Smells Like Teen Spirit

19 June 2008

I have become fascinated by genre-defying cover songs, songs that are originally recorded in one genre and re-recorded by other artists in seemingly disparate genres. There are many of these types of songs floating around, but the one I heard recently that inspired me was the cover version of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” as performed by Patti Smith. Whoa! I read on the Wikipedia entry that Kurt Cobain was modelling one of my favorite bands, The Pixies, in this song. Good choice.

The Patti Smith recording is a more acoustic version, using banjo and violin in the instrumentation (Or is it fiddle? How do you tell? See my previous post, “Fiddle or Violin?”). Now I do like Patti Smith, but I would love to have an instrumental-only version of this song; I respect her artistic expression. She throws it at the wall and it sticks, but it gets a little chatty, in my opinion. Nirvana rocks it, but Patti Smith brings an interesting new undertone of folk to it. This is from her album of covers entitled "Twelve".

Check it out! Click the atomic particle below and a new window will open. The Nirvana version is first, to refresh your memory. Listen on the best speakers you have; the Patti Smith version is full of quiet and subtle details, including comprehendable lyrics.

Listen to 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'
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Fiddle or Violin?

19 June 2008

I’ve heard a few different ways to answer this question. A violin dealer told me the following:

“It’s a fiddle if I’m buying it from you. It’s a violin if I’m selling it to you.” Good one!

I’ve also heard that it’s a fiddle if it’s playing solo or in a folk band; it’s a violin if it’s in an orchestral band. Or it’s a violin if it’s played in Europe, a fiddle if it’s played in America. Perhaps it’s a fiddle if you’re self-taught, a violin if you’ve studied it with classical music.

Anybody have any good info to share on the matter? Please post in the comments. I love ’em both!

Now, let’s say you wanted to learn to play the violin, or you want your child to learn, but you can’t afford all those pesky lessons. There is a cool self-teaching program available that I had the chance to take a look at last year, thanks to a vicarious interest in having one of my sons play. I would love to learn myself, but I have some wrist and neck problems which I think would preclude me. Guess it’s the steel drums for me! Anyway, this program does not require any musical training or background, just the discipline to actually purchase and use it. (And, no, I am not an affiliate.) Visit Ebaru for more info.

But on this one I am…
Virtual Sheet Music – Classical Sheet Music Downloads