Day 3 (yesterday)
The custom string set I put together for this is working well; I miraculously managed to get it right the first time. I devised a set that works out to medium tension on this scale length for this tuning at A=415. Everything feels and sounds balanced, so I'm calling it successful.
I got it into my head yesterday morning to try playing some of the songs I performed with it at the Saturday night rock gig in the Dm tuning. Actually not bad. I just did the strummy stuff in G or Em, but I might see how some of the fingerpicking tunes work out over the course of the week.
The deal I was trying to work on that used lute fell through; the asking price turned out to be rock bottom. Damn.
I'm toying with the notion of attempting a build from David van Edward's course as a winter project. My girlfriend thinks I've completely lost my mind.
I went back to my CG arrangements yesterday. it's working better now. I still read very slowly in this tuning, and keep forgetting where things are. But it's coming together. I spent about an hour on Sor 35/17.
Speaking of which, it's clear I am NOT used to thinking in terms of more than six strings. It doesn't even occur to me half the time that I can, you know, fret notes on the extra strings. There were two places in my arrangement in which grabbing a Bb bass at the first fret of the 6th string felt a bit awkward, and then late yesterday it dawned on me that I could do it at the 3rd fret of the 7th and it would be easy. Ok, so I am an idiot.
I still haven't gotten into the baroque lute method yet. For some reason I am strangely reluctant to do so without an actual lute. Maybe because I know I'm going to run out of bass strings in a big hurry?
My kid spent a little time yesterday with the very easy little eight bar etude I wrote for her. I'll attach it below. Please be advised I do NOT claim to have a great piece of music; the idea is to learn where the notes are while playing something that sounds at least vaguely musical. It uses a single-note drone bass so it would be quite playable on any plucked instrument with two open strings in the same pitch class. A few notes:
1) As I am not approaching this purely as a vehicle to play ancient music by rote, I refuse to do it in tablature. I'm using the grand staff because once I get an actual lute the ledger lines will just be ridiculous, so this may be problematic for folks who don't read bass clef. The upshot is that it's an easy way to learn; almost all of the bass clef stuff will be one note at a time as I am essentially using the bass staff to denote stuff that is plucked with the right-hand thumb. It may seem silly on this piece because the only bass note is F two ledger spaces above the bass staff, but it establishes the convention if that makes any sense.
2) It was created in Dorico, which is why the fingering is above the staff piano-style. Dorico has still not implemented a lot of guitar-specific features, although I am assured that guitar-style fingering is in the works. I'm doing the Dorico free trial and am thus far very impressed; smoothest workflow I have ever seen in software of this kind.
3) All the action is on two strings. The main point is to learn the location of notes on the first string which is F, and the bass is a single-note drone. The fingers will alternate on the first string (I would make a student use all finger pairs) whilst the thumb plays the bass note on the 4th. I basically made it almost impossible for the right hand to get lost so most of the focus can be on the left.
4) A major didactic focus here could be maintaining a smooth, singing melody line whilst moving along a string. I put an open string in to assist most major position shifts, but where there isn't one it's important to hold each note until the last possible millisecond prior to shifting.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1OspC6g ... sp=sharing