janewilliams20: (Default)
I'd forgotten how much fun music as a group can be. I want more of that.

The friend who'd invited me to go along to the Sandy Ukulele group forgot to bring me a spare one to borrow, but I still had a fun two hours, mostly singing, and occasionally borrowing her uke so as to join in whenever the C chord was required. Went home with a sore throat, but still singing in the car.

I now have a ukulele tuner installed on my phone, have taken advice, done some web-browsing, and expect to spend tomorrow afternoon at a shop in Bedford purchasing a ukulele. Next week, I should be able to join in with more than just a C (though probably not take part in the concert on the Saturday). Even uke-less, it seems my contribution was appreciated - one more voice, and in an almost-all-male group, a useful one. I may not be a soprano, but I'm an octave or so closer to it than most, and when we're invited to do the high bit in "Edelweiss", yes, it's in my range - just.


Dec. 20th, 2014 10:11 am
janewilliams20: (Default)
I have an invite to join a ukelele group, starting next year. Socialising, music together - all good stuff. I have never touched a uke, much less tried to play one, and my knowledge gets as far as "sort of like a baby guitar, so fretted strings, right?" I've never played fretted strings.

So, musician friends, please Eddicate me? The lady who invited me seems to think I'll be able to pick up enough to join in in five minutes or so, and borrow one of hers, but I'm less confident. What do I need to know? Also, if I buy one myself, what should I look out for and what should I avoid? Any recommended teach-yourself books?

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This is all Talis' fault. 

The house is deserted, the cat is away
Whey, for cheese-oh!
They think that the mice are contented to play?
No, we’re bound for pantry land!

Then away, bucks away
Whey, and cheese-oh!
So fare thee well, my bonny young doe
For we’re bound for pantry land!

That interesting smell is the fish, you can see
Whey, for cheese-oh!
My bonny said, "bring it back safely to me,"
So we’re bound for pantry land!

There’s Cheddar and Wensleydale on the top shelf
Whey, for cheese-oh!
If it should all vanish they’ll think t’was an elf
So we’re bound for pantry land!

Under a cloth is a big loaf of bread
Whey, for cheese-oh!
Get it down our hole, it will keep us well-fed
And we’re bound for pantry land!

The sugar's kept safely in a strong box
Whey, for cheese-oh!
Just eat through the hinges and ignore the locks
For  we’re bound for pantry land!

There's something looks interesting in that big bowl
Whey, for cheese-oh!
It could be quite tricky to get down the hole
But we’re bound for pantry land!


janewilliams20: (Default)
Chris and Lee's wedding on Saturday. Much is being said elsewhere, and pics are all over their FB pages. From my PoV, I got to catch up with a lot of old friends I haven't seen for years, to wear an ACW dress I haven't tried on for years (not only can I get into it, its a little loose!), and to dance in the first one of the ceilidh. The place was full of re-enactors, and we probably had costumes spread over a thousand years or so.

The bit I wanted to geek about, though, was the music for the wedding service. They'd got a group called Stella Splendens. all friends of ours, who (to quote their FB page) "are six musicians bringing early music to life. We play music from the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries often in splendid period costumes and on beautiful period instruments."

They played, and they sang, and I acquired acute Harp Envy at the sight and sound of the Gothic Harp (complete with brays)
Gothic harp with brays (I got to play with it later!) and wanted a better look at what seemed to be a Rackett.

And then it was time for the last piece, as the bride and groom exited. The Rackett came out again, as did the drum, and something BIG was assembled - like a Crumhorn, but bigger. A quick count-in, and they started to play....... no? It can't really be....? It was, and four bars in, the congregation burst into applause, The Imperial March from Star Wars on Baroque Rackett, Extended bass crumhorn, drum and temple bells.

janewilliams20: (Default)
I think I was about 12 or 13 when I got my first cassette player for Xmas. I got two tapes with it, which I eventually wore out. One was a recording of Beethoven's 6th. The other was Mstislav Rostropovich, with Karajan conducting, playing the Dvorak cello concerto.
Guess what's on Classic FM at the moment?

janewilliams20: (Default)
 It started well on Friday in work, when the Project That Will Not Die, died. I'm not sure if my taking garlic and wooden stakes to the final project meeting helped, or not (yes, really, I did). Red Nose Day bake-in included my being asked for the recipe for the cheesy potato scones I'd provided (thank you, Julian Hayley and Slimming World, for the recipe).

