Starfield Dance

posted May 29, 2012, 9:41 PM by Julie Birch   [ updated May 29, 2012, 9:46 PM ]

Here's a quick-and-dirty recording of a tune in the Phrygian mode that I composed at the California Autoharp Gathering this year. The name will change a bit once I find out what kind of dance it actually is...

Concertina recording #1

posted Nov 13, 2009, 9:52 PM by Julie Birch

I started playing the English concertina about two months ago, and this piece is my first attempt to play two harmony lines simultaneously (a friend of mine is supposed to be supplying the melody eventually). So then, here you have it: the very first draft of the alto and tenor parts of Bergerette 1, "Dont vient cela," from Susato's collection of compositions for recorder quartet.

By the way, in case you don't know, English concertinas don't have low notes on the left hand and high notes on the right like a piano, accordion, etc., but alternate notes from side to side moving up the scale: so the left hand has C E G B D F corresponding to right-hand D F A C E G. This makes some things, like fluid melodies, very very easy, but complicated polyphony rather more challenging because any finger on any hand can end up playing any voice at any given time. Still, there's a long, proud history of multi-voice music being played on these amazing instruments, and I'm having a whole lot of fun trying to figure the whole thing out.

My favorite part: a series of 6 eighth notes starting in measure 22 (about two thirds of the way through) on the tenor line, as the alto voice does its own counter-harmony thing with half and quarter notes. It was principally due to this lovely section that it took me an hour to record this one-minute piece. :)

All My Loving

posted Nov 13, 2009, 9:46 PM by Julie Birch   [ updated Nov 13, 2009, 10:11 PM ]

...apologies for the four months it's taken me to get this up here...

Okay, so here we have my first adventure with Garage Band multitracking and my new rockin' condenser microphone. I'm doing the solo and rhythm on tenor guitar, the latter in a sort of 20's jazz style (not quite sure why this happened, but I'm rather happy with it), Paul's bass line on my acoustic bass guitar, and three voice lines.

What about the dungeon?

posted Jan 26, 2009, 9:17 AM by Julie Birch

I just realized I went and restrung my ukulele before using it to record the final version of "Dark as a Dungeon" for Amelia -- damn and blast. I wonder if it'll sound okay with the new tuning. Here's an example (via built-in iSight microphone whence the awesome sound quality) of what I'm trying to do; I'm playing ukulele, tenor guitar, 6-string guitar and diatonic accordion. This multi-tracking concept is pretty neat, as it turns out.

Ukulele-Mandolin Conversions

posted Jan 24, 2009, 10:09 AM by Julie Birch

...well, sort of. I realized a while back that I enjoy playing my concert uke a whole lot more if I tune it in fifths, so after a brief foray back to GCEA I decided yesterday I couldn't take it anymore and restrung it. I find it's impossible to get up to the high E of standard mandolin GDAE, so I opt for FCGD which I hear has some historical precedent. Here's my recipe:

One set of 8-string tenor ukulele strings (gGcCeeaa)

For the F string, use the low (wound) G
For the C string, use the low C
For the G string, use either the high G or the A tuned down, whichever sounds best
For the D string, use the high G

If we're going to be perfectly accurate I tune my ukolin into perfect fifths, as follows:

F -7.6c
C -5.7c
G -3.8c
D -1.9c

...and here's a very quick-and-dirty recording of Sheebeg & Sheemore. I really like the sound of this thing.

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