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.”

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!

“Excursion (Huaka’i) Waltz” (#114)

Actually, this is “Villapourçon,” which I have used as the soundtrack for an excursion (huaka’i) on the Parker Pond Headlands. It’s an interesting tune, with the A section in D, but being played on the G/C accordion (the Mory), and then it changes to G for the B section and seems to have this amazing feeling of levitation.

I have been learning video editing during the quarantine, and I used this 1:36 to experiment with a bunch of stuff. It ended up being very time consuming. If I continue down this rabbit hole, I will never get through the Bal Folk Tune Book Project.

Bourrée d’Aurore Sand (#155)

This one was actually in the process of entering the Le Bon Truc repertoire thanks to Steve Gruverman. We tried it in a bunch of places on a bunch of accordions, and think we ended up in G minor. Here, on the G/C Mory, it fits on the pull minor (Amin), but I’m playing it here on the push minor (Emin), as notated in the Bal Folk Tune Book. My harmonies are simple Emin to Amin and back again (repeat). For the video, I tried something different. Doing a slide show of Auvergnat postcards. I did this at a performance at the Hubbard Library in Hallowell a good number of years ago — projecting the slideshow behind me while I played. It was nice, I think, for the audience to have something to look at besides me. Part of the Bal Folk Tune Book Project.

And for a bonus, here’s a troupe from Berry doing the same piece, probably with more authenticity, and certainly with nicer hats.

Four bourrées (#75, 71, 72, 76) à trois temps

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”

Two Waltzes: La Marianne (#115) and Brezon Valse (#100)

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.

This is part of the Bal Folk Tune Book Project. Go check it out and buy the tune book!