Here’s a humble but wonderful waltz, found in Mally’s Bal Folk tune book (actually, I found it in the Massif Central Tune Book, pink volume). Playing it on the Baffetti almost entirely on the F row.
I am obsessed with this tune, a scottish/valse called “Le Cotillon Vert.” Here I am in my kitchen taking a crack at it.
The scottish/valse is exactly what’s on the tin. You dance the A section as a scottish (medium tempo, 4/4 dance), then you switch to a waltz for the B section. Then back to a scottish. Then waltz. Et deliriums cetera. The trick — and it is tricky — is that the ones of the scottish have to be the same distance apart as the ones of the waltz. So, the 1-2-3-4 of the scottish has to fill the same amount of time as the 1-2-3 of the waltz. Got it?
“Le Cotillon Vert” is a bedeviling ear-worm of a tune. A bog norm standard that I found in Sylvain Piron’s tradfrance. Here’s the sheet music:
Videos down below!
The Dino Baffetti Tex-Mex II/34 arrived on Thursday! Very exciting! I had intended to do an internal examination of the box, a la Owen Woods or Daddy Long Les, but I found I couldn’t bear to take a screw driver to it, not even to remove the grill. I’m made of less stern stuff than that, it seems.
Instead, I’ve been playing the heck out of it. Here are some first thoughts:
- Big one! Playing a three row is different from playing two or two-and-a-half row or even two-row-plus-accidentals. Possibly this is obvious. The three row quint box can do different things that I don’t yet know how to do. New frontiers!
- The two row repertoire works just fine on this one. Even if it is obvious that playing up-and-down the rows is not what it was built to do, everything I’ve been learning for the last 15 years is essentially transferable!
- At melodeon.net there is a recurring discussion about stepped keyboards vs. flat keyboards. Playing a flat keyboard for the first time in years has made no difference to me.
- Even though this is an F/Bb/Eb box (which is exactly what I was after) I’m choosing to name it as G/C/F and recognize that it’s a transposing instrument. All of the sheet music and tab is for G/C/F, so this seems simplest.
- It sounds AMAZING. Essentially, as one colleague mentioned, it’s a clone of a Hohner Corona, done to a absurdly high level of quality. The sound is so very sweet. And the touch is effortless. I do have fond feelings for Hohner accordions, but this is a cut above.
- I love it.
- It is a little silly that with five rows of box to my name, I still don’t have a D row. What sort of psychological block am I dealing with? Is it PTSD from the Minneapolis Irish sessions?
Here’s a new polka written by myself and clarinetist Steve Gruverman. I improvised the theme in connection to a recording project, a song called “The Ballad of the Bachelor.” Steve took the theme and morphed it into this, “The Bachelor’s Polka.” I did mess around just a bit with Steve’s harmonies, which I hope he doesn’t mind. Here’s the tune. The sheet music is below.
I was asked if I could perform this wonderful and famous chanson at a gig next November. Listening to the Yves Montand and Edith Piaf versions, I thought, “Very lovely. How would this be done on the diatonic?” Then I found the following performance of the tune by Anders Johansson. I might need to take a few days off after that. Wow.
UPDATE: I have taken the time to learn this. My first serious attempt is HERE.
UPDATE: Gilles Péquignot of Au Gré des Vent has pointed me to their more current web site — Association Carnet de Bal. On that site, four of the group’s albums are available for streaming. They also have about twenty-five tunes available as sheet music.
Continuing my fascination with asymmetric tunes — and my fascination with the Alsatian duo Au Gré des Vents — I present one of their most infectious tunes. “L’intermittent” is the opening track of their album Fraxinelles. It’s a scottisch-marche-valse composed by Danyèle Besserer. Here’s their recording of the tune.
“L’intermittent” excerpt by Au Gre des Vents
And here’s my own recording of the tune on solo accordéon, a rough track from the album I’m currently recording with engineer Caleb Orion. As Gilles pointed out to me, I take the tune much more freely in this context. He calls it “Wagnerian,” which is fair. For dancers, of course, regularity is everything (all of the “ones” are an equal distance apart).
“L’intermittent” played by Gary Chapin
And for those who want to try such a thing for themselves, here are the dots for the tune, as transcribed by the inestimable Steve Gruverman.
|Gilles Péquignot and Danyèle Besserer, with
Sylvain Piron in the tricorn hat.
Frédéric Bordois’ waltz, from La Chavannée’s Le Long de la Riviere (and also in their tune book).
Last night I played a free gig at the Hubbard Free Library, in Hallowell, Maine. It was short — about 45 minutes was requested — and cookies were provided. It was a great time!
The room was filled with some very appreciative people who seemed more than reasonably fascinated by the music I was playing. I live so much in the accordéon world that I forget that it’s an uncommon — dare I say, revelatory? — experience for some. I video taped the whole thing. Here’s a set of Scottishes. Notice that even though I’ve been playing all of these tunes for nearly a decade, I still have a glitch in the last tune. Grumble.