Week #543 ~ Humphreys Waltz, by Daniel Nestlerode

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  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    This week's winner is Humphreys Waltz, by Daniel Nestlerode.

  2. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Could anyone who voted for this tune point us to any notation that exists for it? I have tried an online search to no avail.
  3. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    As diplomatic as ever, Mr. Kelly.
  4. Rando7
    I've tried to get something together with this three or four times, and while there is a base melody Mr. Nestlerode improvises and riffs off of it with almost every verse. I was thinking of putting together a basic AABB for it but am still unsuccessful. It's actually kind of a fun tune but it's not going to be as structured as most here.
  5. JL277z
    My try at making a written transcription of the melody, based on half-speed analysis of Daniel's YouTube video. I'm guessing at the chords, might be wrong. Since Musescore doesn't have any decent mandoliny sounds, I assigned the lead/melody to nylon 'harp' and 'flute' (first time through the tune) and 'cello' (second time through tune). MuseScore MIDI playback:

    Or if the above MP3 player doesn't work for some reason, here's a direct download link to the MP3:
    Attachment 193560

    John Kelly wrote: "...notation..."

    I will try to send a PM to Daniel, to check if it's ok to post a PDF of the above melody transcription.

    Rando7 wrote: "I've tried to get something together with this three or four times, and while there is a base melody Mr. Nestlerode improvises and riffs off of it with almost every verse. I was thinking of putting together a basic AABB for it but am still unsuccessful. It's actually kind of a fun tune but it's not going to be as structured as most here."

    After getting the melody notes put into my notation app where I could look at them onscreen, I could see that there is a logical and well-formed structure to the tune. Whereas just listening, it sounds more ethereal and mysterious.

    It is, however, a 'crooked' tune, meaning that it has an unusual number of bars - Part A has 15 bars, whereas Part B has a more customary 16 bars. Then parts A and B repeat (with the same number of bars as the first time through), and then after that there's a short 'outro' of 5 bars. At least that's how the tune presents to me when looking at it onscreen. (Of course, the lead-in partial bar is never included when adding up how many bars there are.) 'Crooked' tunes are a time-honored tradition in oldtime fiddling for instance, although not nearly as common as regular 32-bar dance tunes.

    Hopefully I can get permission from the composer to post the written notes. Once you see how the notes lay out on the screen or printed paper, it's easier to understand the phrasing/structure because you can literally see how the various parts fit together. It has a nice form to it.
  6. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Congratulations, JL. Must have been fun sorting it out - I was aware of its unusual feel when I listened to it.
  7. JL277z
    John Kelly wrote: "Congratulations, JL. Must have been fun sorting it out - I was aware of its unusual feel when I listened to it."

    Thanks John! Yes I actually did have fun, it's a great tune to work with. I wasn't expecting the unusual number of bars though, I kept going back to the audio to see if I'd skipped something. (I had the audio in Audacity at half speed, I'd select several seconds and hit Shift-Space to make it 'loop' playback of just that section, then go to MuseScore to try to write notes that seemed the most likely matches to what I was hearing from Audacity.) I was pleased at the halfway point to discover that the melody did in fact basically repeat, so I could do some copy/paste of earlier measures and adjust for ornaments and variations as needed to match the audio. I like this kind of puzzle but I'm *very* slow at it.

    In years past, sometimes I'd start transcribing a (to me) complicated tune but get partway in and get worn out and give up before it was completed.

    But this tune is good to work with because the mandolin melody playing is precise and clean, and the recording/mix is good so makes it more possible to hear the melody.

    Now if I could only figure out the harmony lines he's using. They sound nice, I like them. But my ear has always seemed to lock onto melodies (probably because I've been a melody player most of my musical life so that's what I'm most familiar with, or maybe I have cause and effect mixed up). In most any type of music I have to really struggle to 'hear' harmonies and chords and backing instruments as separate sounds rather than just part of the whole. Over the past umpteen dozen years, I've made considerable progress, but I'm a slow learner with a long ways to go. (That's ok, I'd hate to run out of stuff to learn.)

