Old-time fiddle tune collaboration?

March 30, 2020 7:49 PM

Who's up for playing an old-time fiddle tune or two together, at a distance?

I've got an empty dropbox account for collectiong recordings, a copy of Tracktion I'd like to learn how to use better, and a fiddle. Let's pick a tune or two, send some tracks around for recording over, and I'll try to mix them.

I'm sure there's a guide out there with best practices for setting up distributed multitrack projects. Uh... does anyone know of a good one?

So: who wants to play, and what tune(s) do you like?
posted by hades (102 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Hi hades - Are you looking for another fiddle player, or any instrument? I'd love to contribute guitar (as long as the part doesn't have complex keys/chords) or sing. Maybe a nice waltz?

I've used Audacity and I also have a Soundtrap account (there is a free basic version that's different from the trial). If you want to stick with Tracktion (which I used many, many years ago when it was like version 1.x), we could exchange wav or aiff files.

For just a few tracks, sharing an Audacity project has also worked for me as well. I like Soundtrap but there is a bit of a latency issue for live audio recordings, so that the recorded tracks may need to be tweaked to line up in time.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 2:22 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


All instruments welcome! Even non-traditional ones; I've played in good jams with clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, and vibraphone players, for example.

I think a nice waltz would be great; I've been wanting to play more waltzes anyway. Might be a little hard on clawhammer players? I don't hear a lot of clawhammer waltzes, but I think it's a great sound -- see Adam Hurt on Bass Cove Waltz, for example.

So maybe a waltz (maybe that waltz, even?) and something in 4?

How do folks feel about Washington's March?
posted by hades at 10:58 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


I'd be up for it!

Waltzes, yes! I've got a few waltzes in my pocket. "Lonesome Moonlight Waltz" I've got, along with "Ashokan Farewell."

Stuff in 4, thinking "June Apple" or "Over the Waterfall," maybe? I'm good with lots of fiddle tunes.

I can't think of a better excuse to learn "Washington's March," to be honest.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:13 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Bass Cove Waltz has a nice melody. I have always loved Ashokan Farewell and this would be a good reason to learn it. Will look into both of them and the 4/4 suggestions when I have more time (it's been a really long day)

(Yay, hi mandolin conspiracy! I was just thinking of mefimailing you too)
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 2:03 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Yep, count me in for clawhammer banjo. Washington's March has been on my list for a while, let's do it!

RE: sharing, Audacity is free and cross-platform and pretty good for basic multi-track stuff; works for me.

Alternately: I've had a kompoz account for years but never actually done a collaboration so I don't know how well it works, but it might be something to consider: https://www.kompoz.com/music/ (caveat, the free tier only allows one private or three public collaborations at a time.)
posted by usonian at 12:10 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]


RE: waltzes, "The Blackest Crow" works well for clawhammer.
posted by usonian at 12:18 PM on April 1


It's not much of a conspiracy if I'm playing alone. :)

I'm not much of a recording expert, but I've got a good condenser mic, a small mixer to run phantom power to the mic, and a laptop with Audacity on it.

My understanding is that Audacity has a latency thing that makes multitracking a bit weird, IIRC? But I do have the ability to lay down a decent-quality single track, let's put it that way.

The bedroom closet is stuffed full of linens and clothes that deaden ambient noise, and has just enough room to stand beside the mic stand.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:20 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Oh, and by "latency thing" I mean that there's something to do with listening to a track while laying down another within the same Audacity project (per this discussion here), but it looks like that can be corrected for. I half-assedly muddled around with it while ago and couldn't quite figure it out.

But yeah, it's free and cross-platform so that makes it ideal.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:43 PM on April 1


Ok! I'll start putting together some instructions for getting Audacity set up and some scratch tracks to record against. What key do you like Blackest Crow in?
posted by hades at 9:05 AM on April 2


RE: waltzes, "The Blackest Crow" works well for clawhammer.

That would be a good one!

Here's a couple versions if people want to check it out:

Bruce Molsky

Tim O'Brien, Dirk Powell, John Herrmann

It's lovely as an instrumental as well.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:07 AM on April 2


I know (well, used to know, I'll have to dust it off) The Blackest Crow in A or G, but I'm open to learning it in a different key if necessary.