Saturday I made the aforementioned soda bread, and another round of cheesy potato scones, and then we had a Sam and Anne with us, ate nibbles (Anne had produced cakes and bread and bacon, and....) and then headed off to TORM.

The idea was to get the fabric and buttons for the Victorian skirt and blouse I need for Easter, but in fact I didn't find either. So naturally I spent nothing... well, apart from a few books on cooking in periods I didn't yet know much about (Georgian, 1800s, Victorian), and some jerky from Martin Cowley , but that doesn't really count, does it? Got an 1880s petticoat that needs a little work on the waistband and seams to get it up to my size, but having all those frills done for me, in heavy canvas, helps enormously, and £30 is well worth it! OK, so maybe the new drum did count... we had to take the car apart slightly to get it home, since 30" is a big drum. We saw fun things, like the steam-punk crossbows, and met fun people, like Chris and Lee (shopping for bridesmaid dresses - what, you mean not everyone wants their bridesmaid in a houppelande?) and didn't buy a portable cannon, nor any more booze.

Once home, Anne cooked at us. She'd wanted to do Irish cooking for an appreciative audience, so we let her, and did St Paddy's Day a few hours early. Mmm.... there aren't many people I'd let loose in my kitchen unsupervised, but she's definitely one of them.

Sunday, nibbles (her bread, my bread), then the Lounge for brunch (at their request), then home, watching the rain get harder, and then they headed back to London before the weather got any worse.

Afternoon - clearing up, sorting PCs (Dave's building me a new one), trying to find the craft room again, and trying to design the next birthday card I'm due to produce. Also meant to be writing a Swords turn, writing a review of Age of Arthur, writing an extra army list for publication, and just spotted a short story competition that looks interesting and I should make note of. But really, this is the weekend, and taking things easy and catching up on sleep may be more important, judging by yesterday.

janewilliams20: (Default)
Up early (well, for a Saturday) to be re-measured for the support stockings, only to be told that the instructions to rest my legs before arriving should have included "and don't put the existing stockings on". So I have a Form to fill in before I get out of bed tomorrow morning.
Onward to the bank to check out some ancient critical illness plans, expecting to cash them in and start again, only to be told that they're excellent plans, and we should be looking at adding things to them. (And getting the address right, ten years late. Oops.)
The craft stall on the market had some fun fringy yarn that might turn into a scarf, and a promise of much finer "eyelash" yarn next week - sounds like I'll be clearing out his odds and ends at 50p a ball.

Dave went out again to the optician, and in his absence I got all daring and climbed the ladder into the loft for the first time in a year (ooh, you don't want to do that, it's hard work, you'll never make it up and down, you know you have to kneel to get off the ladder and that hurts, and...) well, yes, some bits do hurt, but not for very long, and the Yarn Stash was at the far end. I now have some eyelash yarn, and some DK that matches it, and a few other fun bits that again may well become scarves.

Time for a nibble - ah, those bananas are definitely past their best. This could be a cause of wailing, lamentation, and gnashing of teeth, or it could be a cause of Banana Chutney. From an old Abel & Cole newsletter:
Peel & dice 2 bananas
Mix with a pinch of salt, a splash of cider vinegar, black pepper, ground cloves, a hinr of cinnamon, finely chopped fresh chilli, a little grated ginger and a pinch of sugar. 
Mix thoroughly
Taste and adjust as needed.
This was five bananas rather than two, so the splashes, pinches, and so on grew a bit, but the results look and taste good.

Onward to the remains of the Mutiple Bird, which have met a large onion and some mushrooms, and are now simmering away becoming stew for lunch. (And dinner, and quite a few other meals, from the look of that. Over-catering? Me?)

A new side-table for the lounge has been acquired from Poundstretcher and assembled, and looks good.

I'd better get Dave to tell me how to get the new Wii working with the Fit before he leaves (it look AGES and much hassle to get the thing to talk to the Virgin Media router), but at half-way through the day, we've already got quite a lot done.

Eleventh day, pipers.... maybe a Scottish CD is called for? Or the one with carols on panpipes? I don't think I have any carols on bagpipes, I should correct that.
Edit: Spotify delivers! http://www.amazon.co.uk/Christmas-Carols-On-Scottish-Bagpipes/dp/B00AS7HC2Y/
janewilliams20: (Kallyr)
 While I can still just about remember what I did.

