Category Archives: guitar

Carrie Waltz, v2

This post is my second recording of D. E. Jannon’s 1854 piece Carrie Waltz. I previously blogged it about a year ago on

MP3: Carrie Waltz, version 2 (2:27)

I redid it because I’ve gotten better since then. Now I know to make a song start strong in the first couple seconds, to make the lines more fluid and improvisational, and to mash the guitar right onto the mic for a hotter recording.

Sheet music here:

Versions of the recording in other file formats:

You are free to share and remix this recording per the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 US license.

Slightly on the Mash

This is a recording of an 1885 song called “Slightly on the Mash”. It’s a happy number for drinking, dancing and goofing off.

Slightly on the Mash Schottische


It was

written by
A. G. Send,

arranged for guitar by the enigmatic
E. Pique,


published by
J. Oettl


I didn’t find any biographical info or other work by these people.

The performance is

guitar playing
by L. Gonze, a.k.a. me,
and the recoding was released on May 7, 2008.

The dedication on the sheet music is darn nice:

to my Esteemed Friend Pianissimo, Guadalupe, Cal.

What was going on in Guadalupe, California in 1885? Wikipedia says The Guadalupe Watershed was an area of intense activity during the California Gold Rush, with the quicksilver mines within Santa Clara County supporting the gold refinement process. Maybe Pianissimo was a musician who had gone west to strike it rich.


This song is a dance called a schottische. Per Wikipedia, Schottische was popular in Victorian era ballrooms (part of the Bohemian “folk-dance” craze) and left its traces in folk music of countries as distant as France, Spain (chotis), Portugal (choutiça), Italy and Sweden.

Musically this is an intricate little tune which feels like an evolutionary step on the way to ragtime and eventually jazz. Wikipedia says At the start of the 20th century in the Southern United States the schottische was combined with ragtime; the most popular “ragtime schottische” of the era was “Any Rags” by Thomas S. Allen in 1902.

If you want to dance along at home, it goes like this: step step step hop, step step step hop, step hop step hop step hop step hop. Posh dancers did it like this:

Knuckledraggers were probably more like this:

Playing along

I learned this song from sheet music at the Library of Congress. It’s not a beginner piece, but it’s pretty approachable.
The embedded images here are linked to full-size PDFs, so click through if you want a printout to learn from.
Here’s the cover sheet, which was printed in cheapo black and white:
slightly on the mash cover sheet
Here’s the part, which is a short one-pager:
slightly on the mash page 1

Free culture

free culture seal

There is an Ogg Vorbis version of the audio file and an Ogg FLAC version.

There is code to embed a player for the song in another web page:

This page uses the hAudio microformat.
This recording is copyright 2008 by Lucas Gonze and released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States license. You are free to share or remix it as long as you give attribution and apply the same terms to works based on this one. If you need another license for some reason just contact me and we’ll arrange it.
You are welcome to link directly to any file I host, including MP3s. No need to host a copy to spare my bandwidth.
If you do a version of this and want a link here, let me know.

Ella Waltz

MP3: Lucas Gonze with Gibson L3Lucas Gonze — Ella Waltz

This post is a recording of the composition Ella Waltz by D.E. Jannon, which was published in 1854.

It is the third of a set of three waltzes by D.E. Jannon. I have also blogged recordings of Amy Waltz and Carrie Waltz. I don’t consider the series finished because I want to redo the Amy one, but who knows whether I’ll really come up with a better version in the end. It takes a ton of practice and a lot of trial and error with the arrangement to make one of these recordings, and I have other tunes that I want to move on to.

As I was learning the 3 waltzes I made up a back story for them. In my imagination they are named after D.E. Jannon’s three daughters. They are ordered from oldest to youngest. Amy is a teenager, Ella is a little kid, Carrie is in-between. Amy is going through a phase where she is hustling all the time and in a hurry to get away from her parents. Ella has been falling down, dropping things, running into stuff, and generally being accident prone. Carrie is moderate in all things.

The original writing on this tune had dead spots, places where the writing was thin or weak and needed fixing, so I rewrote many of the parts. My version isn’t as simple as the original, which is a loss, but it sounds better.

By the way, I got the name of this tune slightly wrong while I was working, and even though I corrected it in the end some of the metadata and file names are wrong. Right: Ella. Wrong: Emma.

These recordings are released under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license per my boilerplate licensing statement.

This blog entry is a repost from my tech blog, where I was putting music before I created this blog.

Ogg Vorbis: Lucas Gonze — Ella Waltz

spirit rappings

Lucas Gonze – Spirit Rappings (mp3)

Spirit Rappings (title page)

August 20, 1852, Wednesday

Page 2 of the New York Times

Mr. ORVILLE HATCH, of Franklin, Conn., has become insane, he having devoted considerable attention to the subject of Spirit Rappings. Mr. HATCH is a farmer, and has been instrumental in introducing many important improvements in agriculture into the town in which he resides.

Madame Pamita, whose performances involve both spiritualism and really old American music, sent me a pointer to sheet music for an 1854 tune called “Spirit Rappings”, presumably because it’s a great number for Halloween. This post is my version of it.

Since I did a vocal part for once, the mix has the guitar and vocal parts hard panned to left and right so you can pull out the singing and do karaoke.

This recording is under a Creative Commons ShareAlike-Attribution 2.0 license. See also my boilerplate copyright statement.

Ogg Vorbis version: Lucas Gonze – Spirit Rappings (vorbis)

This blog entry is a repost from my tech blog, where I was putting music before I created this blog.