RE: Audacity and latency due to recording+monitoring at the same time, if you have a preferred DAW it should also be possible to export stems from auria for recording, then import your new track back to the master Audacity project. (tbh I figured that's probably what I'd wind up doing, I usually multitrack stuff with Auria Pro on my iPad.)
posted by usonian at 12:30 PM on April 2


import your new track back to the master Audacity project

Ah, that makes sense!

G would be a good key for The Blackest Crow.

I'm part way through figuring out Washington's March. Should have it arranged for mando in a non-embarrassing way the next couple o' days.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:44 PM on April 2


I'm happy to contribute what I can but I'll be honest and say I will probably excuse myself from certain songs, such as purely in minor key, super sad or lamenty lyrics, or songs about war -- just because I'm trying to regulate my headspace a bit more these days (and of course this may change...). Don't get me wrong -- I like the Blackest Crow and Washington's March music (which it sounds like you're working on), so please go ahead and record away; I'd love to hear them.

I would be up for playing on:
- Bass Cove Waltz
- Ashokan Farewell
- Lonesome Moonlight Waltz

- Over the Waterfall
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 5:01 PM on April 5 [1 favorite]


Sorry to have dropped out for a few days!

I'll start recording some scratch stems for Bass Cove Waltz, Ashokan Farewell, Blackest Crow, Over the Waterfall, and Washington's March tonight. I'll try to learn Lonesome Moonlight, too, but that might take a few days.
posted by hades at 12:00 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


No worries. Still here! All of that sounds good.

Not running off any time soon. ;)
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:14 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


Yeah, no apologies needed. I'm frankly impressed at the number you'd be able to work on!

As for waltzes, this pretty instrumental one popped into my head yesterday and reminded me that I really really like it:
Redbird Waltz, written by David Goodrich. It's from a great album by Redbird (aka Jeffrey Foucault, Kris Delmhorst and Peter Mulvey). The fiddle comes in about 30s in.

I'm happy to start a guide track for that one, if anyone here's interested in joining.

(Btw the song after that on the album, Lullaby 101 written by Delmhorst, is also nice but it's not a fiddle tune.)
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 10:10 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


Ok, I just sent some MeMail with links to dropbox folders and one fiddle stem from this evening. I'll get some others recorded over the next few days.
posted by hades at 10:34 PM on April 6


Ooh, that Redbird Waltz is sweet. Yeah, if you want to record a stem track for that, I'd love to work on something to go with it. You can put your starter track in the upload folder I sent, and I'll move it into the downloads folder so others can grab it.
posted by hades at 10:37 PM on April 6


Woohoo - Got your message and downloaded the files. Your fiddle sounds great! And cool, I'll work on Redbird Waltz too. Yay!

For recording tracks to add in, I recommend sticking with wavs or aiffs, because mp3 adds a little bit of silence to the ends of the audio, which makes it fiddlier to work with.

If we're all using Audacity, I would suggest importing the stem into Audacity, and recording a new track with it (and we can fix latency as you mentioned in your message, hades). At least, that's what I'll be doing.

When I'm done, I'll send you a wav as a backup, and also the entire Audacity project folder. That'll allow you to open the Audacity project on your side with my track(s) included and (hopefully) no latency at all.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 11:51 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


I would suggest importing the stem into Audacity

Meant to say -- importing the stem wav file into Audacity (rather than mp3). Or importing the wav into your multitrack editor of choice if not Audacity.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 12:00 AM on April 7


Oh we should also decide how to arrange the parts, e.g. when to play solos (if someone wants to solo)....
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 12:06 AM on April 7


Thanks for the tip about using the .wav (yep, using Audacity here).

At least for this one, I was thinking I'd do one version that's a melody track, and throw down one where I'm just comping/tremoloing the chord changes. Will working up a mando version of it now, should have that together in the next couple days.

The fiddle's really nice!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:17 AM on April 7 [1 favorite]


Oh, yeah, solos! I hadn't even thought about that, since I usually play these tunes in old-time jams where there aren't really any solos. How about this: each tune will repeat five times, and if you want to take a solo it'll be guitar on #2, mandolin on #3, and banjo on #4?
posted by hades at 8:51 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Works for me! I'll try to get something recorded this weekend (maybe not final, but something that gives a close approximation of final).
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 2:04 AM on April 9


Yeah, that works!