    What I did with the chords on this tune, since my ear isn't good enough to accurately and consistently discern any but the most obvious chords in recordings, is that I first just looked at the melody notes and calculated which chords might work in that spot, picked the most obvious one and wrote those chord notes in to test how it sounded, went through the whole tune that way, then had MuseScore playback that *while* simultaneously playing the Audacity half-speed audio, to see if anything sounded clashy. I figured since I didn't notice any obvious dissonance between the two, then maybe those chords might be the same or similar to the ones on the recording. But I'm not really sure.

    Anyway this post is kind of a long-winded ramble but I guess a takeaway is that it's fun to tinker around with music and not-too-complicated tech stuff.
  8. JL277z
    Here's the link to sheet music, mandolin tab, and chords for Humphreys Waltz. Daniel's kind enough to give permission to post it here, thanks Daniel!

    You can view the PDF in your browser without having to do a separate download, or you can click that page's free Download button if you want to download and print it. You do *not* have to register at Box.

    The sheet music contains:
    (1) First staff: basic melody in standard notation.
    (2) Second staff: matching mandolin tab, in a hopefully easy-to-read font size.
    (3) Underneath the tab: notation for several optional bars of my try at transcribing Daniel's more-advanced nice ornamentation, as heard on his YouTube recording.

    ---PDF updated Apr 26, 2021: fixed punctuation (I had earlier used an apostrophe where none was required).
  9. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Great effort, JL. Now we need to rise to the challenge and have a go. Mandolins to the fore, folks.
  10. Frithjof
    What a great help! Thanks for all the hours you put in this project, Jill. And thank you Daniel for this nice waltz and the permission to post sheet music here.
  11. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    A big Thanks!!from me too! I didn't try the embellishments, was glad to strictly play the melody.
  12. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Well played, Christian, and a lovely video too. You certainly set the bar high for others here, and all credit to JL277z for her fine transcription. My effort will be delayed as I have a long-overdue visit from family this weekend now that we can travel outside our local council areas in Scotland (since today) and I have not seen my grandchildren in the flesh since last August! I think the music has to take second place this time.

    Once again, great effort, Christian.
  13. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    That sounds very nice, Christian. Love the high notes, so clear.
  14. Frithjof
    Clean and steady playing as usual, Christian.
  15. Michael Romkey
    Michael Romkey
    You gotta love a waltz. Well, I gotta. Nice job Christian. Love the Bogart picture. Thank you, JL, for tracking down the transcript.
  16. JL277z
    Sounds great, Christian! Cool intro too, and very sweet guitar backing. I wouldn't have thought of taking the melody up an octave, but you make it work nicely.

    Thanks to all for the kind words re the transcription.

    I'm awaiting the arrival of a mandolin (a double-digit ultra-cheapie, but hopefully better than none if it can be made playable). Shipper says 7-10 days. Assuming it survives the shipping process and doesn't have any deal-breaker defects, and after I do the usual tinkering (sand bridge, file nut, put on new strings), then I hope to try recording this tune.
  17. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Thanks for the TAB on this JL, it’s a nice tune.

    Lovely guitar playing there CC, and well balanced, nice vid too, good job!
  18. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, JL, for the transcripton - very helpful indeed! Great version, Christian!

    I decided that the range of this tune suits the mandocello, so I have dropped it down an octave. I've also moved to my patio as it's been a lovely spring day today in North Wales.

    Suzuki MC-815 mandocello
    Vintage Viaten tenor guitar

  19. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Thanks everyone, especially JL277z, hope your new mandplin is a joy to you.
    Martin, I really like the mandocello, is it tuned CGDA? Sounds very nice when you use it as a melody tool.
  20. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Nice version, Martin. Good to see you outside too - a harbinger of summer to come?
  21. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Really nice Martin and that’s a great tone from your instrument and good to see an outdoor recording. Thanks for the motivation to get out with the octave.

    Today it was 7C but the next week it’ll get up to 20Celsius, really looking forward to that.
    Will do a vid from our new mountain here in the village in the South of France (for a year now there have been 1000’s of trucks loaded with soil dropping the soil at the top, if that makes any sense).

