Saturday, November 11, 2006

Post Performance Depression

Well, I have not made it out to perform since the feature on 10/19. A similar phenomena occurred after opening for Brooks back in June. Next time I will have to anticipate the PPD and make plans before hand to get back out there.

In my brief sabbatical from performing I've been taking the opportunity to work on new material. I attended the David Surette guitar/mando workshop two weeks ago, which was really excellent. David is a fantastic teacher and a very capable musician, certainly one of the best fingerstyle guitarists I've seen. I picked up some traditional Irish/New England music to work on there, as well as a wonderful book of transcriptions in treble clef and tablature.

I've also started in on Murtagh McKann (Bensusan's arrangement for DADGAD, from the big guitar book). I can read through the first two sections, which are in D, and have started to wander a bit into the next part, which modulates to G. This tune is a fun and lively number. It is not super complex harmonically; rather a single melody line is followed and most of the work of the guitarist goes into making the melody dance while paying attention to all the great ornaments. It will also be a good exercise, I hope, in modulating to a different key in DADGAD.

Work has begun, minimally, on a DADGAD arrangement of Kingsfold (I feel the winds of God today) in the key of A major. This permits some really great moments where the low 4th (D) is played on the open 6th string - an arranging technique I've always enjoyed, that is, playing in a key where the lowest note available is not the tonic.

Visited Maple Leaf Music Co. in Brattleboro, VT last night and played two really amazing guitars: a Indian/Engleman Bourgeois OMC and a Goodall Concert Jumbo (CJ) with the same wood combo. The Bourgeois is certainly the more comfortable to play due to the slimmer body depth. Surprisingly, it holds up quite well against the larger CJ in the bass range. The Goodall certainly has a more complex sound, with lots of beautiful overtones and bright, eager harmonics. The OMC, in great Bourgeois form, has a more balanced sound from high to low, with plenty of warmth. I hope to return to the store today and try out a few other promising-looking guitars, as well as play these two again. The Goodall is, I am guessing, a bit more expensive than the OMC, and I am a bit scared of Goodalls after talking to the sound guy at the Surette workshop/concert. His experience was that, while beautiful in acoustic tone, they tend to be very hard to amplify well, even with K&K pickups (which I am pretty much sold on for the new instrument). Perhaps I will do more internet research on this, because this guitar, whatever it turns out to be, absolutely has to amplify well. Its purpose is to be a solid, reliable, great-sounding soloist instrument for when I perform.

I've also been working pretty hard on Merrily/Cunla. I am now experiencing the 80/20 effect in full force. I am trying to take "the slower you practice, the quicker you'll get there" to heart.

The "Fare thee well" guitar/cello collaboration is also proceeding well. Will hopefully meet again soon for a third rehersal. This duet combination has so much potential, because of the similar range of the instruments and their complementary strengths. But volume balancing is proving a slight problem. Amplification may help, as may a slightly louder, more resonant instrument (SJ anyone?) ;-)

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