Some New Tunes!

Golly, this quarantine has led to a whole bunch of creative work from so many artists all over the planet! I have been incredibly busy too: working on formatting block chord TAB in a table format on this blog (A LOT harder than you might think!!!), learning Finale (for the 3rd or 4th time!), and laying some new track ideas in Logic Pro X, which is the subject of this post.

Here is a tune I recorded a few days ago:

SummerTune No. 1

May 2020 Dulcimer!

NEW RELEASE On Bandcamp!!!

Bandcamp is forgoing their share of revenue today, May 1st, so if you decide to download some of my new music, I will get 100%. This is a very helpful and generous gesture from a GREAT company! Many of us musicians and music teachers have been hit pretty hard by this COVID-19 Quarantine: we’ve had many gigs cancelled and festivals postponed or cancelled altogether. So this income helps a LOT!

My brand-new May 2020 Dulcimer EP just went live at around 7AM this morning. There are 6 tracks here representing some of my BEST work-in-progress. It is not available anywhere else (yet, anyhow) and all my recent EPs from earlier this year are “Pay what you want” including ZERO (you just enter “0” in the pay field).

Jerry Rockwell at Bandcamp

I hope everyone is getting through this COVID-19 Quarantine OK. Not much fun for us here in Northeast Ohio, but we’ve got some acres of trees around us, and life isn’t too different in many ways.

Skip’s Round (and Jam-A-Round!!) TAB and Music Download

This original tune is part of my 2017 Patreon lessons, and it is a FUN tune I keep coming back to over and over.

1.) The first page is basically the main melody (16 bars), with an 8-bar sparse bass part at the bottom. The latter may be used as sort of a ground for the whole tune, even though the next two pages have some specific “ground” parts to be used throughout – especially for group play.

2.) These next two pages are the parts for a round or a “Jam-A-Round” as I like to call it. This basically means that you can plug in any 8-bar part anywhere you want, so you have freedom to mix-and-match.

You’ll see some very “bare-bones” parts on these pages, consisting mostly of half-notes. These represent what you might call guide-tones or structural pitches. These are really cool, as they show us the overall contour of a melodic design: kind of the essence of a melody.

For me personally, they often serve as clues for when I want to change chords or harmony. For example, if I see a continually-descending melodic line, that’s my cue to try an ascending harmony part. This often creates a workable harmony with a minimum of “thinking” !!

The other use for these bare-bones parts is that they make a GREAT group playing experience, especially for players just getting started!

3.) The last two pages were the Intermediate Level when I first published them in 2017. As I’m looking back on them, and playing through them again right now, I’m getting oodles and boatloads of ideas!! I’m even writing some brand new parts!!! These color-chord harmonies add just a touch of jazz harmony with the minor 7th chords, but I have to be careful not to use too many — and not to use any Major 7th chords at all — because the result is often way too sweet and thick. (remember that much of my current music is extremely simple and minimalist, so that I’m really a less-is-more sort of guy. You may want to try more of the “tall chords” like the seventh and ninth chords for your own arrangements).

New Single Coming Soon!

NineBridgesLamentation

This is a brand-new version of an original tune from about 1993. It is in the spirit of an Irish slow air, and it has strong modal flavoring throughout. The original recording was just solo acoustic mountain dulcimer….fingerpicking style and just some open string drone in spots. This new recording uses a few tracks of  electric dulcimer, along with some ambient wash in the background. I have also added more chords: making it a bit less of a dronal texture.

Here is the link for doing a pre-save on the major streaming platforms:

Nine Bridges Lamentation 

This Saturday – September 15 – Starlight Variations Arrives!

Less than a week now! It took about two years to complete this new album, and we are pretty jazzed-up about it. There are eight tracks of meditative electric and acoustic mountain dulcimer: seven of my own compositions, and one traditional tune – the Irish song/air Star of the County Down. I think I learned this in 1979, so I’ve been “at” this tune for some time 🙂

The album opens with a tune called “Light Always Comes” – essentially a re-jiggering of a multi-year composition project using one of my favorite chord progressions of all time. This version has a tiny dose of Baroque influence – mostly in the underlying structure and in how some of the parts are written — but overall it has a contemporary, relaxing new age vibe.

 

If you’d like to hear this new album before it is on all the streaming platforms, you can listen right here:

Starlight Variations

New EP Release Coming in September!

My last album, The Singing Messenger, was released November 15th, 2016. Since then I’ve been busy with a Winter-themed album (which is still in process), and this brand-new EP entitled Starlight Variations.

This new EP will be available in all the major streaming platforms and at Bandcamp on September 15, 2018. Until then, you can hear some of the tracks right here:

Starlight Variations EP