    Yes. Our mountain is looking pretty impressive now, in a Martian landscape sort of way.
  22. Frithjof
    Martin, your patio looks like a nice place to sit outside and play an instrument. Hope to see more such recordings.
    Your melody playing on the mandocello sound amazing together with the backing of the tenor guitar.
  23. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks for the kind comments, all. Yesterday was lovely weather to sit outside, although it has turned a bit colder today. I'm pleased how well the microphone has picked up my playing rather than the multitude of background noises trying to put me off: birdsong, passing tractors (local farmers were out in force), wind ruffling the sheet music and my children kicking a football around just out of shot to the right -- I actual had one take with a football flying across the video picture.

    Chrstian: yes, it's in CGDA, proper 'cello tuning. As it's fairly short scale (for a mandocello), the C course can be a bit thud-like, but the trade off for better playability is worth it. This tune doesn't go below G anyway. As you can see in the video, I can play it with mandolin fingering rather than having to change to cello fingering. Fortunately, I have pretty long fingers.

  24. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Now that my family visit has happened, I have got back to having a go at this lovely waltz. I chose a simple version on mandolin and guitar, using the transcription made by Jess (JL227z), to whom many thanks for her fine work. Thanks also to Daniel for allowing us to post versions of his creation.

    My pictures were taken on 19th April at the bird hide on the wee nature reserve on the Holy Loch very near my house. The waders and other sea birds were not around at the time, but the robins and coal tits were on the feeders along with greenfinches and chaffinches and blue tits, and I had the place to myself!

  25. Frithjof
    Nice version, John. And the snapshots of the Robin are great. We don't have them in Germany but I know these birds from visits of the Middle West of the USA.
  26. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    John, were the kids fully out the door before you started to record ? Beautifully graceful and uncomplicated acoustic - and your robins don't look like ours. Snow today. Robins hiding anyway.
  27. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks, Frithjof and Ginny. Fortunately the robins are quite common around here; I have four or five regulars visit the feeders in my garden and in spite of their being very territorial they seem to get along well enough.

    Ginny, I had to get the laptop and other bits and pieces out and set up again after the family headed back home, so recording was done later in the evening. The table was in use for dining purposes during the day, but all well again now!
  28. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, John -- sound great! I think you nailed the waltz rhythm better than I did in mine. I found the pulse of the piece a bit hard to pin down.

    Firthjof: I think the robins in the UK are the same as in Germany: the European robin or Rotkehlchen. We have lots of them here in North Wales as well, and they come into our garden on a regular basis. The American robin is a different and unrelated species.

  29. Frithjof
    Oh, thatís embarrassing. I should have a closer look in my memory or in my own picture collection before writing the post. I was obviously irritated by the English name of the Rotkehlchen. Thanks Martin.
  30. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    You nailed the tune again, John! Easy, flowing waltz rhythm with brillant mandolin playing above it.
    (I also know the birds as Rotkehlchen.)
  31. JL277z
    Very nice versions from Martin and John!
  32. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks, Jess. Your notation gave me the impetus to get the tune played.
  33. Gelsenbury
    My personal story relating to this beautiful waltz is that I met Daniel when he played at Rochester Sweeps Festival here in Kent. He and his family are really nice people, and we soon got talking and kept in touch. Daniel has since managed to move to France whereas I haven't ... but anyway, when he was working on his "Almost Home" album he was kind enough to send me an advance version of Humphreys Waltz, and I've enjoyed playing this lovely tune ever since.

    This recording is from a while ago. I prepared it as a birthday surprise for Daniel at the time.

  34. Frithjof
    Hi, Dennis, thanks for this colorful rendition. … and with that personal background! Great interplay of your instrument family as well.
  35. JL277z
    Oh my, Gelsenbury, what a trip! You make all the different instruments work together amazingly, and listening to it is like being transported to another dimension where music has swept away all the world's problems. Love the octave mandolin (or mandocello?), whistle (or recorder?), harmonica, accordion (or concertina?), and super harmonies! Nice rhythmic feel to it too, I'm sitting here tapping my feet and swaying back and forth in time to the music as I type this.
  36. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Fine version and arrangement, Dennis. Good to see you back again too!
  37. Daniel Nestlerode
    Daniel Nestlerode
    Hello everyone!

