Week #520 ~ Mazurka des écoliers de Saint Genest

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  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    This week's poll winner is Mazurka des écoliers de Saint Genest by Gilles Chabenat, which is a French mazurka.

    Here is a link to the notation of this tune on thesession.org

  2. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    Here's mine on a Fletcher tenor guitar GDAE, Wheatstone concertina, Santa Cruz guitar and a Roland organ.

  3. Gelsenbury
    As I already commented on your YouTube channel, this is one of those magical tunes, and your trademark musicality only adds to the magic. Absolutely wonderful music!

    I'm tempted to dig out my accordion for this one. The problem is that I can't really play it. Perhaps with some digital skulduggery...
  4. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    I think it’s ok to play a hornpipe as a reel, but it can cause confusion with nomenclature.
    Same thing with mazurkas, what are they?
    Here are some more quite different examples



    my favourite, (today)


    Wikis take on this:
  5. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Here’s mine from what feels like years ago, but was just last week.
    On the octave mandolin, capo at 7th so it’s the same as a mando but one string down.
    -diatonic accordions tend to be C/F in France, so the tune is often played in C.

    The rhythm I used for this is more like a waltz (I think). Might make an attempt at it again with the exaggerated rhythm like one of the vids above.

  6. Mike Romkey
    Mike Romkey

    Simon, nice job. I'll try to do a video of my version later today. And here's my heartfelt rendition of ... not this week's winner, "Glory in the Meeting House." I started working on it when my faulty psychic powers told me it would win. The challenge with this song is it's an old Kentucky contest fiddle tune and I couldn't find either an authoritative score or even recorded version. The versions are all over the place. I standardized this to AABBCC and I ditched the G#s in the C part, which just sound like somebody kicking their cat.

    I wrote out a score of my version, but I'll be damned if I can figure out a way to post it here. Anybody have clue? I posted it as a jpg to both FB and Google pics and copied in the URLs, but it comes up as a dead link. I'll try a web link to the Google pix location.

  7. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    This is a great mazurka, and lovely versions by both Simon and David. I have followed their lead and have played it in the lower range, on tenor guitar in my case with overdubbed mandolin and mandocello rhythm (my second ever overdubbed live video).

    I have played "Mazurka des écoliers de Saint Genest" in E minor, combined as a set with a traditional French mazurka in G major, "Mazurka de Servant", based on a setting I found at:


    Vintage Viaten tenor guitar
    Mid-Missouri M-0W mandolin
    Suzuki MC-815 mandocello

  8. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Glory in the Meeting house is a great tune Mike and really well played. The strumming and double stops, nice! I really like it -so much so that I opened a thread for it here:

    If you want to copy your text from here over to there it would be good.
    -I know, all these different threads, I sometimes forget where I am!

    Really good to see you posting.
  9. Gelsenbury
    Nice set, Martin! The tenor guitar has a very full sound, just right for the lead on this.
  10. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    David, I like the concertina, and nice layering on the other instruments.

    Well done Martin, I like the clock sounding accompaniment.
  11. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, Dennis and Simon! It's a fun little guitar, and both tunes are very enjoyable. They fall very nicely under the fingers -- somewhat unexpectecly, this was the first take and it's in the can!

    I chose the mandolin and mandocello accompaniment because the tune itself has a pretty narrow range, one octave from e to e', so I wanted to add some top and bottom end. The "clock effect" is the mandolin arpeggios.

  12. Mike Romkey
    Mike Romkey

    Nice jobs, y'all. Will do the copying after supper. : ) Here's mine. It's a work in progress. For extra credit, spot Otto the cat.
  13. Gelsenbury
    That's a different and interesting style, Mike. What's your musical background?
  14. Mike Romkey
    Mike Romkey
    Gelsenbury: I studied a few years with Mike Compton though I've never aspired to be "a Monroe player." Also some with David Benedict. I just like mandolins and fiddle tunes. Old Time, Bluegrass, New Grass, New Acoustic. Used to play at the Irish session, when there was one in my corner of the world. I produce an eclectic show called The Bucktown Revue. Check it out on the web or FB. Here's a link to our virtual-due-to-virus April show, if you want to see what we have for acoustic music on the banks of the Mississippi in Iowa.

