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.

Love on the IV Chord (Bal Folk #26, 131, 132, 140)

Something of a theme for this entry in the Bal Folk Tune Book Project. I noticed that a number of mazurkas I play have a characteristic of beginning the B section with the IV chord. It creates a lovely sense of levitation and, if the song were telling a story, I think that’s when you would know the two of them were really in love!

Mazurkas for love

It happens often enough in mazurkas that I am beginning to think this is a defining trait of a subset, but it doesn’t only happen in mazurkas. As I was recording the mazurkas, I remembered the tune, “Mominette” (by Maxou, in the tune book as untitled #26), which also goes to the IV chord at the B section and is quite lovely (especially as the A section has a ominous tone. Will things work out??? Yes, yes they will. You know because of the IV chord.)

Also, with the mazurkas, the first is a sans nom tune that I began to call “Hannibal’s Mazurka” some years ago (I was teaching the ancient Romans at the time). If anyone knows a different name, let me know. I can be taught!

The Chifferobe Set

This past week I picked up Tiny, who had undergone repair, and then went to stay at my sister’s for a day or two. Her place has great sound and is very dramatic. She’s got a chifferobe (portmanteau of “chiffonier” and “wardrobe” — Fun Fact Gary!) that has quite a character. I shot two pieces in its vicinity. The first is Wim Poesen’s amazing Wals vor Polle.

 

The second is Mazurka de Comptoir

Notice how much the Chifferobe contributes. That there is a piece of furniture! My sister says I look too serious. They don’t know about accordion face, these civilians. Any accordionistx would know that I am brimming with joy in both of these.

Le Bon Truc Concert videos

I lead a good life. On May 2nd, my trio, Le Bon Truc, played at Blue, in Portland (Maine). We managed to pack the place and then play perhaps our best ever. It was super and felt great. Friend of the band, Sunshine Perlis, took video of eleven of the sets. The lighting is suboptimal, but the sound is great. I’ve put these together into a playlist so you who wish may enjoy our good fortune!

We’re hitting five years of playing together, and our lax variety of ambition has served us well. I love these two, and I love the music we make.

Suite des Aigrettes

A suite of tunes written by myself: The Egret’s Suite. Written in what was intended to be a breton-ish style (but drifted). The first tune is definitely one idea of what Breton folks might write as mazurka, if they wrote mazurkas. The second tune is influenced by my hero, Yann-Fañch PERROCHES. You can hear it in the 7th chords, though it’s a bit of a heavy handed approach compared to le maestro. The third tune is a happy retreat — a release from regrets and aggression.

This was created as a sort of demo for my band. Here are the dots!

Suite des Aigrettes