Saturday, July 14, 2007

musical breakthrough

I love when this kind of stuff happens. I set aside some time to practice music today, something that has been way too few and far between lately. I played and sang a couple songs on the guitar, then I felt drawn to the octave mandolin. It's a strange instrument, one that most people don't know about, but I love it.

I have recently joined the message boards at Mandolin Cafe, although I haven't posted yet. They have a special area for "Citterns, bouzoukis, and octave mandolins". I read a post and listened to an incredible sound link of someone playing an old time song on octave mandolin. Reading through the posts, I found out they were tuned in GDGD, not the standard GDAE tuning. (They also had a capo to AEAE) You non musical types might be lost here, but believe me, when I tuned to GDGD, it suddenly opened up new worlds for me. I could play a melody without having to finger chords to accompany it. The open strings just sounded right with the notes I was fingering. It sounded so old timey, so dark. And it made me sound like I, for once, knew what I was doing with this instrument!

While I was just improvising with a melody that may or may not be a standard old-timey song, two rabbits came hopping out of the woods. They paused, and they looked like they were listening. So, I had an idea. I know this song called "Little Rabbit", and I had the capo in the right place (in A). So I started playing it, and the rabbits and I were grooving on it, until Sally came outside and decided to chase the rabbits. Oh well.

Anyway, it was a cool musical time. Hope to experiment more with GDGD soon!

12 comments:

Larry said...

I like the mandolin-I remember John Paul Jones playing it along side Jimmy Page in some of the 70's Zeppelin Concerts.

Rurality said...

This post just cries out for a sound file, you know! :)

(Or better yet, a video.)

pablo said...

I was going to say that same thing the Queen of All Blogs -- Rurality -- said. Give us some music!

Lynne said...

Yaayy! We NEED sound here!!
What a cool interlude with thw bunnies!

Deb said...

Larry- the mandolin is probably more popular now than it's ever been, thanks to players like Sam Bush and Chris Thile (Nickel Creek) who brought it from straight bluegrass to contemporary music.

Rurality, Pablo and Lynne- I guess I'll have to renew my efforts to figure out how to post sound clips. The easiest way might be to take a video with my camera and put it on YouTube, but I also have a recording software I could use to post songs to a MySpace site or something like that. I'll work on it.

I was playing again this morning, and I can't believe it. This tuning makes me sound semi-professional! :)

Floridacracker said...

I understood the part about Sally chasing the rabbit ...
:)

barefoot gardener said...

I'm off subject, but I am just getting caught up after no 'net for over a week.

Deb, you were at Spec Lake on the tenth? You were only a few miles from me! I may be a dork, but I find that so cool.

Deb said...

FC- I figured the rest was just musician shop talk.

Barefoot Gardener- Do you ever go to the swimming beach there? That is such a beautiful, clear lake, even though it's pretty highly developed. I remember my uncles from Braham saying they took swimming lessons there.

eric said...

As an occasional "roaming minstrel" out in the yard with a guitar, I really enjoyed this post. That exciting sense of discovery and resulting progress is one of the greatest things about stringed instruments. I once played to an audience of chickadees and finches by the feeder, but my last performance was shut down by the deer flies.

Also, "Leaves Fall" is one of my favorite songs ever - Thile is a god. Thanks for getting me thinking about the mandolin again. :-)

barefoot gardener said...

Deb
I have only been there a few times. A company I used to work for had their annual picnic there every year. Unfortunately, there was no way I was getting into a swimsuit in front of my co-workers *smile*. Still, the wading was fabulous. You're right that it is gorgeous, I just wish there were a few less people living on the lake!

Deb said...

Eric- Thanks for stopping by and commenting! You inspired me to get out my copy of "Stealing Second" and listening to that song. Thile looks like such a little kid on that album...well, he was, I guess. I first saw him when he was about fifteen. And he was writing stuff like that then!

I'm going to have to add you to my Minnesota blogroll. My husband's a duck hunting fanatic too. :)

Barefoot Gardener- I understand the not wanting to be in a swimsuit in front of coworkers thing! :)

Rainey said...

I've just begun to explore the world of mandolins. I'm beginning to come to the conclusion that mandolins are magical!