Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Townsend: Four Pieces, No. 4, Surreal Reel

My mother was what we call in Canada an "old time fiddler" and part of that is playing jigs and reels. So I heard a lot of them growing up. This piece, which is a recomposition of an old Irish reel, is a tribute to my mother, Alma Townsend, a fine natural musician. Or it's revenge for having to listen to way too many reels... This is the last of my pieces for violin and guitar.

I'm just learning the new iMovie so forgive me for playing around with the titles and photo effects. I hope they give you something to look at without distracting too much from the music!

video

10 comments:

Rickard Dahl said...

Another nice piece. I don't understand the whole quoting folk song tradition though. If a classical composer wants to make compositions sound like some sort of folk music isn't it better to just compose something new that accomplishes it?

Bryan Townsend said...

That's an interesting perspective... The use of folk material in classical composition, and I mean actual melodies, not just the style, has a long tradition. Even some masses from the 15th and 16th centuries were based on a folk song like "L'Homme Armé". Stravinsky, though he denied it, has been shown to use quite a few Russian folk melodies in the Rite of Spring. I have used an English folk song previously in a piece for guitar orchestra.

I think using the tune from an Irish reel was partly the idea of honoring my mother and also, it was fun to see what I could do with it. I used part of it for the slow introduction and coda and part for the fast section. What I mostly worked with was using harmony to cast the melody in an entirely different light. I don't think writing a wholly original melody would have had the same kind of effect...

Anonymous said...

Beautiful piece!

Silly question to the professional classical guitarist: How do you cope with the fact that nails will break? What do you do then?

Bryan Townsend said...

Thank you!

Not at all a silly question. The answer is Krazy Glue or a similar product. A couple of weeks ago I seriously cracked my middle finger nail opening the fridge door. However, I always keep some Krazy Glue handy (in the fridge, as a matter of fact). If you apply the glue immediately after cracking the nail, it is as if it never happened. Sometimes you need to reinforce the seam with a bit of paper napkin soaked in glue. But it works!

I put up a whole post about nails here: http://themusicsalon.blogspot.mx/2012/03/fingernails-of-guitarist.html

Anonymous said...

Thanks!

PS: I wonder if I am the only commenter who keeps flunking the "Prove you're not a robot" test. Ok, maybe I am a robot after all...

Bryan Townsend said...

I didn't even chose that test, but I suppose it is helping with spam. Yes, I know what you mean. Some of those images are so hard to read that even humans flunk!

Rickard Dahl said...

I flunk sometimes too. Last time (a few moments ago) I was given a image with leaves or something like that and I didn't even see some kind of number there.

Christine Lacroix said...

Whew, what a relief to find out I'm not the only one having problems with the robot test. I made an appointment with my eye Dr!

Nice piece Bryan. Why isn't anything on YouTube? Do you have a Face Book page?

Bryan Townsend said...

Thanks, Christine! I'm not convinced that there is a benefit to me to put my music on YouTube. I am exploring some other options such as iTunes and CD Baby. I do want to get something out there! I did once sign up for Facebook, but I never use it. Wastes too much time!

Bryan Townsend said...

Oh, about the robo-test, If it gives me something I just can't make sense out of, I just ask for a different one. Right now it has me identifying pictures of street signs or waffles.