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Jim Besser

Tune Of The Month For August, 2013: The Abbess

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I've learned it and I've recorded it. But don't make me say I like it. Several things about this tune make me think it is not for me.


The big one is the stake through my heart that is the extra beat in the 2nd half of the B section. Was that necessary? All it does is draw attention to itself and distract the listener from the flow of the tune. Like a laughing clown popping out of a box on a table in an otherwise sedate Vermeer still life. By the way, my sense of that extra beat is that the four 8th notes B-A-G-F# are the third beat of the previous measure, not the first beat of the next measure, as my friend Peter has notated it.


And what's that noodling in the previous two measures? The high G is nice, but it's like he painted himself into a corner and everything after the high G through to the four 8th notes mentioned in the previous paragraph are a haphazard attempt to make the best of it.


Also, it is derivative of Coleman's March and some other tunes that I can't quite put my finger on. What's the tune whose B section starts like:


Bc|dBdB e2ed|cBce d2 ... ?


But enough. Here it is, and then I never have to play it again. :)


[As always, played on my Wheatstone 46-key Hayden concertina.]

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But enough. Here it is, and then I never have to play it again. :)
[As always, played on my Wheatstone 46-key Hayden concertina.]

 

 

well, you did a great job, especially since you don't like the tune! And isn't that one of the points of the TOTM?

 

You add some nice chording, and I like the runs at the ends of sections.

 

I like the rhythmic hiccup in the second part of B. Andy plays it without a pause, but I've played it (as on the Squeezers recording) with a longish pause that adds drama.

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For some reason, this tune annoyed me at first (chuckled to read like-minded comments) but after playing it a while I'm starting to like it. It especially helped to hear it played by it's composer (YouTube), which sounds amazing.

 

So I will eventually get my copy posted. I've been using my Albion concertina, while my Geordie awaits a small repair (next week). Maybe I'll just let the Albion have this one, anyway.

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By the way, my sense of that extra beat is that the four 8th notes B-A-G-F# are the third beat of the previous measure, not the first beat of the next measure, as my friend Peter has notated it.

 

 

You know the more I think about this the stranger it seems. I don't recall ever transcribing this tune, I don't have it in any of my abc files, I don't have a printed copy of the music and I can't transcribe by ear! I'm beginning to wonder if someone used one of my headers because it had all of the right info in it and couldn't be bothered to delete the Z: field. There is a file that's note for note the same on the Session, the only difference is that the few bars of music in 6/4 in 'my' file is shown in 3/2 on the Session version. Weird!

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Well... I bit the bullet and signed up for Soundcloud. Now I've only got 116 minutes and 46 seconds left in my account because I just posted my playing of The Abbess at https://soundcloud.com/jodysconcertina/the-abbess

 

Two times through, quite slow and with a slightly flexible tempo. I do like that sort of thing and this tune seems quite capable of sustaining that kind of treatment.

 

David, I quite agree with you. What is going on with the melody in measures 11 and 12, just before the "rhythmic hiccup in the second part of B" ??? After fussing with it a bit I just adjusted the chords (as stated by whoever did the abc transcribing) and now it sounds quite natural to my ear. I'm playing |Em C | Am | in those two measures. In fact, I messed with the chords all over the place to improve the voice leading and flow on my G/D Anglo and I'm really enjoying this tune now.

 

Thanks to Andy for writing The Abbess and thanks to TOTM for pointing the way to learning it.

Edited by Jody Kruskal

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As for that hiccup measure that I like... the 6/4 one that you object to, dear Dave B. In listening to my playing of the tune, I think a better concept might be to keep the 4/4 measures through to the end in the score and then add the extra half note to the end of the last measure. This would be a sort of breath before starting up again at the top. A common practice in songs. This concept does displace the distinctive and decorative 16th note phrase by a half note from where it is placed in the A section, (if you get my drift) but does make more logical/musical sense. A pause before repeating.

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Well... I bit the bullet and signed up for Soundcloud. Now I've only got 116 minutes and 46 seconds left in my account because I just posted my playing of The Abbess at https://soundcloud.com/jodysconcertina/the-abbess

 

Really nice. Great use of the sonorous basses.

 

My problem with this tune has been that it is so evidently a melodeon tune, and I couldn't figure out how to make it right for concertina. I think you nailed it, and it's the use of the deep basses that does it.

 

I'm suspecting having 38 buttons instead of my 30 helps, but a quick try while listening to your version suggests there's a lot I can adapt from your version.

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Well... I bit the bullet and signed up for Soundcloud. Now I've only got 116 minutes and 46 seconds left in my account because I just posted my playing of The Abbess at https://soundcloud.com/jodysconcertina/the-abbess

 

Really nice. Great use of the sonorous basses.

