Saturday, October 2, 2010

"New Tune"

I have been playing Irish traditional music for almost 8 years now. I love it. For years, I was the annoying kid with the napkin "list" of tunes to learn and would hound anybody for a name or time to learn it. (Have I mentioned how grateful I am to the poor people that have to teach me??) I carried 'the List' around with me until my (then) dog chewed up the first half, and I admitted that I couldn't remember the names of most of them anyway... For me then, a "new tune" was a wonderful little jewel that I found/learned and looked at, turned in my hand, learned it by heart, and kept it in a bag in my memory. I still can't help feeling that way, actually, about tunes that people play, or I hear on recordings.

However, more and more often my "new tunes" are little diddles that I've come up with. It is such fun. I hate to say that what I'm doing is "writing" them, (though I say it for brevity's sake), but after the first few I figured were pretty safe to say that I at least am the first to play them. (One of these reasons being that I apparently can't create a 4 beat measure/4 bar phrase to save my life, though it's both the meter and the model I'm using.) They're like little melodic puzzles, and geekily enough, theory exercises, that I hear my instrument playing. The more I do it, the more fascinating and addictive it gets. I don't think I'd rate them with any of the other tune writers I know, but it's become my "weekend off" activity.

Hang with the dogs, swap witticisms with the roommate, and find a new tune. In honor of the season and level of humor, this week's was an exercise in tonality and modulation with melodically-implied chord structure.