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Posted by tonyelder on Wednesday, April 20, 2016

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I thought it might be a good thing to share a few observations after posting tunes regularly for a while.


Overall, I have enjoyed doing it. It hasn't been nearly as hard as I thought it would be. Mainly, because I decided that I would not be too overly concerned about things. Minimum was – can you play the melody well enough to be recognized? Can you play it with decent enough intonation, so it's not distracting or embarrassing? Can you keep a steady beat at a good tempo? Is the version of the tune I play (and the way I play it) interesting?


Recording quality and playing techniques were important, but – I took a lesson from field recordings and accepted the fact that I'm not a professional musician or sound engineer. This is me playing after 6 years while recording with “stuff” just sitting on my desk. I did what I knew how to do with what I have and admitted to myself that waiting until I “perfected” what I was trying to do - would mean – I'll never get there. And I remind myself - perfection is not what I am aiming for. So what if there are warts? And there is a lot of them in some places... that's ok.


For a lot of reasons - I needed to do this. So, I just thought I would put it out there and let it serve any purpose it can serve – what ever that might be.

I try to get everything done with a tune in about 30 minutes. That doesn't sound like a lot of time, but if everything is right there in front of you – the tune only takes about 2 minutes to play. Then you listen and tweak for a few minutes, then go on line and find all the background stuff – and upload. Done.


There were times it took a little longer – and there were other times when I finally told myself – next, this is taking too long.


I have been reminded several times about the benefits there are from hearing yourself play. Some things were good to hear. And there have been other things I really needed to hear – stuff I thought was “good enough”, BUT... I'm learning that simple is usually better. I need to lighten up on the bow some. I need to find more places to add slurs. [I can't always make a “saw-stroke” sound like something else ;-) usually ends up still sounding like a ...saw-stroke. (Quit smiling pogo).] And for goodness sake – I really need to learn how to breathe while I'm playing, so I can stop grunting. So, I know more about the stuff I should work on.


I've been surprised a few times with the responses from some of the tunes. Tunes I thought would catch folks interest (because I liked them so much) – will sometimes bearly get noticed. And then some tunes I didn't really think that much of - gets discussed and listened to a lot. I'm still trying to determine what I need to take away from that observation – if anything.


The most “fun” I've had with this has been recording and mixing down tracks with other instruments. It really hasn't been as hard as I thought it would be. To me, I'd rather hear the added accompaniment than just my solo fiddling.


One thing I have been really pleased with is how this is providing an easy way for folks to pick up on some background information and history about these tunes – regardless of how much interest there is in the home recordings of me playing. I have always enjoyed learning about the history behind the tunes that I play. And it has been a real treat to read posts from folks that offered another bit of information to add to the picture or had a story to tell. That alone is worth the effort.


And the encouragement has meant a lot. Thank you again for your kind words.


Its hard to stay on track. I'm starting to slack off again. I'm hoping that by saying all this I will get motivated to get back after it. I still have a good number of tunes on the list.

4 comments on “breathe”

ChickenMan Says:
Wednesday, April 20, 2016 @3:38:58 PM

"Breathe" is good advice in most situations.
I was curious as to whether you're recording the guitar tracks after or before the fiddle. I've done both, but sometimes after can be tricky so I try to make a guitar (or uke) track first. It's been fun hearing your tunes and when I get some time AND don't have a dance to prepare for (seems never ending these days) I plan on doing a similar documentation process of my tunes. Thumbs up!

tonyelder Says:
Wednesday, April 20, 2016 @5:44:59 PM

I would enjoy listening to your tunes Billy. I look forward to that.

I've always recorded the fiddle first. The "potatoes" help me come in with the other instruments on cue.

Except for - the few that I recorded with Josh Turknett's banjo playing (tune of the week) as a backing track. He starts his tunes with potatoes so, I followed him on those.

Astrang Says:
Wednesday, April 27, 2016 @4:45:56 AM

Sure have been missing the good tunes every day

tonyelder Says:
Wednesday, April 27, 2016 @7:04:31 AM

Craziness in my life at the moment. Should be over soon. Thanks for the encouragement.

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