Sunday, January 26, 2014

Bagatelle for Solo Mandolin, no. 2

Bagatelle for Solo Mandolin, no. 2 (mp3) (pdf)

And yet another short piece for solo mandolin. This one recorded last weekend.

Last week's tune, "Snow Crow Shadow", had a world premier a week ago at a performance for a select group of special listeners. Erik Sessions and I played the tune on mando and fiddle. Just last night we played the tune as part of a medley during a contra dance with our full Contratopia band. It seemed to work well in both contexts.

Snow, wind, cold; this is our January.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Snow Crow Shadow

Snow Crow Shadow (mp3) (pdf)

Believe it or not, I try not to write every tune in either D major or A minor/modal. This one wouldn't be denied so I let it come. Standing at the window I heard a crow outside and saw his/her shadow flit by on the snow as he/she passed overhead. (Thanks to the anonymous photographer, and crow, for the royalty free stock photo above.)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Bagatelle for Solo Mandolin, no. 1

Bagatelle for Solo Mandolin, no. 1 (mp3) (pdf)

2013 was, for me, the Year of the Deer Track. So much so that I have grown tired of that naming convention. On the first day of the new year I composed another Deer Track piece and it appears here today with a new kind of title. We'll see if a Bagatelle no. 2 comes along or if I revert to the old ways.

In any event I like this one. It's fun to play and pleasing to my ear. Hope you enjoy it also.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

December Jigs 2013

December Jigs 2013 (mp3) (pdf-1) (pdf-2)

Here we are at the start of the 8th year of So Many Tunes. A couple of those years were pretty quiet, only 3 posts in 2009 for instance, but I've been fairly active starting in 2012. I haven't counted lately but I know that well over 100 tunes are now freely available here as mp3 recordings and in standard notation.

Occasionally I will hear from someone who has enjoyed playing some of these tunes and I think that's great. The main purpose for this blog, however, continues to be the same. This is primarily a way for me to document at least some of the music that I write in a simple, demo-style format. Audio sketches if you will.

If you've sampled more than a few of these tunes you can hear that they are mostly bare bones recordings. I want you to get an idea of how the tune might go in case you want to try it yourself. Today's recordings are as bare as it gets, one mandolin playing simple melody lines. The only slight difference here is that, instead of playing each tune twice in a row, I play each tune only once and then go back and play them each once again. Pretty fancy arrangement. None of these tunes have titles yet but I decided to not let that stop me.

On New Year's Eve I received an email from Lucy in Brittany letting me know about a very nice blog entry she had written for her box elder blog. The post is titled Smitten, as ever was and is a model for what a good blog entry can be. In the middle of the post Lucy says some lovely things about our Contratopia band and our recording of my tune "Smitten" (recently featured once again in So Many Tunes). I encourage everyone to check it out.

Special thanks also to Reed and Ardys for the beautiful photo of snow-covered Decorah taken last week from the overlook at Palisades Park! It reminds me a lot of Bruegel's "Hunters in the Snow," one of my favorite paintings. It's bitter cold today in Northeast Iowa but I hope you enjoy these tunes whatever the temperature, wherever you are.

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