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Jim Besser

Tune Of The Month, Feb. 2015: Metsakukkia

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The people have spoken! This month we'll learn, record and post the lovely Finnish waltz Metsakukkia.

Also known as Flower of the Woods, the basic tune is simple, but getting that wonderful Scandi feel takes some work.

This version on “two” accordions" should give you a good idea of what it sounds like and some hints at how to embellish. Here's one with an interesting octave shift and cute hats. Wow: here's a sort of surf guitar version with some wicked bass. And a sung version in a language I can't identify. And a very straightfoward version on chromatic button accordion.

 

Here's a link to notation in what I believe is the most common key - Gm. Apparently the Boys of the Lough, that famous Finnish band (just joking), did it in Cm. If you want dots for that, let me know.

 

But there's no reason you have to do it in those keys, which are about as popular as acne with most Anglo players.

 

Here's a version in Am, and attached is the first version transposed to Em.

 

The key issue is personal. If you want to play this tune with others at a session, you're probably going to have to learn it in Gm. If not, play it in the key that works best for you and the system you play. For myself, Em on the G/D and Am on the C/G are the ways to go, Your choice entirely.

 

You can read a lot of chatter about the tune and see some different versions over on thesession.org. Read it all here.

 

An aside: Metsakukkia bears an interesting resemblance to the tune variously described as Klezmer or Russian called Expectation Waltz or Ozhidanie. I have a hard time keeping the two straight.

 

As always, notation for tunes in the folk realm gleaned from the Web, and especially from voluminous ABC archives, is more like a general guideline than a precise set of instructions. ABC files often contain errors, and different compilers have different ways of hearing tunes.

metsakukkia in Em.pdf

Edited by Jim Besser

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Once again, Jim's post was prepared before it appeared, and by the time it showed up in my New Content, it was already on the second page, after a number of posts I had already read. So, to make sure that everyone notices this thread:

 

BUMP!

The people have spoken! This month we'll learn, record and post the lovely Finnish waltz Metsakukkia.
Also known as Flower of the Woods, the basic tune is simple, but getting that wonderful Scandi feel takes some work.

This version on “two” accordions" should give you a good idea of what it sounds like and some hints at how to embellish. Here's one with an interesting octave shift and cute hats. Wow: here's a sort of surf guitar version with some wicked bass. And a sung version in a language I can't identify. And a very straightfoward version on chromatic button accordion.

Here's a link to notation in what I believe is the most common key - Gm. Apparently the Boys of the Lough, that famous Finnish band (just joking), did it in Cm. If you want dots for that, let me know.

But there's no reason you have to do it in those keys, which are about as popular as acne with most Anglo players.

Here's a version in Am, and attached is the first version transposed to Em.

The key issue is personal. If you want to play this tune with others at a session, you're probably going to have to learn it in Gm. If not, play it in the key that works best for you and the system you play. For myself, Em on the G/D and Am on the C/G are the ways to go, Your choice entirely.

You can read a lot of chatter about the tune and see some different versions over on thesession.org. Read it all here.

An aside: Metsakukkia bears an interesting resemblance to the tune variously described as Klezmer or Russian called Expectation Waltz or Ozhidanie. I have a hard time keeping the two straight.

As always, notation for tunes in the folk realm gleaned from the Web, and especially from voluminous ABC archives, is more like a general guideline than a precise set of instructions. ABC files often contain errors, and different compilers have different ways of hearing tunes.

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Does anyone have pointers on how to play the trills in the third section on an English?

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Does anyone have pointers on how to play the trills in the third section on an English?

I do not see any Trills in the third section....perhaps you could explain further ?

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Maybe I used the incorrect term. In the Gm version from abcnotation, the dotted eighths in the third section have tildes over them. I thought they were trill markings. In several of the linked videos the performers decorate those notes. So I'm asking about what a good way to execute that kind of decoration on an English.