There's been ongoing construction near us (???!!!) during the day, so when the jackhammers fall silent this weekend I'll be able to make some progress.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:59 AM on April 9


I just uploaded rough fiddle stems for Blackest Crow and Over the Waterfall. I need to find a better reverb plugin; this one's a little too much and I can't seem to turn it down any more. But I think they'll do for now.
posted by hades at 3:25 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


So, I seem to be having a bit of an issue. I've imported the .wav stem files (also attempted it with the one .mp3).

All I get is about 3.5 seconds of static from it within the new project I've imported it into.

I'm getting the same result on both a Win 10 laptop and a (fully offline) Win 7 laptop. The Win 7 machine most definitely has the FFmpeg library and my understanding that the 2.3.3 version of Audacity I've got on my Win10 machine has the FFmpeg library already built-in.

I'm working my way through the user documentation to see if I can fix this, but I'm willing to wager that the problem is between the keyboard and the chair and I'm missing something blazingly obvious. :)

Picking away at this, and will report back. In the meantime, if you've got any suggestions as to what I'm missing, feel free to make them!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:50 PM on April 13


Hiya - just to confirm, this is what I did in Audacity:
- Open a new project (File --> New), then
- File --> Import --> Audio --> browse to and select a wav (such as BassCoveWaltz-Fiddle-Stem.wav file downloaded from hades' dropbox) and you should see a prompt to either make a copy before importing, or load the file directly (this is up to you)
- Then the wav should come up as the first track, with the waveform view showing definite volumes over 5 minutes, rather than silence.

Alternatively, from the file explorer you can try this:
- Right-click on one of the wav files from hades
- From the context menu, select to open the audio in Audacity
- This should get Audacity to ask whether to make a copy or load the wav directly

That's all assuming that you have the full wavs downloaded, and are able to open them in your usual player and hear them okay (i.e. not silence). For reference/comparison, here are the file sizes I have for each one:

BassCoveWaltz-Fiddle-Stem.wav : 28MB
BlackestCrow-Fiddle-Stem.wav : 19MB
OverTheWaterfall-Fiddle-Stem.wav : 15.7MB

I'm using an older version at the moment (2.2.1) on Linux but it should still be the same basic menu.

I tried the above steps with the other two stem wav files and it worked out okay. Let me know if you still run into issues and I'll check in again later today. Feel free to leave me mefimail if you have specific questions or would rather ask there than here!
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 2:20 PM on April 13 [1 favorite]


Oh, you'll like this.

- Open a new project (File --> New), then
- File --> Import --> Audio --> browse to and select a wav (such as BassCoveWaltz-Fiddle-Stem.wav file downloaded from hades' dropbox) and you should see a prompt to either make a copy before importing, or load the file directly (this is up to you)
- Then the wav should come up as the first track, with the waveform view showing definite volumes over 5 minutes, rather than silence.


Yep, that's exactly what I did before.

I've now got it working. Here's the difference...

I'd right-clicked and "saved as" on the main Dropbox screen that lists all of the files in that folder.

What was downloaded showed up as a ".wav" file in Win10. On closer inspection, that's only a 299KB file. The missing step was clicking through to the file instance in Dropbox (where I'd initially given a listen to the file when you first uploaded it) and downloading from there that gave me the 26+MB file.

As predicted, the problem was between the keyboard and the chair on my end. Also, I had file details disabled in Win10, so missed the file size discrepancy.

*sighs*

Alright. Looks like we're in business! I should be uploading something by sometime tomorrow or maybe Wednesday at the latest.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:40 PM on April 13 [1 favorite]


It could happen to anybody. I'm just glad it was solvable!

I'm behind on recording too (I blame the state of the world) and also I realized this weekend that I need to build up my guitar hand calluses because it has been so long since I played in earnest. I may end up playing my nylon string for this.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 8:59 PM on April 13


I blame the state of the world

I feel like this is a solid plan. :)
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:04 PM on April 13 [1 favorite]


Oh, man, I have definitely done that same thing with dropbox links. I'm thinking if I do much more of this (and with it looking like movement restrictions will drag on for quite a while, that seems likely), I might try using Soundtrap for online editing/collaborating -- a friend recommended it and says that she's been using the free ad-supported level for a while with no issues, and it looks pretty convenient.
posted by hades at 4:44 PM on April 14 [1 favorite]


Now I'm fiddling (mando-ing???) with my mixer/laptop setup to resolve a hardware conflict so I can monitor the stem file via my mixer while recording. Shoulda thought of that earlier. Progress has been made.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:53 PM on April 15 [2 favorites]


I have been doing some practice runs for Bass Cove Waltz (key of D if I'm hearing correctly) over the past couple of days and I feel like I'm having a tough time getting the tuning right.

hades, would you be able to do a recording of just your open fiddle strings, so I can tune my guitar to your fiddle?
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 1:41 AM on April 18


I should have something together by the end of the weekend!

