Take Two, er, Fourteen

Imagine playing the same medley fourteen times in a row; now imagine doing that without getting bored. That was tonight’s session.

We were working on Star of Munster / Old Copper Plate. We start out with the fiddle playing Star about half dance speed, like an air. In the second A part I join in with some light arpeggios. Then the second time through we hit dance tempo and the guitar joins in.

Once more, then we transition to Old Copper Plate, starting with a spare accompaniment for a sense of subdued suspense or tension. The third and final time through I play Down the Brae, a march, under the Old Copper Plate fiddle melody, while the guitar is also playing Old Copper Plate chords. It’s a fun arrangement.

The tricky part is managing both tempo and accuracy. The more energetic we get, the more we feel it, the more we tend to creep up the tempo and the harder it is to hit the right notes and to stay together.

Jerry says it’s also hard to just start the medley, partly because he’s got to play all by himself, but partly just because beginnings are always hard. I’ve found that, too; the first note or phrase is often the most difficult.

Endings are tough too. By the end of this piece, Jerry’s almost out of bow, so it’s challenging to draw out the last note. Once the bow slipped over the bridge during that last note, making a sudden squeak almost like a slide whistle — gave us all a good laugh.

I think the fact that I didn’t get bored after fourteen takes says a lot for the group dynamics of our trio. I get a lot of energy listening to and playing with these guys. We work well together. And I like just being with them, too.