 

My problem with this tune has been that it is so evidently a melodeon tune, and I couldn't figure out how to make it right for concertina. I think you nailed it, and it's the use of the deep basses that does it.

 

I'm suspecting having 38 buttons instead of my 30 helps, but a quick try while listening to your version suggests there's a lot I can adapt from your version.

 

Hi Jim,

 

I played it on a 38 G/D Dipper with full length reeds. This instrument has a very rich sound with basses that are almost instant on. These bass notes are almost as quick to respond as the treble. Yeah, the extra 8 are certainly helpful in this tune but it sounds very nice on my 30 button C/G Bastari played with the same sort of arrangement but sounding up a 4th in the key of C.

Edited by Jody Kruskal

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Oooookaaaay....

 

Here's my version, at least what I have right now --

 

The Abbess, a tune by Andy Cutting, played by me on the Morse Albion treble English concertina

 

It could be better, for sure, but I'm not sure I can get to that for a while!

Nice, Wendy, but try this...

 

I know the score calls for G Sus 4 in the cadences, and that's what both you and Mr. Cutting play. But he's playing a melodeon that might not be able to do what I'm thinking of and you are playing an English concertina, which can. When you play the G chord with the suspended C, don't hold it for the entire measure, but resolve the C halfway through the measure to a B, so you finish the measure on a G chord. If you listen again to my recording, I do essentially the same thing, but take a few extra notes to get there.

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Oooookaaaay....

 

Here's my version, at least what I have right now --

 

The Abbess, a tune by Andy Cutting, played by me on the Morse Albion treble English concertina

 

It could be better, for sure, but I'm not sure I can get to that for a while!

Nice, Wendy, but try this...

 

I know the score calls for G Sus 4 in the cadences, and that's what both you and Mr. Cutting play. But he's playing a melodeon that might not be able to do what I'm thinking of and you are playing an English concertina, which can. When you play the G chord with the suspended C, don't hold it for the entire measure, but resolve the C halfway through the measure to a B, so you finish the measure on a G chord. If you listen again to my recording, I do essentially the same thing, but take a few extra notes to get there.

Hmm.... Well, I know that makes sense, to resolve to the B. I know it sounds a bit odd NOT to. I did resolve it (not nearly as gracefully as you do) at one place, and then at the end. The other spots.... well, I wonder now if the melodeon could have resolved to B, now.

 

I don't think it sounds TOO badly off*, not to resolve the Gsus4 chords that I didn't resolve. I kept changing my mind about this. The tune, as a whole, is very pleasant and I do like it, but it's almost like a big collection of 'resolving indecisions.' I've never even met an abbess, actually, but the abbess I picture is busy doing many small chores and being decisive about them, while she is pondering the larger issue at hand and not quite reaching a decision about what she'll do, yet....

 

The first section of the tune is easy to remember, but the second part, I felt like I was plodding along. I need to review all of the TOTMs and keep playing them.

 

I love your version of this tune -- sounds great, even if it hasn't become one of your favorites!

 

*EDIT ADDED:

--But yes, I wish I'd resolved it at the end of the second section, since I did not play the repeat. I'd intended to but forgot.

Edited by bellowbelle

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What is the "G/Fsharp" chord in bars one and two? In guitar-speak it would be a G chord with an F sharp in the bass, i.e. some inversion of a G major 7 chord I assume, but how does that fit here? I fear I don't understand this at all !

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What is the "G/Fsharp" chord in bars one and two? In guitar-speak it would be a G chord with an F sharp in the bass, i.e. some inversion of a G major 7 chord I assume, but how does that fit here? I fear I don't understand this at all !

I'll admit I don't understand this either, in fact I don't agree with many of the chords marked on this Score... that however is not too unusual... I just make up my own accompaniment as I go along...... :blink:

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Started with a double handicap (disliking the tune initially and suffering trom a sore thumb) this time which I've overcome more or less by now, here is my first attempt on The Abbess.

 

David (Barnert), you will realize that I agree with you on another detail as well...

 

 

=> Edit: better listen to this (slightly more successful) recording of the identical arrangement.

Edited by blue eyed sailor

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The F-sharp with the G only sounds good to me with the first note (d) of the second full measure. Then, also with the first note of the second section (same note, d).

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Started with a double handicap (disliking the tune initially and suffering trom a sore thumb) this time which I've overcome more or less by now, here is my first attempt on The Abbess.

 

David (Barnert), you will realize that I agree with you on another detail as well...

An impressive arrangement for an English Concertina, Wolf. But I am at a loss as to what your final comment refers to.

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