Completed A Family Heirloom Comes Home II

Tazrae works on her mandolin.

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Syka is a new settlement of primarily humans on the east coast of Falyndar opposite of Riverfall on The Suvan Sea. [Syka Codex]

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A Family Heirloom Comes Home II

Postby Tazrae on July 13th, 2020, 3:22 am

Timestamp:35th of Summer, 520 A.V.




Tazrae knew it was important to learn a few scales, because they contained the notes she needed in order to play melodies. It was what her grandfather always said... the more words you had, the more notes, the more sentences and the more vocabulary. Music was just like that. Without notes and without scales, there was no way to construct song. All scales contained eight notes; the first and last notes are always the same, but an octave apart. She remembered that from what he'd told her.

She thought about the D scale, and it having these notes:

D E F# G A B C# D
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

She tried to find it, the D scale, on her mandolin. The first note of the scale (D, of course) was played by striking the third, or D, string open. Next, she had to push the D string down at the second fret with herr index finger and play it . . . that was an E. Then play the D string at the fourth fret, using herr middle finger, to get an F# . . . and at the fifth fret, using her ring finger, to produce a G. She followed that by playing the second, or A, string to get (obviously) an A. She pressed her index finger down on the A string at the second fret to produce a B . . . then she used her middle finger at the fourth fret to play a C# . . . and finally, she pressed her ring finger down on the A string at the fifth fret to finish the scale with a high D.

Tazrae smiled in approval. That was it. She ran through it faster, forcing her fingers to behave.

She practiced her scales over and over, using just a downstroke on her pick to strike each note. Then she tried playing the notes by alternating up and down strokes with her pick. I worked nicely so long as she didn't forget to hold her pick properly and to move only her wrist, not her arm, as she struke the strings.

Tazrae practiced (and practiced, and practiced some more), until she felt pretty decent at it, then learned to do it forward and backward over and over again until she could do it without the slightest stumbling or hesitation. Then she decided to really learn how to use the scale of hers.

She knew that scales are the building blocks with which she could create melodies. Once she got comfortable with the D scale and develop a "feel" for the notes - how they sound, and where were on her mandolin's fingerboard - she was ready to experiment a little. She tried going partway up the scale and then back down. She also tried to play the first few notes and then skip a note or two before completing the scale. Then she played every other note. It was really fun, and she found herself loosing herself for bells working with the scale.

As she became more and more adventurous, she discovered familiar melodies right at her fingertips. She played the first three notes of the scale: D (striking the third, or D, string open) . . . E (third string, second fret) . . . and F# (third string, fourth fret). Then she played her D string open again, and repeat the four notes.

She recognized the tune immediately. It was an old song called "Are you sleeping?"? The rest of the melody (and thousands of others) she decided, could be picked out using only the eight notes of the scale.

Tazrae had ran through the scales, and learned the chords, now it was time to think on other things. There were aspects of mandolin playing her grandfather had told her wasn't traditional playing for a mandolin, but she knew she needed to learn them anyhow. Primarily, she was concerned about fingerpicking. First and foremost, she wanted to be well informed on the possibilities, all the aspects of what a mandolin could do, verses what was simply accepted... Fingerpicking definitely fell into that category.


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Tazrae
A warm welcome in paradise awaits you.
 
Posts: 426
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Joined roleplay: May 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm
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A Family Heirloom Comes Home II

Postby Tazrae on July 13th, 2020, 3:25 am

When most people think of fingerpicking, they imagine a guitar or fiddle with bass and melody harmonies played throughout. However, when she thought about fingerpicking her mandolin, she thought this might encompass all types of renderings, from single string melodies (fiddle tune style), chordal comping, alternating bass with melody runs (ruckus style), to counterpoint lines between the bass and melody (classical style). Considering that fingerpicking itself can emulate what a flatpick does with single note runs, she could see that any preconceived notion of what fingerpicking mandolin is, should be shattered from the start.

Tazrae was aware that fingerpicking is not a traditional approach to the mandolin and should not be considered as such. But she knew it was Grandfather's way, and thus something she'd teach herself as part her of her basic lesson. In respect to traditional stylings, such as country jigs, Tazrae decided she'd always keep a defined approach to her learning efforts by separating the mediums and approaches to her mandolin for designated styles of music. She would not try to fit fingerstyle mandolin into a context of which has already been well-established as an accepted genre with a long legacy of players whom have delineated the parameters of the music...in other words, she'd keep the traditional pure! But she also knew if she learned a new approach to the mandolin that would be considered unorthodox, she'd be considered innovative. And music itself was always evolving, so was the way it was played.

