The holidays are coming, whether we like them or not, whether we celebrate them or not, and no matter how different our celebrations may be this year than in years past! They are coming nonetheless, and it would be more positive to embrace them than to dread them, or wish they were different!
TO that end, I offer “The More We Get Together,” a Viennese melody composed by Marx Augustin in 1679. Its German title is “Oh du lieber Augustin.” In the United States, the tune is a children’s song, but it’s fun, and as strange as it may seem, also timely. We still need to get together with our loved ones, reach out and make new friends and contacts, etc. Even if our physical gatherings are limited, there are so many ways we can still get together for the holidays and all year long! As the song says, “The more we get together, the happier we’ll be!” I believe this to be true.
Today you’re listening to zither, Oriole (soprano) Recorder, and viola. That’s right, viola. You know, the middle voice of the string section in an orchestra… The instrument with its own individual clef for musical scores… The true alto, tuned a fifth below the violin and an octave above the cello… And the instrument that is the butt of nearly every joke in the orchestra… What? You mean you didn’t know any of that? Then you clearly don’t play viola! 🙂
Well, neither do I, at least not in the traditional sense. I hold the viola upright on my lap, more like a baby cello, and sometimes with a strap for support. Because of neck, shoulder, and back pain, I can’t hold it in shoulder playing position. I even removed the chin rest.
I also have more than normal trouble with the bow, especially in this position. So, I ditched the traditional long bow for a tiny–literally 4 inches long at most–bow meant to be used on acoustic guitar. It works. But it’s so short. This means that right now I can only play short notes, until I can purchase a different bow that’s easier on my right hand and arm. In addition, I’m playing with a rubber practice mute installed, to save my husband and neighbors from the full volume. So, no, I’m not traditional in this case. But dog gone it, I still want to play, and play I do!
I don’t have access to a multi-track device or software, so I recorded the zither, viola, and recorder separately, then mixed them. This takes a lot of time and is frustrating, but for now it will have to do.
One more thing… I know that at least one of my blog followers has perfect pitch. You know who you are. 🙂 Please accept my apology. I’ve had the viola less than a week, and I’m still working on intonation. A viola, like violin, cello, some banjos, etc, has no frets. So, you must learn, by a combination of sound and feel, where the musical intervals are on each string. Of course, there was a sticker on the fingerboard showing pretty colored lines for each note! But not being able to see made this a hindrance rather than a help, and I removed that as well. Correct intonation/pitch is the bane of every violinist’s, violist’s, and cellist’s beginning days. I’m not a total beginner, but it’s been years since I picked up a violin or viola. My intonation will improve, and thanks for bearing with me in the meantime!
I hope you enjoy “The More We Get Together!”