I am super proud of this one. This is a tune I wrote over twenty years ago, for my nephew Doriel’s birth. A quick mazurka, originally called “Allez! Allez!” — but then we never actually called it that. So, it’s, “Mazurka Vite!”
The trio playing is my beloved, Le Bon Truc, with Steve Gruverman and Barb Truex — both of whom are amazing. I’ve been learning video recording and mixing since the pandemic shut us down, and I think this is my best work, yet. Here’s the sheet music.
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.
Two scottishes from page two of the book. Just a reminder for US listeners, a scottish is NOT Scottish. And it’s not a schottische. It’s a scottish, a French couples dance, medium tempo, in four. These are two scottishes played on my A flat organetto.
My friend friend Sam Shain at Sam’s Tees, designed the below shirt according to my idea. This can be gotten for $20 here. None of the money comes to me and Sam’s a good guy. Something about the way he did the bellows is mesmerizing.
I wrote this “mazurka vite!” 27 years ago on the occasion of my nephew’s birth. I recently revisited it. Been working on video skills and decided to add whistle and guitar. It was very fun! Sheet music below.
I’ve been hanging out on page 16 of the Bal Folk Tune book and recorded these four bourrées in three. Played on my Castagnari Mory G/C, with a lot of the stops in. Trying to create a light sound. I notice I am a real push/pull player when it comes to bourrées, rather than crossing rows often. I don’t really know how that fits with the idiom, especially with its roots in the very legato Chromatic Button Accordion. I’ll think about this.
75 Para Lou Loup Petiote 71 Bourrée 72 Prends Garde au Loup 76 La Mourolliado
I notice as this project progresses that I tend to play tunes “straight,” i.e., as I imagine they would be for dancing. This is great, but with my group and in my stage performances I am more theatrical or cinematic (like, what’s the story that this tune is the background music for, what story is this tune telling). In fact, I’ve been accused of being Wagnerian. I am not sure how I will proceed, but I WILL proceed. Stay tuned.
P.S., I learn in the comments below that #71 is called “Lou Moridon Cotet”
I’ve always assumed “Brezon Valse” meant “Breton Waltze,” but I don’t know that for a fact. I learn in the comments below that Brezon is a valley in Auvergne, and I feel a little foolish. But thank you Emmanuel Lazinier, for letting me know! I’ve only heard it played by Auvergnat players, Gentiane and Michel Esbelin — it’s a great tune with an ABCB structure, which means you practice the B section twice as much as all the other sections. “La Marianne” is a Frédéric Paris tune from his fantastically important Carnet de Bal cassette. I’ve recorded it a few times, including once playing with my Dad.
Had to switch computer systems last night and went back to old video editing software, not such a fan. In the old software I would have cropped out the vacuum cleaner.
Scottish des Oiselets (the second tune) is by Trevor Upham — one of a number of tunes by him and Chris Shaw from the George Inn Giant Ceili Band that were added to the Bal Folk Tune Book when Mally Productions took it over from Dragonfly. It’s a tricky tune and I had one of those things happen where, even though I’ve been playing it all week, when the camera was going I couldn’t get through without a flub. Finally, I got it, and here it is. A sweet tune that feels more cinematic the dance-ish. The other two tunes were less dramatic in their nascence, being traditional and somewhat less twisty.
In the back of the Bal Folk Tune Book are a series of odd tunes, neither fish nor fowl, mazurka nor bourrée. Here are four of those. Three of them have mixed meters (yikes!) and that makes them especially interesting to me. If you want to go to a specific tune:
0:00 Rondeau de Landes (#213) 1:02 Scottish-Valse (#199) 2:18 Branle du Rat (#201) 3:15 Le Porcher (#196)
I learned these two from Sylvain Piron’s website nearly 25 years ago. They are Valse á Cadet and Valse d’Ernest Lurde. For some reason I thought they were in the Bal Folk Tune Book. They are NOT. But they are kickass waltzes and I invite you to wallow in their kickassedness.