Tazrae thought about why fingerpicking would be important. It was worth a little time dwelling on it. Traditionally, the mandolin had always been played with a flatpick (what was once called a plectrum)... but it would improve her dexterity to do it otherwise. With that in mind, she thought of all the reasons why fingerpicking was valid with mandolin playing. With that, she started taking notes in one of the blank books she had recently acquired.

Writing carefully, Tazrae laid down all her reasonings in her neat precise penmanship.

1. Mandolin has a very unique voicing as compared to most other string instruments. It can be isolated by ear, within a large ensemble of instruments, far easier than most other instruments with a low to medium range voicing. Because of this unique voicing, as a high-pitched instrument with percussive overtones, the fingerpicking approach to playing mandolin will further establish a polytonal uniqueness which will set it even further apart from other instruments...especially when playing in an ensemble setting.

2. With the fingerstyle approach to the mandolin, you'll be able to play the instrument unaccompanied and still have a fullness with the harmonic support not easily attained with a flatpick. The melody can be supported with an alternating or bass pattern movement that would be impossible to achieve with a flatpick.

3. You'll be better able to understand bass movements and how they affect the melody lines...assiting you with arranging and writing music.

4. You might find it more supportive to accompanying your singing...that is if you're playing alone.

5. If only playing with one other instrument, such as guitar, fingerpicking mandolin fills in nicely...and allows for more support on the guitar's part to take a solo...for you can apply comping with moving bass lines as opposed to just chopping the chords out with a flatpick.

6. There are infinite patterns to fall back on that increases the texturizing of a song over and above strumming with a flatpick...however, one approach to texturizing with a flatpick, in an arpeggio fashion, is called "Crosspicking" (see below) which would emulate that of fingerpicking.

7. With fingerpicking, you can pinch two to three, and even four pairs of strings, simultaneously, which is impossible to do with a flatpick. This pinching of the strings allows chordal comping, or a more piano-like voicing, further enhancing what can be accomplished with the fingerstyle approach to the mandolin.

8. On faster pieces, such as fiddle-like melodies, played in a single linear line, as is common on mandolin, accomplished fingerpicking offers up a very clear articulation between all of the notes...for, on average, when speeding up with a flatpick, the articulation fades and the notes do not have the same distinctness as when played slower (of course, some flatpicking masters of the mandolin have overcome this).

9. When playing crosspicking melodies, it's far easier to play at a faster pace and with clear articulation than with a flatpick...the character of the notes changes between flatpicking and fingerpicking a crosspicking piece. Both have their uniqueness in texture and tonality. It's best to learn both mediums for different applications; only, you will find it to be easier to play crosspicking faster with fingers than with a flatpick for it's easier and faster to pick two non-adjoining strings with fingers than spanning this gap between strings with a flatpick.

10. And, best of all, it's easier to separate the pairs of strings while tuning. You can pick the lower single string separate from the top single string of each pair of strings simply by picking upwards with the fingerpick, or fingernail, and downwards with the thumbpick, or thumbnail (depending on your choice of medium)...I have a problem separating the strings with a flatpick...for it seems that a flatpick will strike both strings even when trying to be careful to hit one at a time.


Word Count: 929
Last edited by Tazrae on July 13th, 2020, 3:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Tazrae
A warm welcome in paradise awaits you.
 
Posts: 426
Words: 500443
Joined roleplay: May 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm
Location: Syka
Race: Human
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A Family Heirloom Comes Home II

Postby Tazrae on July 13th, 2020, 3:27 am

With all that knowledge in mind, Tazrae reviewed her lessons, and started over from the beginning, instead of strumming the instrument with a flatpick, she began plucking the notes from the instrument, calling forth the songs she'd already learned and getting them right. As she did so, the rules she thought of as to why... the ones Grandfather had spoken of over and over, rang through her mind. Bells later, she was still plucking, grinning, and plucking some more.

Tazrae's mind wandered back, another of her grandfather's lectures came to mind. She would have to think carefully on how the mandolin was cared for, and what made it secure. She hoped to keep the one she had for the duration of her life... it was almost everything she had left of her grandfather, and she would hate to have something happen to it because of her carelessness.

