High Clouds

  1. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    This waltz was written in 1980 by fiddler David Kaynor of the Greenfield Dance Band, who is active in the contra dance and social dance scene in Massachusetts. There are several recordings on Youtube, including by the composer himself. My version is based on the melody and harmony transcription from the Southern Maryland Open Band tunebook at:


    Played as a mandocello duet, with tenor guitar arpeggio accompaniment.

    Suzuki MC-815 mandocello (x2)
    Vintage Viaten tenor guitar


  2. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    I like the melody in this tune martin and your skill with the mandocello. At times I felt like I could hear little parts of other songs - I think at one part I wanted to sing 'alive,alive ooo, alive, alive, ooo". I copied the page from that big book you linked it too. Looks like a great book.
  3. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    I too was humming Molly Malone to myself as I was listening to this tune, Ginny. Must be one of the reasons we collaborate with each other - we hear the same sorts of sounds and phrasings?
  4. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, Ginny and John. Yes, I think there are a few borrowed phrases from Molly Malone -- I assumed it was deliberate on the composer's part, although sometimes this happens subconsciously.

  5. Jairo Ramos Parra
    Jairo Ramos Parra
    John, that synchronicity with Ginny is a message from heaven (or the gods of Olympus, or the stars, or the runes, or the fairies or the Celtic gods) telling you to "keep collaborating with her"
  6. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Phrases three and four really are lifted out of Molly Malone and grafted into High Clouds, but it sounds fine the way you play it, Martin.
  7. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Molly or not, I used this waltz to become a little less confused when playing in the third position:
  8. Frithjof
    Good tone - in what position ever.
  9. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Fine version, Christian.
  10. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Sounds great, Christian! Going to third position gives your tone an ethereal fragility that suits the tune. I really need to pratice my position playing!

  11. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Here is a version Ginny and I have collaborated on over the past couple of weeks. Ginny recorded her mandolin solo and then I added the guitar backing and octave mandolin then she checked out the mix and between us we came to an agreement on how to put the tune together. Thanks too to Martin for starting this thread.

    I added the pictures from my photos taken around my home area. My thanks to Ginny for suggesting this collaboration. We hope you enjoy it.

  12. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    All lovely versions. John, your octave always wins me over with every tune. Thank you.
  13. John W.
    John W.
    All nice versions…I had listened to John and Ginny’s version on YT earlier and heard ‘Molly Mallone’…so I was pleased to see this had been picked up by others here on SAW.
  14. Frithjof
    Sweet tone on mandolin and octave faithfully accompanied by John’s cautious guitar playing.
  15. Frankdolin
    You folks really brought out the gentle nature of this tune, very nice!
  16. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Many thanks, all of you. Frithjof, I love your comment about my "cautious guitar playing". Never had it described that way before but I think I know what you mean! Interesting that those Molly Mallone phrases caught the attention of so many of us.
  17. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Very nice, John and Ginny! Quite a different feel to my mandocello duet, but I like your reading a lot. Regarding "cautious guitar playing", I wonder if Frithjof was thinking of the German word "zurückhaltend", which can be translated as "cautious" or "restrained", depending on context.

  18. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks, Martin. Your possible explanation of Frithjof's use of "cautious" makes a lot of sense. "Restrained" seems a good description.
  19. Frithjof
    Right, Martin.
  20. Frithjof
    Thanks, John, I’ll try “restrained” next time.
  21. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Always amazed that you can get a tune to sound so Scottish, John, very nice as usual.
  22. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks, Simon. Interesting comment as this tune was suggested to me by Ginny (a Canadian as you are aware) and it is her mandolin track which forms the basis of our collaboration. She does have Scottish antecedents, however, so maybe we do have some "Scottishness" in both of our playing styles.
  23. Frithjof
    Here is my version of this waltz as kind of background music to pictures of a nice family hike through the Austrian Alps.

    We had real hot temperatures during the trip. Consequentially followed the thunderstorms one by one the next day. Therefore, I got time enough to play and record the tune and to produce this little video. As you will see in the closing credits, I brought another mandolin with me for this vacation than usual.

    I added the second voice on the same mandolin for repeat (from the Southern Maryland Open Band tunebook).

  24. Frithjof
    No clouds at all in the video – sorry!
  25. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Lovely stately and purposeful rhythm Frith, nice job!
  26. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Sounds nice with the harmony line, Frithjof! Hope you brought the mandolin home save and sound.
  27. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Fine playing and arrangement, Frithjof. Lovely location for walking, and those mountain huts are very inviting. You say there were no clouds in your video - they were there but just very high up!
  28. Frithjof
    Thanks Simon, Christian and John.
  29. John W.
    John W.
    Nice job, Frithjof…and another lovely looking instrument… Also looks like some great walking was had…
  30. Frithjof
    Thanks John.
    This no-name mandolin was probably built in the same time and area like my no-name mandolin with the curved lion head: Mid-20th century in Vogtland/Saxony.
    Very nice hiking, indeed.
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