I'd promised myself that I would take it easy this year - only just done my first full (nearly!) week back at work after over 2 months off sick, so I'd need to allow for getting tired easily. So, minimise prep. activities, think of myself as a consumer not a producer, chill.... yeah, right. The pre-Continuum to-do list posted Wednesday night shows how well that went.
Read more... )So, during that weekend, I've been Lunars in three events, Sundomer in one,  non-Gloranthan in one, and Sartarite only for a few songs. There's something wrong here. 
janewilliams20: (Default)
There was this suggestion that some new songs for the Singalong at Continuum might be nice. I heard about this while in Wales, having been listening to Bryn Terfel singing Welsh songs in the car, and remembered that I'd produced a version of "Land of my Fathers" years ago. Well, when I say a version, I'd taken the English translation, noted that it fitted Glorantha pretty well anyway, and changed a few words.

I offered it, and was told that it didn't seem all that Gloranthan. OK, tastes differ... so I went back and had a look, it had been ten years after all.

Yes. Rather stilted Victorian English. I was listening to Bryn in Welsh. I'd heard that the "translation" was more a case of putting some words or other to the same tune, in any case...

So, I tracked down the real meaning of the Welsh. I tracked down the Welsh lyrics. What I've almost produced is a closer translation (despite adaptation for a different universe), and retains the same rhyming pattern as the Welsh. It's pretty close to done, and has much more punch than what I had before. I'm pretty pleased with it - but I'm also stuck on a few lines.

But, "almost" done, and it's gone 22:00, and I got four hours sleep last night, and... maybe time to drop it, and do some simpler and more basic things that also need doing before I leave tomorrow morning? Two army lists, print out the scenario I'm running Saturday morning, and maybe finish writing the new story I'm telling Friday night?

janewilliams20: (Default)

Once upon a time.... well, about a couple of months ago - a work email came round saying that there would be a Xmas party on the 16th, at our Savoy Place office in London. Since this is one of the top London conference centres, with stunning views over the Thames and catering at the level you'd expect, this was a no-brain decision.
Then there was an email saying there would be a carol concert and mulled wine/mince pie reception before the party - book if you'd like to come. I like my mulled wine, mince pies, and sing-along. I said yes.

Edit: it has been pointed out to me that there is a difference between a carol concert and a carol service. Later emails on this subject refer to a carol service. To me, they're the same thing, so what registered was "carol-based sing-along".

It got long.... )And there were mince pies, and mulled wine, and the best view over the Thames in London, and excellent food, and so many free drink tokens we ended up giving them away, and Scaletrix and similar games, and it was good. But I can't really go into raptures over one of the best works parties I've ever been to. because that carol concert was so much better.

janewilliams20: (Default)
There was this pile of CDs for 20p each at the village fete we went to. One of them claimed to be the Treorchy Male Voice Choir performing Queen. Well, for 20p.... it seemed possible that they'd try singing the songs, rather than growling or screaming, and I might even like the result.
No. Sadly, they didn't. We listened in an open-minded manner, but still, after much use of the "next track please" button, put it in the "for the charity shop" pile without even finishing it :(
janewilliams20: (Default)
Only in a minor and trivial way, but dealt with.
I can't compose. I can take someone else's tune and transpose it, stick chords under it, maybe even write variations on it (the Vaurian Variant on "Brian Boru's March" being the best of those). But original composition? No. A blank staff stays blank.

Except... over in Renaissance Kingdoms, we were asked to produce an English National Anthem (for a fictional England in 1459). We'd posted links to various YouTube tunes, and modified the words a bit. Someone suggested actually writing something ourselves. Well, I know I can't do that... but then a little tune popped into my head, only four bars. It stuck. I looked for where I'd installed Noteworthy, discovered I hadn't and went and got it. Poked around a bit until I'd got notes on a staff that sounded like what I could hear in my head. By now another little tune had dropped in to join it, so a bit of copy/paste later, I had a complete AABA 8-line verse, and half the words to the four couplets. I opened up a new staff, put a few basic chords in there, played with the instrument settings till it would do as a demo of the tune, exported as MIDI, dropped it to the website, and called in a friend to help me out with the words. Perhaps an hour later, 5 verses of slightly satirical Anthem hit those forums.

