Sunday, July 15, 2012

St. Francis and the Birds, duet

St. Francis and the Birds Duo (computer mp3)(pdf)

This tune probably was written sometime in the 1980s and appeared in this blog as a single melody line with chords back in October 2007. Following last week's resurrection of St. Anthony and the Fishes as a duo I am including a two-part arrangement of St. Francis today.

Once again I'm letting a computer-generated duo of flute and English horn play the tune. This time there are definitely no notes in the top line that go below middle C.

If you are not familiar with the story you can read a nice version of the tale from the Johannes Jorgensen biography of St. Francis here, courtesy of Google Books.

My partner Erik Sessions and I (don't forget to check out our recent CD, Notes from the Farm at CD Baby, iTunes, etc.) have a couple of church music gigs coming up and I though we might want to consider playing these saints-related tunes. We'll see if that happens or not. In any event I now have these nice duos to share.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

St. Anthony returns

St. Anthony and the Fishes Duo (computer mp3)(pdf)

This tune first appeared in this blog back in the summer of 2008. It returns today with a newly written second part suitable for any two treble clef instruments, so long as one of those instruments can play down to G below middle C. This would be fine for two mandolins, mandolin and alto mandola, two violins, flute or soprano recorder [except for the low Bb in measure 29 of the top part - thanks Ellen!] and violin or mandolin, etc. Guitar would sound good on the bottom line also.

The computer generated recording (which sounds pretty good to me) features imitation flute and English horn.

I enjoyed writing out this second part and I can imagine it being included in a sequel to my Midwestern Mandolin Duos book. Find a friend and see what you think.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Riff City in Portland

Riff City (pdf from
Badlands All Night / Riff City (pdf from Contratopia Tunebook)

When Erik Sessions and I started playing music together, first around Decorah and then joining up with Pat and Patrice in Contratopia, I was suitably impressed that Erik had a tune (the killer "It Ain't the Heat, It's the Humidity") published in the first Portland Collection book. Portland 1 and, later, Portland 2 are almost always in the bag of necessities that I carry to every contra dance gig.

So I was very pleased to receive an email from Susan Songer a while back reporting that the Portland Megaband had recently enjoyed playing my tune "Riff City" and asking my permission to include a copy of the tune on her New Contra Dance Tunes webpage. Of course I said yes. While not the same as being printed in a Portland Collection book this is a big honor for me and I'm happy to hear that the Megaband folks thought the tune was fun to play.

I'm also including a copy of "Riff City" as it appears in our Contratopia Tunebook. Since it's on the same page with my tune "Badlands All Night" (a combination of two of my favorite Springsteen song titles, "Badlands" and "Prove It All Night"), I'm including that also. One thing to note about "Badlands" is that Contratopia has been playing the A section up a fifth in the key of D for the last few years. It seems to work fine either way.

April, May, June, it's July already. You'd think I would have found a few minutes to write a blog post sometime during the last three months but I didn't. I'm not including a recording of "Riff City" this time as an experiment to see if I find it easier to add new tunes if I only include the printed music. We'll see how that works out.

Hope you enjoy the tunes!

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