"As with any high quality, solid wood instrument, humidity and temperature are the most vital variables in the health and wellbeing of your mandolin. They are capable of being your instruments' closest ally or its most devastating enemy. One must be cautious to never expose it to too much moisture or two little... the results evident, Tazrae. If you expose it to too much moisture it will have raised action, sluggish tones, low volume, the top will belly up, and crack will appear in the lateral finish. Conversely, if it’s too dry you will get lowered action, your frets will buzz and the ends protrude, and you will end up with dips in the top." Her Grandfather said, still sanding the guitar in her mind. She smiled at the memory. How little had she understood that he loved her enough to give her knowledge that she never realized he did. The man had always been speaking, teaching, passing on what he knew as if he felt or sensed his time was limited.

She looked back at her mandolin. What else had he said? Ahh the tuss rod adjustments. While she couldn't quite remember his exact words, she took the mandolin in her hands and examined it carefully.

...Neck Truss Rods & Adjustments...

The truss rod in her mandolin allowed her to counteract the effects of string tension on the neck of her instrument. String tension pulls the neck forward and tightening the rod pulls the neck backward. A properly adjusted truss
rod equalizes the tension on the neck. Slight adjustments in the truss rod tension would change the amount of bow in the plane of the fingerboard.

Generally, Tazrae could see that a properly adjusted truss rod would result in a neck with slight forward relief. To check for proper neck relief, Tazrae pushed down on the low "E" string at the 1st fret and the 14th fret at the same time. The resulting space between the bottom of the string and the top of the 6th fret should be about 0.010 of an inch or about the thickness of a thick parchment. She knew that because of Evan's words.. By using this as a standard she could adjust to her mandolin to her own playing style.

To adjust her truss rod she could see that she would need a small crossed screwdriver to take the truss rod cover plate off and a small nut driver
for the brass nut on the end of the truss rod. They were tools she'd need to pick up. She thought further about the adjustment.

She could see that by tightening the truss rod, turning the nut clockwise, it would cause the neck to bow backward lowering the string height; too far and the strings would buzz. Loosening the truss rod, turning the nut counterclockwise, would cause the neck to bow forward raising the string height; too far and the mandolin would be hard to play.

Word Count: 675
Last edited by Tazrae on July 13th, 2020, 4:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Tazrae
A warm welcome in paradise awaits you.
 
Posts: 426
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Joined roleplay: May 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm
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A Family Heirloom Comes Home II

Postby Tazrae on July 13th, 2020, 3:29 am

The next step was checking her bridge trusses for proper adjustment. She was lucky in that aspect. Evan had left notes in the tiny cavity of the mandolin for her. It gave her a great guide to follow to go through step by step checks, making adjustments as she went.

Tazrae made more notes in her notebook.

Tazrae, don't forget to check your bridge and adjust it...

1. With the strings off, reach into the body just behind the wood block directly under the bridge and gently grasp
the wooden dowel between your thumb and forefinger.

2 . Make certain that there is no play along the lateral axis (running the length of the guitar.) If there is any
movement here, the truss will need to be tightened. (See step 4) If there is no movement, move on to Step 3.

3 . Now gently roll the dowel between your thumb and forefinger a few degrees counterclockwise, then return it to
the original position. The dowel should feel snug, yet spin with some effort. If the dowel offers excessive
resistance, i.e., the dowel won't turn, the truss needs to be loosened. (See step 4) If the dowel spins with just a
touch of resistance, your bridge truss is perfectly adjusted. String the instrument and play on!

4. If your bridge truss is in need of adjustment, use a 3/16* Alien wrench and tighten (clockwise) or loosen
(counterclockwise) the bolt on the front of the wood block (it is visible through the sound-hole). It is always
best to make these types of adjustments in small increments until the proper conditions are met.


She smiled, knowing how to do this now, and as always thankful for her grandfather's foresight. Next, and probably the last big project was cleaning the thing. Mandolin's took TLC, and she knew more than most what that entailed.

The fingerboard of her mandolin needed occasional cleaning. It depended on how much she played and her style of playing. But regardless, if the fingerboard became gummy, she needed to lightly rub it with steel wool and mineral oil. Then she'd have to wipe it down with a dry cotton cloth. If the fingerboard appeared dry or cracked, she'd have to moisturize the wood by using mineral oil on it.

