We started with Carolan’s Welcome again, trying the variation I wrote about in the last entry. We also had Craig do some melody towards the end, and I experimented with some high harmony. I kept making a lot of mistakes, so once we had two reasonable takes to use for evaluating the arrangement, we moved on to other stuff.
Carolan’s Welcome was the last of the four pieces we’d decided to record first, so I haven’t practiced anything else in a long time. Fortunately, we decided to try Staten Island / Julia Delany, and Banish Misfortune / Swallowtail Jig, sets I’m fairly comfortable with.
I love the Staten Island / Julia Delany set; I love the switch from D to Dm, and Julia Delany is just a great tune. By the way, I’ve heard that Staten Island is supposed to be a hornpipe; we play it as a reel. (Definitions: A reel is a fast tune in 4/4 time. A jig is a fast tune in 6/8 time. For each step a contra dancer takes, a reel has two beats, and a jig has three. Hornpipes are more like jigs than reels — a little slower, and played with a lilted or swung or dotted rhythm.)
For Banish Misfortune, Jerry gets to imitate a bagpipe the first time through. He plays one A part, then drones on the D while I play the repeat, and so on for the B and C parts.
I’m not sure what exactly I want to do for the other two parts; I could play melody both times in the normal octave, or one time I could play in the lower octave, or I could do a sort of call-and-response with myself, one A part higher, the repeat lower, and so on.
Then I drop out for the first time through Swallowtail. (Having one of us drop out at a transition is an effective technique for signalling a change; still, I hope we don’t overuse it.)
Now I’ve got to listen to this week’s takes to see if I like the arrangements, and chances are I’ll want to practice the sets in hopes of recording better takes next time. I hope the recording won’t be too disrupted by our preparations for a pair of gigs — we have a Farmers Market performance and also a show as part of the Chenango Summer MusicFest coming up.