Monday, January 24, 2011

Mnemonics and The Lazy Swan

As with most people as we reach a certain age, remembering stuff correctly has started to become slightly more difficult for me. This poses a minor problem for a not very skillful guitar player in a morris team.

Luckily, the Wreckers don't rely purely on my abilities. We have two other six-string players in Millbrook's own Slocombe and the multi-talented new team member Steve Wrecker.
At last week's rehearsal, Squire Wrichard Wrecker and Foreman Max Wrecker decided to re-introduce a dance called the Lazy Swan into the repertoire.

It's a rather marvellous number, but the music is played by strings only: guitars and fiddles. This means there's no nice loud melodeon to hide behind when I can't remember which shape to bend my fingers into next.

What's more it's a fairly complex piece for morris music. Classical players or prog rockers would laugh with derision at its simplicity, but for a Millbrooker with low talent-to-ambition quotient it's a tad on the complicated side.

It begins easily enough with a 4/4 section using Am, F and Dm with a quick G thrown in for the final bar. No problem.

The second part of the tune, though, requires some quick fingered manoeuvring between a more difficult sequence. Luckily Steve Wrecker had an idea....

"The way I remember it," he said. "Is I've got a couple of mates called Gary and Dave, so I just think of them and I know to play G(ary) Am(and) D(ave)."

Very clever. What about the other chords?

"Ah....we start with a C - so how about 'See Gary and Dave'," came the response.

That makes C G Am D, or "See Gary And Dave"............I should probably leave the remainder of the nmemonic that we've ended up with to your imagination, but if I was to tell you the sequence is C G Am D...F C, I'm sure you can work out the "F C" memory jogger which follows "See Gary And Dave". It's not one to use in polite company.

The final sequence, after that one, adds an extra G as well - see if you can complete this helpful little phrase that we guitarists will be muttering to ourselves every time we play the Lazy Swan..."See Gary and Dave, F G C".

Yes - it probably is what you're thinking. unless you have an unusually clean mind and were very very well brought up.

Steve has promised that he'll introduce me to his friends Gary and Dave. One day.

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