The gloss finish surfaces of her mandolin was very hard and durable, that came from all the coats of gloss Evan had put on it in crafting it for her.. Most liquid furniture wax will treat its shiny wood within-u job. She knew enough not to put mineral oil on the glossy finish. Instead, she would use the wax, and keep the wood nice and healthy. Do not oil these gloss surfaces. Wipe on, Wipe off.

With that, Tazrae decided to pack her mandolin up and call it a day. Tomorrow, she would get down to whole-hearted playing

Word Count: 518
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Tazrae
A warm welcome in paradise awaits you.
 
Posts: 426
Words: 500443
Joined roleplay: May 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm
Location: Syka
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Plotnotes
Medals: 2
Mizahar Grader (1) Syka Seasonal Challenge (1)

A Family Heirloom Comes Home II

Postby Tazrae on July 13th, 2020, 3:30 am

The next day, Tazrae was up before the sun, working on her chores and the morning baking so she could practice her mandolin some more. Once she was caught up and guests settled from breakfast, Tazrae was out on the beach on a driftwood log, bare feet tucked up under her skirt, practicing. She loved the relative privacy of the beach and so it was here that she decided to take her morning mandolin practice which was becoming a part of her daily life.

Since going through everything the day before, she felt far more confident, more at ease with the lovely instrument wrapped in her arms. She went through the steps carefully of what she learned, checking the mandolin's action, and running her fingers down it string by string, double checking that it was in tune. It was. Grandfather had built a nice instrument, that was for sure. So, once that was completed, she double checked with the pitch pipe, then laughed out loud as she had that too well in hand. She ran down her chords, going from D to E to C and onward limbering up her fingers, before she danced her fingers across her fretting, making sure that too was tight. It was nice to have a more intimate knowledge of the instrument, knowing which pieces were which, what was where and which action caused which noise. Noise! Not noise, music! She laughed again, and decided she was in good spirits. She ran across the G chord, then started down on her scales, practicing once more, limbering up.

It all seemed in such good working order... the sound clear and the mandolin ready to sing. Sing, yes that’s what she'd do today as she played, thinking back to an old song she'd learned a long time ago. Winter was over now... and she thought about that as she strummed her mandolin, launching into a song that would pull all her knowledge together. Summer was here... and the beach was her inspiration. She quietly began to sing.

“You look out into the water;
The waves make the most beautiful sound.
A place you find peace and comfort,
Walking hand in hand and looking around.

As you walk toward the water,
Sand coats the bottom of your feet.
The smell of the sea salt drawing you closer,.
The view is so beautiful, oh so sweet.

Almost as if it is calling you.
Sometimes it's only in your mind.
A place to clear your thoughts
And leave everything very far behind.

You find shells, rocks, and other things.
The warmth is like a kiss from up above.
Looking out into the Suvan Sea
Can only remind you of true love.

As the waves come crashing in,
Time seems to be standing still.
The sun is shining down on you
As you walk the beach at your will.

Paradise you thought you could never reach.
Out in the distance you can see the ships sailing by.
Tears of joy for the scene The Gods have put before you,
As the moment makes you cry.

Two shadows are together as one,
A sign of great unity.
A great day full of fun
While walking at the beach…”

She smiled, hitting a few bad notes through the playing of the song. It was something she couldn't have played before.. though now she did, and without practice, she thought a first attempt was fairly good. She ran through it again, and then twice more, until she could play it with minimum flaws, and laughed. Perhaps, she'd make a bard after all.


Word Count: 633
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Tazrae
A warm welcome in paradise awaits you.
 
Posts: 426
Words: 500443
Joined roleplay: May 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm
Location: Syka
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Plotnotes
Medals: 2
Mizahar Grader (1) Syka Seasonal Challenge (1)

A Family Heirloom Comes Home II

Postby Tazrae on July 13th, 2020, 4:51 am

Grading


Play Musical Instrument (Mandolin) +5, Singing +2, Writing +2

Mandolin: Playing The D Scale, Mandolin: Neck Truss Rod Adjustments, Mandolin: How To Clean A Mandolin
Image
User avatar
Tazrae
A warm welcome in paradise awaits you.
 
Posts: 426
Words: 500443
Joined roleplay: May 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm
Location: Syka
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Plotnotes
Medals: 2
Mizahar Grader (1) Syka Seasonal Challenge (1)


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