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Thread: Star Spangled Banner — mandolin orchestra style

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Star Spangled Banner — mandolin orchestra style

    Play ball—but first, play your mandolin! Opening Day of the baseball season has us feeling patriotic—and maybe longing for a gig at a stadium somewhere. We've loaded the mandobasses, and all the other mandolins, for this socially distanced rendition of the National Anthem. We hope to catch you in person at a live show in the not-too-distant future. Until then, here's the Star-Spangled Banner—best enjoyed with peanuts and Cracker Jack.

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    Default Re: Star Spangled Banner — mandolin orchestra style

    That was fantastic.

    Adam

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Star Spangled Banner — mandolin orchestra style

    Utterly charming! Can you imagine what it must have been like 100-120 years ago, when mandolin orchestras were all over the country, and they very likely would have been performing this very function before baseball games - er, expositions of the national pastime.

    I do wish, though, that the several players with clip-on tuners had removed them for the shoot. I know it's a pet peeve of mine, and plenty others, and it doesn't really matter, but it's distracting. I mean, you're not going to stop and tune in the middle of this, are you? Also, I don't know if there was a glitch in the mix, or the arrangement, but I didn't hear the melody right at the start of the bridge, as he harmony was more prominent. Hope it can be corrected.

    But overall, 'twas sublime. Thanks for sharing!
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    Default Re: Star Spangled Banner — mandolin orchestra style

    Sounds good!

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    I don't know if there was a glitch in the mix, or the arrangement, but I didn't hear the melody right at the start of the bridge, as he harmony was more prominent. Hope it can be corrected.
    The mix sounds fine to me, FWIW. Listening with my usual little favorite earbuds (the out-of-production JVC Gumy model HA-F14-W, alleged frequency range 16Hz-20,000Hz, recently plucked from my carefully hoarded stash of NOS Gumy spares), on a fairly high-end (although now 4 year old) computer with default non-enhanced audio settings.

    But part of the melody does notoriously go up to a much higher range (higher frequency/pitch). I suspect that the higher frequency may be a relevant factor here, either due to electronic equipment response ranges or individual human hearing differences.

    An anecdotal experiment: I played the video for my housemate, who has fairly severe high-frequency hearing loss, and he said he couldn't hear the melody in parts of the tune (it happened to be the parts where the melody goes up high).

    I'd have to assume that the reason the mix sounds fine to me, but not to my housemate, is because my high-frequency hearing is almost normal (very unusual for someone my age), whereas my housemate has significant hearing loss that's even more severe in the higher frequencies.

    Don't know if that has anything to do with JB's observation of not hearing the melody on the high part (if that's what JB meant by "bridge", that is).

    An aside, re people hearing different frequencies in different ways: My housemate can hear the low-pitched distant rumble of freight-train locomotive engines (typically 2 locomotives per train, in these parts) slightly *before* I can hear them. But on that exact same train, I can hear the distant train *whistles* (that modern high-pitched shrill dissonant sound, totally different than the old steam whistles) before he can. I can also hear the springtime shrill birds with their ear-piercing repetitive godawful noises in the back yard, but he can't hear them at all. He can, however, hear the lower-pitched non-stop cooing of doves in the woods behind the house and it drives him nuts if he's outdoors or out in the shop, for him the doves are a prominent hard-to-ignore sound in one of his least-damaged frequency ranges, and the dove sound interferes/competes with everything else he'd rather be hearing instead (friends, engines he's working on, whatever). Whereas to me, that lower-pitched dove sound is just harmless background noise, I don't pay it any attention and it doesn't bother me at all.

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Star Spangled Banner — mandolin orchestra style

    Thanks for that in-depth analysis and commentary! Good old Mandolin Café! We've got some persnickety people - I mean, detail-oriented folks around here, who will tackle issues and won't let them go until they reach a conclusion. I don't meant that to sound snarky; quite the contrary. It's all about finding the truth of the matter, determining what is right, not who is right.

    So, two quick things. By "the bridge" I do mean "the high part," or the B part, where the lyrics begin "And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air." When you mentioned earbuds a little light bulb lit up in my mind - I had been listening on my laptop's speakers, which are fine, but perhaps not the best sound reproduction devices. My tired, beleaguered ears can benefit from a little assistance. So I plugged in my cheapo headphones, and could hear a bit more distinctly.

    As I understand it, the melody at this point, in the key of A, goes:

    C#_C#_C#_D__E__E____D__C#___B__C#__D_D
    And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air

    The melody is more prominent in the left channel, the harmony in the right channel. I think the harmony is a bit high in the mix, or arrangement, and diverts attention from the melody. Maybe not much, but enough to unsettle this listener a smidge. Maybe it's that the harmony part isn't just a third up, it's an octave and a third. I dunno ...

    I will say this. Arrangers have had quite a lot of "fun" with this old war horse over the years. I doubt whether there is any musical work that has been subjected to more musical mischief than this. Surely that is partly due to its popularity of performance, being one of the most often performed pieces in America. And due to that, it has been viewed by arrangers as a place to make their mark, to come up with a new and different way to perform it. My personal preference is for it to be played plainly albeit passionately. Once more with feeling, so to speak. I understand it has become customary to embellish it, particularly by singers using it as an opportunity to display their vocalizing abilities. That rarely if ever strikes me as being true to the piece; it's more about the singer's ego than anything else.

    That said, obviously that's not the case here. There's no showboating. But something seems just a wee bit off. To me, anyway.

    I heartily apologize for distracting in any way anyone's enjoyment of this lovely rendition. This concerns a mere four bars out of thirty-two, after all.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    The big blowhard in his conch shell blowing championship form

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