers are playing, and moves on to just what notes are being played!

 

I remember going through a set of books "The Classic Guitar Collection" a long time ago - they're pretty good, with a really wide range of styles and difficulty. They might be in your local library, if you still have a local library!

 

Quite a lot of the music might not be any good for "performance", or indeed it might not be your cup of tea, but just trying to play it and getting your fingers used to these shapes is really good and sets you up for using the same techniques in whatever music you really want to play. It's called practice, I believe :)

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