Sunday, March 26, 2017

Tolley's Jig no. 4 - Bates no. 11

Tolley's Jig no. 4 (mp3) (pdf)
Bates no. 11 (mp3 pt.1) (mp3 pt.2) (pdf score)

Today's new tune was written on Thursday, after I returned from a short trip out to the Washington D.C. area with Contratopia. The photo above was taken from my sleeper compartment window on the Capitol Limited on the morning of Friday March 17, on my ride into Union Station, somewhere south of Pittsburgh.

I wrote, as I usually do, a few new tunes during the train rides that book-ended this tour and I thought I would present one of them this week. I'll try to get some of those posted here in the coming weeks.

The tour itself was great fun, four dances in three days, friends old and new. You can read a little more about it in the Contratopia 2.0 blog here.

I'm posting my recording of Bates' duettino no. 11 here also. I have recorded no. 12 to be ready for next week. After that there are only six to go.

I was very pleased during the tour to encounter a few people who actually read and listen to this blog. I also made a couple of new friends on the train ride who may take a look here also. I even managed to post last week's entry, albeit on Monday instead of Sunday, from Takoma Park, MD. I was especially pleased to hear from a friend in Norway who had been playing along on guitar with last week's tune, "Paws Down."

I encourage you to break out your mandolin or fiddle, or flute, or guitar and play along with these recordings.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Paws Down - Bates no. 10

Paws Down (mp3) (pdf)
Bates no. 10 (mp3 pt.1) (mp3 pt.2) (pdf score)

Today's post (if all goes according to plan) will be published while on a short tour with Contratopia. Last weekend, while playing a dance with Pat's Propellers, Linda Breitag shared the best cat-related tune title ever. I won't steal her thunder by revealing it before it's time but I think "Paws Down" is not that bad.

Bates no. 10 was more challenging than most of its relatives and so this recording is more demo-quality than most. I think it would be more fun, and easier, to play it with an actual partner rather than just a recording of myself.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sherwood & Brooks - Bates no. 9

Sherwood & Brooks (mp3) (pdf)
Bates no. 9 (mp3 pt.1) (mp3 pt.2) (pdf score)

Sherwood & Brooks (an obscure reference to grade school) arrived unbidden on Friday morning. I already had a tune ready for this week but I'll save it for next week. This little jig wrote itself and was entered into Sibelius and then recorded before lunch. Jigs two weeks in a row, not intentional.

The photo is recent also and, while unrelated to the title of the tune, is certainly a good image for this music.

Bates no. 9 is a typically cheerful example of the music in his collection.

I was honored to play a contra dance last night in Minneapolis with Pat's Propellers. We had our usual good time but, because of the onset of Daylight Savings Time, the drive home took an hour longer than usual.

Next weekend I'm looking forward to four dances with Contratopia, all in Maryland. Check out our schedule and stop and say hello if you are in the neighborhood.

I'll be trying to post next week's entry from Takoma Park, we'll see if I succeed.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Bear on the Beach - Bates no. 8

Bear on the Beach (mp3) (pdf)
Bates no. 8 (mp3 pt.1) (mp3 pt.2) (pdf score)

The photo above was taken at Meyers Beach, part of the Apostle Islands National Seashore, during a visit to Bayfield, WI last year. The bear in question is not in the photo. Unlike some of my friends I have no interest in ever encountering a bear while hiking. The mere possibility, however remote, can have a chilling effect on my ability to enjoy the natural beauty around me.

In any event I think the tune here is a fun jig to play. The recording has some rhythmic quirks, partly because (I'm not sure why) I recorded the guitar last. Also I hadn't actually decided on an ending until I was at the end of recording the first track. This meant I had to struggle a little more than usual to get the succeeding tracks to end in the same neighborhood.

Here also is no. 8 of William Bates' duettinos for your enjoyment.

If you are in the Decorah area I will be playing solo mandolin once again at Java John's on Wednesday night, March 8, from 7:00-9:00. I'll be playing some recent tunes from this blog along with a couple of Norman and Nancy Blake tunes, Partita V for mandolin by F. Sauli, and three new arrangements of James Oswald Airs for the Seasons: The Geranium, The Box and The Golden Rod.
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