If you’re working with a site with a lot of nodes, especially nodes that have been migrated out of another CMS or blogging tool, you’ll probably find yourself wondering which nodes are floating around without any taxonomy terms, so that you can go back and make sure they’re duly categorized.
Getting a raw list of node ID’s and titles is simple with the following SQL query, which you can execute from the MySQL command line client, or PHPMyAdmin (which your web host’s admin panel probably provides):
So after a few days of eying my fiddle from across the room, tentatively picking it up, making a few notes and putting it back down, I decided to try playing a couple of tunes by ear - ones that I’ve been playing on banjo and/or mandolin for at least a few years, and know like the back of my hand: Soldier’s Joy and Angeline the Baker
Well, duh… the simplest possible melodies of both of those tunes just fall right off the fingerboard, and can be played with just the sort of back-and-forth bowing you’d expect.
I sounded like hell, but being so familiar with the tunes, I didn’t have to search very much for the right notes… and even with my squeaky, off kilter playing, those simple quarter-note melodies sounded better than they ever do on Mandolin, which has no sustain to speak of.
Knowing a bunch of fiddle tunes before taking up the fiddle is probably going to be a big help.
The general theme I am sensing (and my own experience is no exception) is that you are in for a no-frills experience if you decide to buy one of these instruments. You should have no illusions that you are getting something that will be ready to play out-of-the-box, and as Beverley Conrad states in her post, you may wind up paying a lot more in setup and accessories (new bow, shoulder rest, etc.) than you might have anticipated.
I’m optimistic, though; I’m fully aware of the potential shortcomings of my cheapo devil’s box, and I’ve played enough music on enough different instruments that I think I’ll be able to tell if the wall I hit is due to being a newbie, or to having an unplayable instrument.
So what kind of fiddle can $25 buy?
Last week Jason tipped me off to an eBay seller offering a bunch of impossibly cheap violins; $25 for the instrument, bow, case, and a hunk of rosin. Against my better judgement, I broke down and ordered one; at $25, what is there to lose?
The instrument arrived yesterday, and for $25 I’m pretty impressed. No one will ever mistake it for a fine instrument, but I think it will actually be playable.
I spent a good chunk of time upgrading this site to Drupal 6 and giving it a nice clean theme over the holidays.
I lost some of the work I had done on this theme thanks to a sudden hard drive failure last week, and because I don’t feel like redoing that work right now or waiting until it’s redone before launching, I decided to just reenable anonymous content access and let people (and search engines) wander in. I have no doubt that numerous broken links and images may still be found among older posts, but a lot of cleanup has taken place there too. Not bad for 700+ posts dating back to 2001.
I pounced on this domain a couple of years ago without much more than a vague notion about trying to build some kind of online community dedicated to old-time music.
I think that’s still in the offing, but in the shorter term, I’ve decided to use it mostly as a brain-dump for the purpose of collecting notes & observations on the process of learning how to play the fiddle.
My friend Jason e-mailed me out of the blue last week to inform me he had purchased a $25 violin kit from ebay.
The one time I inquired casually as to what one might expect to pay for a good quality, entry-level violin kit (instrument, bow, case, accoutrements) at Stamell Stringed Instruments I was given a figure in the $700 dollar range - that was for a Pacific Rim import, professionally set up, that you wouldn’t outgrow as soon as you learn how to play Boil Them Cabbage Down.
Despite that point of reference, and personal experience bearing out that you really should begin with the best instrument you can afford, that $25 figure really got under my skin. Much like the time I bought a $25 ukulele, I gave in to temptation because at that price there’s really nothing to lose. I expect that the instrument headed my way is complete rubbish, and that I’ll be doing myself a disservice by trying to learn how to play on it, but we’ll see. In the meantime I’ll be lurking at http://fiddlehangout.org.
The initial release of the Bones Module for Drupal 6 is now available at http://drupal.org/project/bones. Functionally it is more or less identical to the original Drupal 5 release, with updates to the internal Menu API code.
The Bones Module facilitates rapid site wireframing by importing YAML outlnes.