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Tune of the Month for March


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Despite the title of this post, we know that it is not March anymore. The hostas and tulips are leaping out of the earth and the daffodils and forsythia are in full bloom here in Brooklyn, NY. We have had a few T-shirt afternoons.

 

Despite the sense of rebirth and the welcome optimism of spring, this has been a season of death for my family and friends. So many have passed away recently. What is a concertina player to do? Play on!

 

Here is a Shetland air, a lament that I have come to love. The text for my March offering is below and the link for the recording is here.

 

Most of the tunes on these pages refer in some way to the movement of dancers. This one is more about the motion of water in the sea. Da Auld Swarra Jupie is a Shetland lament for sailors lost in the great storms of the 19th century when the fishermen rowed out in six-oared open boats called sixareens. The title refers to a woven shirt worn next to the skin of the sailors back then. If a sailor drowned, often the only way to identify the body was by their clothes.

 

The tune comes from the playing of the late Peter Frazer of Finnigarth, Walls. I learned it from fiddler Paul Friedman who got it from Tom Anderson at a workshop many years ago at Pinewoods Camp. You can read more about the tune

 

Of couse, this is a fiddle tune, but I like the way the solo Anglo concertina can emulate the ringing of the open fiddle strings. In the mp3 below, I play through the tune twice, but when I play this tune with Paul, we are happy to play it for 20 minutes or more. The more we play it, the more we want to play it more.

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It certainly is a beautiful tune, Jody, and your playing of it, as ever, is gorgeous. Mention of Tom Anderson, reminds me of one of his most delightful compositions, the haunting 'Da Slockit Light', for which I also have a harmony part, and the two parts played together on ECs, sound lovely.

 

Chris

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It certainly is a beautiful tune, Jody, and your playing of it, as ever, is gorgeous. Mention of Tom Anderson, reminds me of one of his most delightful compositions, the haunting 'Da Slockit Light', for which I also have a harmony part, and the two parts played together on ECs, sound lovely.

 

Chris

 

Thanks Chris. 'Da Slockit Light' is a lovely thing indeed and sounds very nice on anglo too. I would love to hear your harmony on two EC or perhaps three. Might be a good candidate for an EC quartet with a bass.

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'Da Slockit Light' is a lovely thing indeed and sounds very nice on anglo too. I would love to hear your harmony on two EC or perhaps three. Might be a good candidate for an EC quartet with a bass.

 

 

I have started playing Da slockit light on my newly acquired baritone English. It sounds gorgeous. A harmony line (for 2nd fiddle-Tom Anderson's instrument) is published in his book Ringing Strings (ISBN 0 900662 40 9)

 

- John Wild

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Jody

This tune (Auld Swarra) is probably way beyond my abilities but you make such an inspiring recording that I would really like to give it a go. I looked at the link you gave to The Fiddlers Companion but there's no abc's - though some fascinating background information. It's not listed in the tune o tron thing either. I did a quick search and found something over at The Session but I wondered if you would share your arrangement for (C/G) concertina in a similar format to how you have done some other tunes on your website. I'm sure others here would appreciate it too. Many thanks. Paul

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Hi Jody

This tune (Auld Swarra) is probably way beyond my abilities but you make such an inspiring recording that I would really like to give it a go. I looked at the link you gave to The Fiddlers Companion but there's no abc's - though some fascinating background information. It's not listed in the tune o tron thing either. I did a quick search and found something over at The Session but I wondered if you would share your arrangement for (C/G) concertina in a similar format to how you have done some other tunes on your website. I'm sure others here would appreciate it too. Many thanks. Paul

 

Hi Paul.

 

This tune is really not a good candidate for a beginner. I don't know if you are a beginner or not, but Auld Swarra is really quite tricky and outside of the world of straightforward dance tunes. That is one of the things I like about it.

 

To play it on C/G, I would suggest lowering the C section down an octave, or transpose the whole thing into the key of C. Also, I make use of extra buttons in playing my version on my 40 button G/D Anglo to get the phrasing to sound right.