Now admittedly, that was a very simple little tune: I was probably producing more complex stuff before I was ten. But the block is no longer a block.
janewilliams20: (Default)
Yesterday I spent my lunchbreak investigating Hitchin market. Looks like Friday is the books & antiques day - it can't be this good all the time, surely? I expect most of my FL heard the "SQUEE!!!" noises - well, depends on how good your telepathy is. Anyway, one of the things I picked up was "Maypole Dances" by "W. Shaw", copyright '54. It has detailed descriptions of dances, and the sheet music for all of them. Now, while I love the thing just "because", I suspect there are are people on my FL who could make actual use of it, which I can't. So, would anyone like it? It's a bit bigger than A4, but should post easily enough.
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Having heard that this song and words were originally together, I went looking on YouTube.
janewilliams20: (Default)
A video linked to by one of my FL that will be appreciated by others. There are those of you who play the ocarina, there are those who enjoy me making truely edible armies, and some of you just like carols. So, here is someone who took a very large chunk of brocolli, carved an ocarina out of it, and then played "Angels from the realms of glory" on the result.

janewilliams20: (Default)
I have just been to see Benjamin Bagby performing Beowulf at the British Library. A guy dressed in black, sitting on a stool with a six-string harp, reciting a poem in a language that hardly any of the audience knew a word of, for an hour and a half. OK, there were "surtitles", but they were an abbreviated form of the translation. No scenery, nothing. Bound to be boring, right?

He held us spell-bound. We were engrossed by the characterisation, we laughed at the jokes, we regretted that we only got to hear a third of the story (Grendel is dead, and we're celebrating that, not knowing that's he'd told on us to his mum). Now that's a storyteller!

I went in knowing perhaps three words of Old English. My vocabulary at least doubled as we went along, hence my ability to give this post a suitable title.

I refrained from buying yet another Beowulf translation as I left, but I did buy the DVD of the performance. I've seen the 3D film version, and expect to prefer this: the pictures are better :)

There are two more performances, Monday and Wednesday evening. They're not yet sold out (today was). If you're in the wrong country for that, here's his web-site,
where you can at least purchase the DVD, and maybe find when he'll be in your area.
More importantly for me, it has a copy of the research documentation for the tuning and use of that harp - and since I have a half-built version that I was wondering how to tune.... add another project to the list of things I want to finish!
janewilliams20: (Default)
Saturday afternoon and evening: Bardic Revel, up at Mel's. So that meant Friday night cooking (a recipe for rabbit stew that I hadn't tried before, and was great) and chopping (the bits for Buttered Worts). Saturday, pack car with harp, sheet music, books of period stories, eating gear, garb, sleeping bag....
In which I am stupid )

Easy drive up, had a great time, food well received, ability to tune harps appreciated, unpracticed random harp twiddling as background to dining enjoyed, and then a Real Harper (well, in comparison) borrowed my harp, and played pretty tunes on it. With both hands. And chords. Me impressed! There were stories, there was dancing, there was rummaging through my sheet music collection for dance music.

Stayed over that night, then most of the gang went to archery and I went to the TORM reenactment market. Met Dave there, and also Tony Horobin and family (plus lots of other people I hadn't actually arranged to meet), and picked up some bits that [livejournal.com profile] clothsprogs is lending me, via Tudor Tailors.

As a result of doing some research for my little sister, I now know a lot more about Elizabethan shoes than I used to (greater than zero is not hard).

I did not buy much. Honest. And almost all of it wasn't (directly) for me anyway, so it doesn't count.

Oh, did you want that rabbit recipe?
Not really a recipe, but... )
janewilliams20: (Default)
If I'm doing this right, this link should take you to a playlist of mine where you can add things you think I might like to listen to.

edit: and browsing around, discovered Karl Jenkins.
janewilliams20: (Default)
I'll have to take that CD out of the car, I can tell. After a morning of the chorus of "Ernest's face" - yes, just the chorus, on repeat - it finally stopped, over-written, in the afternoon. Now, it's "Eleanor Regina".
[livejournal.com profile] stevieannie, you're a dangerous woman!
janewilliams20: (Default)
Dave has installed a New Toy, and it is now working. It connects up to the stereo, and also to our wireless network. It can then pick up Internet radio stations, and so for a day or so, it was playing Radio Galax to us. (Dave got addicted last time we were in the USA: Galax is a lovely little town full of really nice people.) Now he's worked out how to get it to play any music on the hard drive of the big PC upstairs. Since that's "his", it's mainly Civil War and country. So I thought we'd take a look at sharing what's on the hard drive of my laptop, since it's all on the same wireless network. So.... I am now listening to music on the laptop, while using said laptop, only instead of it coming from my laptop-standard speakers, it's on the speakers in the kitchen wall, since we wired them through from the lounge. Some people might suggest that this is technology overkill, but Dave enjoyed setting it up and I'm enjoying using it. He is now reorganising his hard disc so that the first 20 characters of each album title are enough to recognise it, since the display on the Gadget only shows that many without scrolling.


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