Friday, September 08, 2006

Practice Makes...Sore Fingers

But you won't hear me crying; bring on the blood.

There has been a dulcimer on my lap most of the week, just pounding away at a couple of tunes that I'm trying to learn. One is "Song For George", an Eric Johnson tune. Butch Ross began teaching it at Kentucky Music Week this summer, but we only made it through the first four measures or so; it's a tough nut. Especially if you're usually a strummer and not a picker. It's bendy and slidey, tremolos and cross-picking runs, all in a fairly relentless series of notes that just steamrolls ahead. Drive you batty.

It took me two freakin' months to get the first part down, then I got disgusted with the pace and just slammed into working it out this week. This piece works out fingers that I don't normally use, so it's a might painful. But, it's memorized and I can play it through. If only I could make things like that happen in the rest of my life. Just gotta get past the bruising.

But each day, after my eyes would start crossing, I'd go into "write" mode and begin working up new material. For whatever reason, I decided to fool around in TablEdit some more and ended up working out a short suite for dulcimer called "Garden of the Gods." Eventually, I see it having four parts, arranged for dulcimer along with baritone, bass and soprano dulcimer, or dulcimette, so it's going to be a work-in-progress. But, and wouldn't this be dreamy?, ultimately, I'd love to have it performed in the Garden of the Gods at night, with the rocks lit up, for a concert. Wicked. Well, God willing. We'll start with a MIDI file first.

Anyway - first draft, only one part, basic themes and motifs throughout. Download it while it's hot, because I'm not archiving these - just replacing with more current versions. The .mp3 file will be MIDI. Also, the .mp3 is lacking the accel. and deccel.

"Garden of The Gods" (A Suite For Dulcimer)

.PDF | .MP3

Bill Buffington Drops A Line

So, up in Kentucky, I was told to begin hunting for a Bill Buffington. Everyone who knew about him said that he was making these wild dulcimers that I would probably get a kick out of. So who emails me this week? Out of the blue, even.

He still makes these nice-looking babies (I think I just saw some more money fly away) and they come ready to rock.

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