Three Polkas Piquée

In recordings from the 1930s polkas piquée are a type of very short polkas played very fast — really leaning into the strengths of the vielle à roue — and they’re played in groups of many, usually each tune is repeated only twice. There are a bunch of polkas piquée in the Bal Folk Tune Book, and none of them have names; they are just “polka piquée.” So here are #174, 173, 176, and 173 (reprise).

Also, I am debuting my one row Hohner in G — inspired by activity over on mel.net. The thing is a bear to play but I love the wet broad sound, and one rows have an inexplicable attraction for me.

Bourrée #63 (La Ricoise)

A humble tune from the Bal Folk Tune Book; it does not even have a name listed*. I’m wondering if anyone knows the name, and even if there is a lyric. This tune has everything I love about bourrées the streams of eighth notes, the odd melodic accents that make the 3/8 meter seem like a faux pas that is not actually faux. Dedicated to Brigid Chapin, as she begins her graduate program this week!

Thanks to -Y- over on mel.net I have discovered that this is a tune called “La Ricoise!” Check out these vids of others playing same:

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.