    I was gratified to learn from Jess that you guys had picked up Humphreys Waltz. It's always cool when my fellow mandolinists are interested in my work. I had visions of something less than greatness but more them simple competence on the mandolin. But after recording 3 CDs, I now consider myself a dilettante in that arena, realising that my voice is my "first" instrument.

    My apologies for the crookedness of the tune. I am not usually capable of fitting what's in my head into a strict format.

    I told Jess to keep it simple and not worry about triplets or embellishments. My philosophy about fiddle tunes is to make them personal; catch the corners properly, but play what seems to fit best under my fingers and in my mind on the straightaways. After all, it's folk music! For example, when I recorded Eric Skye's "The Locktender's Reel" I added a beat to the end of the A part, making the last bar 5/4 if you start the A part on the 1 of the first bar instead of the 4 of bar 0. (I think Eric may not be happy about it! )

    Ah, I almost forgot. Christian, the tune comes from the name of the road I lived on in Cambridge, UK: Humphreys Road. It's where my wife Claudine and I lived when both children were born. The house was an old "council house"; very small 2bed + kind of affair. But we had wonderful neighbours. And Cambridge was mostly a wonderful place to live. When we decided to move out to a village, I wrote the tune in tribute to the neighbourhood.
    So the lack of the apostrophe in the title is not an error. Humphreys is the name of the road!

    (There OK... more than you probably wanted to know about the tune.)

    I loved listening to all your work. Your renditions are wonderful, thank you Dennis, John, Martin, and Christian for sharing them!

    I'm happy to be of service in the future if another of my crooked tunes strikes your collective fancy. :D

  38. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks for the tune and for the background, Daniel. My first place when I moved to Cambridge as a student in 1993 was as a lodger in a house on Woodlark Rd, about 500m or so from Humphreys Road. Great place to live, although it's getting eyewateringly expensive these days.

  39. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks, Daniel. I wondered who Humphrey was to get a tune named for him, and now you have sorted that out for us. Glad you enjoyed our versions, and I agree with you completely on the adding of embellishments or pauses or other personalisations a player will bring to a tune.
  40. JL277z
    Thanks Daniel! I just realized I let an apostrophe slip in there, I will correct it when I get back to my computer later tonight (posting from phone right now).

    ---Updated Apr 26, 2021: the PDF now has the correct punctuation without the apostrophe.
  41. Daniel Nestlerode
    Daniel Nestlerode
    You're all very welcome!
    Martin, we did take advantage of the market when we left Cambridge and then again when we left the UK for northern France. You're right. It's bonkers there now.
    Thanks John! Glad to know I'm not alone there.
    Jess, please don't worry about it. How many times has someone added an apostrophe and an 's' to Ashokan Farewell without complaint from Jay Ungar?

  42. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Jess said "---Updated Apr 26, 2021: the PDF now has the correct punctuation without the apostrophe." Unfortunately it will have to remain in my video title as I would have to remove the video to correct it. I see Martin and Dennis got it right! At least we all played the tune as accurately as we could.
  43. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Great, colourful version Dennis, you even make me enjoy a recorder.
    And thanks Daniel to let me know about Humphreys Road in Cambridge. I thought, there's a fellow named Humphrey and we listen to his waltz.
  44. bbcee
    Nice versions everyone, Dennis, I was only missing the kitchen spoons in yours! Seriously, that was a beautiful, heartfelt recording.
  45. Frithjof
    I couldn`t resist to record this wonderful waltz.

  46. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Fine version, Frithjof.
  47. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    I really like the squeezebox; goes together well with your fine mandolin picking, Frithjof!
  48. Gelsenbury
    That was great, Frithjof! The concertina goes so well with the mandolin. A good match, for this tune and others.
  49. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    Such awesome versions of this beautiful waltz. I just caught Frithjofs on YT - and thought it was maybe one of his best recordings with nice synchronization and tone and pace. Dennis, nice to see (and hear) you again. I wonder if you can put this on YT too - even with the one cover picture it still should be heard by the YT world.
  50. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Fine playing John and inspirational version Dennis.

    Very nice Frithjof, sounds like a tune from David. And a defiant, optimistic sounding version too.
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