John Dowland variations and connections to the blues

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CarsickPhil
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John Dowland variations and connections to the blues

Post by CarsickPhil »

I have played early music on my classical guitar for a while and love it. John Dowland's lute music from the 16th century is amongst my favourites. More recently, I have been learning blues and playing slide guitar. I find an interest correspondence between sad 400 year old lute music and the blues. I tried to morph a Dowland piece into blues and found use of the pentatonic scales shifting to minor for bluesy moments. Flattened sevenths, third and fifths too. It's all there...or I imagine it is. I wondered if anyone else had tried this sort of cross over. There's a video on youtube showing what I tried to do in a series of variations. Technical faults abound, but it gives you an idea of what I had on my mind. Please click on CarsickPhil to go to my profile where you'll find that my website is my youtube channel, if you are interested.
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VikingBlues
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Re: John Dowland variations and connections to the blues

Post by VikingBlues »

As I said in reply to your thread introducing yourself - the idea of 'Orlando Sleepeth' on slide works would never have occurred to me in a million years, and it's impressive the way you've even got some variations out of that too.

As a crossover goes it's a fascinating idea. We have blues-rock, jazz fusion, jazz-rock, jazzy blues, etc,, so why not Renaissance-Blues! :icon_whoknows:

We've had quite a few blues / jazz type crossovers popping up on the forum recently, and in the past there's also been attempts at doing bluesy playing with boosa nova and gypsy jazz twists. So we're not purists here and are (hopefully) quite broadminded.

I'm maybe biased though - I quite enjoyed the Renaissance period pieces on classical guitar several years ago.
An improv a day keeps the demons at bay!
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CarsickPhil
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Re: John Dowland variations and connections to the blues

Post by CarsickPhil »

Thanks VikingBlues. I think a Renaissance Blues movement would be great. Dowland's lyrics are pretty much blues too. For example:

Who ever thinks or hopes of love:
Or who belov'd in Cupid's laws doth glory:
Who joys in vows, or vows not to remove:
Who by this light-god hath not been made sorry:
Let him see me eclipsed from my sun,
With dark clouds of an earth quite over-run.

Who thinks that sorrows felt, desires hidden,
Or humble faith in constant honour armed,
Can keep love from the fruit that is forbidden,
Who thinks that change is by entreaty charmed,
Looking on me let him know, love's delights
Are treasures hid in caves, but kept by sprites.
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losaavedra
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Re: John Dowland variations and connections to the blues

Post by losaavedra »

Refreshingly good stuff amigo! My roots would go for various 'crossover' things after several years of trying to master flamenco on a Manuel Rodriguez C1M Classical guitar (it turned out that they're made up the road from where I now live!) from a blues start point. There's a José Mercé here in Spain who doesn't do a bad job of combining blues and flamenco sometimes, although he does a far better than I ever managed! Flamenco is the 'blues of Spain' (el duende). Here's my favourite line (the last) from my equally favourite Federico García Lorca poem: "¡Oh guitarra! Corazón malherido por cinco espadas". Pretty much sums up what both blues and flamenco people are trying to do! It translates as "Oh Guitar ... heart mortally wounded by five swords".

Keep up the good work!

p.s. as a postscript (just in case anyone thinks I've gone totally nuts!) happy hour, as it is here as I write this, is when I am at my most reflective and melancholy, probably brought on by an overdose of vino at 69 cents a litre!!!!!
Mike
"I feel more like I do now than when I first came on" (Ronnie Scott, Maidstone)
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12bar
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Re: John Dowland variations and connections to the blues

Post by 12bar »

Interesting point - I'll take a look at him (never heard of him before)...
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CarsickPhil
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Re: John Dowland variations and connections to the blues

Post by CarsickPhil »

Thank you for your encouragement. I have just had a go at another piece by John Dowland called "Mr Dowland's Midnight". This was an easier fit to the blues than the previous piece. It is in a minor key which helped and I have learned a little bit since the previous experiment. It can be found on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0xUfNyReAM More feedback would be welcome...and encouragement too. Thanks.
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tytlblues
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Re: John Dowland variations and connections to the blues

Post by tytlblues »

Yes indeed, nothing wrong with the crossover stuff. Jazz, blues, bluesy, jazzy, whateverey..........it's all about making some nice music. :)
Tytlblues

" A blues guitarist plays 3 chords in front of thousands of people.......a Jazz guitarist plays thousands of chords in front of 3 people"
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oneeyedslide
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Re: John Dowland variations and connections to the blues

Post by oneeyedslide »

Just watched a couple of your vids on youtube and who do I find when I click over here? I liked your slow blues solo. Gonna watch more of 'em when I get time. That kind of crossover approach to the John Dowland Lute music is a cool idea. Nice slide on it!
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