FINN OLAFSSON • Video of the Month • January 2014 • Dark Patterns

The Double-DVD/Audio CD Set
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The Audio CD
Finn Olafsson - New double DVD+CD set


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The Printed Music Book
Video of the Month 2014

The Sheet Music/TAB PDF Files Online
Hamlet's Castle sheet music / TAB


Video of the Month 2014

• Portrait Interview

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• Video of the Month 2014

• January 2014 Video

• February 2014 Video

• March 2014 Video

• April 2014 Video

• May 2014 Video

• June 2014 Video

• July 2014 Video

• August 2014 Video

• September 2014 Video

• October 2014 Video

• November 2014 Video

• December 2014 Video

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About "Video of the Month 2014" - in general

"Video of the Month 2014" is the headline of a unique activity by Danish composer and guitarist Finn Olafsson.

Every month in 2014 a new "live in the studio" recorded video was uploaded to YouTube featuring Finn Olafsson's acoustic guitar music and acoustic guitar techniques.

In 7 of the 12 videos Finn Olafsson plays brand new tunes which have never been published before while Finn Olafsson plays tunes known from his CD-albums in 5 of the videos.

In two of the videos Finn Olafsson is assisted by his brother Torsten Olafsson on tablas.

We used three cameras: One focusing on Finn Olafsson's left hand, another on the right hand and the third filming the "total" of Finn Olafsson playing the guitar.

The setup was engineered by Kim Ingemann Erichsen, Peak Production ApS, who was also in charge of the editing of the videos.

An exciting and interesting feature for many acoustic guitar fans is that Finn Olafsson plays on different Danish Kehlet Guitars and American C.F. Martin Guitars and David W. Musselwhite guitars from video to video.

In order to give all the guitars that Finn Olafsson plays in the videos equal conditions for optimal sound, a new set of exactly the same brand of phosphor bronze strings was put on on each and every guitar.

The guitars were recorded by sound engineer Ronnie Bille with a pair of DPA 4041 microphones "directly" through an AD stereo converter to a digital recording system.

The audio recordings were edited and mixed by Tobias Folting and Finn Olafsson in Folting Studio engineered by Tobias Folting.

For every video there is an individual, dedicated webpage here on Finn Olafsson's website where you can read in much detail about the background for each of the guitar pieces, the story about each of the guitars he is playing in the videos, the different guitar tunings used and some 'how to play it' advice. The essays are extensively illustrated with photos.

In Spring 2015, a double-DVD set including an audio CD, "The Audio Tracks", with all the 12 videos and some extra specials, was released.

In April 2016 the double DVD/CD set was followed up by a music book including all 12 acoustic guitar pieces presented as sheet music / guitar TAB.

All the music pieces are also available online for purchase and download as separate sheet music / TAB PDF files.

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January 2014

"DARK PATTERNS" - C.F. Martin Custom 00-12 fret Koa (00-25)

Click here to watch the video on YouTube

Click here to watch the video on YouTube

The music and how to play it

"Dark Patterns" was composed in late May 2009 - in the springtime in Denmark. I'm not sure why these 'Patterns' appeared in my musical mind - I mean, it's a bit more dramatic and "minor like" than what you'd expect from a springtime tune but maybe a trip to Sevilla in Spain the previous year, to the stronghold of the flamenco, can explain part of it like the Spanish elements and the temper and the darkness in the patterns. Or maybe it was just the spirit of this small guitar, the Martin Custom 00-12 fret Koa (00-25), on which the patterns were composed just a month after I bought it, that inspired me to these patterns. It's hard to tell:

But what I can tell is that the guitar is tuned into the tuning of EADF#BE - among some guitarplayers known as the "renaissance" tuning. This tuning makes it possible to play in a rather rare key for guitarplaying, the b minor, in which I'm playing "Dark Patterns".

In the normal EADGBE guitar tuning you would usually avoid playing in B at all, and even when you are playing in the E major or e minor keys I guess most players also have experienced how kind of boring it is that the B7 is the common choice to use for the dominant chord for the E key.

