Thursday, July 23, 2015

Nordic Fest 2015 (July 23, 2004 w/mandolin tab)

July 23, 2004 (mp3) (pdf with mandolin tab)

Tonight marks the beginning of the 2015 Decorah Nordic Fest and I have a couple of busy days ahead. The opening ceremonies were this evening but I was busy rehearsing with Erik Sessions for our 2 hour performance on Water Street Saturday afternoon from 1:00-3:00.

Jon & Beth Rotto and Bill Musser, the founders (along with my friend Jim Skurdall) of the great Scandinavian-American dance band Foot-Notes, were honored tonight and I will have the honor of joining them in the Nordic Fest parade on Saturday morning.

I'll also be playing the mandolin with the band on both Friday and Saturday nights, including providing music for the World's Largest Schottische on Saturday night. You can stream a recording of us playing Beth's fine tune of the same name at this CD Baby link. If you are in the Decorah area you can come and be a part of dance history at 8:50 p.m. in front of Kephart's music store on Water Street.

I'll be ready for some rest on Sunday but Erik and I will be back on the street, this time in front of the Winneshiek County courthouse, on Thursday night as part of the Lawn Chair Night concert series.

Today's tune is a reprise of a tune that I wrote on, you guessed it, July 23, 2004, just in time to perform at the 2004 Nordic Fest with my friends in the old Bear Creek Bluegrass band. I still like this recording a lot. It shows a little of the influence of the some of the great Finnish and Swedish musicians that I've been listening to for a long time, especially Arto and Timo from JPP.

Continuing the tablature theme that I began last week I have created a PDF of the sheet music in both standard notation and mandolin tablature. See what you think.

The photo was taken this week while walking Suzie the dog at the Decorah Community Prairie.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Summer Projects - Tablature for Mandolin (31 Waltzes)

31 Waltzes now available in Mandolin and Guitar tab editions

I learned to read standard music notation around 50 years ago, right when I was starting to play guitar, and I generally haven't had much use for guitar or mandolin tablature. My most efficient way to learn new music is to read the notes. I can learn by ear also but I am slower than many. My main gripe with tablature is that I like to figure out for myself where to put my fingers to make the sound that I like best. But that's just me.

I have learned over the years that many fine mandolinists and guitarists, for a variety of reasons, prefer to use tablature as a way to learn new music. So I've decided to spend some time this summer converting some of my notated music into tab as an experiment in reaching out to those players.

My first experiment has been to intabulate (I do like that word) my 31 Waltzes book in versions for both mandolin and guitar (links are to sample pages). You can see that I have chosen to add the tab below standard notation, because that makes sense to me, and that makes a few tunes expand from one page to two. Then I needed to add a couple of blank pages to avoid page turns. If you click on the link you will go to a web page that includes some text and a table of contents with further links to recorded versions of most of the waltzes, many from appearances in this blog.

Of course I want to sell huge quantities of these new editions and the page linked above will offer you the chance to Buy Now using PayPal (no membership necessary).

I should also mention that as I was working on the guitar tab versions I realized that guitarists need to understand that the book does not contain full chord-melody arrangements, only the basic melodies.

I intend to continue with this tab experiment as time allows this summer. We'll see how that goes.

I'll be playing a couple of fun gigs this week also, both on Saturday. In the morning I'll be playing with Erik Sessions at the Winneshiek Farmers Market as part of the "Saturday on the Street" special event. I'll probably play some solo stuff while Erik is busy at his farm stand and then the two of us will play some tunes together. We need to practice up some for our upcoming shows at Decorah's Nordic Fest (July 25) and Lawn Chair Night (July 30).

Saturday night Erik and I will join our friends Rob Hervey (on bass) and dance caller Bill Deutsch to play for the barn dance at the annual Seed Savers Exchange Conference & Campout. We've been doing this for a decade or so and it's always a high point of the summer.

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