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mymusic

Horace Weston’s Celebrated Polka

Horace Weston's Celebrated Polka (title)

Go digging for music by the 19th century banjo star Horace Weston and you’ll won’t find much. He was more of a player than a composer, I guess. Fortunately this 1880 compilation of banjo tunes:

The J. E. Brewster Banjoist.


On page 18:

Horace Weston's Celebrated Polka (18)


Had this sheet music:

Horace Weston's Celebrated Polka (sheet music)


I don’t have a banjo, and if I did I still couldn’t play this on it. What I do have is a parlor guitar from more or less the same time period and an hour or so a day for practicing the damn thing until I get it right. So I did this video:

Lucas Gonze — Horace Weston’s Celebrated Polka (on YouTube)

Categories
mymusic

raw Talk About Suffering

Talk About Suffering by lucas_gonze

Bleak gospel in a raw bluesy style w/ bottleneck on resonator guitar + whistling and singing.

Recorded in a single live take using the mic on my laptop, so the singing goes out of tune in a couple places. I did this just to hear what the arrangement was like, then forgot about it for six months or so. The jagged guitar tone is the cool thing about it.

It’s the same song as “Rocking Yukon Gold” — an old time number called “Talk About Suffering” that Ricky Skaggs, Doc Watson and many others have covered.

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mymusic Uncategorized

Waltzing Bears moving photograph playlist

St Louis Waltz needed a video in the Flickr “moving photograph” style, because I wanted to do something with the cinematic flavor of the music, so I clipped out a 130-second fragment of 1899 Thomas Edison footage of dancing bears and put it next to a 130-second segment of the music. And then I made a playlist of my Flickr moving photographs:

To see just the one new item, go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucas_gonze/3919617319/.

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mymusic Uncategorized

St Louis Waltz

Here’s a video of a parlor guitar instrumental version of a sentimental dance tune called “St Louis Waltz.” It’s a civil war -era song that I learned from The Drummer’s and Fifers’ Guide by Bruce and Emmet.

Just the files:
MP3,
Ogg Vorbis,
Ogg Flac,
Aiff,

My recordings here are all hereby dedicated to the public domain per CC0 1.0 Universal.

Categories
mymusic

Too Utterly Too (Clog Dance)

Over in the classic banjo group on Ning I came across a couple recent versions (by Clarke Buehling on cello banjo and by Tim Twiss on minstrel banjo) of a catchy old number called “Too Utterly Too.” It looked fun to play so I learned the song on my 1916 Orpheum mandolin-banjo.

Just the files:
MP3,
Ogg Vorbis,
Ogg Flac,
Aiff,
MP4

</p> <p><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buyDhkIqILk">Video on YouTube</a></p> <p>

It’s from a book called “Banjoist’s Budget” by Mr. A. Baur. According to Carl Anderton:

Baur was from New York, soldiered in the Civil War, was badly wounded in Georgia during Sherman’s “March to the Sea,” and spent the next 9 years recovering his health. He practiced banjo constantly during his convalescance and became one of America’s leading players. His “Reminiscences of a Banjo Player” published in S.S. Stewart’s Banjo and Guitar Journal are quite insightful.

I didn’t find the date of this book, but I did find a stray comment on the internets claiming it’s from 1880, which sounds just right.

Here’s the sheet music for them that can read it:

Sheet music for 'Too Utterly Too Clog Dance'

My recordings here are all hereby dedicated to the public domain per CC0 1.0 Universal.

All the relevant files are on Archive.org.

Categories
mymusic youtube

Egyptian Fandango

Speaking of Horace Weston, Champion Banjoist of the World, I have done a recording/video of his superawesome 1882 song “Egyptian Fandango.”

MP3: Lucas Gonze channelling Horace Weston via “Egyptian Fandango”

Also: AIF, FLAC, and Ogg Vorbis.

Fandango means “A lively Spanish dance in triple time performed with castanets or tambourines. The dance begins slowly and tenderly, the rhythm marked by the clack of castanets, snapping of fingers, and stomping of feet. The speed gradually increases to a whirl of exhilaration.”

It’s a great little composition with a lot of spooky flavor. Very Legend of Sleepy Hollow.


Weston was a sophisticated musician.

The harmony dips into both blues and classical. I hear Paganini *and* Rev. Gary Davis. As an example of classical harmony, at the center of the piece is a dissonant chord in A minor spelled b-f#-g-d; notice the f# and g right next to each other, without even an octave between them to help them get along. As an example of blues harmony, he uses V minor (E minor) and V dominant (E7) interchangeably, without modulating, which makes the third a blue note.

Rhythmically it plays a subtle game with a strong offbeat and weak downbeat: 1 *2* 3 *4*. This was ten years ahead of ragtime and thirty ahead of jazz, and it’s clearly an antecedent.

A wonderful and special thing about Weston is that as a gifted and educated free black man in a time of poverty and intense ghettoization he was able to write his own story and document his times for himself. Very few black people were empowered to do that. And what do you find? The advanced rhythmic techniques that characterize all African-American genres _and_ mastery of European music theory.

Here’s the sheet music I worked from, which I got from the Library of Congress:

sheet music for Egyptian Fandango by Horace Weston

In terms of my own playing here, I feel good about how it came out. I like the way the time ebbs and flows, and I like the brightness of the tone. There are no bad spots or mistakes. Also, I feel like I succeeded in bringing out the weird and awesome combo of blues and classical. But the recording is too short to really succeed. I feel like I needed to get at least two minutes out it to have something that people would listen to for its own sake.

