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Tune Of The Month For July 2013: Roslyn Castle


Jim Besser
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Jody, I agree with everything you said except this:

1) The second chord in measure 3 is Ab diminished in your key of D? Every time you play it my ear rebels.

 

The chord makes perfect sense in D minor if you think of it not as an Ab diminished but a G# diminished. G#-B-D-F. It's essentially an E7 chord (five of five) with the E raised to an F to add tension (and isn't that what diminished chords are all about?).

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What a wonderful performance and arrangement SqueezeCat. I enjoy hearing your delicate bellows/dynamics and fluid sense of timing and phrasing, both qualities dear to my heart.

Thanks for the kind comments. In all my listening and research on this tune I came across the Wallace arrangement and thought it would be an interesting challenge to bring Wallace's take to a Wicki/Hayden arrangement. With that in mind I tried to do the following:

 

1) respect Wallace's tonal language and chord progressions

 

2) where possible, maintain similar voice leading on inner parts

 

3) (re-)compose sensible bass with good voice leading

 

4) make it sound like concertina!

 

 

There are two things that caught my ear though and made me wonder if they were the best choices. Both are a matter of taste and both are in the Wallace score (thanks for including that link).

 

1) The second chord in measure 3 is Ab diminished in your key of D? Every time you play it my ear rebels.

Interestingly enough, this is actually one of those places where I wouldn't have chosen what Wallace has.... The chord in question is a fully diminished secondary seventh chord of the dominant. In functional harmonic notation:

 

vii7/V

 

Spelled out in d minor, the key I play the tune in this is: g-sharp, b-natural, d(-natural), f(-natural). It ends up sounding really surprising because the g-sharp and b-natural are both outside the key. In my arrangement, I've dropped the d and doubled the f. The chord is "surprising" (or "abrasive!") enough on the concertina without the d. On the piano, it is a different matter.

 

2) Your long dramatic pauses at the end... with the sighing concertina gasping for breath. Might they be quite a bit too long? Or is this meant to be funny? A theatrical touch perhaps? Even though there are indeed rests in the Wallace score, there are also pedal markings that would fill in the sound. Would it possible to get that effect with a sustained low note in the rests?

 

Meant as an overly melodramatic theatrical moment. As a unisonoric instrument the Wicki/Hayden doesn't need to breathe like this, so clearly an affectation of some sort. I tried a few things, as well as vibrato, but went with this... imagining myself channelling a chap with a top-hat and waxed moustache.

 

These are just my thoughts and I respectfully offer them for your consideration.

Thanks for these! I appreciate the feedback.

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Jody, I agree with everything you said except this:

1) The second chord in measure 3 is Ab diminished in your key of D? Every time you play it my ear rebels.

The chord makes perfect sense in D minor if you think of it not as an Ab diminished but a G# diminished. G#-B-D-F. It's essentially an E7 chord (five of five) with the E raised to an F to add tension (and isn't that what diminished chords are all about?).

 

Another way of saying... vii/V is a substitution for V/V. And, of course, V/V is a substitution for ii.

 

So, you can think of vii/V as a chromatic substitution for ii, where ii usually leads to V in the circle-of-fifths.

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Jody, I agree with everything you said except this:

1) The second chord in measure 3 is Ab diminished in your key of D? Every time you play it my ear rebels.

The chord makes perfect sense in D minor if you think of it not as an Ab diminished but a G# diminished. G#-B-D-F. It's essentially an E7 chord (five of five) with the E raised to an F to add tension (and isn't that what diminished chords are all about?).

 

Another way of saying... vii/V is a substitution for V/V. And, of course, V/V is a substitution for ii.

 

So, you can think of vii/V as a chromatic substitution for ii, where ii usually leads to V in the circle-of-fifths.

 

Absolutely! This chord makes sense in Wallace's harmonic world - in your analysis - and to my ear as well.

 

Just because it makes sense does not mean that it improves the performance. That said, SqueezeCat, I think you did a great job. You accomplished all the goals that you listed with grace and style. Still, I find that darn diminished chord surprising every time I hear it... so much so, that the tension it creates pulls my attention to the chord and away from the story that this tune has to tell. I see why you include it but doing so detracts from my very great enjoyment in listening to this skillful recording.

