Friday, January 31, 2020

The Old Clark Cabin

The Old Clark Cabin (mp3) (pdf)

The photo above is of an old 1830s cabin that was moved a few years ago to what was likely the site of a cabin inhabited by the Revolutionary War hero George Rogers Clark in the early 1800s. The cabin sits on what is known as "Clark's Point", a bluff overlooking the Falls of the Ohio in Clarksville, Indiana (named after General Clark), just across the river from Louisville, Kentucky.

Here is where Meriwether Lewis met William Clark (George's younger brother) in 1803 to begin their partnership and start the journey of the Corps of Discovery, or the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

When I was growing up in Clarksville this spot, and the memory of George Rogers Clark, was neglected but in recent years much has been done to remedy that situation. In his later years my father used to enjoy visiting this cabin. He especially liked to sit on the front porch and enjoy the view of the Ohio River far below.

This week's actual tune is not particularly suited to the title but maybe it will be a better fit over time. It's a four part tune and was composed in the last few weeks. I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Low and Outside (2020)

Low and Outside (2020) (mp3) (pdf)

This week's tune started in the 20th century but I just recently completed it. The A section of Low and Outside has had more than a couple of B sections added to it over the years. I think the one presented here is a keeper. I've chosen to record it at a comfortable tempo rather than try to force it into a higher speed dance tune, although I know that it works pretty well that way too. Play it as fast as you want.

The title is clearly a baseball reference. I was a decent pitcher in my early teens (before the Beatles led me astray) but I was not one to overpower a batter with my blazing speed. On my good days, though, I could put the ball where I wanted it and low and outside was often a good place to start with a batter who was eager to hit it out of the park.

The photo above was taken just after Christmas in the vicinity of Decorah's famous Ice Cave. Things are a little more snow covered and much colder here today.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Ordaining Trees

Ordaining Trees (mp3) (pdf)

This week's tune mostly precedes our move to Iowa back in 1994. It was played a few times in a slightly different form way back when but I think I finally settled on the final notes a few months ago. It had always been an E minor tune but I realized that it really wanted to be in D minor and that sealed the deal. Don't ask about the title, I haven't a clue but I'm sure that it seemed right at the time.

We are off in a few minutes to hear a house concert featuring our friends Beth Rotto and Ann Streufert playing Scandinavian tunes on twin fiddles and other instruments up in Lanesboro, MN. It'll be great.

Last night in Adelaide, Australia my early mandolin orchestra piece "The Louisville Suite" (actually my first mandolin orchestra piece from back in the 80s) was performed in concert by the orchestra formed at the FAME (Federation of Australasian Mandolin Ensembles) 2020 Festival. I've seen the video and I'm very honored and pleased by their performance. The Mandolin World is a very friendly place.

Monday, January 06, 2020

Wilson Switch

Wilson Switch (mp3) (pdf)

I created this little blog at the start of 2007. If I am counting accurately that makes this post the beginning of my 14th year of So Many Tunes. In that time I have posted over 300 of my tunes and compositions, almost always with both a sound recording and a pdf of the music in standard notation. Once in a while there's a video.

I have gathered together some of these tunes and issued them as "official" CD collections under the titles Mandolin Tunes 1 and Mandolin Tunes 2. The main rationale for those releases was that the recordings presented here on the blog are mp3s (usually 320 kbps). This is fine for casual listening but mp3s aren't really what the music sounds like. Most of the tunes I share here are originally recorded at CD quality as wave files and the two CDs compiled from the blog are taken from those original, lossless, recordings.

In 2017 I managed to write and record a new tune every week. I'm thinking of something similar this year with the change that I might not write a wholly new tune every week. For instance, today's tune was mostly written a few years ago and has gone through several revisions since then. I decided that this version is a good place to stop tinkering with it and let it go. (There might even be an earlier, different version of the tune here on this blog, under a different title. I can't remember for certain.)

I like this version because I let myself improvise a bit, both in the actual notes played and in some spur of the moment arrangement ideas. It's sloppier than usual but also more fun for me to hear. I hope you enjoy it too.

Yes, the sign in corner of the photo says dead end but there's no hidden, cosmic meaning intended. I didn't even see it when I took the shot, the setting sun was in my eyes. I just liked the way the Upper Iowa river looked that afternoon.

Happy New Year and Decade!
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