(NOTE: as an introduction to this blog, this post will remain at the top. All future posts will follow on this page with the most recent one first followed by older posts.)
About Me and this Website (March 8, 2019)
I’m an amateur musician of very modest ability, playing guitar accompanying melody players. I play by ear and don’t read music beyond the sitting-down-and-puzzling-it-out level. I built this site originally as an aid to my musical memory, which I describe as including two databases, one for tunes and one for titles and with no connection between the two. The website was to help me answer the questions, “How does that tune go?” or “What’s the name of that tune?”
I grew up mostly with classical music played on my dad’s Columbia console record player. In high school my two best friends were playing banjo and guitar ‘folk revival’ songs; Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, the New Lost City Ramblers, etc. In the ‘60s (yeah, I’m that old) I found rock & roll; the Beatles, Stones, Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, etc, etc.
In the early ‘70s I and my family were privileged to live for five years in Atlantic Canada. It was a busy time in our lives, with one and then two children to parent, but we enjoyed learning about the Canadian music scene, including a regular program on CBC TV, “The Cape Breton Symphony” with three older fiddlers and a young man with long dark sideburns named Jerry Holland. One of the older musicians, I remember, was Buddy McMaster who was already one of the best loved Cape Breton fiddlers, and Jerry soon became legendary as well.
Long story short, I came to love a wide swath of traditional dance and fiddle music and was honored to be invited to play with the Vermont Fiddle Orchestra, led by David Kaynor. The VFO, plus a variety of jams and sessions broadened my horizons to include Scandinavian, British Isles, Irish, Breton, Québécois, New England, Appalachian, old-time traditional music and more, all of which I try to represent on the North Atlantic Tune List.
Just as I’m not a highly skilled musician, I’m also not an expert web designer or programmer, but I did have the good fortune to study what was called “Internet Strategy Management” as part of a two-year program at the Marlboro Grad Center where I specialized in information architecture and usability design. That plus considerable help from some friends and my daughter who is a website and graphic designer, has resulted in this website.
This is the first of what I hope will be a continuing occasional series of posts on this blog, as appropriate thoughts present themselves. Please stay tuned!
Spring Concert Upcoming in Barre, VT (March 17, 2019)
The Vermont Fiddle Orchestra, directed by David Kaynor, will perform their spring concert Saturday, April 13 at the Barre Opera House. See http://vermontfiddleorchestra.org/upcoming-performances-2/ for details.
Celebrating its 15th anniversary, the VFO is a community orchestra open to all levels and ages of players. 35 to 40 orchestra members meet regularly to rehearse and prepare programs. Our members span several generations and range in experience from beginning level players to professional soloists.
What Kind of Music is This, Anyway? (March 14, 2019)
I spent the last 35 years of my professional life in magazine publishing. During that time (and continuing, it appears) the media landscape was fragmenting into narrower and narrower “niches”. The days of broad-market, general interest publications were over, or at least numbered. Think Life and Look magazines. Even the slightly more narrowly focused magazines like the weekly news magazines—Time, NewsWeek, US News & World Report—were withering or are gone.
Fortunately for me, the publications I worked for were much more narrowly focused on “special interests”: a magazine for designers and programmers of what were then called microcomputers, a magazine for builders of custom homes and finally, regional magazines like Arizona Highways and Vermont Life. Even today, assuming competent management, special interest magazines like these or niche publications like model railroad, bird watcher, auto racing, sewing magazines, etc. are thriving.
Music, however is hard to pigeonhole with its broad landscape of genres; classical, jazz, funk, old-time, country, folk, etc., etc. and I’m never sure how to categorize the kind of music I love and feature on this website. It generally but not exclusively falls into the wider category of folk music, but even the somewhat clumsy name of this website, “The North Atlantic Tine List, Dance & Fiddle Tunes from around the North Atlantic”, reflects the challenge of identifying the genre. Still, hundreds of thousands, even millions of people play, dance to or just like listening to these tunes.
What’s your opinion? Do you have a nice, efficient, one- to two-word name for this music we love?