Category: mymusic


Horace Weston’s Celebrated Polka (2.0)

October 29th, 2009 — 11:23am

Update: this post was intended to go in the blog for my music making. Oops.


<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcJq2E1rb9I">[[[Link to video on YouTube]]]</a>

Here's a new recording of Horace Weston's Celebrated Polka (sheet ♫), which I wanted to try a different approach to. The first one I did was classical style with rubato laid on thick. This new one is ragtime flavored.

It makes sense that that you could do either way, considering that Weston was part about European art music and part about American vernacular styles like minstrelsy. In his time people thought that the euro influence was automatically better, in our time it's maybe the other way around (at least if you're more into rock/blues/jazz/disco than classical) but this one guy managed to integrate them. And if this composition sounds more snooty highbrow euro than rube yank, keep in mind that it was written for banjo not guitar.

The main theme has a swirly mood like a lady getting dressed up to go out.

The second theme has colorful and daring harmony for that time and place.

The third theme is a jig, as in an irish jig.

And the last bit of the third theme would sound perfectly at home in a 1920s jazz or blues tune:

(Code for indexing into sections of the video courtesy Splicd.com).

More posts about Horace Weston:

Comments Off | mymusic

Celebrated Polka

September 25th, 2009 — 4:39pm

Horace Weston's Celebrated Polka (title)

Go digging for music by the 19th century banjo star Horace Weston and you'll won't find much. He was more of a player than a composer, I guess. Fortunately this 1880 compilation of banjo tunes:

The J. E. Brewster Banjoist.


On page 18:

Horace Weston's Celebrated Polka (18)


Had this sheet music:

Horace Weston's Celebrated Polka (sheet music)


I don't have a banjo, and if I did I still couldn't play this on it. What I do have is a parlor guitar from more or less the same time period and an hour or so a day for practicing the damn thing until I get it right. So I did this video:

1 comment » | historical music, mymusic, Uncategorized

saturday night’s alright for bleeting

December 12th, 2008 — 1:40pm

Comments Off | la, local to LA, mymusic

audio response to Marco’s klankbeeld

August 7th, 2008 — 1:54pm

I plugged in the electric, hooked up Audacity, hit record, and flipped over to the same image that Marco used for his like a child piece. It's a quickie job but what the hell that's what blogs are for: Lucas Gonze - response to klaaankbeeld like a child (MP3)

On a musical level I was thinking about the bassy, jazzy, and introspective flavor of Marco's piece, and that led to me towards Les Paul's ballad playing in the 50s, e.g. Moon of Manakoora.

Also: FLAC and Vorbis versions. Licensing for my music here: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 unported.

1 comment » | musician blog, mymusic, participatory music

dedicated page for a song

July 8th, 2008 — 2:37am

I have set up a dedicated page for my version of the song "Frog in the Well." It is an experiment in packaging for internet music, since a bare MP3 lacks all the chrome that makes a CD an entertaining thing to open up. Design notes --

To draw you into the page and help the recording come to life, there is some text about the history of the song.

To enable interaction by remixing, there is a MIDI version, the recording length is given (which helps people looking for background music), the recording is under a license which permits remixing, and there is an offer to relicense if necessary. To enable interaction by playing it for yourself, there is sheet music and guitar tablature as both a downloadable PDF and an embedded image.

To handle limited attention spans, I crammed as much fun stuff as I could manage into the first screenful above the fold. Video gets prominent real estate, because that draws people in like nothing else.

To make the MP3 playable in-place I included Yahoo! Media Player.

The MP3 link is labeled simply "MP3", which doesn't provide metadata for either search engines or the metadata section of the media player, so I put metadata (which the media player will pick up) into the title attribute of the link:

<a href="http://soupgreens.com/wp-content/uploads/lucasgonze-froginthewell.mp3" title="Lucas Gonze - Frog in the Well.">MP3</a>

To optimize placement in search engine results, the page has a good clean URL (http://soupgreens.com/froginthewell/) and the song title is in the page header.

