September 22, 2018 at 8:58 AM #65353
Well, I’ve been thinking about previous conversations on here, about if you know the notes you’re playing vs. if you don’t know the notes you’re playing…I’m thinking that I’m sorta in the minority, seems, of those who do not know the notes they are playing. Of course there was no survey or whatever, I’m just going by what I saw…I do know about the notes, and I’d be able to stand there and slowly, very slowly decipher, but as far as just playing…no…I have no idea about the notes. I know the bowing strokes I love…different named or unnamed licks and shuffles that I know about, what few I know about, but don’t know them while playing…except maybe Nashville Shuffle, which to me, is the “Mother of all bowing licks.”
But what, you may wonder, does this have to do with cole slaw? Well if you’re a little on the nutty side, or cabbage-head side, like myself, you will see similarities. As I was making coleslaw for the week this morning…as I normally do on weekends… I was thinking about this…could be I totally lost it.
But I was thinking how people use recipes when they cook…but not me. I mean, like with notes, I’m aware that so much of one thing or another is a good option, but I don’t like to think about that when I’m cooking…I like the freedom to cook by ear. Too bad they don’t make food gloves for ears, hey?
Anyway…I’m grinding up cabbage (the modern quick way…lol) and filling up the bowl, thinking…”that’s about the right amount.” I put in the other stuff…olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, celery seed, salt…in just the right amounts…it might vary from day to day…mood to mood…because I’m cooking by ear.
Then…I might go nuts, like with bowing…sometimes I go nuts with bowing and try to throw things in…might work, might not. Today…I had a bunch of pomegranates on hand…so I threw in a handful, half of a pomegrante, of the seeds, into the coleslaw…it’s kinda like rocking the bow like you haven’t tried before. Somedays I might see an apple laying there…or walnuts, whatever…how would it be in the coleslaw?
Somedays I play a fiddle tune like I’ve never played it before. It might work, it might not, but it’s exciting. Now, I know many people like notes…and I do too…I actually use the tab on the lessons (I’m quicker with tab than with notes)…I actually resort to recipes. But, for me…it gives me the general idea…then I move on to my varying moods from there, once I get the general idea.
Anybody else do this? I think it was frustrating for the band, when I was in there…lol. I can understand…especially with an audience watching, I might get a mood going. The others playing might see and go along, might not. I don’t know how it would be the other way around, because they played stuff the exact same way every time…so there’s no fair comparison there. I tried to do that too, but it just goes against my nature. Sometimes company comes to visit and eat a meal…it’s like a food audience, and it gets me feeling like trying something daring and exciting to share. At least in my little goofy mind…lol.
Some people would like to take a trip to outer space, the moon, etc. I’d just love the thrills of throwing in a new note, a new ingredient, a new bowing lick, another spice…that’s my lunar, or looney, mission, I suppose. lol…craziness on a Saturday while the fiddles stay stuck to the walls, the coleslaw gets to know its ingredients in the fridge, and we gotta go out and finish the dreaded gutter work we’ve been dealing with.
I’m excited about lunch…excited about my next fiddle experiment or adventure.
Happy Weekend…if you made it this far without falling asleep. Hope the people affected by horrible weather are making strides at figuring out how to get back to normalcy.September 22, 2018 at 9:40 AM #65354
I’m trying to imagine what it would be like to randomly experiment with spelling words when writing a post on here.
Purhaps it wood b phun ta tri, ya no, jus tew c wat wud happin.
I guess if someone took the time to decipher it, it would make perfect sense. But, it seems to me there would be so much extra work involved when a language already exists that’s tried and proven.
That’s the way I am with music. The staves, notes, sharps and flats have already been named. Pretty much all the rules are in place. There’s actually very little that isn’t already understood about music. There’s a plethora of information out there in the big world describing just about anything one could question.
Owing to all this, it’s hard for me to understand why as we get older (some young ones do this, too) we begin looking for shortcuts. We want to play the saxophone, but only by ear. We want to play the fiddle, but only by tablature, if that. Some balk at holding a pick the proper way! Shortcuts, everywhere one looks, there’s someone looking for a shortcut.
I know what it is. I’m guilty of it myself. This whole matter speaks to a problem much deeper. What’s it called? I believe the topic is best described as “urgency addictive behavior”.
Young kids are eligible for credit cards early on and use them for a down payment on an automobile they can not afford. Some don’t even have a job, but want the car without really investing any blood sweat and tears into it….just use a corporations’ sales gimmicks to seat yourself in a new auto. Older more responsible people usually come to the rescue later on.
Well, fast forward to the fun of playing music. Why bother with the blood sweat and tears of learning notes, flats, sharps, scales, etc.? Just play the thing!
There’s an inherent problem with the urgency associated with this type of behavior: shortcuts often rob our appreciation of the structure behind what we’re doing. We become very limited in our abilities not remembering that somewhere back in our history, we looked for a series of shortcuts and were willing to settle for a certain level of ability just for the immediacy of having what we want the way we want it and not the way others suggest we obtain it.