  15. Bad Habbits
    Bad Habbits
    Mike - great stuff! I originally put my mandolin down and started watching, but soon picked it up and 'jammed' with you guys - almost as good as being there. I especially liked Bear Island, and also your rendition of Make Me an Angel. Thank you so much for sharing.
  16. Don Grieser
    Don Grieser
    Great playing on this one by everyone. I had to steal David Hanson's version--what a great production.

    Mike, I'll have to check out the virtual Bucktown. Saw the opening--great job.

    The octave has been in the case too long. Seemed to fit this one well. Rusty at overdubbing. Bill Monroe peaking over the octave wondering WTH I'm playing. LOL


  17. Mike Romkey
    Mike Romkey
    Always nice, Don!
  18. Gelsenbury
    Thanks for the explanation, Mike. I thought I could hear a great deal of professionalism in your rendition, and a dose of bluegrass as well - which is unusual for this tune, but an interesting variation. You've learnt from some of the greats! I really like David Benedict's playing, and if he's as nice in person as he seems online I'm sure you had a great learning experience. I'll have a look at your programme. It starts with The Road to Lisdoonvarna, which is always a good thing in my book.

    Don, that was really great! Your recording makes the instruments complement each other perfectly. Again, a lot of experience has obviously gone into this.

    I suggested this tune, but haven't started learning it yet! I hope the home office will allow me some time to start today.
  19. Frithjof
    I enjoyed all these great versions above. I’m not sure if that kind of music is built in in my mandolin but I’ll try to find out …
  20. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    Nice playing Don! I finally linked up who manomando was - I had subscribed to your channel a long time ago but didn't know it was you until this morning.
  21. Frithjof
    I’m not really familiar with mazurkas. I hope my version sounds a little like one.
    The second round I gave my (new to me) concertina a chance. Hope it works.

  22. Mike Romkey
    Mike Romkey
    Wow, Frithjof, this is sweet! Looooove concertina. Made my day. : )
  23. Gelsenbury
    I love the addition of the concertina, and you play it so well! Tell us the story behind it - you're obviously not a complete beginner, but it's the first time I see you play concertina.

    Edit: Coincidentally, I was practising this tune just now. There's a contribution coming from me too ... soon.
  24. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    Maybe Frithjof can all give us concertina lessons on-line. I'd like to learn to play it too.
  25. Frithjof
    Mike. Thanks, I’m happy you like it.

    Ginny – that’s definitely not my part. Please ask David. If he started an online class, I would certainly be one of the first subscribers.

    Dennis – Sorry, I’m a beginner.
    The interest for the box grew in me over the years as lurker and member of our SAW group. I blame our own master of concertina (as well as of a lot of other instruments) David Hansen for that.

    OTOH I was unsure if I can handle a squeezebox at all. Then I learned that there are dozens of different constructions … a whole new to me world of instruments.

    Last year I decided for an English concertina. I bought a 30 years old affordable box from eBay to give it a try. It is a little out of tune and I had to learn to maintain the mechanics first. To learn how to hold the box and to handle the bellows is the main task until now. And to avoid tendonitis. After a minute I had to lay it down. An additional strap for the right wrist brought a little relief. In January I first time tried to record a tune with the concertina. It was the The Valiant (SAW #513) which I in consequence not recorded with mandolin. If you like you can watch it on my YT channel.
  26. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Great effort and congratulations on your new instrument, Frithjof. We never stop learning - nor wanting to learn, more importantly!
  27. Gelsenbury
    I didn't know it was possible to play concertina so well in such a short space of time. Hats off!

    My first mandolin teacher was a concertina player first and foremost. I remember him saying "It's as if somebody had sneezed, and that's where the notes have ended up"!

