Monday, February 19, 2007


Well, I'm back to civilization after a fantastic weekend of jamming. I met heaps of nice folks, learned some new tunes, got some decent field recordings, and came back with a to-do list. First on that list is finding resources for "Chattanooga", a G tune that we played at the Beginner's Slow Jam.

I found notation and a cheezy midi audio file. It will remind you of the tune, but be forewarned that it is computer-generated tones based on lifeless notation. It might suck the life out of the tune if you're not careful. [chuckle]

But, as long as I was able to find it, I thought it might be helpful to describe how the search was done:

1. Google chattanooga midi fiddle and get a ton of irrelevant info. Bah! And, that was after I'd spelled it wrong at first.

2. Search for chattanooga in the archives of the Fiddle-L discussion list and got these results. Scroll all the way down for snippets of the list-serve posts to find out that artist Blaine Smith is associated with the tune. Getting closer to a source. (I have some trouble viewing Fiddle-L archives with my Mac's Safari browser, so I use Firefox on that site.)

3. Google "blaine smith" fiddle chattanooga (quotes around the name zero in better on the whole name, the word fiddle helps to weed out irrelevant blaine smiths, and chattanooga helps to weed out other recordings).

4. AHAH! Google returned The Fiddler's Companion which has an ABC file! The search is almost over. [For newbies, ABC is a code that tells the computer how to make notation. Don't be afraid. Once you've found an ABC file, it is easy to get to a notation and sound file. No special software is needed, only a web browser like Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.]

5. Copy and paste the ABC code into the ABC Convertamatic and get notation and the aforementioned cheezy midi audio file. Here's what the code looks like. It is what I pasted into the converter-

S:Liz Slade
Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion
(G,/|D/)(D/E/)(D/ G)A|A/ B B/ BB/A/|B/A/e/A/ d/A/B/A/|D/ E E/ E z/(G,/|
D/)(D/E/)(D/ G)A|A/ B B/ BB/A/|B/A/e/A/ d/A/B/A/|(A/ B) (A/ B/)A/B:|
|:gg/e/ g/(A/d)|e/A/d/(A/ B)B/(A/|B/)B/e/A/ d/A/B/A/|E>D E/D/E|
gg/e/ g/(A/d)|e/A/d/(A/ B)B/(A/|B/)B/e/A/ d/A/B/A/|(A/ B) (A/ B/)A/B||

I know, it looks like gobbledigook, but the converter will know what to do with it. There's more info about ABC code on the if you'd like to know what all that means to a computer.

Lesson learned - I should have just gone straight to the Fiddler's Companion website and searched for Chattanooga.

Lesson still to be learned - the tune's history.

Another tip is that I use multiple browser windows, one of the reasons why I like Safari and Firefox. Ctrl T keystroke will produce multiple 'tabs' across a browser window, enabling 3 websites within easy reach. O-oh! This is starting to sound like an internet advice column. Better stop for now and go listen to some tunes. :-)

But, before I finish, I feel the need to say this: PLAYING CHATTANOOGA FROM SHEET MUSIC IS NOT AS MUCH FUN AS PLAYING IT AT A JAM. There. I feel much better having said that.

Stay tuned.

Or, cross-tuned, if you'd rather.

No comments: