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La Folia - June SOTM

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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This month's song of the month is by centuries the oldest we have had so far.
It is a 16-bar blues called "La Folia" or "Folies d'Espagna"

Musicians have been creating variations and improvisations on this tune for hundreds of years.

It interesting because the tune seems to have been accompanied by a chord chart from very early on.
It is in a minor key, and the chord chart is as follows:
I V7 I VII III VII I V7
I V7 I VII III VII I V7 I

La Folia has been set by, among others, Giuliani, Lully, Corelli, Geminiani, Vivaldi, J S Bach, C P E Bach, Salieri, and Rachmaninov.
It pops up briefly in Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.
Danes will know it as the Minuet from Elverhøj. I have sung a version at a Danish Christmas Party (which was a very long affair, with lots of singing and alcohol).
In Sweden I think it morphed into the song Bort allt vad oro gör.

But it seems to have gone out of favour in the twentieth century, so here's a chance to reclaim it.

Notes and backing tracks are here:
La Folia

The tune is quite short, so I have made versions of the backing track where it repeats 3 times and 5 times.
The melody is usually played with 3 beats in the bar, but I have also included a 4/4 version which may be more comfortable for jazz players.

The versions on YouTube are mostly the Corelli Variations, but I am imagining that we can do something more modern.

However, here is Jordi Savall on Viola de Gamba, with harp, guitar and some nice castanet playing

And here is JS Bach's version, with added guitar for fun
 
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Tenor Viol

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Ah... Jordi playing a 7 string bass viol with a very grunty bottom A... La Folia is the C16th and C17th equivalent of Autumn Leaves - it crops up everywhere. We would call it 'theme and variations' these days, but called 'divisions' back then. Divisions got more complicated as you go through them and the limited evidence we have is they were often improvised.

The Bach is fascinating. I have a lot of Bach cantatas on LP and CD but not a complete set. I did start buying the John Elliot Gardiner set some years ago and got as far as volume 14... which got me to the 190s... Then my local CD shop closed... so missing 212...

I'm sure I have a set of divisions on La Folia... somewhere...

Brain currently exploding as I could have a go on bass viol, tenor viol, cello, tenor sax...bari sax.... will have a think.
 
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nigeld

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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Brain currently exploding as I could have a go on bass viol, tenor viol, cello, tenor sax...bari sax.... will have a think.
Yes, I thought of you while I was posting this.
 

rhysonsax

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These two aren’t shabby either!
I’m not sure why the saxophone players seem to choose the Vivaldi arrangement.

Blimey, synchronised saxophone stirring, Could it become a new sport ?

If I was a snake I wouldn't know where to look.

Rhys

PS But truly amazing playing.
 
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nigeld

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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Blimey, synchronised saxophone stirring, Could it become a new sport ?
There was a post not so long ago with a professor explaining the finer points of this sort of movement.
 

Nikki

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Blimey, synchronised saxophone stirring, Could it become a new sport ?

If I was a snake I wouldn't know where to look.

Rhys

PS But truly amazing playing.
I can’t listen to it all due to limited data but that’s some find playing.
 
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nigeld

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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Here’s another beautiful version

 

rhysonsax

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I couldn't let it get to halfway through the month without posting a recording. @nigeld helped me to find an arrangement of La Folia for saxophone quartet, which has the theme and nine variations. Those variations get pretty tricky so at the moment I have just recorded the theme and first two variations.

La Folia for Saxophone Quartet Theme + Vars 1&2 V1.mp3 - Box

Maybe I will add another variation or two before the end of the month.

Rhys

PS I have great respect for the sax quartet and duet players in the YouTube videos already posted. My brain and fingers just do not function that quickly or smoothly.
 
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nigeld

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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Well done! Those two variations would be more than tricky enough for me.
 
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nigeld

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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This month I like use unusual (for me) instruments, here is my quick and dirty take at Bass clarinet; I have played Bass clarinet very few times in my life my I would like give him a chance.:)

View: https://youtu.be/XfHAWhlj5Fo


Ciao and keep you safe.
That was great!
A good jazz interpretation.
I love the sound of the bass clarinet, and it suits this song well.
 

Mark Hancock

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Sounds nice too!
I'm guessing it is a SYOS mouthpiece.

Great bit of improv too.
Thanks, Nigel, it's in interesting alternative to the normal standards, but I'm afraid I kind of "standardised" it.

Yes it's a SYOS ChadLB model. I wanted to try a mouthpiece at the opposite end of the spectrum to what I'm used to, but it doesn't seem to be dramatically different, to be honest. It plays great though. A lot of fun. I think it's a keeper. Plus it matches my soprano mouthpiece, which is also important.
 

Nick Wyver

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Sorry about this. :D
Not having done one of these for a while, I thought I'd have a bash at this since it's a bit different.
I don't think I knew the tune though I'd be amazed if I hadn't heard it somewhere or other. So I played through it and recorded it. Didn't like it so I tried again. Got halfway through, got bored and stopped.
Not feeling inclined to try again I decided to stick the first attempt up here. Enjoy. It sort of falls apart near the end.
 
Saxholder Pro

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