    Personally, I feel tempted by the concertina for the same reasons as you. But so far, realism is prevailing. And I want to get a bit better at piano accordion while my grandfather who gave it to me is still around!
  28. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Some years ago, my father (a life-long non-reading guitarist, accompanying his own singing by ear) wanted to learn a melody instrument in order to play tunes and duets with my mother (on her mandolin). He initially tried a small diatonic accordion, but didn't get along with it at all. After discussing it, we figured he needed something chromatic and non-diatonic, so I bought him an entry-level English concertina. It was a struggle, but he did eventually learn to read music and play concertina/mandolin duets with my mother. However, I can definitely sympathise with Dennis's quote regarding the button placements of the notes. As far as I can see, the only logic is to place consecutive notes as far away from each other as possible to minimise finger clashes.

    I've been meaning to try to learn concertina myself, but that may be a retirement project!

  29. Pierpaolo S.
    Pierpaolo S.
    Congratulations Frithjof!
    I've been thinking about buying a concertina for years.
    Especially after listening to David Hansen but in the end I bought a melodica ...

    PS. Now I have been thinking about the concertina for an hour ...
  30. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Nice one Mike I like the bluesy sounding chords.
    Don thanks, nice tone on that instrument too.
    Frithjof wonderful with the English concertina! Well done.

    The finger board is pretty cool, especially the major and minor chords. I have a diatonic accordion, maybe I could swap it for a concertina and we all become SAW concertina players!
  31. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    Congratulations to Frithjof for his concertina playing, it's always a little scary to take on a new instrument and play it for other musicians. I am afraid that I would not be a competent concertina instructor, I am entirely self-taught and possess none of the proper techniques used by educated players. The English Concertina is a fairly easy instrument to learn if your brain is prewired for the key layout, most people find that the diatonic, Anglo Concertina, is easier to learn and it is also more accceptable for playing Irish music. However if anyone wants to know what not to do, I am always available for consultation, just send me a PM.
  32. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    I found the diatonic really difficult, the problem for me wasn’t thinking in eighths or quarters and changing chords at the appropriate moment -ok, but with the melody. You have to squeeze for one note on a button and then on the same button you pull for different note BUT when you do this the accompaniment chord changes too. These changes in direction of pushing/pulling occur at random intervals during the measure.
    There’s an extremely steep learning curve to begin with, it takes a meticulous mind, and afterwards (apparently) it’s plain sailing, thousands of tunes at your finger tips.
  33. Gelsenbury
    Mike, I just wanted to say publicly that I really enjoyed your Bucktown Revue programme. I watched the whole thing earlier today. It seems like a great way to maintain connections in the local community, especially during physical isolation. Your guitarist and bass player seem to be having an absolute ball!
  34. Frithjof
    Thanks for all you Congratulations. I feel the fame and prestige of being a star.

    On a serious note, I’m relieved that my first serious attempt to play and record the new instrument was well received. Thanks again for that! Our SAW group is such a great place!
  35. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    When’s your birthday Frithjof?
  36. Don Grieser
    Don Grieser
    Frithjof, I really enjoyed your video. Great job on the concertina. I certainly love that sound and what it adds to the tune. David Hansen is an inspiration to all of us. Well done, sir!
  37. bbcee
    Good work, one and all! I may have to give this one a whirl.

    I'm with Pierpaolo, I looked at a concertina, ran away screaming, and bought a melodica instead. It's a nice texture instrument. The Hohner I bought is like a big, sad harmonica.
  38. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    I thought it only polite to ask you guys if it would be ok if I posted some vids of me playing mandolin, and this:
    Colourful Concertina
    (The colour I mean)


    It’s an Anglo, David, what key would you say is best, G/C?
  39. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    Simon, C/G and G/D are the most common keys for a diatonic Anglo. I would caution you not to buy an Italian made concertina, you will end up being a concertina repairman long before you become a concertina player. Bastari now Stagi made my first concertina and I regret not paying the extra money to get a well made concertina. Hohner is better than Stagi but if you think you are going to stick with it get a concertina made by Concertina Connection or Morse concertinas at the Button Box. They are lower priced instruments that use accordion reeds, yet still sound and play well. That's my 2 cents.
  40. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Thanks David, I just realised that the buttons on the Anglo aren’t unisonoric, here’s an English one.
    I like the baritone sound, and they have an mp3 of it there.

