Old World or New, Sacred or Profane

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Morrison's Gentlemanly Medley

"Well, how did the performance at the mall go?", I hear you cry. Ok, you didn't cry; I just have a wildly hyperactive imagination.

Our first Christmas gig went reasonably well considering it was our first performance for most of the tunes and the limited time we had to prepare with us altogether. Children danced joyfully. Shoppers stopped and swayed. I even saw a few sing along. Middle-aged men sat and passed the time with us while, presumably, their wives were helping mall retailers boost year-end revenue figures. And I understand the agent that hired us was quite pleased with us. With that going for us, what's a few rhythm and intonation problems in a noisy shopping mall between friends?

We played three 45-minute sets so we had a good bit of Christmas music prepared besides God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, but that's the story I started, so I shall finish it.

As I mentioned, we put GRYMG together with Morrison's Jig (MJ) to Christmas-fy it. For this combination we played MJ twice, GRYMG twice, and MJ twice. MJ, as three of us are now used to playing it, has a cello intro and prominent cello part. I don't remember how I started playing it, maybe by accident, maybe influenced by suggestions of the leader. It's an accompaniment that has evolved some as I've been playing it, mostly getting simpler. The A strain consists entirely of parallel fifiths. I think it makes a strong, gutsy, modern rock-ish sound, but in any basic classical music theory class it would earn me a big ol' F.

MJ traditionally moves along at a fast clip. Reminds me of a joke a hammer dulcimer player once told me:

How can you tell when a hammer dulcimer player is at your front door?

The knocking keeps getting faster and faster and faster...

I set up my minidisc recorder just prior to the 3rd hour. I should record myself and ourselves more often. I can tell we were tired from the hours of hammering and sawing. I hear some of my habitual mistakes cropping up along with some new original ones. I have ideas on things to change. Such is life, live performance, and music of the people!. HIPP it often ain't.

Here's MJ and GRYMG.

Post Script: The band leader really likes the A part I play to Morrison's (double stops) and is less satisified with the B part. She wonders what it would sound like if I stayed low to provide more contrast with the dulicimers, and what do you all think? Seems to me even the highest note (D above middle C) is still pretty low, and continued low grumblies throughout would be too much.

But that's part of why I like this folkie sort of music making over, let's say, a Mozart quartet (if' I were ready for such a thing). You can't fuss with and change and experiment with Mozart. He's the boss and you gotta do exactly what he wrote. Otherwise, it's not Mozart anymore.


Gottagopractice said...

I liked the contrast between the rhythmic A and the counter melody in B. I think if you are going to do that you need to be very melodious yourself, because my ear is drawn preferentially to the legato cello line rather than the tinkling HD notes. So I guess that would be exactly opposite the opinion of your group leader. It sounded like lots of fun.

Terry said...

Well, I agree. I'm not inclined to change it much at this point, but I'm giving it some thought.

PinkFluffySlippers said...

What's that thing keeping rhythm? Some kind of drum? It all sounds cool and dreamy. Very unconventional.

Sounds like you got a good response. I hear a "woo" at the end.