Another great day at Swannanoa Gathering.

I learned some of the intricate differences between the various styles of Cape Breton fiddling, designated as the West Side, the East Side, the North side, and I guess there is a South side as well, although that was not mentioned. Kimberley Fraser is the instructor for this course and is a fantastic master of ornaments, both for the bow and the left hand.

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My class with Martin Hayes was the highlight of the day.Just getting to sit in close vicinity to him and listen to him play is all I would ever need! But he allows students to shamelessly pick his brain, and some interesting questions are asked, like, “Do you have an mp3 player, and if so, what music do you have on it?”

Can you imagine being able to ask such personal questions of your heroes?!

Want to know the answer? He said he is the proud owner of the FIRST generation iPod, and he had it ordered before they were even released to the public. He told us how everywhere he traveled, he would carry tons of CDs and a CD player, and then, often looked at his pile of CDs discovering he had brought all the wrong ones and wasn’t in the mood for the ones he had packed.

So now he carries everything with him on his iPod, and some of his favorites were Ella Fitzgerald, his favorite Tommy Potts album, and Arvo Part. (Part is my all-time favorite Minimalist composer, and I felt proud to have that in common with Mr. Hayes).

Intonation: Sweetest Perfume, or Stenchiest Stench

The best little tidbit from today was an analogy made about intonation. I cannot divulge its source, because when asked if I could quote this person, I was told “Better not.”

Well, the analogy started out like this:

You know when you go to some people’s house and there’s a smell in that house? But they are not aware of it anymore, because they have grown so accustomed to it? That’s like bad intonation. Others can detect it, but not the person themselves. Everyone listening was amused, and remembering houses they have been in with smells, maybe wondering if THEIR house had a smell. Then the person expounded, “Or better yet, it is like someone with really bad body odor.”

Yeah. Take a shower. Use deodorant, and for GOD’s sake, work on your intonation!!!