The filk managed to roll along just fine after that. Some high points I can recall include singlemaltsilk favoring us with a couple of her wonderful songs, with backup from quadrivium on piano and Dr. Bob on washtub bass, markbernstein singing his love song to a brain in a jar; min0taur giving us “Small Designs” and, sadly, sneaking out before I found a good opportunity to ask for “Monorail to Atomland” (for which I meant to offer him my 12-string, since he didn’t bring his usual Guild and I seem to recall him saying that he thought that my guitar played similarly); min0taur (again) telling the story of how he learned what the Russian lyrics in Leslie Fish’s “Surprise” mean; and myself doing what I think was a solid job of pitching Anne Passovoy’s “Dangerous Color” to an audience most of which was more than fifty feet away.
Things did start winding down, as things do, by 3ish, but there were still several people there. almeda had a tune she’d written for one of cadhla’s wonderful poems -- “Ache” -- for which she had chords but didn’t feel ready to play. With a little coaching, I accompanied her; I think I did pretty well for accompanying something I had never heard. At least, it seemed to me to be mostly working. The song has a fast harmonic rhythm, and I need to practice me Bm’s. Later, we talked about the song, and she said that she’d worked with peteralway on a dulcimer accompaniment; there were several chords that she’d noted as Em that were different chords on the dulcimer (different voicings). She wants to figure out how to use different voicings on the guitar to come closer to the dulcimer sound, but I fear that if she manages to realize the arrangement we were talking about it will be an arrangement beyond what I can play (at least without a lot of effort). But if I never stretch myself, I’ll never grow, so hopefully we’ll get the chance to work on it. As the night wore on, filker0 sang a bunch of songs, including one of my personal favorites, Dave Carter’s “When I Go”. Unfortunately, that one, like the other songs he does with spiritdance, have gotten rusty because they don’t have opportunities to sing together. I hope I wasn’t rubbing salt in the wounds of the enforced separation.
Another discussion with almeda ensued when I sang “Dark Wine and Roses”. We talked about rhythm, and keeping a steady beat without inserting partial measures. I realized a couple of significant things in this discussion. One is that she’s tried to tell me about this before, in her comments about other songs I’ve done, and I hadn’t understood. Another is that my perception of rhythm isn’t the same as hers. I don’t hear a distinct difference between “1” and “3” in a typical 4/4 song, so I usually won’t hear anything about inserting a half measure so that (to her hearing) I’m putting the “1” beat where the “3” beat belongs. In the case of “Dark Wine and Roses” I don’t think this is the only reason we don’t connect; I know I have trouble figuring out where the downbeats are in the song, but I think that even when I manage to get the song to the place I want it to be, we’re going to disagree on tempo. But it is something I need to work on. I believe I am entitled to put half measures into the song where I want them, but I should be doing it knowingly and on purpose, rather than just failing to notice that I’m doing it.
We were actually having a really good discussion, but by 5 AM I was really losing it. I hope that we can find the chance to continue the discussion at length, because I feel that I’m on the cusp (or at least in seeing distance) of some important musical understanding. We talked about the possibility of getting together outside of a con; hopefully we’ll actually be able to make it happen.
Unfortunately, I’m supposed to be off to dinner now, so I’m going to have to postpone the rest of this yet again.