There is sheet music inline in the document in addition to the downloadable PDF. This is to inspire people who play an instrument to try it out.

In the downloadable PDF there is a (text) link back to the site. This is to improve the stickiness of the content -- if anybody does print it out and read through it on their instrument and then doesn't get to know the main site, I must have really messed something up. Also, I'm planning to give out printouts at shows and getting people to follow the link back to the site is the payoff.

Here's the link again: Frog in the Well.

18 comments » | acoustic guitar, historical music, mymusic, xiph

Spirit rappings

October 28th, 2007 — 11:33pm

Spirit Rappings (title page)

August 20, 1852, Wednesday

Page 2 of the New York Times, 695 words

Mr. ORVILLE HATCH, of Franklin, Conn., has become insane, he having devoted considerable attention to the subject of Spirit Rappings. Mr. HATCH is a farmer, and has been instrumental in introducing many important improvements in agriculture into the town in which he resides.

Madame Pamita, whose performances involve both spiritualism and really old American music, sent me a pointer to sheet music for an 1854 tune called "Spirit Rappings", presumably because it's a great number for Halloween. This post is my version of it.

Since I did a vocal part for once, the mix has the guitar and vocal parts hard panned to left and right so you can pull out the singing and do karaoke.

This recording is under a Creative Commons ShareAlike-Attribution 2.0 license. See also my boilerplate copyright statement.

Direct links:

Spirit Rappings (mp3)

Spirit Rappings (vorbis)

14 comments » | acoustic guitar, covers, Creative Commons BY-SA, historical music, music, mymusic, public domain compositions

William Litten song

September 23rd, 2007 — 8:37pm
Cover of 'William Litten's Fiddle Tunes'

This post is a recording of a fast and furious guitar performance of a fiddle tune called "Kiss My Lady" which was transcribed in 1800 (or so) by a ship's musician named William Litten.


Musically I wanted something energetic and raw. I didn't care about mistakes except if they were bad enough to really mar the listening. The final performance definitely has mistakes, and both my dogs got into the action by barking.It usually takes me a lot of takes to get something with the right feel and no fatal mistakes. In this case I did a few takes a day for a few days before I got one I liked.

I don't have sheet music for this because I got it from a book which is not online. Here's the story.Litten was employed as a ship's musician, and along the way he wrote down a lot of music. I think that this was more like a notebook to aid his memory than a book for the public. His manuscript was brought home to Martha's Vineyard, an island off the coast of Massachusetts, by a local guy named Allen Coffin. The Martha's Vineyard economy was based on fishing, sailing, etc, until it became a touristy beach destination in the late 20th century, and Coffin was probably on the ship with Litten. The manuscript ended up in the library of the historical society in Edgartown, the biggest town on the island.

In the 1970s a musicologist named Gail Huntington copied it into more readable notation, made some corrections and other tidying up, cross-referenced the songs in contemporaneous publications, and eventually published it. Her publication is copyright 1977 by Hines Point Publishers, Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts 02568. This was either self-publishing or a very small-time operation.

Here's a description of the situation by somebody else familiar with the book:

William Litten was a ship's fiddler in Royal Navy in the first years of the nineteenth century. What makes Litten remarkable amongst his peers was his ability to transcribe music. In the years 1800 to 1802 he was aboard the HMS Gorgon, leaving England in May 1800, arriving in China in February 1801 and passing through St Helena in 1802. During the voyage he wrote down much of his repertoire, thus giving us a unique snapshot of the musical and, in particular, the fiddle repertoire of his time. The original and now unprocurable book was assembled and published in 1977. Extensive searches failed to find the publishers. The book was reproduced from a copy on interlibrary loan from New Mexico for the purposes of study at a a workshop at the National Folk Festival in Canberra in 2006. A few copies remain and are offered here.

The copyright situation of the sheet music is messy. Huntington's substantive contributions to the original entitle her to a copyright on her contributions. However figuring out what is a copyrighted addition and what is a public domain part of the original is totally up in the air. Since she and her publisher seem to have disappeared, this has turned into an orphaned work. The good news is that a public domain performance of the underlying composition and arrangement is completely legal as far as I can tell.

