Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I've got another gig, playing in our church next week. It's my wife's show, but she wanted me and our son to play too, and kinda put off picking pieces. One piece she has worked up is a vocal arrangement of Ian Tyson song Grateful, which she played with a small ensemble from her choir. I'd never heard of this song, but Ian Tyson I knew from Four Strong Winds, which gets played all the time around here. (I heard him sing it once for the Queen in the rain, that was kind of cool.) So it's country, but not that new-fangled Nashville stuff. And Grateful is obscure enough that I can't find it on YouTube. It's a simple song, extremely simple: exactly eight notes, one complete C major scale, without a single accidental or change of key. An understated cowboy prayer. The nice thing about playing a song is that the phrasing all works very comfortably for a wind instrument. It even fits into the range of my voice (though when I tried singing, both my wife and son started yelling at me to stick to bassoon). The down side is that, unlike a singer, I have none of the sounds or meanings of the words to use to keep things moving and interesting. Not much to do other than do my best to be simple and beautiful, and hope the vocal quality of the bassoon sound evokes the song.

Update: Ian Thomas, not Ian Tyson. Sigh, nevermind (in a Gilda Radner voice).

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