Archive for January 29th, 2010

Tune 19: Salt Creek

Salt Creek.

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Gold Rush is an awesome tune. Watch Bill Monroe and Byron Berline (both of whom wrote it) play it with Mark O’Connor.

Perhaps it was starting on Sally Ann that helped (through some strange tune sisterhood magic?), but Sally Gooding is coming along way better than it ever has. In fact, it’s all coming along.

This is the eighteenth day in a row that I have learned a tune and practiced up to nine other new ones. I couldn’t say how my sound has changed, but I do notice a difference. It certainly feels a whole lot better.  My fingers feel more comfortable traveling along the neck, and my bow has become slightly more controlled even as it’s movement seems more fluid. But if just feels a whole lot better. It seems, too, that my mind slows down…what seemed fast some days ago now seems relatively slower, in the very experience of time itself. Kind of like when you see something fall in the periphery of your vision and your experience of time in that moment slows so that you can turn and catch what is falling (yourself, as it sometimes happen. Especially if your Feela flipping over your handlebars).

As it turns out, bluegrass tunes in A are great for working your fourth finger, especially Sally Goodin, because you drone through them a lot (Uncle Pen, another Monroe tune, has that advantage, too). Your fourth finger is always reaching up on the D string and getting stronger, more precise.  And so, in combination with Minor Swing, my flimsy pinky is participating more and more, and staying a little closer to the neck when it’s not in action (instead of swinging wildly out, as it is wont to do).  Double stops just happen. B major is fun. The bow…well, that’s still the most challenging part of the whole instrument. But over all, it’s amazing what you can do when you get out of your own way.

Despite what seems like momentous progress to me, it would probably not be that noticeable to someone who could compare between January 11th and today. But that’s kind of the exciting part…there’s just so much more to work on. The difference is that it becomes funner and funner to work at something.

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