The One That Gets Away...

Kandee
Kandee
@kandee
6 years ago
25 posts

I learn so much from these forums.  Great advice from RobbScott and John P.  There is a lot to be said for feeling the notes as you play them.  Now if I can just remember that when my fingers won't go where I want them to go and the music doesn't sound as good as I think it should.  Slow down.  That's definitely the answer to many of my playing frustrations. 

Sean Ruprecht-Belt
Sean Ruprecht-Belt
@sean-belt
6 years ago
32 posts

john p:
Hi Sean,Here's a somewhat eccentric performance, but it's all good :)

 

Thanks for the post. I had forgotten that the song is a slow one. Maybe my favorite version (this week) is the one by Martin Simpson.

Sean Ruprecht-Belt
Sean Ruprecht-Belt
@sean-belt
6 years ago
32 posts

RobbScott:
One thing I have to remind myself on a weekly basis--slow it down as much as necessary to get the tune written in the fingers.

Good advice. I tell all of my students to "learn slow to play fast".

RobbScott
RobbScott
@robbscott
6 years ago
0 posts

The one that gets away--If I could count them on my fingers I would list the titles. So many songs I want to sing and play. it usually takes me a week to get a song going. If I could get it down in a day that would be great, but I guess that would make me a professional musician who has 8 hours in one day to put into a song.

One song that frustrated me was Rocky Road to Dublin. I surprised myself by actually getting the lyrics in my head within a week--very wordy song. For the longest time I accompanied myself on guitar. Then I tried the dulcimer, and it just didn't have the feel I was expecting. It's in 6/8 time, basically a jig, which has been difficult for me. Maybe it is time to come back to it. Like Dusty said, sometimes you got to put things on the shelf. I had trouble with jigs in the past but recently succeeded with Fox Hunter's Jig. One thing I have to remind myself on a weekly basis--slow it down as much as necessary to get the tune written in the fingers.

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
6 years ago
1,489 posts

Bob, I watched that whole thing and still don't quite understand how it works. It sounds pretty cool, though, like magical bells.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
Bob Reinsel
Bob Reinsel
@bob-reinsel
6 years ago
79 posts

 Great!  Now I have got Stephen Seifert and Dusty running around in my head!  I think I'm going to give up dulcimer and switch to glass armonica. worthy




--
Bob
Site Moderator

The greatest music is made for love, not for money -- Greg Lake

updated by @bob-reinsel: 11/17/15 01:49:08PM
Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
6 years ago
1,489 posts

I don't have an answer to this question, not because I nail every tune I attempt, but just the opposite. I try to play a lot of tunes on the dulcimer, and most don't work out. Some I have never gotten (at least not yet) and others were put on the shelf for a while only to be resurrected successfully later on. 

There was one tune that I worked on really hard and could not get it at all.  I got frustrated and just threw the tablature off my desk.  But about a year later I was cleaning up and found that tab behind a bookcase.  I sat down and tried to play it, and lo and behold I was able to do it!  What had seemed impossible was now easily approachable.  The lesson for me was to never give up, but also not to get frustrated. If something is not working, put it away for a while and come back to it later on.

I also want to comment on Bob's remarks at the beginning of this conversation. I first discovered the mountain dulcimer from Stephen Seifert's video of Whiskey Before Breakfast, which had long been one of my favorite fiddle tunes.   I was entranced by Stephen's soft but quick fingering and the beautiful woody sound of the dulcimer.  Of course, I wanted to play that song and worked on it for a while.  Eventually I posted a version on Stephen's Dulcimer School, expecting to get some tips from him.  And he did offer some helpful comments. But others commented at how good it was, a couple suggesting it was ready for public performance.  That experience taught me not to measure my playing by the abilities of someone else, but only by my own desire to present my own musical ideas.  Nowadays, I only play the song a little better than I did three years ago when I posted this video , but I don't let the fact that Stephen blows me away to stop me from offering my own version of the tune.  

There are a lot of ways of being musically expressive, and even if you can't play as fast as someone else or with as many notes as someone else doesn't mean you can't find a way to say something with a song.  One cool lick might say more than a whole verse of virtuoso improvisation.  I have learned to play within my limits and to still find ways of inserting my own musical sensibilities into the tunes I play. As I've said elsewhere, if you start with a pretty tune and play it on a beautiful instrument, the real trick is to stay out of the way and not mess things up.  If I tried to play as fast as Stephen Seifert, I would mess things up for sure.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie

updated by @dusty-turtle: 11/17/15 01:00:06PM
john p
john p
@john-p
6 years ago
173 posts

Hi Sean,

Here's a somewhat eccentric performance, but it's all good :)



Sean Ruprecht-Belt
Sean Ruprecht-Belt
@sean-belt
6 years ago
32 posts

Thanks to all for the responses so far.

John, I'll have to look up "The Green Linnet". I remember hearing it years ago, but can't call it to mind. 

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
6 years ago
1,232 posts

There are a few tunes I'd thought I'd never play. . . Black Mountain Rag was one of them.  Surprisingly, when Mark and I were just jamming over the weekend, BMR just started to fall into place.  

St. Ann's Reel is a tune I've never gotten worked out to my satisfaction.  Maybe someday! 

Steve Battarbee
Steve Battarbee
@steve-battarbee
6 years ago
10 posts

For me its Angeline the Baker or Angelina Baker (see I can't even work out whats its called!!)

I just never seem able to get it bouncing along the way it should do - even on those rare occassions when I actually play the right notes in the right order!

 

But I am not defeated yet!!

john p
john p
@john-p
6 years ago
173 posts

I've been trying to get down out of the mountains a bit more lately and take up some of the old stuff I used to play from the British/Irish tradition.

'The Green Linnet' is an old bete noir , and one I still haven't got completely to grips with.

However, there are some I thought would never work N/D style that I can handle pretty well now.

So, some progress happys

Bob Reinsel
Bob Reinsel
@bob-reinsel
6 years ago
79 posts

Whiskey Before Breakfast.  My mind gets totally wrapped around the Stephen Seiffert version and I just can't face it because I'll never get it that good.




--
Bob
Site Moderator

The greatest music is made for love, not for money -- Greg Lake
Sean Ruprecht-Belt
Sean Ruprecht-Belt
@sean-belt
6 years ago
32 posts

What is the one tune or song that eludes you? The one you always think, "I'd like to work that one out some day" but somehow you never get around to it, or when you do it doesn't quite come out right.

For me, it's "The Lost Girl" a tune in G from Emmett Lundy, though I think I first heard it played by Geoff Seitz here in St. Louis. It's a beautiful, circular kind of tune that I never can manage to make as smooth as I hear it in my head.