stop me if you think that you’ve heard this one before

The video we made of Paul Whitty’s stop me if you think that you’ve heard this one before is now available on the audiograft website after its screening tonight (video is also below). The piece involves working through repertoire that forms the performance history of the instruments being played, using a number of different reading strategies to break the music into a sequence of single isolated pitches. The players were Paul, me, Austin Sherlaw-Johnson and Tim Parkinson. I used as many fretted instruments as I could, and my realisation includes classical guitar (the one I’ve had since I was seven), steel string, ukelele, banjo, a borrowed lute and electric guitar. I tried to use material that had a personal connection for me with each instrument. The classical guitar material was a book of Carcassi studies (which was dated 4/7/86 by my teacher), the banjo was the Ross Nickerson tutor book I’ve been learning from recently, and the lute was Francesco da Milano which you can see me reading really slowly from the tablature. I dug out a ukelele tutor book, played some John Fahey on my steel string (and forgot that some of the pieces have alternate tunings), and got as close as I could to the Johnny Marr tremolo sound for How soon is now?, which seemed fitting given the use of The Smiths titles by Paul in some of his pieces.

There are some lovely combinations of instruments that result from the choices we made individually. Everything was recorded independently at home of course. It’s the tidiest my desk has been in ages.