Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Heron Dance

Looking at the cover of the Heron Dance catalog, I remembered images from nature programs. Lanky, elegant birds bobbed in my imagination.

A fiddle riff popped into my head. The next thing I knew, there was a whole tune to represent the title "Heron Dance."

The tune is still a little shaky, not having been played very many times. But, it stands on its own already, without the need to wait any longer to take flight.

Here is a fiddle tune written in the 21st century that is published in the tuning of the 18th century: Heron Dance fiddle tune.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Ragtime Annie, the Authentic Version

Last night was another of those "play while people eat and drink" gigs. This time the place was a nursing home. The occasion was a Christmas party for the people who make up their guests, and their relatives.

One of the tunes I played was Rag Time Annie. This is said to be the oldest authentic American fiddle tune. Certainly, when it was composed, or "made up"....I mean, how can we speak of composing a fiddle tune...the tuning of the fiddle was at the old standard, A-432. Or in that vicinity.

The tab chart for this tune was requested by a subscriber not long ago. And so it is going out in December with the Fiddle Tech Notes for this month.

I made a casual recording of it a while ago:
Ragtime Annie 1.
Listening to it, I felt it was a little slow, so I played it again faster:
Ragtime Annie 2

My moderate tempos for these tunes is just an indication that I don't practice enough. "So many tunes, so little time."

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A-432 Musical Wallpaper

Monday night I played a gig at Ruth Eckard Hall in Clearwater. It was one of those play while people eat, drink and talk gigs. Musical wallpaper, or as it's sometimes called, "Musician Abuse."

As a strolling violinist, I'm country and folk. Don't look for "Feelings."

The ambiance was country in honor of the featured artist in the big hall, Dolly Parton. My mix of hoedowns, reels, jigs and swing tunes fit right in.

It was the usual scene of me playing as if I had an audience in the palm of my hand. In other words, taking the music seriously and doing the very best I could do. In these gigs you con't get much energy from the audience. Well, none, really. And when you do get a positive reaction, it almost is a shock the first time. After that, you see that people are actually warming up to your performance.

It went well, I must confess. Nobody said, "Hey, man. Tune it up already! Sheesh."

Small victories. That's what we leading edge advocates of A-432 look for. And that's what we get.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Handling MP3 files

When you click on a link to an MP3 file, you either want to have a broadband connection, or plenty of time. They tend to be a little fat, even in the data reducing format.

This means a heads up for the tune Mississippi Sawyer

I played this with lots of open strings, to really get some resonance in the lower tuning. To me it all sounds very natural.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Florida Blues sounds like...

Credit to Gatorchick and her Florida Blues blog. Got me off the dime of inertia.

This blog is about A 432 and all the etheric baggage I can cram into this concept. It needs some sounds to show what it's all about.

When you click on Profile and then click on the audio, you get to hear someting. Right now you hear "Florida Blues," as I fiddled it on Nov. 12.

In a week, I'll change that to an intro that talks and plays fiddle. I may play new segments to create new audio files to go with that link.

Archived stuff will be at the A-432 section of my Grassapelli site.

Norbert Brainard and the Verdi A-432

Norbert Brainard was a violin virtuoso. He founded the Amati String Quartet. He passionately supported the use of the "Mozart A'" of 432 Hz "in opposition to today’s absurdly high “Karajan tuning” of A well above 440 Hz."

In Italy this came to be known as the Verdi A:
"In a parliamentary hearing in Rome, which became the basis for a parliamentary initiative to pass a law on the “Verdi A,” Prof. Bruno Barosi, the director of the world-renowned International Institute of Violin Making, in Cremona, Italy, invited brainin to his laboratory, recorded certain tones (and their octaves) both in the low and high tuning, did a spectral analysis, and finally evaluated the findings.

The other findings were not so surprising, but equally clear: The lower tuning created a larger sum of overtones, which explains the fuller sound; it was also proven, that Brainin’s Strad had its best resonance by far at exactly C=256 Hz, which is about A=432 Hz."

Passing a law to command the use of this frequency seems a little extream, (not to mention unlikely.)

Still, we can choose to use this frequency if we have a tunable instrument. Strings anyone?