Tag Archives: Music

April’s new video (and barely under the wire!)

This is the second of the two “short story songs” I wrote late last year. You can check out the other one here if you haven’t already. It makes 4 months in a row that I’ve put up a new vid. (Though I’m definitely just barely squeaking this one in on time!)

(However, I do still have one “in the can” for next month.)

As usual, I’m experimenting with what I can do with LumaFusion. Still don’t have the color grading and such down very well, so the two cameras don’t exactly match. I suspect that better lighting will fix some of that.

I did learn that I could–after jumping through some hoops–use my 10-year old Canon Vixia cameras with LF on the iPad. That’s good because they were bloody expensive when I bought them new and I hate to have them simply hanging around collecting dust.

(Come to think on it, I had to jump through some hoops back when I was using an old version of iMovie on an elderly Mac desktop.)

The next test I do will be adding in my Zoom H2 to up the audio quality. Plus, if I want to, I can throw my phone camera into the mix and do a three camera shoot. That ought to keep me confused.

So with no further ado I present…

Hemoglobin Overload

If you like it, please share it! Sharing is caring.

Schmutz In My Harp

Regular readers of this site (both of you) might recall how I had been working on bringing harmonica on the rack back into my act. In pursuit of that, I bought a sparkly fresh set of reed plates for my Lee Oskar C harp, which had gotten so old that it was all blown out of tune and, after some moderate kerfluffle, got them installed.

Only to discover that one of the reeds didn’t work well at all.

(Full disclosure: the pic is of a Hohner Blues Harp. I chose it because, unlike with the Oskar, you can see the reed plates when it’s assembled. They’re the brass bits in the picture.)

Now, taking apart and re-assembling a harmonica is a bit of a chore. The top and bottom covers are held on by wee little bolts and, in the case of the Oskar, weirdly shaped and equally tiny nuts. The bolts are sized so that when everything is tightened up, only a smidgen of the bolt comes out the other side of the nut. This is a good thing for a variety of reasons, but it makes it damned difficult to put the bolts back in. So, when I discovered that one of the reeds was only going to make odd little sounds I set the whole thing aside for later, sniffling a little bit about the $25 (+ shipping!) that I thought I’d just wasted.

Oh yeah. And the ~$6 I spent getting a stubby little #1 Phillips head screwdriver.

Then life continued happening and I didn’t get around to popping the thing open until yesterday. I thought maybe I could give recalcitrant reed a little prod and free it up. I got the bolts out and carefully placed where I wouldn’t lose them and pulled the top off.

What’s this? A little piece of brownish schmutz, maybe a bit less than twice the size of a kitchen match head. Tilting the thing made the schmutz drop off and a bit of testing (prior to messing about with the bolts again!) revealed that the reed was free to vibrate in its proper fashion.

But here’s the weird bit. When the harp is assembled properly there are no openings large enough to let mister schmutz get in. I mean, it was soft enough that if you poked it with a hairpin or something like that, you could force it in. But I certainly didn’t do that.

So I’d managed to inadvertently introduce ol’ schmutzy to the interior of the harp when I was originally re-assembling it. Without knowing I’d done so. In fact, I can’t for the life of me figure out just what the schmutz is made of, so I can’t even hazard a guess on how I managed to pick it up and secretly slip it into the works.

Oh well. I guess it’ll have to remain one of life’s little mysteries. Meanwhile I’ve got loads of practicing to catch up on.

New Year’s Greetings!

We’ll start off with a New Year’s treating, just to rhyme with the greeting.

For my friends and fans who are also ukulele aces, I’ve just finished a small document on lead playing for the ukulele based on the Pentatonic Minor blues boxes for guitar. This is five, easy to learn, interlocking patterns on the fretboard that allow you to play lead riffs and licks in any key. And, despite its name, there are other genres besides blues that these patterns will work for.

There are several pages of explanation and one page with all of the boxes diagramed out for easy visualization of them and their relationship with each other.

As is usual for my uke documents, this one is a pdf file and can be downloaded for free. Also as usual, if you like it and find it useful, the best way to say thanks is to drop a dollar or two into my online tip bucket (over there in the right column of this page). It’s the slow busking season here, kids, and you’d be surprised at how useful the occasional extra dollar is.

Download Minor Pentatonic Blues Boxes For Ukulele.

Happy New Year and happy picking!

6/8, Is It?

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I recently had a conversation with a fellow busker about time signatures wherein he mentioned that he simply treated 2/4 as 4/4 and it was all good.

Well yeah, but…

There really is a difference in feel between the two. (You can replace “feel” with “pulse” there.) The pulse of the music is different between the two time signatures. I struggled with it myself and found that putting in the extra work paid off. It’s the pulse of the music that determines how (or whether!) the audience is going to shake their booties. However, I seem to have missed that point with Miranda.

Miranda is a tune I wrote 4 years ago and have returned to several times since. I keep chipping away at it but never seem to get quite right. Nobody’s even heard more than a bit of it, except for my long suffering sweetie and my cats. I thought it was a plain old waltz — living and dying in 3/4 time, y’know? — but there are a few places in it where I lose the beat and it sounds like I’m playing in 4/4 time. I think it’s the lyrics throwing me off.

So the other night I was noodling about with it and the thought occurred to me to give it a whirl in 6/8. Holy Smokes! It’s much smoother now. (OK. There’s still a fuzzy patch in it, but at least now I know where to aim!) A hair more rewriting and I may end up with another song for my all-too-slim “tunes I have written” folder.

As a small final irony, I often take a stab at writing a tune in something besides 4/4 or 3/4, mostly without success. I find it amusing that I may have written one in 6/8 completely by accident.