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As promised in an earlier post I have finally produced my American Folk Song Suite. Prior to its commencement some of you were kind enough to offer suggestions regarding what songs to include, advice for which I offer my sincerest thanks.

So please feel free to offer more suggestions for improvement before I publish the piece. Clearly our members from the US of A will have the 'inside track' on what I've done and I am keen to hear if you think I have done justice to the concept.

In advance, many thanks for listening.

http://www.scoreexchange.com/scores/186176.html

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Thanks for listening Bob and yes, it's NotePerformer.
I agree the piece needs a big ending and I have given some thought to changing the order of the songs...your idea of Yankee Doodle as a finisher is certainly worth considering. Overall I'm a little hesitant about the complete thing...it isn't the satisfying 'whole' that I think I achieved with my English Folk Song Suite...but that could be because I'm less familiar with the American tunes.
I put this up for comment because I don't think it's quite there yet...I await further comments with interest and will then undergo some revision - hopefully I'll get there in the end.
Thanks again for your help.

This is certainly a good start but I can't name the last song either (sounds familiar), which is odd since you've gone with really well known older songs (over here at least) for your other selections, and the ending should be real mainstream to be consistent I suppose.  Personally I'd have included a little more variety in the selections to broaden the appeal but that depends on the market you are aiming for (my dad would have loved this as is, maybe he would have known the closer!).

The ending with the quiet part is a good idea but doesn't work very well the way you have it, maybe shorten the quiet part and have more of a transition to the 'stinger'? At first I thought you'd accidentally tagged another recording onto the end of your main tune.

The final song is 'Way Down South in Dixie (By the Old Suanee) by Robert Morrison Stults, composed in 1903. Of whom Wikipedia says:

Robert Morrison Stults was an American composer of popular music in the late 19th century and early 20th century. His most popular work, The Sweetest Story Ever Told,[1] was published in 1892 and was still popular into the 20th century.

According to the Morrison family history,[2] he was the son of Jacob Stults and Martha-Jane Morrison. The first of five children, he was born on June 1, 1861 in Hightstown, N.J.. He was married to Julia Vandermeer.[3]

Prior to 1910, Stults mostly wrote popular music, but after 1910, he wrote more sacred and bigger works.[4]

He also used aliases for some of his works, such as the name "Norwood Dale"[5] to write the musical "The Cross Patch Fairies".[6]

He also wrote three ragtime tunes, Smoky Sam (1898), Walkin' on de Rainbow Road (1899), and A Moonlight Meander (1900), under the name S. M. Roberts (a play on his name Robert M. Stults). The giveaway that these are his is that the last one, "A Moonlight Meander", was copyrighted by his wife, J. V. Stults, who often copyrighted his music.



Ingo Lee said:

This is certainly a good start but I can't name the last song either (sounds familiar), which is odd since you've gone with really well known older songs (over here at least) for your other selections, and the ending should be real mainstream to be consistent I suppose.  Personally I'd have included a little more variety in the selections to broaden the appeal but that depends on the market you are aiming for (my dad would have loved this as is, maybe he would have known the closer!).

The ending with the quiet part is a good idea but doesn't work very well the way you have it, maybe shorten the quiet part and have more of a transition to the 'stinger'? At first I thought you'd accidentally tagged another recording onto the end of your main tune.

Bob,

As suggested by you I have put Yankee Doodle as a finisher - I must say it transforms the piece which now seems to fit together well. I'd be interested in your thoughts so attach the final (?) version. Many thanks for your suggestion.

https://www.scoreexchange.com/scores/186176.html

I wanted to introduce something relating to the Blues and Greys and/or the Mason Dixon line and I really like the Stults piece so included it for that reason, although I do realise there are many rather more appropriate pieces I could have chosen. I am a great believer in arranging as an art form...it takes some imagination and skill to produce something fresh and original from what may be a hackneyed tune. I think the proportion of arrangements to original compositions in my output of about 80 pieces is 50/50. The income I receive from these I treat as a third pension so some of my stuff is intended to be more commercial than art for art's sake. I wanted to do an American version of my English Folk Song Suite No.1 because the latter has proved to be an instant (commercial) success.
I know NotePerformer isn't perfect by any means but I personally am delighted with the programme...it saves an enormous amount of time and money....I haven't the patience to go down the DAW route ( nor the time...you and I are of a similar age so don't have as much of it left as some others on CF).
Regarding my choice of tunes to include: when I first sought American advice Rodney sent a list of about 60....it would have taken me three months to source, listen to and evaluate them....so in the end, as so often in these situations, it comes down to personal taste.
Anyhow, I sincerely thank you for your interest and very sound comments.

I've given further thought to your comments about Americans doing a big roll-off and we Brits coming down a bit at the end of a piece - it's either something very artistic in us or maybe we simply run out of puff - take a little recovery time - then get back to it...or maybe I'm just talking about the way I personally do things; in all things in life, if I expend a bit of extra energy I need a period of repose before getting myself back into shape and starting over.

Seriously though, I wasn't truly aware of this habit of mine until you pointed it out to me....very interesting Mr. Bond!

Maxwell Smart....I had to look him up, poor old agent 86; but I think you are putting yourself and fellow Americans down a little. Bernstein is one of my favourite composers and his music is certainly brash, loud and ummmm....American...but I love Candide for instance and don't feel the need to 'come down' after listening to it...it's invigorating stuff indeed.
I think the French have it right when they say (admittedly in a non- musical context): ' Vive la difference'. There's plenty of room for variation in our little world and I welcome it....as I'm sure you do too.

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