I have finally started the last sub-section of track 2. This group of 3 sub-sections is all about music, so far we have had rhythm, then harmony, and now it's melody's turn.
As I hinted previously, I have a plan going into this sub-section, in fact it's one of the most prescribed sub-sections I've ever had. I need some melodies: I have some suitable ones already written.
I'm in a ceilidh band, which if you don't know is for communal folk dancing, a bit like American Line Dancing, but not in a line. A bit like old English courtly dances but faster, wilder and much more fun. I'm in this band with lots of very lovely people and so a few times a year we get together and play (broadly speaking) celtic folk for the revellers to revel to.
Sometime in the last year we did a ceilidh for some good friends, and I had a reasonably mad idea: I decided we should have a brand new dance created for the couple, and to go with it brand new tunes. And then I decided we would do the dance first thing after the food break, and the band would see the tunes for the first time at the beginning of the food break.
Except for my mother-in-law who is in the band, she got involved with the tunes before-hand because I needed someone who could write music to write them out. Also she co-wrote one of them.
So this section is the three tunes, each one twice. The first tune is called "washing up" and was written as I looked out of the kitchen window while washing up. This is the one that starts with the chords from Pachabel's canon.
The third one is called "deep blue sea" because it's the tune to a song that I wrote to sing when looking for something - and partly to amuse Sammy when he was a baby, although it would probably amuse him more now.
The second one was co-written by my mother-in-law and was specifically written to plug the gap between the other two and provide a contrast. We struggled for a name for it and eventually decided that between the washing up and the deep blue sea there was... Seaton Sluice. This is a place on the north-east coast locally famous for being the sewage outflow, and so evocatively named! In fact it's a really nice place with a beautiful harbour and a couple of miles of great beach with nice dunes and impressively free parking. It's also where the picture was taken for the album art for "11 Bells", my first album. Anyway, there seems to be a Northumbrian tradition of naming tunes after places. It also has the distinction of being the only ceilidh tune I know with a major7 chord in the accompanyment.
Ceilidh tunes are intended for dancing and often (almost always in fact) follow a formula. Each tune has two parts (part A and part b), each of which is 8 bars long - just right for 1 or 2 figures of dancing. Part A is played twice, then Part B is played twice. Once through the tune is once through the dance. The whole tune is then usually repeated, and so playing a "set" of three tunes, each one twice is exactly 6 times through the dance, which is usually about right.
this give me a problem, because I want to keep the drums going through from the harmony section (remember they started back in the rhythm section, actually the beat started before that in the chemistry section) The beat is at a handy 120 bpm. 3 32-bar tunes, each played twice comes to a total of 96 bars. 3 minutes of 120bpm is exactly 90 bars. It's too long.
Which is why it speeds up through the section, this is to make it fit.
So far I have copied drum patterns from the harmony section, recorded all the tunes on one hand on an organ for guide purposes (tricky as some of the tunes go quite fast, but I cheated and sped them up) and have started the process of altering the drums to make them more appropriate to the tunes.
The normal way of working for me, and for almost everybody who has an inkling of knowing what they are doing with multitrack recording, is to start from the drums and bass, any other rhythm (guitars, etc). build up to harmony filling (keebs, etc) and finish with the thing that's meant to grab the interest, the singing or the solo instrument. This time, the tunes are in charge, which is why I want the tunes in for all the process, the nuances of the rhythms in the tunes should be supported by the accompaniment, and this is in fact the way good ceilidh music is built - from the tune down.