Die Gedanken sind frei (Walzer der freien Gedanken)

  1. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    This is an instrumental waltz based on the tune of the German folk song "Die Gedanken sind frei" ("My Thoughts Are Free"). Played twice through, with added second mandolin harmony the second time. Score is at:


    The song has been recorded by all and sundry. Check out Hannes Wader and Pete Seeger.

    Mid-Missouri M-0W mandolin (x2)
    Vintage Viaten tenor guitar


  2. Gelsenbury
    I learnt this song at primary school. I'm in my mid-40s now and wonder what German schoolchildren learn at primary school these days.

    The instrumental arrangement with those ornamental runs is new to me. Very nice!
  3. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, Dennis. I'm not sure there is much folk singing in German schools these days. I remember from my primary school time we had the little red books of "Die Mundorgel" -- 14 million copies sold! -- which of course includes this song. Somewhat misleading of Thomann to describe it as a "sheet music book for the mouth organ" as "Mundorgel" is just the name of the book, it was never intended specifically for that instrument. It's a songbook with lyrics, simple melody lines and chords, all in tiny typeface in order to cram 278 songs into one slim volume in A6 format.

    The instrumental runs are fun in this waltz version, making the melody more interesting to play without singing.

  4. Jess L.
    Jess L.
    Nicely played, Martin!

    It's a pretty tune. Seems familiar, I must have heard it somewhere over the years, but I've never played it... might have to learn this one. Thanks also for the sheet music.
  5. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Nice bright and nostalgic tune, thanks Martin.
  6. Jess L.
    Jess L.
    As usual for me lately, my version is somewhat unorthodox. I'm using an upbeat backing-track style and some different chords using the iRealPro phone app. (No, that's not me in the swimsuit, I don't wear green.)

    (or direct link)

    Guess I better not launch into an explanation of the other artwork (the 1950s nuclear submarine etc, those two pics of the sub are family photos btw) because TL;DR lol. But suffice it to say that I tried to keep my interpretion of the song positive, because when a person is up to their ears in alligators there isn't time/energy for anything but survival, whether that involves specific actions or just mental gymnastics such as daydreaming and hoping for a better day someday.

    Anyway, I very much enjoy playing this tune, and I'm addicted to these bouncy backing tracks! Music itself can be a welcome and healing distraction from whatever worries one may have.

    Oh, and for what it's worth, below are the chords that are being played in the backing track. Probably don't try these at jams because they're not exactly normal for this tune, but I like the sound... now if I can remember how to post files...
    ...oops that didn't work, it made the thread too wide...
    Let's try this instead... nope that's too awkward...
    ... or I guess I could just resize the image so it isn't so darn wide, but then it might be small and blurry... huh. Let me try that then (why is everything so complicated here on this part of the forum? no wonder so few people post here... argh) ... Anyway the triangle symbol is what the app uses for maj7 and maj9.

    An example of the backing only, 3x through the tune - the 2nd repeat is different, the iReal Pro app does that automatically:

    I will probably eventually post that chart over at the iReal forums - they don't currently have any versions at all of this song, normal or otherwise - except I've forgotten how to post *there* too so it will be one more thing I have to re-learn... oh well! Lol.

    Thanks again to Martin for bringing this tune to our attention here at Song-a-Week.

    Anyone else want to give the tune a try? I like all the different styles everyone brings to the table, er, microphone.
  7. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, Jess. That sounds very different with those chords -- like a bouncy calypso, or maybe that's just the association with the beach scenes in the video. Definitely doesn't sound like a German folk song... Very cheerful and bouncy, though, I like it!

  8. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Very nice, and that doesn’t sound like a waltz either! But nice sound and fine playing thanks Jess.
  9. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Sounds very sunny! So,you're not the girl in the green swimsuit, are you the one at the helm?
  10. Jess L.
    Jess L.
    Thanks Martin, Simon, and Christian!

