Old-time, jazz, fiddle, piano, it’s all great

Played in a fiddle contest last Saturday, recorded a tune I wrote a few weeks ago, practiced some exercises, and made up a chord progression.


I went to the annual Missouri Fiddlers Association fiddle contest last Saturday and won first place in the open division. Here’s a video of my entry. To my knowledge there are similar versions of Lost Girl from both John Salyer and Emmett Lundy, but I think I learned it in a jam somewhere; I think Ook Pik Waltz is Canadian but I’m not sure of the original source, and I learned it from Geoff Seitz’s album “The Good Old Days Are Here”; and Highlander’s Farewell comes from Emmett Lundy although I learned it from Emily Schaad’s recording on the CD “Old Buck.”


My house’s piano was tuned earlier this week, so I can bear to record things on it now. Here’s another recording of Memories. It’s changed enough from what it was originally that I don’t think the title fits it anymore, so I’m calling this one “Making Memories” (my first recording of the tune is here).


I was reading this book on jazz keyboard harmony and came to the “guide tones” section where it had exercises for playing the cyclical ii-V-I progression with the left hand voicing the bass note and the right hand voicing the 3 and 7.

I came up with a chord progression variation similar to the cyclical ii-V-I progression. Instead of making the [I] into a [i] to act as a [ii], I keep the 3 and 7 in the same place and move the bass note up a semitone, starting another ii-V-I progression but a semitone above the previous ending point. (It feels a bit like tritone substitution in this way, preserving the 3 and 7 but changing the 1 and 5.) Since this is one semitone lower than the previous starting point, you can progress chromatically downwards as far as you’d like. I think it sounds pretty nice, and the voicings connect very smoothly to each other, so it should work if I execute it properly. I especially think it would work as a method for ending a tune.

Here’s a video where I do the normal progression followed by my experimental progression. Here are the chords:

Normal progression:
Em7 A7 DM7 | Dm7 G7 CM7 | Cm7 F7 BM7

Experimental progression:
Em7 A7 DM7 | D#m7 G#7 C#M7 | Dm7 G7 CM7 | C#m7 F#7 BM7 | Cm7 F7 BM7

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