mercoledì 13 giugno 2018

The violin is just like the bass, only back to front.

Warning to Robert: This post is going to be basically about me. Read at your own peril. Remember that it's a blog and blogs are often about the author's experiences. You are making a choice if you read on.

It's true. The bass is tuned (low string to high) E A D G and the violin is tuned G D A E.
There's probably a life lesson in there somewhere.
In Italian there is a word spelt soqquadro - notice the 'qq' bit.
Though you could also use confusione, which is probably easier for English speakers who are trying to talk in Italian.

I've been going to open mic nights to get a chance to play tunes from my repertoire. The basic format is:
  • Turn up at venue, have two glasses of Chardonnay and choose food from their menu of only fried food.
  • Put name down to play.
  • Sit through about 2 hours of acts of varying quality.
  • Play 2 or 3 tunes.

Okay, it's a good practice motivator to have a 'gig' coming up and this is basically the only gig I get at present. I've taken my double bass and guitar, but I'm basically concentrating on the violin because I'm trying to score a gig in an Italian restaurant - this makes sense because nearly half of my 24 tune repertoire is Italian music.
My ultimate goal is to get work for my trio, but I don't want to ask the other two members to play for free or little pay. I'm not very good a hastling for gigs. In fact, I'm useless, so my idea was to get my foot in a few doors playing my solo repertoire and then, if things worked out, I could try to get the trio in. It would certainly be nicer having the trio there than playing all alone.
I think that my solo violin repertoire is pretty good. I checked on the net for solo violinists and the ones who came up were very good players (in other countries) but they were either using backing tracks or a pianist. My idea is that there will be just me.
The violinists I saw were very pretty ladies (in very pretty dresses) who were from the classical tradition - on paper they were better violinists than me.
But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career.

"But what I do have are a very particular 
set of skills, skills acquired over a very 
long career."
My repertoire has a lot of improvisation and a tune is never really played the same way twice, though there is also a lot of structure and lots of tunes. I am able to add quite a few textures - chords, arpeggios, 'sound effects' - so that the music will hopefully have a lot of variety. The down side is that I'm pretty old and wouldn't look good in a pretty dress.
What I do have is a wireless system on my violin.

This means that, because I'm not reliant on reading music, I can wander around but have my amp on to give a consistent sound in the room.

Okay, all I need is a gig to put all my preparation to the test. I'm getting a bit over open mic evenings because you have to sit through a lot of stuff (some of it not very good) to get to play a couple of songs. This is what you have to do to play for free.

Then I had a thought!


I can just go to a restaurant and offer my services for a couple of glasses of Chardonnay. This way I can perfect my repertoire and I'm also getting a chance to play. Not many restaurants would turn down a free musician. Then I can play my whole repertoire and not have to sit through two hours of other people playing to play two songs.

Some musicians will say, "But if you do that you're making it harder for other musicians to charge what they are worth."
Well, I don't see these other musicians giving me a gig. Anyway, there are lots of others out there playing for a meal or five bucks.  Look at this like a free sampler - a way for me to have a chance to play the music that I have worked on for years. Think of it like me going to an open mic evening but getting to play more.

There you have it.

8 commenti:

THE CURMUDGEON ha detto...

Or you could carry around a Thompson machine gun in the Violin case and demand free glasses of chardonnay. It'd be more effective.

Richard (of RBB) ha detto...

Yes, but you have the latter problem of having to outrun the cops.

THE CURMUDGEON ha detto...

Can't be any worse than outrunning the critics.

Robert ha detto...

I heard my name.. Robert.
Go to my blog and learn how God is playing for you.

Richard (of RBB) ha detto...

Just done an hour test run - solo violin - but it seemed to go okay. Didn't see god trying to accompany me. Maybe he just plays flute or sings opera? An hour solo violin gig is a long blow. Try it before you all come back with your funny jokes. Each piece needs to last for 5 minutes. Give it a try - remember the gig is for two hours. Chi va piano va sano e va lontano ma tra il dire e il fare c'e` di mezzo il mare. Buona fortuna.

Twisted Scottish Bastard ha detto...

Are you sure the musicians' union will allow such free performance?
And to be perfectly honest, I've eaten at establishments with a roving violinist, and it was horrible. Not the music, but the feeling that instead of enjoying the meal and the company of my Beloved, I had to share it with a dago musician.

Richard (of RBB) ha detto...

God is praying for you TSB. Well, so I'm told.

THE CURMUDGEON ha detto...

Check with Robert. He'd know.