    I give credit to the melody itself for being, not sure what the right word is, versatile? to allow for different interpretations. It's a pretty melody.

    The tune was stuck in my head (in a good way, not an earworm way) for a good week, before I set about to see what I could do with it. As a former fiddle player, my playing still always turns out 'notey' (the usual cross-string playing and weird little fiddle improv runs etc) because that's sort of all I know how to do. Speaking of improv, the flatted-7th melody note at 2:24 was *not* intentional - my finger just went to the wrong fret and I played the wrong note (wouldn't have occurred to me to play that note intentionally, at least not at a conscious level) but it's not *too* jarring I guess, in small doses anyway.

    There was supposed to be video footage of me playing, but I stupidly formatted the camcorder's SD card (in preparation for whichever tune I want to record next) *before* I'd transferred the video footage to the computer. Looking back on it, I know what happened - I took the SD card out of the camcorder, I took the other SD card out of the Zoom H2n audio-only recorder (I always have the H2n and the camcorder running simultaneously because the H2n mic is better), I set both the cards on my computer keyboard so I'd remember to transfer the files, I put the H2n card into the computer's card-reader slot and transferred the audio file, then I got distracted with other stuff going on in the house and stepped away for a while, later when I came back to the computer I mistakenly thought I'd completed both the transfers, so both SD cards went back into their devices (the H2n, and the old Canon camcorder, respectively) and I formatted (erased) both the cards so I could use them again later for other projects without running out of space on the cards. So my video footage was lost. This is what happens when you get distracted from what you're doing, you lose track of where you're at. One of the best takes I've had in years and I don't have the video to show it, only the audio. But, it is what it is. So I figured I better focus on better-quality pics instead lol.

    Martin wrote: "calypso"

    Yeah that's the backing track creating that effect. It's a Caribbean style that the app calls "Latin-Cuba: Son Montuno 3-2" (I don't know what they mean by "son" or "montuno" or "3-2"). They also have a "2-3" version which I didn't use because the bass notes seemed timed too far ahead of the bar so I went with the "3-2" version instead which seems to have a steadier rhythm that I could get into.

    Christian wrote: "So, you're not the girl in the green swimsuit, are you the one at the helm?"

    I'm not telling.
  11. Frithjof
    Of course not the traditional sound for a German song, Jess. But I like your style and how you try your own accompaniment chords.
  12. Jess L.
    Jess L.
    Thanks Frithjof!

    I revisited the song's lyrics (with English translation, as I remember very little of what German language I used to know) which made me think that a Caribbean style may not be such a far-fetched notion after all. Something I had not been aware of was that the Caribbean, including Cuba, was even more heavily invested in the Atlantic slave trade than the U.S. was, and by some accounts the conditions on Caribbean plantations were even worse than in the southern U.S. One can easily imagine that anyone living under such conditions may find their only solace in hopeful songs with messages similar to this German song. (I'm not saying anyone there knew this particular song, only that they might have liked it.) It seems to me that such songs kind of serve the same purpose as some spiritual/religious songs, where the idea is to provide a glimmer of hope in an otherwise dire existence.

    Like all great songs, I guess, the lyrics can mean different things to different people, depending on backgrounds and situations.

    The fact that this song's lyrics are matched up to (IMO) a super nice melody, makes the song all the more intriguing, so I'm beginning to understand why the song has been covered by such a wide variety of singers and musicians from all walks of life.

    (Myself, I don't sing, at least not solo where anyone can actually hear me - I've heard my singing voice on tape, I wasn't impressed - so my musical focus has always been instrumental stuff.)

    Anyway, it's a great song and a great tune, and a lot of fun to play as well.
  13. Gelsenbury
    I do like that interpretation of "Die Gedanken sind frei" as a universal freedom and peace, love, music song!
  14. Jess L.
    Jess L.
    Thanks Gelsenbury!
Results 1 to 14 of 14