Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Hello after a two month break from posting!  

Here are the major happenings for me musically:
  • Visited my favorite music shop, Fretted Instruments in Amherst, as part of an Amherst birthday trip.  Played a surprisingly nice Chinese guitar (only around $1000!) - no match for the Bourgeois or the Froggy, but impressive nonetheless.  Picked up a copy of O'Neil's music of Ireland
  • Embarked on a project of continual challenge: I am endeavoring to play some new piece of music every day I practice.  Right now this means working through fiddle tunes in O'Neil's.  The rules are:
  1. I have never seen the tune or section of a tune before that day
  2. I will attempt to learn and play it for that day only
  • Went to afternoon guitar workshop taught by Brooks.  Very inspiring time - most of the technical information was not new to me, but I tried to keep things lively by staying in DADGAD and translating what Brooks was showing us.  Met a few cool people (not that the people I didn't meet weren't cool, but I didn't actually meet them, so...) and got a chance to talk with Brooks afterward.  He has been thinking (as have I) about the problem of the communal needs of the fingerstyle steel-string player.  We are going to meet up next month for a lesson.
  • I have been learning much music with friends.  Ben and I have Bach's Invention No. 4 in D minor (his most evil invention ever) and Toy for Two Lutes, a nice Renaissance piece that we both happened to have (my copy is in an anthology of Renaissance music arranged for guitar by John Rehnborn).  Ben, Dan, and I are two pages in to Bach's 4th Sonata, and Dan has given me "Trombone Duet #2" (that is literally all we know about the piece!) to work on.  No progress so far on Duet #2... hoping to start in this weekend!
  • I am in touch with Al to get together again to continue work on our second duet, Penny Lane.
  • I have ordered two sets of strings in gauges suitable for DADGAD tuning.  The Froggy stays in DADGAD pretty much continuously at this point (or AADGBD, for Hedges' "The 2nd Law", which is even lower!) so it needs strings that can keep up.  The strings are:
  1. Pierre Bensusan signature strings from Wyres - these have a coating on them sort of like Elixirs I think
  2. John Pearse phosphor bronze "New Medium" gauge.  John Pearse seems to offer a variety of interesting string gauges, including on for New Standard Tuning (CGDAEG)
  • Work has begun, inspired my the work of Brad Meldau, to create an arrangement of Radiohead's "Paranoid Android"
  • I have gotten together twice now with another friend, Joe Renzoni, to create spontaneous improvisational music.  This is very scary and fun; I have the feeling it is actually extremely good for me to be leaping into the creative unknown in real time without knowing what will happen.
Tonight I have more time than anticipated for practice, so I am taking advantage of this to practice the Sonata in preparation for (probably after journey group) tomorrow night.

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