Three years ago I wrote about percussive mandolin
playing. Since then I've gotten a bit better and added a few
things to my playing. After someone commented
on my previous post and reminded me I'd written it, I thought I would
go back over an evening, make some clips, and discuss a bit.
These two are examples of probably my most typical rhythm for playing
reels. Simple, complements the piano well. It only works if there's
another rhythm player hitting the downbeats; otherwise you need to hit
at least the downbeats at the beginning of the phrase. While the
tonal hits stand out, the other two sub beats are getting light muted
scratches. This is standard for me: playing reels at least I just
move my hand back and forth and nearly everything gets something tonal
or a muted scratch, hard or soft.
Groovier. Works by itself or with the piano. Strong muted scratches
on the second downbeat of each measure give it a half-time feel.
Entirely scratches, supporting the piano rhythm. All light scratches
except, again, the second downbeat of each measure which is strong.
And again this gives you some half-time feel.
Starts with the first rhythm above (Corriente / The Reconcilliation)
but adds the high strings as part of the build. I usually play only
the lowest two (pairs of) strings when I play tonally, but
occasionally for emphasis and excitement I'll add the higher notes.
Then we roll over the tune, I play a triplet (whee) and go into the
second rhythm above (Coleman's). I haven't yet figured out how to play a
triplet without leaving space after, which sounds a bit weird on its
own but I think it's fine with the piano.
For comparison, the beginning of this is what it sounds like when I
only hit some of the sub-beats. We're having fun emphasizing the "old
grey cat" nature of the tune. The rest is a mixture of the other
This one is kind of all over the place, mixing several of the
In general I'm less happy with my jig playing than my reel playing. I
have a few things I've worked out but nothing I really love. Here are
two different ways I might back up a jig. In "Seanamac" I'm working
with a piano rhythm, trying to fit the minor somewhat jazzy feel,
while in "Toothfairy" I'm the primary rhythm instrument.
Just a bit of explanation of what I'm doing up on stage!
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