A tune that's out of reach

Jan Potts
Jan Potts
@jan-potts
2 years ago
434 posts

I'm in Louisville most of the time right now...at least til the early part of December.  I miss you all, too!




--
Jan Potts, Lexington, KY
Site Moderator

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." Henry Van Dyke
DulcimerJones
DulcimerJones
@dulcimerjones
2 years ago
18 posts

Awww, Jan, tooo sweet!  Was good to see u for a minute at Etown.  Hope ur coming back to N-ville soon.

Jan Potts
Jan Potts
@jan-potts
2 years ago
434 posts

DulcimerJones:

Wow, still feels like magic to me! 

I'm impressed so much in how far you've come in 4 years! And I can tell that magic spark is still there.  You're fun to work with because when something "clicks" for you, you light up the room!  Hope we can play together soon!




--
Jan Potts, Lexington, KY
Site Moderator

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." Henry Van Dyke
Dan
Dan
@dan
2 years ago
81 posts

Dusty brings up a common problem in deciphering tunes; embellishment! Getting a clear melody is difficult at best in so many arrangements. Most tunes are out of reach for me as I hear different from most folks. If the tune doesn't "speak" to me I'm even more lost. Finding a tune in an old Hymnal is wonderful as they are generally broken down to the syllables of the lyrics and translate a pure tune! As for the others, studying several versions is the way to go......

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
2 years ago
823 posts

@dulcimerjones  I'm always working at developing a better ear.  And learning the instrument-- what I think I can do with the mountain dulcimer within my playing capabilities.  It's a lifelong journey, I think.  :)

Figuring out a tune can take me months.  Most often, I prefer to work from a fiddle version(s) or a banjo version(s) of a tune to figure out the essence of a tune and how the tune will lay-out on the fretboard of a mountain dulcimer. 




--
Robin T
one of the Moderators here :)
Keep a song in your heart!

updated by @robin-thompson: 11/12/17 07:16:41PM
DulcimerJones
DulcimerJones
@dulcimerjones
2 years ago
18 posts

I am so glad to hear some of your experienced players talk about working on a tune for years.  After 4 short years of playing mtn. dulcimer, I begin to realize I can't learn every song in a few days, or weeks.  When something seems out of reach, I put it down for a while & inevitably when I return to it, I find there is more to the tune than I previously thought.  I understand now that it's not the tune, but me who's changed-learned more, sharpened skills, etc.  Wow, still feels like magic to me! 

Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
2 years ago
823 posts

I've learned over the years how helpful it is to figure out the essence of a tune, what is tune at its most basic form.  The necessity of working on this skill became clear when I was honest with myself about my own limitations as a player.  

Mark said if you'd like to send an mp3 of you on PAR, he'll put back-up to it.  Just let me know.  :)




--
Robin T
one of the Moderators here :)
Keep a song in your heart!
Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
2 years ago
1,030 posts

Robin, it's a skill, isn't it, to be able to hear the essence of a melody without all the clutter? And fiddles add a lot of clutter, that's for sure.  I sometimes examine several examples of sheet music for a tune I'm working on.  By looking at what they all have in common, you can sometimes isolate the core of a tune. Sometimes when I hear a fiddle tune I feel like the Austrian Emperor in the film Amadeus, who tells Mozart that his music has "too many notes."

Maybe you can lend me Mark for 15 or 20 minutes.  A guitar accompaniment to my flatpicking version of "Pig Ankle Rag" would help out a lot (and maybe hide some of the imprecision in my picking). If I knew how to do even basic home recordings I would record my own guitar rhythm track, but I have no idea how to do that.  Poor, poor ignorant me.




--
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
Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
2 years ago
823 posts

Dusty, I look forward to hearing your Pig Ankle Rag!  I've heard it played on hammered dulcimer but don't recall having heard it on mountain dulcimer.

I've been thinking on Cattle In the Cane this morning.  First, I need to experiment with tunings to get an appriate key.  Then, since I'm dealing with a real fiddle-y tune (lots of notes), I'll work on the process of subtracting notes because there's no way I'll duplicate what a fiddle is doing.  




--
Robin T
one of the Moderators here :)
Keep a song in your heart!
Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
2 years ago
1,030 posts

This is a good topic for conversation, Robin.  Thanks for posting.  I may indeed have multiple responses.

There are lots of tunes that I would love to play but don't really "hear" yet on my dulcimer.  But there are also a couple I've been working on a really long time. I've been practicing "Pig Ankle Rag" for a few years now.  It took a while just to figure out all the notes for both the A and B parts.  Then it took a while to figure out the syncopated rhythms. But I've been playing the tune for a long time, just working on getting it smoother and cleaner.  Someday I hope to post a version that I'm happy with.  But playing the song is also just a great flatpicking workout, so even if I never get the tune ready for prime time, I know my technique is improving as I keep working on it.  My pinky in particular has been strengthened immensely by trying to play the tune.




--
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
Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
2 years ago
823 posts

I've loved the tune Cattle in the Cane for years!  Betty Vornbrock of the Reed Island Rounders fiddles it beautifully.  And on their cd Hell up Coal Holler, Gerry Milnes (fiddle) & Lorraine Lee Hammond (Appalachian dulcimer) play a really nice version of the tune.  

Right now, the tune feels out of reach for me. . . Maybe someday I'll work up a noter/drone version.  

Do any of y'all have any out-of-reach tunes now that you hope to figure-out someday?  




--
Robin T
one of the Moderators here :)
Keep a song in your heart!