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You accomplished all the goals that you listed with grace and style. Still, I find that darn diminished chord surprising every time I hear it... so much so, that the tension it creates pulls my attention to the chord and away from the story that this tune has to tell. I see why you include it but doing so detracts from my very great enjoyment in listening to this skillful recording.

Reiterating my earlier comment, I didn't originally find it to my taste, but went with it.... Now am used to the "shock" after working with it for the month.

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Jody, I agree with everything you said except this:

1) The second chord in measure 3 is Ab diminished in your key of D? Every time you play it my ear rebels.

The chord makes perfect sense in D minor if you think of it not as an Ab diminished but a G# diminished. G#-B-D-F. It's essentially an E7 chord (five of five) with the E raised to an F to add tension (and isn't that what diminished chords are all about?).

 

Another way of saying... vii/V is a substitution for V/V. And, of course, V/V is a substitution for ii.

 

So, you can think of vii/V as a chromatic substitution for ii, where ii usually leads to V in the circle-of-fifths.

 

Lots of brilliant playing.

I've got some questions and I ask all of you to forgive me if they are completely stupid.

Occasionally the players mention what type of concertina is being used, but not always.

Could folks mention the type as a matter of course? Most recording sound like ECs to my untrained ear.

 

Where do you find information on cord notations such as V/V, vii/V?

Thanks!

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A little introduction to diatonic function: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diatonic_function and roman numerals analysis in music http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_numeral_analysis - easiest way to understand the basis is to think of notation like Amaj, Gmin, G7 etc as an somehow "absolute" notation of chords and roman numerals as relative notation in a given key, which gives you a deeper knowlegde of chords in a tune are for.

 

As for concertina types - indeed there are many ECs, but also an unexpectedly high number of duets, and relatively small number of Anglos (by relatively and unexpectedly I mean compared to overall "populations" of those concertinas and popular expectation and knowledge of what concertina is, usually pointing at Anglos).

 

I play Hayden duet, Elise at the moment.

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As for concertina types - indeed there are many ECs, but also an unexpectedly high number of duets, and relatively small number of Anglos (by relatively and unexpectedly I mean compared to overall "populations" of those concertinas and popular expectation and knowledge of what concertina is, usually pointing at Anglos).

Most folks who play Anglo play ITM and, IIRC, none of the tunes so far have been ITM - they have all been focussed on playing harmonically.

 

I think that there could be two flavours of TOTM each month: one for harmony style and one for ITM. There is sufficient divergence of basic technique that most folks play one or the other with only a few notable exceptions like Geoff.

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I think that there could be two flavours of TOTM each month: one for harmony style and one for ITM. There is sufficient divergence of basic technique that most folks play one or the other with only a few notable exceptions like Geoff.

 

 

I'd like to include more ITM tunes in the monthly polls, but being a non-Irish player myself, I could use some help coming up with tunes. So far, the ones I have included in the polls have not garnered much support, but that could well be because I don't know the good ones! So send along suggestions.

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So send along suggestions.

 

Jim: You put me on the spot!

 

But I am not an ITM player either - I just noticed the lack of ITM in the TOTM selections.

 

Don.

 

 

I cannot think of any ITM players who have so far contributed to TOTM but I suppose if 'we' chose a tune from that genre during the Poll , or at least included one in the selection, we might see how much interest there would be. But, did you not include " Joe Cooley's Hornpipe" in one of the first Polls Jim ?

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I cannot think of any ITM players who have so far contributed to TOTM but I suppose if 'we' chose a tune from that genre during the Poll , or at least included one in the selection, we might see how much interest there would be. But, did you not include " Joe Cooley's Hornpipe" in one of the first Polls Jim ?

 

 

Yep, Cooley's in May, the Kilnamona Barndance in June. But I recognize that as a non-ITM player, I am probably not picking tunes for the poll that would attract Irish enthusiasts, so I am again asking for their help. My goal remains the widest possible participation.

 

And that's one of the qualities that drew me to the TOTM idea in the first place. I want to be exposed to and learn genres that I haven't played. I'm hoping others feel the same way.

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