Going off of the version from above, the way I'm thinking of Bass Cove waltz is that it's in A but starts on the 4, so a D, and resolves back to the A at the end of a four-bar form.

Then the B part does a iim -> vi m thing in the third and fourth bars (I'm pretty sure, anyway), and does the same resolution back to the A at the end.

A part

D | A | E | A
D | A | E | F#m
D | A | E | A
D | A | E | A

B part

D | A | Bm | F#m
D | A |F#m | E
D | A | Bm | F#m
D | A | E | A
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:45 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Thanks! Yeah my music theory is not great and I got the key ID wrong; thanks for writing that out and clarifying.

I see those chords for the first two parts while watching the guitarist on the same video (while she's using a capo at fret II).

I have a part C too, before it returns to part A again. Hopefully this is correct?

D | A | F#m/F#m7 | E

D | A | E | A

D | A | F#m/F#m7 | E

D | A | E | A
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 5:06 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Oh dear god, I just checked the tuning and I am so flat in that Bass Cove Waltz stem. I had cross-tuned earlier in the day, and didn't check against a tuner again before recording. And it had stayed pretty much in tune with itself, just flattened across the board. Wow. If it's not too late, let me just make a pitch adjustment back up to A440 and re-upload that track, and then I'll re-record it later.
posted by hades at 6:27 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Ok, I've pitch adjusted Bass Cove to closer to A440, and re-uploaded it to dropbox. I'll check the other two tracks and see if they need fixing as well. Ugh, sorry!
posted by hades at 6:46 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


I have a part C too, before it returns to part A again. Hopefully this is correct?

You would be very correct. Thanks!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:51 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Ugh, sorry!

Don't worry about it. This is what they call collaboration, eh?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:53 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Yay - thanks to both of you! Yeah, no worries, hades. Thanks for rerecording. I'm hoping to have a rhythm track for Bass Cove Waltz within a couple of days. I'll likely need more time to come up with a solo track for the second verse but I can put in a placeholder.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 10:58 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Did a few takes yesterday and today, should have one I'm more or less happy with soon!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:51 PM on April 20 [2 favorites]


Still working on it! I'm pretty close and am trying to find a time when I can record without as much disturbance around.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 1:19 AM on April 22 [2 favorites]


I decided to change my strings just now. WHAT A DIFFERENCE.

I will have an upload or two tomorrow.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:39 PM on April 22 [1 favorite]


The string change also means I spent the evening tweaking levels. Things were a bit...tinny.

I think I've got it more or less dialled in now.

Almost there. Again. ;)
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:24 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]


Okay, I uploaded a rhythm guitar track wav to your dropbox, hades! It should be importable in Audacity with no need to adjust for latency.

I also uploaded a quick mp3 mockup mix of the fiddle stem + the guitar track where the latter is slightly panned right.

The track isn't perfect and it has zero reverb effect added and if you bump up the volume you may hear a bonus clock on the wall and a TV in the next room; otherwise this is probably the best take I could do within the past couple of days. (Why did I insist on using barre chords)

I'll keep working on this and come up with a solo track as well for verse 2, and if I get a chance I'll try to get a better rhythm take as well.

One request for future songs: I'd find it helpful to have a click track if possible, especially for more than two instruments. Here's the page about it in the Audacity manual. I try to use a click sound that isn't too high because the high pitches have cut through my headphones/monitor and into the recording sometimes when I'm overdubbing.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 12:57 AM on April 24


Oh and I'm still not sure if my guitar is in tune with the fiddle...in any case I can do a few more takes.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 1:12 AM on April 24


Now that I've got all of my hardware/level business sorted, I've done several rhythm track takes now, and it's hard not to be ahead or behind the fiddle in weird ways. I just uploaded an mp3 sample of what I'm talking about. That's one of numerous takes.