The one good thing about the shortness is that this would be a natural soundtrack for a Flickr video, since Flickr videos can’t be longer than a minute and a half.

Anyhow, you’re welcome to remix my recording here, as well as download it, upload it, and tattoo it on your behind. It’s in the public domain.


CC0


To the extent possible under law, Lucas Gonze
has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to
Egyptian Fandango.
This work is published from
United States.

Categories
audio mymusic Uncategorized

sort of Italian Song

This 35-second recording is a simple tune with two chords and one big phrase. I recorded it for a friend to use as a stem, and I’m posting it here because it might be useful to other people, maybe as a ringtone, as a cue in a video, or as a connector in a playlist.

This uses the chords from “Italian Hymn” by Felice de Giardini, so I’m calling it “sort of Italian Song”. I learned it from Mutopia.

sort of Italian Song (MP3)


CC0


To the extent possible under law, Lucas Gonze
has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to
sort of Italian Song.
This work is published from
United States.

Categories
mymusic sibelius

Rocking Yukon Gold mp3, sheet music, midi, Garageband project

When I was thinking about to do with my “Rocking Yukon Gold” soundtrack, I wanted to do something like a cowboy death song. I didn’t want to do yet another version of “Streets of Lauredo” (aka Saint James Infirmary), so what I used instead is a sad gospel number called “Talk About Sufferin'”.

I decided to do a multrack recording instead of the acapella feel I usually do, and to get all the parts to line up I wrote down melody. So, for the benefit of people who want to play the song for themself, here’s that.

Talk About Suffering (Sibelius file for anybody who wants to modify it)

Talk About SufferingClick for full-size

I set the tempo of the song so that the overall length would be about the same as the video clip, then exported a MIDI file to send to Garageband. For people who might want to use the song in an electronic context like a remix, here’s that:

Talk About Suffering (MIDI)

That MIDI has the exact arrangement I used here, including a two-bar count-off, so you’ll probably want to clip parts out. You could also use it to make your own music to fit the clip.

Over in Garageband I put the MIDI file in its own track, then created some real instrument tracks for recording.

I did the recording with an SM 81 mic through a TubeMP preamp via USB into a Macbook. I made the recordings by playing along with the MIDI file, using it to keep everything in sync. The guitar was a National Estralita.

I did three tracks in this order, rhythm guitar, whistling, bottleneck guitar. In the mix I panned rhythm center, whistling and bottleneck on either side. I’m happy to release stems for parts, just ask.

Even though the source song is called “Talk About Suffering”, my version here is called “Rocking Yukon Gold.”

Here’s the mix as an audio file:

Rocking Yukon Gold (MP3)

Rocking Yukon Gold (AIFF)

No Flac or Ogg version today. If any person out there can show me a single additional listen that I’ll get as a result of making them, I’ll make them. I dare you. I want to do it, but I don’t want to be fooling myself.

To make it easy for people who have Garageband to get in there and do whatever they want, I have created a zip file of the multitrack Garageband project. This has the MIDI and all three tracks:

Talk About Suffering (Zip of Garageband project)

My own copyright in this is hereby waived courtesy of the Creative Commons 0:

The person who associated a work with this document has dedicated this work to the Commons by waiving all of his or her rights to the work under copyright law and all related or neighboring legal rights he or she had in the work, to the extent allowable by law.

The CC 0 deal comes out this whole blog conversation about CC 0 that Victor Stone started.

Here’s the foobar for the copyright stuff:


CC0


To the extent possible under law, Lucas Gonze
has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to
Rocking Yukon Gold.
This work is published from
United States.

Categories
mymusic steamboing youtube

Rocking Yukon Gold

The varmint Soapy Smith lived and died in the hellishly cold northland up by the Russian border and the Soapy blog blogs about a part of the Library of Congress subsite on the joint history of Alaska and Russia which contains a goldmine of information, artifacts, documents and photographs on the Klondike gold rush era history.

I went prospecting in there and stumbled across a a dusty reading room with cowboy-era footage from Alaska. I especially liked an Edison clip from 1901 entitled Rocking Gold in the Klondike.

CREATED/PUBLISHED

Thomas A. Edison, Inc., 1901

NOTES

From a single-camera position, the film shows sluice boxes as they are operated by gold miners in the Klondike gold fields.

Cameraman: Robert K. Bonine; Location: Yukon Terr., Canada

Copyright H4088, May 6, 1901; 31 ft., FLA3065 (print) FRA0408 (neg.)

I though about posting the clip on Soupgreens.com, and then I thought of Marco Raaphorst’s Klankbeelds, where he does a soundtrack for a photograph, and I decided to do a little soundtrack.

Categories
mymusic youtube

Dodworth’s video

Here’s a video of Dodworth’s Five Step Waltz on guitar.

YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_4vWMjQd9I.

YouTube embed:

My chops with iMovie are getting better, and I did a little editing for the first time ever for the sake of inserting Ken Burns shots of the sheet music. I don’t know how to sync the sheet music up with the performance, though.

Also, I now know how to edit out mistakes, but I didn’t do that here. Probably I will do it in the future because it makes the music better.