My own copyrights in these recordings are released under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license per my boilerplate licensing statement.


Direct audio file links

These are the real keepers:

Kiss My Lady sept 23 2007 (mp3)

Kiss My Lady sept 23 2007 (vorbis)

These are scratch recordings that I figured might be handy for sampling or comparison:

Kiss My Lady sept 20 2007 (mp3)

Kiss My Lady sept 20 2007 (vorbis)

Kiss My Lady sept 21 2007 (mp3)

Kiss My Lady sept 21 2007 (vorbis)

7 comments » | acoustic guitar, covers, Creative Commons BY-SA, historical music, mymusic, public domain compositions

Ella Waltz 06032007

July 11th, 2007 — 3:19pm

This post is a recording of the composition Ella Waltz by D.E. Jannon, which was published in 1854.

MP3: Lucas Gonze -- Ella Waltz

Ogg Vorbis: Lucas Gonze -- Ella Waltz

It is the third of a set of three waltzes by D.E. Jannon. I have also blogged recordings of Amy Waltz and Carrie Waltz. I don't consider the series finished because I want to redo the Amy one, but who knows whether I'll really come up with a better version in the end. It takes a ton of practice and a lot of trial and error with the arrangement to make one of these recordings, and I have other tunes that I want to move on to.

As I was learning the 3 waltzes I made up a back story for them. In my imagination they are named after D.E. Jannon's three daughters. They are ordered from oldest to youngest. Amy is a teenager, Ella is a little kid, Carrie is in-between. Amy is going through a phase where she is hustling all the time and in a hurry to get away from her parents. Ella has been falling down, dropping things, running into stuff, and generally being accident prone. Carrie is moderate in all things.

The original writing on this tune had dead spots, places where the writing was thin or weak and needed fixing, so I rewrote many of the parts. My version isn't as simple as the original, which is a loss, but it sounds better.

By the way, I got the name of this tune slightly wrong while I was working, and even though I corrected it in the end some of the metadata and file names are wrong. Right: Ella. Wrong: Emma.

http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=mussm&fileName=sm2/sm1854/732000/732150/mussm732150.db&recNum=3&itemLink=D?mussm:2:./temp/~ammem_7r3O::&linkText=0

These recordings are released under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license per my boilerplate licensing statement.

8 comments » | acoustic guitar, Creative Commons BY-SA, historical music, mymusic, playlist blog, public domain compositions

Amy Waltz

June 28th, 2007 — 3:43pm

Amy Waltz

This post is a short, jittery, very loose, and slightly overdriven acoustic guitar version of a tune called "Anna Waltz" which was composed by a guy named D.E. Jannon and published in 1854. I learned it from sheet music at the Library of Congress web site.

MP3: Lucas Gonze -- Amy Waltz (1:36)

This recording is under a Creative Commons BY-SA license per my standard license statement.

See also Carrie Waltz.

5 comments » | acoustic guitar, Creative Commons BY-SA, historical music, lightnet, mymusic, public domain compositions

Carrie Waltz

June 24th, 2007 — 10:42pm

This post is one of my acoustic guitar recordings. It is a tune called "Carrie Waltz" which was composed by a guy named D.E. Jannon and published in 1854. I learned it from sheet music at the Library of Congress web site.

Lucas Gonze -- Carrie Waltz

I'm only publishing an MP3, not an Ogg anything or a lossless version or the Audacity original. And I didn't pay any attention to the tagging process, so it might or might not have reasonable metadata and proper Creative Commons licensing in the ID3 tags. It takes forever to get all these details right and I want to see how it feels to focus on the tunes and not worry about the computer maintenance.

This recording is under a Creative Commons BY-SA license per my standard license statement.

Here's the sheet music original that I worked from:

Carrie Waltz sheet music

5 comments » | acoustic guitar, Creative Commons BY-SA, historical music, legal, lightnet, mymusic, public domain compositions

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