How do people feel about this? I can record a click-tracked mando rhythm take (click on the 1, and mando "chop" on the 2 and the 3) and we can use that as the stem? I've got the bpm figured out from hade's fiddle track.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:45 AM on April 24


That's a great idea -- I've been playing on some Acapella collaborations with friends lately, and it is way easier to stay in time when there's a rhythm track, even with its built-in metronome. Learning all sorts of things, suddenly!
posted by hades at 3:29 PM on April 24


Yes, not surprisingly I am on board with having a click track! Please add at least one or two countdown measures at the beginning (it helps after pressing Record to have a moment to get ready to play). The countdown measures can be trimmed out in the final mix.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 4:02 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]


(it helps after pressing Record to have a moment to get ready to play)

I am very on board with this!

I have to step into the bedroom closet after hitting record (there are now running jokes in this house about how I'm going "back in the closet") so the countdown, plus some cushion of generated silence added to the track will be a great boon. Let me have a whack at this first thing tomorrow.

I feel like 48-ish bpm (assuming the click is only on the 1) is a comfy tempo.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:17 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


For 48bpm as just the click on the 1, it feels faster to me than the original fiddle stem (which was already pretty fast for me). To save yourself some time you could generate a standard rhythm track in Audacity at around 135bpm ish (which is what I'm getting as approximate speed of stem recording), and use the lowest pitch for the 2-3 clicks, which would make it super easy to hear all three precise beats. Then to have a companion click track you could dub in the mando chops into a second track, as 1-2-3 chops (and we could choose either or both to listen to while recording).

I'm good with a long lead time; back when I used a desktop machine to record, the fan was so loud that I recorded in the hallway and it always took me a few seconds to hit the R and walk out to get ready.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 3:59 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


Sounds good. Will do.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:55 AM on April 25


Ha, sorry -- head meant 40 bpm above. But yeah, 135 sounds about right. Will get that together this afternoon.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:17 AM on April 25


To save yourself some time you could generate a standard rhythm track in Audacity at around 135bpm ish (which is what I'm getting as approximate speed of stem recording), and use the lowest pitch for the 2-3 clicks, which would make it super easy to hear all three precise beats. Then to have a companion click track you could dub in the mando chops into a second track, as 1-2-3 chops (and we could choose either or both to listen to while recording).

Aha. Got this figured out. Thanks for the tip! I'm learning a great deal about using Audacity through this -- I'd only used it to record some single-track stuff before.

We've been asked to hang out on Skype with some friends right now so I'll get something to you sometime tomorrow (I'll send you a Google Drive link with the file via MeMail).
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:04 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


Alright. Apologies for the delay. Had a fairly full dance card of Skype and Zoom socializing with friends and then family and inlaws today.

I decided to go with 120 bpm, which feels pretty good and relaxed. I left in a 1-2-3 count-in bar of click track at the beginning, and I recorded two separate audio tracks, one for the click, the other for my rhythm track. I've zipped the project files and it's currently uploading verrrrry slowwwly. The zip file with the .aup and project folders will appear in the folder I'll send along to the two of you whenever it finishes uploading.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:39 PM on April 26 [2 favorites]


Actually, Google Drive was being impossibly slow, so I'm uploading it to hades' Dropbox.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:43 PM on April 26


Tomorrow I'm planning to knock off my solo portion and create a rhythm track for Blackest Crow and Over the Waterfall.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:33 PM on April 26 [1 favorite]


Looking forward to hearing it all!

If space becomes an issue, send.firefox.com is another option for sharing files for a limited time (e.g. the settings can be configured for up to a week / up to 100 downloads). No account required for up to 1GB.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 2:40 AM on April 27 [2 favorites]


Question: what feels like a mutually-comfy tempo for Over the Waterfall?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:01 PM on April 27


I've just moved everything out of the uploads folder of my dropbox into the shared folder, for ease of retrieval. Thanks so much for the click/rhythm tracks; this is definitely going to be easier to record to than just the metronome.

I just pulled the click/rhythm files out of Audacity and into Soundtrap to see how that works, and it actually detected the BPM and lets me shift things around at the beat/measure level, which is pretty handy. (Especially for adding padding time at the beginning to account for having to get into a different room after hitting record.) I'm going to see what I need to do to compensate for latency after recording a bit, but it looks like this could work pretty well -- better than shuffling Audacity files around, anyway. And the free plan looks like all I'd really need.

