Support this blog, thanks!

So, I have been laid off, thanks to the pandemic. I’ve kept this blog since 2011, and have never run ads or asked for support of any kind. I’ve been genuinely grateful just to connect with folks. But there are associated costs. Today, I’m asking, if you’ve gotten joy out of this work, please contribute something. I know some can’t or just won’t and that’s okay. But if you wanna … it would be appreciated. Paypal me at garyparkerchapin@aol.com or Venmo at Gary-Chapin-7. Or head over to bandcamp and download my CD. As I said, any help is appreciated. Thanks. Gary

About this blog:

I go through phases of writing a lot and then not writing much. Right now, I’m in the middle of the lengthy and obsessive Bal Folk Tune Book Project. The posts written over the years seem to stand up pretty well. From tributes to heroes of mine (e.g., Yann-Fanch Perroches and Daniel Thonon), or an interview with Frédéric Paris or Andy Cutting. I take deep dives into specific tunes (e.g., On d’onoren Garda and Le Cotillon Vert). On the menu bar are links to a bunch of things: interviews, a great tune book, my own CD, and a story about my trip to Alsace.

What I’m saying is that there’s a lot of cool stuff here that I had a lot of fun writing — all of it about French and Breton button accordion (and related environs). I invite you to explore the 270 or so posts that are here.

Thanks

Gary

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Featured post

Plante un Chou #44

This is a classic scottish, #44 in the Bal Folk Tune Book. I wrote an appreciation of it some time ago, and have found it to be hard to get under my fingers. I really am fond of it, but it became a kind of beloved bete noir, seducing me and accusing me simultaneously. This felt good.

Josefin’s Dopvals (by Roger Tallroth)

One of my very favorite waltzes, by Roger Tallroth of Väsen. I learned it from the version by Dervish, which is very winsome and almost sentimental — but goddammit it always gets me the third time through when drum kicks up! Very inspiring. This is specifically NOT a sentimental version. Trying something different. A straight-ish French waltz at French-waltz pace.

Sunshine on the Water: a new mazurka

All images from close to home

(Sheet music below!)

This a mazurka written in honor of my new wife, Sunshine, who I married on March 12 of this year. It’s musical inception happened when fiddler Lissa Schneckenburger asked, on Facebook, what are your favorite chord changes. I offered mine (Am F G Am) and then started thinking of a tune — this tune — which ultimately did not use those changes. I’m not entirely sure what key it is in. Probably A minor, but it’s got a lot of F major-centric business going on there, and that chord sequence of Bb, Dmin, F is just me climbing the triad with the same melodic chunk underneath. It’s an effect I love — building on the Breton repetition-to-trance method. Not that mazurkas are especially (or even marginally) Breton. Even with all that Hullaballoo, it sits perfectly on my Castagnari Mory G/C. You don’t need the half row, but I do use the Bb and Dm bass/chord (you could substitute F and D no third, if you wanted to). Here’s the sheet music.

Mazurka Sainte Colombe and Friend

Two mazurkas for you. Mazurka Sainte Colombe (#123) and Tiro l’Auto (varsovienne) (#130). I’m not sure what the varsovienne thing is — there are a number of tunes with that appellation, and they have a rhythmic similarity, but I don’t know if it’s a particular dance or if it’s just supposed to indicate its provenance coming as a waltz from Vienna (even though it’s a mazurka). So there.

Lo Cruzado (#62)

The band, Le Bon Truc, got together for the first time in four months and played on the porch. Steve (clarinet) was a little more socially distant that Barb and I because his is a wind instrument, but we sounded great and had fun and actually (*weepy*) shared space together. This 3 beat bourrée is one of our favorite tunes. This was literally the first tune of the afternoon for us. It’s tune #62 in the Bal Folk Tune Book.

Three-beat bourrées (#34 and 44)

Three-beat bourrées from the Bal Folk Tune Book (#34 and 44) played on my Castagnari Mori with all but one reed stopped, and the bass and third reeds stopped on the left hand. Photos of Auvergne harvested from the web. Part of the Bal Folk Tune Book Project. The tunes are “J’avais une bonne amie” and “Derrière Chez Nous.”

J’ai un Petit Voyage à Faire (Valse)

Proven: wearing a mask will NOT impede your ability to play a French waltz! Also, if you want to play accordion, be pandemic safe, AND fight crime, I think I’m onto something. This is #112 in the Bal Folk Tune Book. One of those tunes you pick at while going through the book figuring out what to play next. Then you get to the end and it washes over you, “That was delightful!”

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