 

The changing pulse makes it rather hard to write down and even if you did, it wouldn't be right without lots of fancy markings and even then, just an approximation. I think it's an ear tune at heart and comes from a very specific tradition of Shetland fiddling. To my ear it sounds more like a song on fiddle than a fiddle tune and properly should be learned from a fiddler who knows it, as I did.

 

All that said, go for it! I did write down the melody only, to the best of my ability. Send me your email in a PM and I'll send you a copy. I have read that the dots are published (perhaps more accurately than my version) in Anderson, Tom and Swing, Pam - Haand me doon da fiddle; 1979..

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I have read that the dots are published (perhaps more accurately than my version) in Anderson, Tom and Swing, Pam - Haand me doon da fiddle; 1979..

 

This ABC which I had sent to me does match the version in Haand me doon da fiddle

 

- John Wild

 

X: 6824

T:Auld Swaara

B:Tom Anderson book

O:Shetland

M:2/4

L:1/8

K:G

D | GG (3DB,G, | (3DGD (3B,A,B, | \

G,2 {c}(3BAF | GG (3DB,G, | \

(3DGD (3B,A,B, | DG G :|

|:A | G/F/E/D/ (3CEC | (3B,DB, A,>B, | \

G,2 {c}(3BAF | G/F/E/D/ (3CEC | \

(3B,DB, A,>B, | DG G :|

|:D | G/F/E/D/ Gg | ed/B/ d/e/f/g/ | \

a2 {A}(3BAF | G/F/E/D/ Gg | \

ed/B/ (3dgd | BG G:|

Edited by John Wild
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I have read that the dots are published (perhaps more accurately than my version) in Anderson, Tom and Swing, Pam - Haand me doon da fiddle; 1979..

 

This ABC which I had sent to me does match the version in Haand me doon da fiddle

 

- John Wild

 

Thanks John,

 

That looks about right to me and almost note for note the way I play the melody... though not the way I notated it exactly. The chords I added were my own idea of what would sound good on concertina, though they came mostly from the ringing of the open strings of the fiddle.

Edited by Jody Kruskal
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This ABC which I had sent to me does match the version in Haand me doon da fiddle

 

- John Wild

 

X: 6824

T:Auld Swaara

B:Tom Anderson book

O:Shetland

M:2/4

L:1/8

K:G

D | GG (3DB,G, | (3DGD (3B,A,B, | \

G,2 {c}(3BAF | GG (3DB,G, | \

(3DGD (3B,A,B, | DG G :|

|:A | G/F/E/D/ (3CEC | (3B,DB, A,>B, | \

G,2 {c}(3BAF | G/F/E/D/ (3CEC | \

(3B,DB, A,>B, | DG G :|

|:D | G/F/E/D/ Gg | ed/B/ d/e/f/g/ | \

a2 {A}(3BAF | G/F/E/D/ Gg | \

ed/B/ (3dgd | BG G:|

For those who see a smiley in the 3rd line from the bottom, that should, of course, be a : followed by a D. The web site automatically turns that into a smiley unless you uncheck the "enable smileys" option.

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For those who see a smiley in the 3rd line from the bottom, that should, of course, be a : followed by a D. The web site automatically turns that into a smiley unless you uncheck the "enable smileys" option.

 

thank you David. I did not know how that got there - it was not in the text I copied from

 

reagrds

 

john

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For those who see a smiley in the 3rd line from the bottom, that should, of course, be a : followed by a D. The web site automatically turns that into a smiley unless you uncheck the "enable smileys" option.

 

thank you David. I did not know how that got there - it was not in the text I copied from

 

reagrds

 

john

If you go back and click the "Edit" button at the bottom of the post with the abc and then go to the "Post Options" pane of the resulting window (below the text entry pane and the attachments pane) and uncheck the "Enable emoticons" option, then submit the modified post, it should go away.

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If you go back and click the "Edit" button at the bottom of the post with the abc and then go to the "Post Options" pane of the resulting window (below the text entry pane and the attachments pane) and uncheck the "Enable emoticons" option, then submit the modified post, it should go away.

 

Done it. thanks again

 

- John

Edited by John Wild
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