As for tempo, I tend to like somewhere between 90 and 115 if I'm not playing for a square dance. (I'm counting a beat as just where the bass notes in a boom-chuck guitar rhythm would be.) But I'm pretty flexible there.
posted by hades at 8:28 PM on April 27 [2 favorites]


Bass Cove Waltz: downloaded mandolin conspiracy's Audacity project files and can hear them A-OK. Hooray! I'll add in rhythm guitar track after I've heard hades' fiddle, if that's all right.

Over the Waterfall: as long as it's not super fast (something within 100-130 bpm, or slower) I should be fine.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 10:24 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


Hi hades - as I mentioned in MeFimail, I was able to access your Soundtrap project just fine. Alas I keep getting "overloading" notices within the Soundtrap studio and can't seem to listen to multiple raw audio tracks + record at the same time without the audio becoming choppy. This happens even when I close other applications to free up CPU. Tbh I haven't used Soundtrap to do this many raw audio files at a time, just one or two and mostly loops or synth tracks in the past.

So it looks like I'll need to stick with Audacity to record; I haven't had the performance issue with it.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 11:36 PM on April 27


(not sure how I double posted, but deleted dupe comment)
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 11:37 PM on April 27


Oh, interesting! Fair enough; Audacity is also good. I'll have to play more with soundtrap and see what its limits are.
posted by hades at 11:51 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


I’ll poke around Soundtrap a little later today, but looks like we’ll stick with Audacity for the time being.

Will give Over the Waterfall a go at around 95 or so bpm later today as well.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:41 AM on April 28


I've uploaded a version of Over the Waterfall -- it's just a 95 bpm click track (no rhythm) with a four-beat count-in, and the first solo being mando. If you think it would benefit from a mando rhythm track as well, I can stick that in.

I'm almost at the point where I feel like I've got my Bass Cove Solo nailed down. I'll send along the file tomorrow. There's one part I feel like I'm missing just the right *chef's kiss* so I'm going to let it marinate overnight and have a final crack at it tomorrow. :)
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:25 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


I would love to hear a mando rhythm part for Over the Waterfall!
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 9:10 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


I've uploaded some new zip files of Audacity projects into the dropbox: Bass Cove Waltz with click, mando rhythm and fiddle, and Over the Waterfall with click and mando solo. I've added around 20 seconds of padding to the start of each, and adjusted the click tracks to give a 4 measure count in on Bass Cove and 8 beats on Waterfall. I'll try to add a temporary fiddle track to Waterfall later today.
posted by hades at 9:31 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Ok, cool... I’ll work from hades new upload of Waterfall to throw down a rhythm track!

I just laid down a solo for Bass Cove Waltz that I’m happy with, so once I get down snipping out the thumps of going in and out of the recording closet, I’ll upload that.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:27 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


I just uploaded my Bass Cove solo. I put it in the #3 position in the progression.

As I mentioned directly to hades, I'd recorded this today just before I saw that there was a new .aup for it, so I hope that works.

By the way, rangefinder 1.4, thanks again for all of the Audacity tips!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:54 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


Can I add anything to any of these tunes with my clown car of instruments?
posted by umbú at 9:35 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


umbú: I'd love that! I'll send you some mefi mail with the dropbox links.

Speaking of which, I just tried something new, which is to make a rhythm stem out of backing tracks from Strum Machine, which does a better basic bass/guitar/mando rhythm accompaniment for old-time music than iReal Pro does and is cheaper than Band In a Box. I captured it doing five times through The Blackest Crow, added a click track, and uploaded the Audacity project to the dropbox. I can probably also do it with each instrument on its own track, rather than all three in one; it'll take a little longer, but might be worth the effort.
posted by hades at 11:11 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


I captured it doing five times through The Blackest Crow, added a click track, and uploaded the Audacity project to the dropbox.

Oh neat! I’ll check that out.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:56 AM on April 30


clown car of instruments

I literally bark-laughed at this.

Bass uke would be sweet!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:57 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


With Blackest Crow, I’m doing my usual “repeat listens until the melody is invading my dreams” thing and at some point by the end of this weekend (What is a week, even, anymore? Does it have an end?) I should be able to spit out a solo take that works. I’ll also lay down a rhythm mando track for it.