Celebrated Shoo Fly Galop

This post is a recording of Celebrated Shoo Fly Galop by W.L. Hayden, which was published in 1877.

I like the way this rocks out. It’s a fun uptempo dance tune. Also I dig the idea of the celebrated shoo fly, which reminds me of a Mark Twain story called “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County:”

In compliance with the request of a friend of mine, who wrote me from the East, I called on good-natured, garrulous old Simon Wheeler, and inquired after my friend’s friend, Leonidas W. Smiley, as requested to do, and I hereunto append the result. I have a lurking suspicion that Leonidas W. Smiley is a myth; that my friend never knew such a personage; and that he only conjectured that, if I asked old Wheeler about him, it would remind him of his infamous Jim Smiley, and he would go to work and bore me nearly to death with some infernal reminiscence of him as long and tedious as it should be useless to me. If that was the design, it certainly succeeded.

So what kind fly is a shoo fly, anyway? There is no such thing. It’s a folksy expression along the same lines as like flies to shit or keg flies. For example, the shoo flies in this 1915 recipe for shoo fly pie don’t mean the pie is made of bugs, they mean it’s sticky and sweet:

shoo fly pie recipe

How does shoo fly pie taste? According to this person who made it, your mileage may vary:

To me this pie did not smell good or look good but Darrell’s co-workers seemed to like it.

holding a shoo fly pie

The dance is something called a galop. I come across a lot of galop music and references to the galop, so it must have been popular. The Polka History of Dance explains it this way:

The popularity of the polka led to the introduction of several other dances from central Europe. The simplest was the galop or galoppade which was introduced into England and France in 1829. Dance position was the same as for the waltz or polka, with couples doing a series of fast chassés about the room with occasional turns. Music was in 2/4 time, often merely a fast polka. The galop was particularly popular as the final dance of the evening.

And wikipedia says:

In dance, the galop, named for the fastest running gait of a horse (see gallop), a shortened version of the original term galoppade, is a lively country dance, introduced in the late 1820s to Parisian society by the duchesse de Berry and popular in Vienna, Berlin and London. In the same closed position familiar in the waltz, the step combined a glissade with a chassé on alternate feet, ordinarily in a fast 2/4 time. The galop was a forerunner of the polka, which was introduced in Prague ballrooms in the 1830s and made fashionable in Paris when Raab, a dancing teacher of Prague, danced the polka at the Odéon Theatre, 1840.

The galop was particularly popular as the final dance of the evening. The “Post horn Galop” written by the cornet virtuoso Herman Koenig was first performed in London, 1844; it remains a signal that the dancing at a hunt ball or wedding reception is ended.

There are mistakes left in the recording. Unedited solo acoustic instrumentals on guitar are an unforgiving form, and I’m not yet good enough to get a perfect take within a reasonable amount of time and labor. The medium is like watercolor painting in the sense that no corrections are possible. The hardest part for me is the tradeoff between passion and correctness. I can do a version with no ugly mistakes pretty reliably, and I can do something which is passionate and musical any time I’m in the right mood, but I can’t consistently do both at the same time. At the same time, the sonic clarity of 1-track real-time acoustic playing means that I can’t avoid a hard phrase by mumbling it or cover it up by emphasizing whatever is on other tracks.

I learned this song from David Allen Coester‘s digitization of “Hayden’s Star Collection of Guitar Music.” There is no composer in the original publication, and Hayden is credited as the arranger rather than the composer, but I gave Hayden the composition credit by default. Here is the sheet music:

These recordings are released under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license per my boilerplate licensing statement.

Must I, Then

This post is a recording of the composition Must I, Then? by W.L. Hayden, which was published in 1877.

The title of this song is my favorite part of it. There are about 100 silly questions you could make up for the request this person is responding to. “Ebenezer, please walk the cow to the auto show.” Etc. Fill in your own.

This song is a bit too pretty for me to be comfortable with, but then again that’s the 19th century for you. It’s just the esthetic of the time. Irony was far in the future, as relevant to them as 22nd century art is to us.

The source is an 1877 book entitled “Hayden’s Star Collection of Guitar Music.” The book was kindly digitized and hosted by a guy named David Allen Coester. Coester is an independent musician who just happens to be bringing primary historical materials on the internet.

There is no composer listed, and Hayden is credited as the arranger, not the composer. I gave him the composition credit by default.

I like the lines in this composition. The phrases aren’t broken up neatly, instead they stretch out into long run-on sentences. The result is that the song is really just two lines.

It’s surprisingly hard to play. This tiny bit of music took me a long time to master, and even now I make a lot of mistakes. There is an easy way to play it but it sounds cramped. To let the notes breathe I picked fingerings which use open strings rather than fretted ones whenever possible. This enables them to ring for longer and gives them a woody resonance. Using open strings rather than fretted ones is tricky when you’re up above the first position, because it effectively means that you’re playing in two positions at the same time. Another difficulty is that the note after an open note can’t be on an adjacent string, because then my finger on the adjacent string will accidentally lean over and stop the ringing note. The requirements aren’t hard to meet on a physical level, but there are mental gymnastics that I can only pull off when I’m in a state of deep concentration.

I have heard this style of fingering called “harp picking” because the overlap of ringing open strings gives a shimmering quality similar to a harp. I don’t really lay on the shimmering sound, though. It sounds like you’re trying too hard when you hit people over the head with it.

These recordings are released under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license per my boilerplate licensing statement.