F 1 D 0 - 2002 12 16 at 1600 I knew I could. Today is Monday, but I want to write about elation, and that happened friday night. I conducted an experiment, of sorts. I wanted to make certain the Scottish dancers could cope or even enjoy live music. I wanted to make a point to any musicians that minimal investment of practice would be required. I've had experience with weak musicians. I'm one. As someone playing, everything is just fine until it is my turn. Then all of a sudden, my skills become weak, and memory goes. For dancing, it is essential that the backbone of chords and timing remain constant. As a dancer, I understand the musicians are just trying their best. They've not seen the music until the caller decides that one in particular is the one we're doing right now. So what did I do? Well, I didn't know if I'd be the only musician playing. That is a loneliness I don't cope with very well. I'm not that good on fiddle. So I programmed the keyboard to play three songs in a Scottish styling. For me, that meant Accordion. The tapes use a single chord to start, and I'm uncomfortable with that. Contradances use Four Potatoes, that is, a jingle made of the tonic chord and unknown melody, or the tonic note. I'm uncomfortable with that too. I chose the last phrase in the melody. So I made a short intro, perhaps one or two bars. Then I'd use accordion sound, and save the whole melody, played very simply in right hand, and with bass and counter bass in the left hand (you know, I used plain octaves in the left). For the next time through, it was just Accordion playing chords, boom tschak boom tschak style. Still with me? I repeat this again for piano, then for guitar (in the future, I'll add banjo or something). The instrument sounds on the Korg are realistic. Here is what happened: I got there around 715pm, and that seemed late. But Gillian was eager to let the early dancers give the live music a try, so we ran them first with recorded stuff, and then fired up me (fiddle) and the keyboard. It was *very* effective. Dave Y came a bit later, and explained he only had about 20 minutes, as there was some kind of train derailment, and so he could not stay for very long. Also, he just brought his guitar, rather than the bass he promised. Still, Gillian was ready, and we did three more dances to live music. Us! Dave did *not* like playing to recordings. But I swung him over to my viewpoint: the keyboard really knows the song and won't be swayed. Ever tried singing a round or a canon with someone who almost knows it? You can make them forget their part in a heartbeat. But not the keyboard. It is determined. It stays on time, such as it is. I loaded it up with the metronome going, at a very low speed. I can hear my mistakes, actually. When I rushed a note, I would slow down for the next. It makes a curious hesitation which only lasts for a few notes, and recovers. But since the same patterns are used for each instrument, I heard the mistake over and over. Sigh. At least I was confident with the Boom Tschak parts, so they rarely had trouble. And the dancers? They loved it. They danced hard. That was good to see. In Mairi's wedding, there is a Circle Six hands during the extra B-Part. To make this apparent to the musicians, I recorded this with a different styling. I held the chords, and made them loud, so that even if someone was trying to start again from the A-Part, well, the keyboard would drown them out until they noticed. It was nice to hear the dancers hoot aloud. This is a good sign, that the music did its magic. In other news... I've been making audio CD collections of music. I have called the series Dave Suggests. The first one was mostly guitar and contemporary listening from things I've heard. This one was Dave Suggests Dance, which had the most unlikely dance music I could find. I'll have to find time to make a dance CD of REAL dance stuff for tomorrow morning. I get to lead a step class, at least for a while. I hope I do well. I'll shout happily here if things go well. Urg. I have to do this at 9am tomorrow. YUCK. But I've been waiting for this opportunity for a long time. Being weak in the morning is a bad excuse. I've been successfully getting up as needed. We needed to open the December Gallery frequently. But even since I was 10 years old, I remember being cold, having full sinuses, and having difficulty talking and thinking until about 1030am. When I was at Comspec, I continued groggy in the morning, but functioned. I suppose I should wind this up, and put together an interesting step CD. Today's bread is garlic, olive and mushrooms. I'd better check that too. That's all I know.