In this "renaissance" tuning you just tune down the 3rd string G to F# which is the dominant for B and on top of the very nice middletone-sound you achieve you also get the possibility of playing in the key of b minor as your main key. As an extra achievement it's also a nice tuning for playing in the keys of E, A and D.

Very often I use two similar tones on two different strings as a feature in the alternate tunings. I do that in this tune. Do remember that it's quite important that the two similar tones are in perfect tune

The harmonies are changing under the main theme, the A theme - from an "empty" chord with no third in the two first verses to a minor b chord from the third verse.

The patterns are mainly being produced with the right hand. A "pattern" is the way of striking the guitar strings in repeated patterns. In this tune it's often done in the normal "p i m a" way - starting with you thumb, the "p", on the 6th, 5th and 4th strings, the "i" for the third string string, the "m" for the 2. string and the "a" for the 1st string. But sometimes it's nessesary to move the "p" up to the 3rd string and to move the "i" down to the 4th string. You can watch this on the video.

The groove and rhythmical steadiness is very important for this tune. When I'm playing it I almost have the feeling of playing together with a bass and drums backing group.

Finally: You may have noticed that I use many arpeggios and "rollings" as I often call them. You'll hear these especially towards the end of the tune.

German acoustic guitar magazine "Akustik Gitarre" (5-2014) carries a guest-workshop of "Dark Patterns". The workshop is an introduction to how to play the guitar tune yourself - as well as an introduction to the EADF#BE guitar tuning. The workshop was translated into German by editor Andreas Schulz. In the magazine you will find the sheet music and the tabs for the intro and A-part. They correspond to the recording on the "Begleit-CD", which, as well as the magazine, can be ordered from the magazine's website. Both also correspond to the video on YouTube.

Akustik Gitarre website

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Photo: Torsten Olafsson

The Guitar

C.F. Martin Custom 00-12 fret Koa (00-25)

Many blues musicians find small guitars made of Hawaiian Koa very well suited for their style of music and the playing of it. Especially guitars with Koa 'all over' meaning not only the back and sides of the guitar should be Koa but also the top of the guitar should be made of the same wood. The voice of such a guitar is quite mellow but I hear a lot of everything in this guitar: Bass, mid range and treble.

This C.F. Martin Custom 00-12 fret Koa (00-25) was ordered by an American blues musician and delivered from the Martin Custom Shop in 1985. Some years later he sold the guitar and it was bought by a Dutch collector, a noble baron, who kept it for some years in his collection. In 2008 the baron decided to sell it to The Fellowship of Acoustics in Holland - the leading shop of vintage and high end acoustic guitars in Europe. It was sold from The Fellowship of Acoustics to a Danish collector and dealer from whom I bought the guitar in 2009.

Here is the description of the Martin Custom 00 written by the great Dutch "guitar lyric poet" Rudi Bults, owner of The Fellowship of Acoustics:

"Very rare custom Koa from the 1980s, Serial # 471766. We are fortunate people since off and on, something very rare crosses our path like this Martin 00 12 fret custom in pristine condition. Flamed Hawaiian Koa for back, sides, and top, mahogany neck, slotted headstock with 3-on-a-plate tuners, ebony fingerboard and belly bridge, based on style 25, just in between style 21 and style 28, with black binding, 4 ply black and white purfling on top soundhole rings in 5-9-5 groupings chain-link back strip, dark stained top, well-loved and well played for thirty years after it left Nazareth. It has aged well, and sounds exceptionally good.

The sound of an old Koa 12 fret guitar is unmistakable refined with a dry character, articulates very well, every tone is well defined, and just right, with a sweetness in every single tone typical for Koa only. With 47.5mm or 1 7/8" nut width and 635mm or 24.9" scale."

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Finn Olafsson with the C.F. Martin Custom 00-12 fret Koa (00-25) - Photo: Torsten Olafsson