Sunday, June 20, 2010

Yes, I play guitar

Well, "play" is kinda a strong word for something that sounds like our cat did right after he had the operation. But I muck about.

Current target of mucking about: I've been picking up a few classical pieces. Found a nice arrangement of Bach's Minuet in G, which I've memorised but am not yet up to full speed on. I learned Greensleeves a while back, which is harder on 'tar than you'd think.

I've also got a couple of less well-known ones under my belt: Sarabande from Robert de Visee's Suite in D minor, and the first piece from Giulani's Op. 71 No. 1. Both fairly easy by classical standards, but the de Visee piece in particular is lovely. The Giulani piece is a bit mechanical but a great warm-up.

I also tend to make a note of any chord sequences or arpeggios that catch my fancy. The following are a couple of my favourites.

Shamelessly ripped from the Inner Life of the Cell soundtrack:


Variations on the chord set G, C6 (?) C, D:

3-3-0-2- --------------2-3- --------------3-3--
3-3-1-3- ------3---1----3-- ------3---1----2-3-
0-0-0-2- --0----0---0------ --0----0---0-2-----
0-2-2-0- ---0--------0----- ---0-2---2--0------
2-3-3-x- ----3---3--------- -2--3---3----------
3-0-0-x- 3----------------- 3------------------

-----------0---2--- ---3---3---0---2(3)-
---3---3--1---3-3-- --3---3---1---3-3---
--0---0--0---2---2- -0---0---0---2---2--
-0---0------0------ ------------0-------
----3---3---------- ----3---3-----------
3------------------ 3-------------------

The rhythm should be more like 1--4--7-1--4--7- on the second one, and 1-34--7- on the last three. This explains why it appears not to scan properly*. The (3) is because, if you hammer down your little finger (which you'd need to get in position for the next repetition of the G chord, anyway) you can get a lovely ringing high G just on the edge of hearing.

Got a really boring scale on the bass strings? Slow it down by a factor of six and fill the gaps with arpeggio:



Next project: actually learn some !"£$%^& scales. I'm currently memorising music by throwing lots of neurons at the problem. Having some sort of framework in place would presumably make learning new stuff easier. Not to mention making improvisation easier. I suck at impro.

Also, my mum has requested that I get good at an arrangement of the Trout Quintet I came across. I hear and obey.

* A limerick:
There was a young bloke from Milan
Who wrote poems that never would scan
When asked why this was
He said "it's because
I just like to fit as many syllables into the last line as I possibly possibly can."

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Thursday, June 03, 2010

News from the trenches

Just a quick update from yours truly. In true blogger fashion, I'll start by making excuses for why I've been so slow posting lately:

1) Exams. I did three actuarial exams this sitting, which is generally acknowledged to be borderline suicidal. I would estimate I passed two out of three, but don't ask me which two.

2) New placement. I'm working on a redress project: figuring out how much people are owed due to a company's breach of FSA rules. The subject of this one is Pensions Switching, an issue that has a good chance of becoming the Next Big Scandal. So far the Daily Mail hasn't found out about it, though.

3) Crappy connection. Grrrr.

In other news, I've started studying for actuarial subject CT8. This is a good one for me - it covers all that stochastic modelling stuff I've been babbling about. I'm already halfway through the course. If all goes to plan, I'll be able to effectively finish it before the results from the last set of exams come out on 2nd July. The fact that I'm in danger of being overtaken on exams by several of my younger friends has absolutely nothing to do with this sudden spurt of action...

I'll write more about the new placement at some point. Not so much because of the actuarial content (nothing really interesting there) but because we're having to develop a complete set of spreadsheets from scratch. I seem to have wound up handling the quality control, which sounds boring but is actually the ideal role for a skeptic. Watch this space.
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