    The Valiant sounds really nice too Frithjof.
  41. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    The concertina I bought for my Dad is a Jackie from Concertina Connection. Nice instrument, but a bit bulkier and less range than more expensive concertinas, because of the accordion reeds.

  42. Gelsenbury
    I'm getting used to a new music and recording set-up, and a lot of things went wrong with this one. So I'm sorry about things like poor syncing. But it's still a brilliant tune. I've played it so often just to get halfway reasonable takes that it's well established in my repertoire now!

    Gilles Chabenat is a hero. No doubt about it.
  43. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Your new set-up sounds great, Dennis, and you play this tune well. Is this your Tascam in use now?
    The low angle shot makes that accordion look really big and imposing.
  44. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Very fine versions so far! Looks like I'm gonna try this mazurka too.
  45. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    Well played but I will agree with John on the formidable accordion view, oh and the accordion was also well played, congratulations on your new addition to your arsenal.
  46. Gelsenbury
    Thank you so much! The accordion *is* imposing - 96 bass buttons and pretty heavy! I'm nowhere near comfortable with it, but this tune just called for some accordion in my mind. I wanted to leave the bass to the octave mandola, so that I'd only have to play the melody on the accordion. I'd practised it, but at a slower speed than this video. After lots of takes, I got one verse just about right.

    The story behind the accordion is that it belonged to my grandfather, who gave it to me as a Christmas present when I showed an interest and his hearing had deteriorated too much to play it properly. I've had it for a few years, but never made much progress with it. It's not an instrument to practise late in the evening or in the break at work because it's heavy and loud. But I really want to get better while my grandfather is still around. He's now 91 years old and suffering from Corona lockdown loneliness in a care home.

    My new "music room" is our little conservatory, late in the evening. I can't keep instruments there because of the big temperature changes. But I can sit there and play when my son is asleep and my wife is watching TV, both at the other end of the house. If I want to record, I still need to find better solutions for camera angle and lighting. If I want to play accordion, I need a different seat where the bellows can expand properly. The devil is in the detail. A laptop on the dining table was comparatively straightforward!

    As John has suspected, this was recorded on my new (to me) Tascam DR-05 recorder. The low cut filter and peak control functions seem very useful. I recorded a melody track on mandolin, with a backing track on earphones to keep to time and rhythm. All other tracks were then added separately while listening to the melody in the same way. I think this approach makes sense to keep everything in time, I just need to work further on my playing. The real problem arrived when I had the 5 audio and 6 video tracks to align and mix. I did the audio in Audacity first, and then the video in the Open Shot editor. The sync issues you can see in the video result from having to trim the tracks and then losing my bearings when trying to align them. I was too tired by the end of that process to explain all this or try to improve it!

    The recording below is just the melody line with some mandolin chords overdubbed on the Tascam without any further editing. This is what I used to keep everything else in time. The rest will probably come with practice.

  47. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    Great Dennis. You have quite an array of instruments...I have the Tascam too. I like it but often need John to remind me how to work all the settings. I quite enjoyed the mazurka. Well played.
  48. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Nice one Dennis, star performance, that accordion is as huge as a tree trunk, but you make it look light.
  49. Pierpaolo S.
    Pierpaolo S.
    Very beautiful Gelsenbury.
    I replaced the accordion with the melodica and added piano and bass.
    I recorded with Sonar Cakewalk, with a Rode NT1A microphone.

  50. Frithjof
    Your grandfather will be proud, Dennis.
    Interesting what nice instruments our fellow SAW members hide beyond reach of video camera and microphone.
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