Tuesday, August 10, 2021

The New Hat

The New Hat (mp3) (pdf)

Same photo twice in a row? This is because today's tune is named after the hat in the photo above.

Back in July I received a wonderful gift of a new hat. This would be the first new hat with a brim that I have ever owned. It's become my go-to head covering for summer outdoor gigs and works great.

The night after I received the hat this tune came to me in a dream. This never happens. Once in a while I might remember a snatch of a tune when I wake up but this was a vivid memory of a complete, albeit simple, tune. 

The dream itself involved our Contratopia band relaxing at the house of a generous host after playing a dance somewhere. As we were sitting around, unwinding from our labors, another band arrived coming back from their gig. This was a group of young Irish players (no one in particular) who were a little more wound up than we were at this hour of night. 

The Irish group was very friendly and we were all thrilled to meet other musicians and share stories. After a minute or two one of the newcomers, who was out of sight, down the hall from the living room where we sat, began playing a tune on a whistle or flute. By it's simplicity we all perceived it as an invitation to join in and we began unpacking instruments. A fun jam session ensued.

When I woke up, before dawn, the dream was very clear and the tune was insistent. After a while I figured I'd better get up and write it down. I resisted any urge to "improve" the tune as I transcribed it from my dream memory and this is what we have here. (The harmony part didn't appear in the dream but was composed later.)

Even though there were no hats in the dream that I can remember I still knew right away what the title of the tune should be.

Hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, August 01, 2021

Not Quite Rain


Not Quite Rain (mp3) (pdf)

I've got some tunes backed up, waiting to be recorded, and I finally got around to one this morning.

July was a pretty busy month with lots of fun gigs and great music opportunities. I've got several things scheduled this month also but I'm worried that the combination of a resurgent virus (especially the delta variant) and the reluctance of so many of my friends and neighbors to "take one for the team" will combine to make playing out in public less common once again. I remain hopeful, but concerned.

The photo above was not intended for this blog, or anything for that matter. I was just getting ready to take a different picture and I liked the way this looked.

I hope you enjoy the tune.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Joslin Farm


Joslin Farm (mp3) (pdf)

One of my favorite places is the Kings Landing living history historical settlement, nestled along the St. John River just west of Fredericton, New Brunswick. The Joslin Farm is one of the features of a visit to the park and I've enjoyed visiting it several times.

There is apparently another very nice place with a similar name in Vermont, the Joslin Round Barn Farm. I think I would enjoy visiting there someday too. So the title of this tune, like many tune titles, can evoke different reactions depending on your own history.

Even though I have zero interest in the Game of Thrones phenomenon I do realize that "King's Landing" is a place in that universe as well. I think our imaginations are probably big enough for both fictional places to coexist. I can guarantee, however, that a physical visit to the Joslin Farm at Kings Landing in New Brunswick will add some pleasure to your life.

I've had this tune for a couple of years with a different title and I realized that I was holding it back because something about the title wasn't just right. With a little thought I found this solution, I hope you enjoy the result.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Assisi Heights


Assisi Heights (mp3) (pdf) (pdf harmony)

Shortly after we arrived in Decorah, Iowa, in the summer of 1994, I was driven off to Rochester, MN to participate in a Luther College all faculty retreat at a place called Assisi Heights. This was a wonderful experience for me, especially given my lifelong interest in St. Francis and all things Franciscan. 

I haven't returned there for a lengthy visit since 1994 but I always look off towards the site as I drive by on my way to and from the Twin Cities. It always does me good.

I really like this tune and I've had it for several months. Erik, Patrice and I gave it a world premiere at the Decorah Farmers Market just over a week ago and I discovered a few more changes I needed to make. I hope now it's a finished piece but I never know for certain.

In any event I hope you enjoy it and that it brings a little Franciscan moment into you day.

Sunday, May 09, 2021

November Waltz, 2020 - Deer Track, December 27, 2020


November Waltz, 2020 (mp3) (pdf) (pdf harmony)

Deer Track, December 27, 2020 (mp3) (pdf)

Here's a nice waltz from last November, along with another Deer Track composition from late December 2020. I've got something of a backlog of tunes from the last few months and I'm just being slow about bringing them to the blog.

I like the accidental light I unwittingly captured in the photo above, also from last November.

Spring is almost, but not quite, here, although we did hit 90 degrees for a few hours last Sunday.

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Telemann: Menuets for Two Mandolins (1728)


Recording currently available for streaming or purchase only at Bandcamp

No new original music this time but yesterday, on May Day, I released my recording of 19 Menuets from G.P. Telemann's 1728 collection of 50 pieces. These were self-published by Telemann on a subscription basis. Customers signed up and received groups of seven new menuets (plus one extra, presumably at the end) throughout the year.

I have played these pieces for years and I have intended to record some of them for a long time. I picked my favorites, although next week I might choose some different ones. It was hard to settle but I didn't want to present too many at once. This group comes out to about a half hour so I'm happy with that length.

Head over to Bandcamp and give them a listen if you are interested.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Deer Track, January 3, 2007-April 18, 2021


Deer Track, January 3, 2007-April 18, 2021 (mp3) (pdf)

I had several tunes planned for this next blog post but too many projects got in the way. I'll get to them eventually.

In the meantime I found myself picking up the thread of an unfinished Deer Track from early 2007 yesterday and following where it wanted to take me. I figure that less than 10% of the Deer Tracks pieces are written in 6/8 time but I see that this one follows my Deer Track from February that was also, mostly, in 6/8. Just a coincidence I'm sure.

It's only about a minute long, hope you enjoy it's wandering nature.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.