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Maybe I used the incorrect term. In the Gm version from abcnotation, the dotted eighths in the third section have tildes over them. I thought they were trill markings. In several of the linked videos the performers decorate those notes. So I'm asking about what a good way to execute that kind of decoration on an English.

I must admit I have never seen marks quite like those and I assume they are abrieviated ( because they fall after 'rest' marks) bowing marks .

 

However, in the recordings suggested, and several others that I have listened to on Youtube , I hear these notes being played pretty much as written in the Gm version above.... no decoration but perhaps generally those musicians are playing the three notes like a bowed triple... the first two notes being far closer to equal length than is written ... but the important bit appears to be to play the third note ( the beat note) accented and staccato -ish.

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Just a bit of classical notation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ornament_(music)#Turn

So, what we have in the Gm notation is a modern shape of the Turn symbol ? OK... that makes sense..

 

 

Perhaps I would approach this section on the EC by playing the first two notes something like written and put an appoggiatura on to the begining of the beat note. So, for the Gm version start of third part ... play G, F# then press G and the B above it together (as if to play a chord) and imediately release the B leaving the G to continue sounding . this will give the start of the Beat a good kick. In a pure sense you could use Bb for the grace note but I think I get a better effect with a B natural... though an A could also be used... the important thing is to get a springy emphasis.

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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Maybe I used the incorrect term. In the Gm version from abcnotation, the dotted eighths in the third section have tildes over them. I thought they were trill markings. In several of the linked videos the performers decorate those notes. So I'm asking about what a good way to execute that kind of decoration on an English.

I must admit I have never seen marks quite like those and I assume they are abrieviated ( because they fall after 'rest' marks) bowing marks .

 

However, in the recordings suggested, and several others that I have listened to on Youtube , I hear these notes being played pretty much as written in the Gm version above.... no decoration but perhaps generally those musicians are playing the three notes like a bowed triple... the first two notes being far closer to equal length than is written ... but the important bit appears to be to play the third note ( the beat note) accented and staccato -ish.

 

 

The tilde is the standard way of indicating a decorated note in Irish music. abc Explorer says: "the tilde symbol represents the gracing of a note which, in the context of traditional music, can mean different things for different instruments." It's usually a roll but that makes no sense here. My best guess would be to cut the note from a semitone below. I've tried it on EC: it gives the passage a certain zip if you play a brief F# before the G, C# before the D and A before the Bb. It's a technique I'm fond of in other contexts but wouldn't have occurred to me here. But I like it! The grace notes have to be very short indeed, of course.

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Ah - Geoff was posting as I was writing. Geoff's version would sound great but I don't think it's what is meant in that notation. The tilde refers to the note above which it appears, not a later one.

What the classical thing refers to as a turn seems to be basically what, in ITM is called a roll, which, as I said above, makes no sense in this tune. Of course this tune isn't Irish! But abc is used for notating all kinds of traditions, including Finnish, I guess.

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Ah - Geoff was posting as I was writing. Geoff's version would sound great but I don't think it's what is meant in that notation. The tilde refers to the note above which it appears, not a later one.

What the classical thing refers to as a turn seems to be basically what, in ITM is called a roll, which, as I said above, makes no sense in this tune. Of course this tune isn't Irish! But abc is used for notating all kinds of traditions, including Finnish, I guess.

Exactly Chas.

I have suggested an alternative approach, as you have, both of which will suit the concertina better,perhaps, than a classical Turn.

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Thanks Geoff and Chas, you've given me some good ideas to try.

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The way I play this tune (and I learnt it from Finnish musicians) is to place a great deal of emphasis on these notes.

I'll see if I can do a recording this weekend.

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The way I play this tune (and I learnt it from Finnish musicians) is to place a great deal of emphasis on these notes.

I'll see if I can do a recording this weekend.

That confirms an impression I got from listening to several recordings on You Tube.

 

The conversion utility I use for my notation software didn't like the abc that Jim linked in the OP so I found another. That doesn't have the tilde but it does mark the third note in the three note pattern as staccato which suggests another way of giving emphasis.

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