A 'Good' ImprovFriday from the World of Sound-In, Friday, March 25, 2016

And yes it's a 'Good' Friday on ImprovFriday.  Join in for the next 24 hours or so and let your muse spring forth...

From a Google search for an image I found this piece painted in 1913 by the Russian artist Wassily Kadinsky titled 'Improvisation, Deluge' so though these events are themeless maybe that can be the inspiration of would be a great theme I think!  Cheers and welcome everyone, Jim

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Jim Goodin


Guess I'll kick off with the first piece.  I'm starting to play at violin again after not focusing on it for a while.  This is heavily processed on my first electric fiddle received for Fathers Day several years ago, one of my first Chinese electrics which I love.  Have several now.  Processing is through Jonatan Liljerdahl's AudioFXDub for iOS.

Man, I'm so jealous!  I've always wanted an electric violin - well, in my case I'd actually want an electric ErHu but it's pretty much the same thing.  lolol

This is awesome stuff you're doing here... really like it.  Holds me captive as a head massage!  

Carla thanks :) ErHu, the Chinese single string right? Actually ask no questions merely google as one of my kids once reminded me so I will!  It's my devils box and I continually come and go in confidence with it, put it down for a while and come back with new interest and hide in the electronics a lot.  Anyhow glad you made the event and got the hang of the linking.

Yes, I got it right this time! ;)

Actually the 'Er' in the word means 2 - it has two strings but one pulls the bow back and forth over the strings from BETWEEN the two, not over both at the same time.  There are also no frets so you have to learn where the notes change from practice and intuition.  I love the sound of it and want to get back into it now that my hands are acting up while playing piano.  It's very expressive, almost like a human voice singing.

Mine is technically a stick fiddle - but they are easy to make but don't sound authentic...


That's wild Chris re your DIY - looks like a good attempt and I can see the draw of interest.  I see them often by Chinese subway musicians, some of them played very artfully.  It's such a minimal looking instrument that looks easy to build.  I suspect the authenticity of sound is in the chamber box material as that's where it resonates I think?

Traditionally, as with mine, your teacher helps you make, or has made, your ErHu... the skin is snake skin and there is a bonding ritual connected to that.  When you get your finished ErHu, your teacher treats you to a snake dinner!  Tasted great, just super salty. ;)

The best ones are made with exotic hardwoods and python skin but all are made with dense woods and a snake skin.  The ones I've used have all had hexagonal boxes but some are round.  The important thing about having two strings is that the bow plays against the inside of each of the two strings and only one string is played at a time.  The size and shape of the box helps create the distinct sounds different ErHu's have.

That's neat, though!  

This is really cool Jim - its like Hawkwind violin.

I'm impressed with your violin skills. I tried and failed miserably...

Thanks Chris - as said most of the time with it I hide in the electronics.  I've come/gone with the violin since the 80's.  Play for awhile then get discouraged and put it down, then get the yang again and play for awhile.  Since my experiments with an electric one I got as a gift in 2007 I've found that each time I return to it my bowing is a little bit better which in my opinion that is the battle with the instrument.  I've studied with a couple of teachers as well.  I played it quite a bit in a trio project with James Ross and Joe Benzola in 2014.  James has been away and is coming back for a few months and we are talking of playing together again.  That has excited me to get the viol out again recently.  Take your time with the instrument - I think it's one that demands some failing before success and different in it's requirements from almost any other musical instrument.  In other words have another go at it :)

Open Your Eyes

My keyboard improvisations last night were more structured than usual and led to

my doing this.  First, I used a synth to do the background notes and chords, added

vocal noodling inside of my new Nectar 2 plug-in, and finally sang the words with

the other sounds surrounding and inspiring me - far far away from the hustle and

bustle of the day.  I'm pretty sure the words are in response to all this craziness and

violence going on - I feel like a hermit struggling with personal demons while the rest

of the world is fighting to the death over rhetoric and beliefs I walked away from as

a child.  Anyway, I've been on the front lines more times than not but this part of my

life is sort of like being an elder in one of my ancestors' cultures.  I sit here and try

to send health and sanity, luck and safety to all of those younger than myself knowing

full well they won't receive it before they too are my age, if they live that long.  Sigh.

Still, I think it's a beautiful song and - as always - it's quite a surprise to me as I'm

doing these improvisations just how distinct their point of view is or how complete

they seem in terms of form.  Then, again, I also count on it knowing that there's magic

that happens in the moment if I can keep from stopping it. ;)

This is the song art I made for it:

Carla welcome.  That's really lovely and particularly with reflecting on the horrific happenings across the planet this week which was good of you to make some mention and send some positive energy in to the universe.  On a musical level I kept thinking Diana Ross of all people through there.  You've got a nice powerful low to high in your expression.


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