by Dan Trueman
Instrumentation: Hardanger Fiddle or Traditional Fiddle, Viola, Acoustic Guitar - (This is just a starting place, as the tunes can be adapted to any instrument/ensemble)
This music was performed by QQQ (the band) at my wedding and it has become the standard soundtrack to my children’s bath time. I know it well as mood music and it does set a wonderful mood – sweet, joyous but with the slightest tincture of bittersweet which makes the joy all the more earned.
It is one of the great virtues of this volume that the music masquerades as a folk music you can listen to with one ear the way some Stravinsky melodies masquerade as folk songs. To be sure one can hear the influence of fiddle music both domestic and exotic but these tunes represent a fresh new way of putting notes together. They invent their own language and that is normally the province of the avant garde composer.
This volume is a treasure trove. The obvious use is to help fiddlers and guitarist cover these tunes. However, this music speaks so strongly through Just The Notes, that virtually any instrument can adapt these tunes. I played through the tunes on the piano – the instrument most antithetical to the seductive whining of a fiddle – and the subtle balance of heartbreak and ebullience still comes through. It is composed into the way one note goes to the next.
This volume is a goldmine. I can imagine cozying up to it with a class the way I do with Bach Chorales in order to discover how an utterly convincing musical language might be put together. In fact, it will be a text in my upcoming graduate seminar on writing the right wrong notes.
Check out the other volumes in the Just the Notes Series: CrissCross and Trollstilt