I’ll also record the rhythm mando track for Over the Waterfall.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:05 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


And I'll get some scratch fiddle melody going for whatever doesn't currently have it, and see if I can just use Dropbox as storage for audacity project files directly, so I can just share the working files with you as they happen.
posted by hades at 7:35 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


Also, I'll listen to some more bluegrass to get a better feel for what fiddles do in a situation where they aren't just sawing away on the same thing the whole time through. Maybe I'll come out of this feeling like I can go to one of the bluegrass jams in town, finally.
posted by hades at 7:36 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


Also, I'll listen to some more bluegrass to get a better feel for what fiddles do in a situation where they aren't just sawing away on the same thing the whole time through.

Thanks for all of your work on this so far.

If it helps, old time ports way better over to bluegrass than the other way around! :)

There's also a way of playing mando in a more old-timey way but there's not a lot of that around.

Question - would anyone involved be interested in having a video/conference call to chat about where we're at and what we want to do? I mean, why not, if time permits for folks at a time of mutual convenience, taking time zones into account? It's kind of easier to talk about music if one can vocalize "bla la la la"/"mmm-bop" rather than writing about it. At least, that's where my attention span is these days. ٩(๏_๏)۶
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:17 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


hades, I downloaded some files a few days ago and will download more this weekend, thanks! I've been learning Ashokan Farewell and Redbird Waltz in addition to practicing Bass Cove Waltz.

umbú, I would love to hear your take!

mandolin conspiracy, I wouldn't mind joining a call if it would help to discuss in real-time and I could do audio-only. Or if you'd ever be interested in arranging non-trad/non-folk music for mando (e.g. numbers from musicals?), I'd be up for that.

I’m doing my usual “repeat listens until the melody is invading my dreams” thing and at some point by the end of this weekend (What is a week, even, anymore? Does it have an end?) I should be able to spit out a solo take that works.

I do this too for coming up with solos!!! I listen over and over again to a song and it gets stuck in my head and becomes the first thing I hear mentally when I wake up, and the last thing I hear before I fall asleep, and I hear it while I sleep sometimes too. Out of my years reading MeFi, this is way up there among the times I've felt less alone.

What a week/vague time period indeed. Is it the weekend now? I hope to get back into recording again soon, after I figure out why the heck I suddenly have issues with my USB audio device being recognized properly by Audacity. I'm pretty sure it's a Linux thing since some recent updates.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 1:30 AM on May 2 [1 favorite]


Also, thanks to your last comment, I now have Hanson's "MMMBop" in my head. Time to listen to Bass Cove Waltz again...
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 1:33 AM on May 2 [1 favorite]


Heh heh. Sorry about that.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:15 AM on May 2 [1 favorite]


I just realized that the Blackest Crow I uploaded was pretty fast. Unless you've already been recording against it, I think I'm going to upload it at a slower tempo, more like what Bass Cove was at.
posted by hades at 5:24 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]


I have been recording against it, but I'd be very cool with a slower tempo.

The versions I've been lifting the melody off of (Dirk Powell, Bruce Molsky) are slower, so a slower track would feel better at this point, IMO.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:43 AM on May 4


I should have Over the Waterfall, Blackest Crow, and Ashokan Farewell finals uploaded by tomorrow evening (with both a solo and a rhythm track). Just want to do a couple of more takes tomorrow to see if I can get a few things ironed out.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:40 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


Hah. This is amazing...the jackhammers outside were going all day. We're hopping on a social video chat soon, so I'll probably get these stitched up tomorrow, at long last.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:05 PM on May 8


Apparently it is already a weekend again. Jackhammers there, and currently a heat wave here so it's been even more challenging to record.

I hate to be That Person but would it be okay if we do Ashokan Farewell just a tad slower? It doesn't have to be as slow as this version by Jay Ungar & Molly Mason. If you've already got final tracks done, no worries, I'll try those first.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 2:11 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


I could definitely upload a slower Ashokan Farewell stem. And depending on how much slower it is, if mandolin conspiracy already has finished tracks laid down for that, I could probably stretch them to fit without it being too noticeable. I'll go back and see what tempo I did that at originally and let you know.
posted by hades at 6:16 PM on May 9 [2 favorites]


Oh, and I've got a zoom pro account through work, so if anyone wants to do a group chat, let me know when would be good, and I can set one up.
posted by hades at 6:18 PM on May 9 [1 favorite]


Slower Ashokan Farewell is ok by me. Let's do it!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:24 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


a heat wave here so it's been even more challenging to record

We got snow this weekend!