I’m guilty of this in many areas of life. Thank goodness I can recognize it and take steps to improve my shortcomings. The playing of music is a wonderful mirror into the psyche. If I’m unwilling to put in the time to learn a difficult exercise or piece…..a piece that I really want to learn……….what does that say about me to myself?
Cricket, your experimenting with ingredients for the cole-slaw is in many ways like composing to me. I like the analogy.September 22, 2018 at 11:24 AM #65355
Very interesting thoughts, Fred. Chalk up a point for the notey side of the situation! I hear ya. Yet…I guess when I first started playing any music, I didn’t know there had to be notes…lol. I mean…I picked up the guitar I had wanted my whole life, and finally had gotten, thanks to some people and events on the farm…i.e., selling a calf of my own…then all i knew was the sounds I was after…my grandmother helped me tune it and then I went out by cistern and played until my fingers were red, swollen, hurt, blistering…the hand on the tractor stopped by, shut off the engine, and asked me to play him something. I instantly went into Wildwood Flower…I had heard it forever, really-really-really-really, no, DESPERATELY wanted to play it…so after about two hours of intense struggle and discovery on my own on the guitar, I was able to play through Wildwood Flower for the ol’ 90 year old farmhand on the tractor as he was passing by that spot…he applauded enthusiastically, winked over to my great aunt and said…”She’s got it, don’t she?” Oh gosh…I was so relieved and happy I could play a song on my new guitar…I still love the smell of new guitar glue you can smell if you walk into a guitar store…lol…I associate that smell with that day…my first day playing the guitar. I didn’t know there were notes…I mean in hymnals…yes…shape notes…another strange critter that doesn’t fit the rest of the musical world…but I didn’t think you HAD to have notes to play music. It didn’t dawn on me until many years later that notes were a way to write down music, as you pointed out so well, like written language. By then…I didn’t ever feel like I needed them…lol. I discovered so many sounds on my new guitar back then, when I was ten years old and on up…I learned a lot about chord progressions and intervals later, to describe or even just catalogue the sounds I had discovered and learned to use. i guess once I finally got a fiddle, five and a half decades later, I figured…why should I approach it any other way? Thanks for discussing, Fred. I appreciate your input…you’re a REAL musician, for sure. Thanks for sharing your experience.
September 23, 2018 at 6:36 AM #65366
- This reply was modified 8 months ago by cricket.
Cricket, this is a true story: I imagined for all the years of my childhood and right up through into my 50’s that I wouldn’t like the taste of cole-slaw, because it had cabbage in it and the only way I liked cabbage was in a New England boiled dinner.
When I finally gave in and actually tasted cole-slaw, I found it was an acceptable taste but I wasn’t all that thrilled with it. But, little by little, often times I would dine out somewhere that it was on the menu and I would dare to venture a try. Then, one time, somewhere – I can’t remember – someone did an exceptional job of making the best cole-slaw I had ever tasted. Wow, was it good! Now, I have places where I can remember who makes it really well and I gravitate toward those places when going out to eat.
Yes, I finally outgrew my “fear” of cole-slaw and developed a “taste” for it.
This story could be converted without much trouble to a story of someone coming to grips with learning notes on a fiddle. The feared “taste of cabbage” might be the act of “overcoming notes and theory.”
In any event, I’ll bet (judging on how well you play so many instruments and sing so well) you make a super good tasting cole-slaw!September 23, 2018 at 7:12 AM #65367
First of all, the cole slaw story sounds all to common…unfortunately, people make terrible cole slaw…this is why mine is so excellent, as you guessed (lol)…in my opinion, the mayonnaise style dressing really messes up the sweet and beautiful cabbage flavor. That’s why I only use a mixture of sweet-sour, clean tasting equal amounts of vinegar, olive oil, and maple syrup as my general dressing…that plus a small amount of salt. Then, from there, the creativity starts…lots of shredded cabbage (tastes best if you cut it by hand, but I get lazy and use my food processor…quicker job), the dressing, then whatever spices or other stuff…carrots, onions, or not, something nutty, or not, something sweet (raisins, apples, etc.) or not…or all or whatever…cabbage is just such good stuff…mayonnaise smothers it in my opinion. ok…whatever…I do get your point, though…once a cole slaw-fearing boy, only to grow up to love the stuff…yeah…good point…I could grow up to love reading notes on the fiddle. I do sometimes decipher….but, for whatever reason is wrong with my brain…lol…it’s just deciphering…I can decipher and stand there and play it, then if somebody says ” Play that G# one more time…” I’m stupified and confused…I’m like, “OH, you mean 1 low on the low string? Why didn’t you just say so?” (And it took me a lot of figurin’ just to give that horrifying example…lol). But good point. I don’t like to brag, but I am a good cook, cooking by ear. This is why I guess I gained a buncha weight…I know how