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Bluegrass Guitar Lessons: Improvising Over a Fiddle Tune: “Liberty”

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[MUSIC]
We're gonna continue to work on this idea,
of things to think about when you're
improvising on a fiddle tune.
I've chosen the tune Liberty here because
it.
Offers some nice phrasing that you can
clue into and, and intro, introducing
the idea of how to, how to analyze and how
to, how to listen to fiddle tunes.
And, and learn from what's there and apply
that into improvisation.
So, I'll just play the tune once through
fairly simply straight ahead,
and then we'll talk about what's going on.
So here's, here's Liberty.
[MUSIC]
>> One, two, three, four.
[MUSIC]
>> All right, so there's Liberty, good
straight ahead fiddle tune.
One of the things to think about when
you're improvising
looked in Blackberry Blossom of how,
you know, the steady stream of eighth
notes are rhythmic phrases.
Bigger, bigger melodic pictures can kind
of in inspire what you choose,
as far as improvisation goes.
Oh one other thing to be aware of
with fiddle tunes is sometimes just,
enhancements of the melody are, are
plenty.
You know.
the two basic phrases of Liberty.
And, one thing I've noticed over the years
is sometimes you know,
with imrovi improvising with fiddle tunes,
you know,
getting too outside the melody is, is not
a good thing.
You want again we've talked about, making
your improvisation
sort of work in a way that enhances the
tune.
More than gets you know, more than changes
the tune.
So the way you would, you know way I would
think about Liberty, I mean that's,
those are pretty strong melodic statements
there.
Those two first phases, that kind of
mirror each other.
[MUSIC]
Notice I'd,
I'd changed it right there with a little,
little rhythmic hiccup as opposed to-
[MUSIC]
Just more of a straight ahead.
[MUSIC]
Just simple little syncopation right
there wa, was enough to sort of, change it
and add a little bit of a personality.
[MUSIC]
As opposed to-
[MUSIC]
And, again
these are sorta hard things to, to teach,
it's hard things hard things to learn.
But I, I'm just allowing the, the spirit
of what that melody is to kinda
dictate to me where I wanna go with, with
with the improv.
If I wanted to change the melody change
the note choice.
With the same sort of spirit.
[MUSIC]
You know you can still kind of hear those
rhythmic phrases but you don't hear the
melody anymore.
And you'll notice with, certain fiddle
tunes, especially ones like Liberty.
To me it's, it's, it's, it doesn't enhance
it enough to get away from the melody.
I think there's enough there in the melody
to work with.
[MUSIC]
It's the same thing, so
again, rhythmic stuff.
[MUSIC]
Or-
[MUSIC]
You know,
that gets the point across better for me.
I feel like I am interpreting the tune
versus, just you know,
blowing over the chord changes.
And as one of the things I would stress
here is
again being sensitive to these, to these
melodies.
And, for, for my focus of wanting to make
sure that my improv,
reflects the melody and the spirit, the
dance of the tune the,
the intent I wanna do things, that don't
get in the way of that, you know?
The improv, should become second, so you
know, again, what am I thinking about?
I'm thinking about the melody.
But I'm also thinking about, what that
melody means.
And, as a listener or
as a player, I want a listener, to hear
the tune and feel the tune.
Or hear my version of it.
And, again, you, we're,
we're talking about more simple, simple
kind of variations.
Instead of-
[MUSIC] You might say-
[MUSIC]
Chromatic stuff.
[MUSIC]
Notice through all that stuff I made sure.
[MUSIC]
I got back to the last phrase.
So you know, again, just giving you lots
of little ideas, lot, lot of,
lot of things that, where, where my,
where my head is when I'm thinking about
this stuff.
I'm, I'm, what I'm allowing to guide me,
what's pulling me through is, is the
melody of the, of this tune.
And, sometimes I feel like if I'm veering
off a little bit.
In my improvisation I'll try to pull it
back.
You know we talked, we've talked about
laying for these strong downbeats.
Within my improv I do the same thing with,
with these phrases.
And so pretty heavy concepts there.
But definitely good to work on.
And so that's, you know, a lot about the,
the, just,
you know just within the A part of
Liberty.
And a lot of the same thing applies to the
B part.
[MUSIC]
You know,
it's the basic phrase right there.
So.
[MUSIC]
You know I'm, I'm away from the melody.
But it, the, the B part is not as defined
as the A part.
And so you have a little more freedom.
And so again that, that's another thing to
be aware of, of, of you know just honoring
when melodic statements are, are strong
and, and when they really mean something.
To me the A part of Liberty is, is worth
not messing with.
You've got some freedom in the B section
but so.
You know, the A part is a strong enough of
a statement that I,
I'm not gonna veer from it too much.
So, I think what I'll do now is just, just
play the tune again.
And I'll do this, I'll do you know, play a
bit of the melody and bit of improv and
kinda go back and forth.
So hopefully we can, we can sense the
changes but don't lose, we,
we don't lose the tune.
>> One, two,
three, go.
[MUSIC]
>> So, there was a lot of, different ways
to kinda get around the tune.
You notice I, I veered a little more in
the B section.
Had a little more freedom there just
because the melody was, was more just sort
of rocking back and forth for a little
while and got away from the,
from the larger rhythmic and, and bigger
phrases of the A section.
So again, just a lot of ideas you can
apply in these kind of things so,
to any tune you already know and, good
things to work on there.
[MUSIC]