And a frost advisory tonight. But I hate the heat, so I'll keep the jackhammers I guess. :)
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:25 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Hi all, I just discovered the MeFi music section. I play some clawhammer banjo, and am learning guitar and music theory more generally lately.

I saw this thread and thought I'd mention that there's a regular old-time jam in Baltimore hosted by Brad Kolodner which has moved online during the quarantine. Next one is tomorrow (Tues) at 7pm eastern. They start out with some slowed down songs and then pick up the tempo as the jam progresses. It's a fun way to get some more experience picking up tunes on the fly if you're like me and new to that sort of thing. Looks like the tune list is posted for tomorrow on the FB page. Maybe some of you can join tomorrow.

https://m.facebook.com/groups/445722452176784/?ref=group_header&view=group

https://www.youtube.com/user/bradleydg5
posted by pilibeen at 7:37 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


This afternoon, a flatbed truck was hauling away the machine with the jackhammer attachment from the construction pit next door. I almost gave them a tickertape parade.

I've uploaded two projects, recorded with what's in the most recent "working copy" versions that are on hades' Dropbox:

- Ashokan Farewell (at the current/previous 55 bpm) including a mando rhythm track all the way through and a solo in the #3 slot

- Over the Waterfall with a mando rhythm track all the way through and a solo in the #3 slot.

I'm totally happy to re-record Ashokan Farewell at a slower tempo if need be.

I should will finish off Blackest Crow tomorrow.

I have to say I found having the Strum Machine chords alongside the click track to be super-helpful. Good call!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:08 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


there's a regular old-time jam in Baltimore hosted by Brad Kolodner which has moved online during the quarantine. Next one is tomorrow (Tues) at 7pm eastern

That's brilliant!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:16 PM on May 12


I've uploaded a new "Ashokan Farewell" at 50bpm, slowed by Audacity's tempo effect. I discovered the "save as compressed" feature, too, which reduces the project size from ~700MB to ~10MB while maintaining enough fidelity to use it as a stem for your own recording. So, since there's plenty of space, I kept the mandolin tracks in. If you want to re-record the mandolin parts at this tempo rather than leaving them machine-adjusted, feel free, but I think they sound good still, so don't feel like you have to.

I'll get an Over the Waterfall compressed project uploaded with mando parts in just a bit.
posted by hades at 8:57 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


Thanks!

I'd be fine having another crack at the solo for Ashokan Farewell. I'll give that a go tomorrow.

I think it would be fun to do a group chat at some point if people are in. I'm on EDT, not that time means that much these days. ;)
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:37 PM on May 12 [1 favorite]


Hi - still here. Really long work days recently, so I haven't had much of a chance to play or record guitar. Today is apparently Friday, so hoping I can find some time soon! Looking forward to it.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 2:38 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Still mucking around a bit with Blackest Crow. Almost there!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:16 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]


I've been recording! I'm still not clear on why my USB audio device stopped showing up on my Audacity output options, but I've been using the onboard audio to monitor, and the USB device to record, and so far I'm not hearing any major issues with latency. In any case I hope the long weekend will result in at least a couple of files.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 12:13 AM on May 23


Huh, I've also been having some weird issues with Audacity recognizing my interface. Must be something in the air.
posted by hades at 8:59 PM on May 23


If you figure it out, please let me know! :)

I got what I hope is an okay rhythm take for Over the Waterfall. I thought I'd finished the rhythm for Ashokan Farewell, but upon listening to it with the other tracks, a few notes of the Bmin chord are flat, so I'm gonna need to redo it... I keep forgetting to retune after each song. Will send both when they're done.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 10:04 PM on May 26 [1 favorite]


Heya -- still here!

I just recorded a revised mando solo for the slower-tempo version of Ashokan Farewell that I'm happy with. Will be uploading that this evening. Will also be sending along a final of Blackest Crow tomorrow. It is almost there. ;)
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:49 AM on May 27


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