to make yummy stuff, and I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I tried diets…like frozen low-calorie dinners…ok those are expensive and taste disgusting. I tried counting calories…that made me into a grumpy, unhappy individual who hated to cook (normally I love to cook, but I freely use fattening ingredients…butter, oils, whatever it takes…I mean…give me collard greens…saute the stems with onions in a lot of oil…then add the greens, add water and cook those suckers down…top it off with a beautiful peanut sauce…peanut butter, coconut milk, hot pepper, sugar, vinegar…oh my gosh…fattening, but great stuff!) When you count calories, you steam collard greens and they taste terrible. Anyway, then I tried the No S diet…no snacks, no seconds, no sweets…again…it just didn’t work. Now I found something I invented myself…just by ear…lol…it’s working. We’re both losing weight and I’m cooking up good stuff in the kitchen with fattening ingredients…and for a change, it’s easy to stick with, kinda fun and funny, and we’re both losing weight. I figure one day I’ll explain it in a youtube. Might not work for everybody, but it is working for us. Anyway…Scott is gonna get me for veering off topic. So… I got sidetracked, but I hear your point. Maybe to get to love notes, I need to find a new dressing???? lol…I’m not sure what I would change to be able to deal with them…but…something. Let me think about that.September 23, 2018 at 1:11 PM #65369
Wow! Cole-slaw with maple syrup in it! Now that sounds delicious!
At the risk of going “off topic” on this “What is on Your Mind” column, I, too, have been on many a different type diets. The one that worked the very best for me was Harriet Roth’s little book titled “Fat Counter”.
It was years ago, before I had my heart attack and 5 bypasses. I was actually quite healthy, just got overweight. I lost almost all my fat and slimmed down to a 32 pant size from a 38 in less than a year. I hiked a lot in the Adirondack Mountains and could literally run up the mountains for long intervals before resting and running again. I hunted the high country back in those days; above 3,800 feet above sea level.
After my heart attack, I was reluctant to hike alone, or mostly even hunt alone anymore for fear of another heart attack and the extra work and bother it would cause emergency people to find me and haul me out. Little by little I became sedentary and began gaining weight. Then the bladder cancer; then the colo-rectal cancer. Now, I just don’t hike anymore.
I need to diet, but lack the willpower. I should get into Harriet Roth’s book again, but can’t get motivated. Boo Hoo! ( lol )
Guess I need to overcome the fear of dieting and “learn the notes to it”. ha ha.
(Did you catch how I tied it all into being back on topic?) lolSeptember 23, 2018 at 4:36 PM #65370
Very nicely done, Fred…you tied it all together and Scott should be proud. There was a guy at my daughter’s homeschool co-op who had a similar story…he took his granddaughter to the co-op, and I went sometimes with my grandson because daughter was upstairs teaching the big kids…anyway, this guy had almost 100 per cent to the T story…he used to do that one sport…can’t think of what it’s called…where you run up the hills looking for flags with your compass in hand and try to get to them all before the other people, etc. Orienteering I think it’s called…kinda rough. Then he had a heart attack, got to where he wasn’t comfortable doing that, gained weight, had stress to deal with, gained more weight, doctors yell at him but he says it just all got out of control on him. That’s how it happens. I always ate lots of fattening foods but never had a problem until I retired, then, my mom got sick, my dad got sick, my daughter got sick, I had to run all over helping everybody, daughter couldn’t hold down her job and her boss let me work in her place…so I worked, ran, etc., and never slept, never ate meals, just pigged out here and there and then a whole bunch to relax…got no exercise whatsoever…turned around about three years and 40 pounds later…lol. Ouch. Then I tried every diet I ever heard of that I could afford to do…each one was difficult, and each one left me fatter than before…amazing…go on diets to become an ol’ grump and get fat! Finally we have found a way, it seems…Mike has a few pounds to lose too. He’s getting there faster than I am, but we’re both happy with the success. I’d like to make a youtube showing it, but not sure about sharing things with others that might not work for them, and might not even work for me in the long run…I’m no expert, so…just eating by ear…lol. It can just get outta control on ya really fast…hard to get it all back again.September 24, 2018 at 10:11 AM #65376
Hey, I got the Level 3 jeans on this morning…two more sizes and I’m back where I started from when I first retired, ten years ago…lol…Hopefully I can cut up all the Level 4s for something else, besides wearing.September 24, 2018 at 4:43 PM #65379
Congrats! You can make two place mats out of the back pockets of those old jeans. They ought to be just the right size to set a dish of cole-slaw on! lolSeptember 24, 2018 at 7:32 PM #65380
Good idea…my wish for anyone else’s “Higher level” jeans, also…lol.September 29, 2018 at 6:21 AM #65435
This is the way a lot of folk musicians create music. It can often be a beautiful thing!
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