Saturday, August 15, 2015

Eight More Miles to India

Eight More Miles to India (mp3) (pdf) (pdf-tab)

Another great summer weekend. I'm honored to be playing, along with Erik Sessions, for an outdoor wedding ceremony this afternoon at the Decorah Fish Hatchery. The weather will be a little on the warm side but, fingers crossed, there is no rain in the forecast.

Later tonight I get to play polkas, schottisches, waltzes and two-steps with my Foot-Notes friends at the Highlandville schoolhouse. This will be our first public dance since the World's Largest Schottische event at Nordic Fest. You can view a fine short video about the WLS event, produced by Bailey Mulholland, at this link: (It even has a brief shot of me smiling for the camera!)

Today's tune was written back in April as I was preparing for a presentation on John Coltrane for a jazz history class at Luther College. I've given this talk a few times and I always start by explaining my own introduction to Coltrane's music via the Byrds' recording of their tune "Eight Miles High."

At the beginning of his introductory solo Roger McGuinn quotes a four-note theme directly from Coltrane's tune "India." I play the Byrds' recording first (these days no one in the class can even identify the song) and then the intro to "India."

So back in April I was toying with the idea of bringing a mandolin to class to demonstrate the quote and I ended up writing this dance tune instead. I've played it at a couple of contra dances since then and it seems to work fine. Try it yourself and see what you think.

The recording is at a slower tempo than you might want to use for contra dancing. I also got out my old Flatiron octave mandolin to double the melody and add a little harmony in the B section. And I created a tab version of the sheet music.

I couldn't resist being clever with the title (a little too clever you might justifiably think), combining the Byrds and Coltrane titles with a nod to my hometown anthem "Eight More Miles to Louisville." Also I should point out that last week's tune "Lily's Stars" uses the same four note theme throughout it's melody. It's just a coincidence, though, that these tunes are back to back in this blog.

The photo shows a small island in the Upper Iowa River not far from our house.

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