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Fiddle Lessons: Only Four Keys

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the title of this part is only four keys.
Now we know, if we thought about it, that
there are really more like 24 keys,
because if we take all the 12 notes in the
chromatic scale, and make them major and
the 12 notes in the chromatic scale and
make them minor then, that adds up to 24.
But for our purposes as fiddle players,
as potential improvising fiddle players we
think of the fingerboard comprising just
And what I mean by that, is that there's
the key where the tonic,
that's the one, of the key you're in,
So you're, say we're in a key of, let's
see where key, in a key of G is.
It's gonna work better up here in G.
We're gonna find the G note with our first
finger on the D string.
There's, there's one where the time,
that G note is your first finger.
So you have.
So you have the whole octave.
On two adjacent strings.
So that's, that's a, that's the key there.
That's the way you play it
with those same finger positions, same
finger relationships.
There's the key of two,
where the tonic, the one note of that
chord, we're still in G.
We're gonna find the G with our second
[SOUND] Where the tonic is played by the
second finger.
we have to play across three stings to get
the full octave.
that's a situation where those
relationships the,
the second finger plays the one, the
fourth finger plays the three.
Second finger plays the five.
the first finger goes back and plays the
the tonic up there at the top.
The third key is the key where the tonic
played by the third finger, [SOUND] right?
It's, so.
And again,
I'm using the closed key idea so we get
that kind of feels like the key of G
In everyday life.
So and then, the last key is where the
tonic is played
by the fourth finger, so it's a little bit
like playing A in close position.
Let's find the G note.
On the G string, just wait up there.
On the G string with our fourth finger.
And just for
the sake of argument we'll go ahead and do
So all the same key, G.
We're all in the, the key of G, but we
switched around so
that the, the notes were played by
different fingers.
The first, the the tonic, the G, the bass
note was played by our first finger,
our sec, our first finger, [SOUND] our
second finger,
[SOUND] our third finger, [SOUND] and
[SOUND] our fourth finger.
Okay, so, that's a series of relationships
that, there's only four,
sets of, way we think about those
relationships there.
This sound, that can simplify things
dramatically, you know?
You think, oh, okay, well there's that
So, that means that, really there's really
only four sets of finger relationships to
worry about.
So no matter where we are,
if we're in the first position we get a
key that looks, feels like G.
A key that feels like F.
A key that feels like E.
and then a key that feels like say D.
And all these are closed,
I'm playing them closed because we're not
thinking about the open strings here.
So, that, and is a,
very beautiful simplification of how the
relationships happen and,
and, and the major scale and it gets you
thinking about.
Oh, well, this, you know, we can move
these keys around,
we can move these structures around.
And find familiar places to play all
melodies everywhere on the neck.
For instance, if we were playing something
in the key of B.
We could go from
that one key where our first finger is
The tonic.
We could move up just a step.
Find [SOUND] our fourth finger playing
that B note on the D string.
[SOUND] And then pretend like we're
playing the whole thing in A.
we could move something we would normally
play in A up a step.
Still pretend we 're playing it in A.
And, but being we would be playing it in
B, so.
So, if we just get comfortable with note
relationships in each of these little
So these four frames.
Then we've accomplished a huge amount.
We've accomplished ability to be
comfortable and just about any place.
Any place on the finger board just by
these for different sets of relationships.
Well, this bit about the only four keys
you mighta thought well,
that's great with the major scales but
what about the minor?
Does, doesn't he really mean eight?
Eight, eight keys?
And here's why.
There really are only four because, if we
talk about the major keys,
every major scale has a minor scale inside
of it, and their connected intimately.
For instance the G major, and some of you
may have intuited this already.
We've alluded it, to it before, and
the basic part of the instruction, G
G major has E natural minor inside of it,
or vice versa, E natural minor has a G
major scale inside of it.
Same with C.
A minor hiding inside the C major scale.
And that is consistent throughout all the
D it's the B minor scale.
And you can and then we're starting to
think, okay, well what is it?
What's the rule here?
Well, you go down a minor third.
And that's.
So, from the D major, you go down to minor
And you hit your D minor note.
And the, of course that's the.
And where we go, what do we got, right, A
It's C sharp minor.
So, what would be really cool, is if you
went ahead and just sat down and
worked this out using your instrument, or
Every major scale has its natural minor
scale inside of it.
Just go ahead, make a little chart, see
how these things all connect.
Commit that to memory, and you'll be doing
You'll have a little major chunk of music
theory that is
gonna come in handy for all kinds of other