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Tune Polska efter Pål Karl Persson

Also known as:

  • Polska from the playing of Pål Karl Persson

Don't believe the rhythm of the MIDI, it's terrible.

This appears on the album "Längs Gamla Stigar och Färdeväger" by Simon Simonssons Kvartet from 1989 — it's a fantastic version with interesting modern instrumentation and imaginative tonality but, sadly, it seems to be completely unavailable, even on YouTube. Here's a link to me playing it, instead, some years ago, with my friend Tab — it's the second of two these two tunes.

The first beat of some bars is short, the second long — but this can vary bar by bar. It's the essence of a certain sort of polska, and the phenomenon is more or less impossible to describe except by demonstration. In the first bar of the A part, for instance, the first three notes can be played so as each to take up a more-or-less equal amount of time, as though they were quarter note triplets. Personally, I analyze them in the way I've written them — as uneven beat lengths — but I suspect listening will prove more useful than reading in this case.

On top of that there are the ambiguous Fs — I play the Fs at the beginning of the second and fourth bars of the B part as F-sharps, Simon Simonssons Kvartett plays them pretty solidly as F-naturals. I think the underlying situation is that they both represent a half-sharp, which melody players choose to represent as either a sharp or natural under the influence of fretted instruments. I daresay PhD theses have been written about the influence of frets on traditional tonalities. Just do your best.

All in all, Swedish music can appear at first as a sea of notes and fragmentary harmony which strongly hints at some elusive form, but the more you listen to it the more it starts to make sense.

Good luck, have fun, and remember it doesn't matter!

Trad arr. © 2019 Ben Paley

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  • Simon Simonssons Kvartet, "Längs Gamla Stigar och Färdeväger", 1989

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