Wednesday 21 September 2016

What's happening September 2016

I am still playing from time to time at Deli Chicchi on a Sunday afternoon/evening. The owner Glenn believes in live music and good on him. Sure you can have your home theatre big screen blasting out a blu ray recording of The Eagles live, and you will get a great experience, but you weren't there "in the moment" and even though live music at a pub/cafe won't be quite the same grand experience, you will get "in the moment". Both experiences are great but here in my small city of Perth, people, as a generalisation, haven't (re-)discovered the joys of live music. So get out there!

I haven't recorded anything lately even though my computer game tune arrangement is ready to go and I have already played it several times in public. So nothing to report on that front.

A few times over the past few years I have spoken about finger pain, last year; in 2011, all the way back to 2010. The sad conclusion I've had to draw is that yes, if I go to hard on my left hand doing awkward fretting I am going to cause myself pain. Is it arthritis setting in? I don't think so. Am I managing the pain? Yes; just. It's a sad thing when you know you are capable of doing something but you shouldn't do it. So pulling back is a hard thing to do.

Stretching fingers/wrists and hands helps but it isn't a cure-all. I have some regular stretches I do while I'm at work and they increase how far I can do without busting into pain-and-damage land. Stretching during a long playing session, especially simply pulling your hands back at the wrist is a good idea. I have also been taking turmeric pretty much every day for more than a year now. Yes, the yellow spice; it is a natural and cheap anti-inflammatory. Mix a quarter of a teaspoon with water and down it, once a day in the morning. I've become accustomed to the taste, it grows on you. When I have forgotten to take it for more than a week I notice that I get into pain-and-damage land much sooner. So I'm giving it a tick and sticking to it.

I am going to catch up with a year 11 student at my kid's school sometime soon. I saw him once at a music show belting out some pretty good fingersyle; he has skills. I thought "I could show him some stuff, and save him from having to learn the hard way the past few decades what I have learnt." So I spoke to the music teacher and he introduced me. He seems keen, I will find out what his goals are and see if I can help him get there. It would be nice to be a "guitar mentor", I feel like I've got stuff to give. Life is big, and wide, and varied, and everything isn't about guitar. But at least the parts that are about guitar can be as worthwhile and fruitful as possible :-)


Thursday 8 September 2016

Powertab to MuseScore

I've finally decided to move out of the 2000's and into modern day - I'm switching from Powertab to MuseScore. Why? It creates really nice scores to play from. I'm still transitioning so I might still do the grunt tab work in Powertab and then import it into MuseScore to finish it off. The tab entry process for MuseScore, which I have tested previously, is a bit different than Powertab, so it's going to take some getting used to.

What has finally won me over is how beautiful - and useful - the score sheet is. Here's an example, the current piece I am arranging, click on it to show detail. How good is that!
Now proper musicians will rightly balk at this, but here are my random thoughts about this presentation of the score:
  1. Clef notation is great because it gives you note duration. Tab does not normally give you note duration, but this "full tab" presentation does!
  2. Clef notation doesn't give you left hand fingering positions (unless specifically marked), Tab, by its very nature, does. Fingerstyle tends to wander all over the fretboard to get the fingerting resolves needed, so knowing that you need to play a C on the third string rather than the second string is important.
  3. Clef notation is hard to read when the notes go too far above and below the clef. Tab doesn't have that problem.
So in this score I reckon I have the best of all worlds - string, fret, music tails to show note duration as well as duration spacing - and it's all presented in an easy to read fashion, with plenty of score per page!

Let me know what you think!