(I took the header picture of a Common Loon resting on a pond in Utah on its way north in June of 2015. It was in transition from winter to summer plumage.)

Translate - I dare you. Then make a comment on the funny errors the translator made.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Re-engineering my tambourine

For the past 11 years or so I’ve been interested in frame drums. It started with my Brazilian friend in college who played the pandeiro and was kick-started by my discovery of the 1990s Nordic folk revival. In 2001 I bought first one, then two basic frame drums and have been doum-takking with them on and off ever since.

(Trying to be Glen Velez in 2001)

The more I look, the more richness there is to potentially explore in this deceptively simple instrument: variations in dimension, tuning, jingles, and playing techniques. In particular, I have wished to imitate Bj√∂rn Tollin’s adaptation of kanjira techniques to his tambourine, which started a whole new style in Sweden. I already had a little tambourine but its head was broken, so I bought a cheap tunable one in an import store about six years ago and started experimenting with it.

I’ve been making some progress, but the jingles were too bright. Traditional riqs, tamburelli/tammorre, pandeiros and panderetas all have drier sounding jingles than the conventional tambourine that you’re most likely to find for cheap prices in import shops. It finally occurred to me that I could try to take out the jingles and re-shape them instead of waiting for the day when I had the disposable income to buy a “real” pandeiro.

It was surprisingly easy, with the help of a few pairs of pliers.

Removing the jingles with wire cutting pliers.

Re-shaping them with pliers.

The re-shaped jingles replaced (I only put in four pairs).

I added some little Chinese coins too, for fun.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Alliterative verse 1

I like alliteration. And this past spring I started trying to write alliterative verse according to classical Old-Middle English structure (which you can read about here).

This is hard to do. My attempts so far show the typical features of beginning poetry: most of my attention goes to fitting the form, so that I'm not as free to express what I might be feeling or wanting to say. I can try to steer the point or argument of the poem in a general direction, but I'm still mostly a back-seat driver, with the form at the wheel, sometimes taking turns I didn't intend.

Still, this specimen might not stink too badly, so I'm sharing it.