Instrumentation: Solo Violin
Published by: Wynton Marsalis (administered by Skayne’s Music)
1. Sidestep Reel – In 19th Century America, the Afro-Celtic fiddle style was the centerpiece of many a dance. Reels and hornpipes were very popular forms. Their repetitive, even-metered rhythms were easy and fun to dance to, and their infectious singable melodies stayed in the mind and on the tongue. More adventurous fiddlers were given to syncopating on these forms by accenting off beats and by embellishing melodies with oddmetered note groupings. Syncopation is a fundamental rhythmic attitude of jazz and this movement is a celebration of that art. The melodic language is a home-grown concoction of commonality between traditional reels and hornpipes and the Baroque, Ragtime and the quartal concepts of Modern Jazz.
2. As the Wind Goes – the wistful late night song of a lullabye, a campfire song, a ballad…a spiritual. It is sung as if on the wind, yearning to experience once again that which will only ever again live as memory.
3. Jones’ Jig – the Irish Jig, the African 6/8 bell pattern, the shuffle rhythm of jazz and the drum style of Elvin Jones all play around with the relationship of 3 in the time-space of 2. The juxtaposition, negotiation and reconciliation of these opposing rhythmic perspectives create interesting musical relationships all over the globe.
4. Nicola’s Strathspey – In the traditional Strathspey, improvised embellishments, syncopated dotted rhythms and the use of space between notes create expectation, momentum and surprise. These same elements and their effect on the listener are the same in the blues. It seems like a natural marriage.
5. Bye Bye Breakdown – This is good ol’, Saturday night barn dance, hoedown fiddling. It revels in the whining cry of open double stops, in all types of musical onomatopoeia from train sounds to animal calls to country whistling, and in the steady 2/4 rhythm that is as basic as walking. The harmonic framework of several popular fiddle and folk tunes provide a practical grid for the cutting of challenging melodic and rhythmic figures. It is designed to tire fiddler and dancers out. Then we stomp our way home in varying states of delight and disrepair.
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