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Fiddle Lessons: Solo: Phrases and Form

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Building solos.
How are we gonna solo?
That's one of the great things about
bluegrass is that
it's not like other traditional music.
In fact, it's not traditional music at
It's kind of like pop music, and it's kind
of like art music, and
it's kind of like jazz.
And it's kinda like Celtic and everything
But one of the things that it does feature
is hot solos, and
the fiddle is right up there taking a very
usually taking a very hot solo.
Some kind of solo where we are up front
and expressing ourselves.
Now that doesn't mean we have to improvise
all the time.
So one of the greatest blue grass fiddle
solos, and some of the greatest blue grass
solos on any instrument had been worked
out ahead of time.
Played the same way for, maybe for years,
again and again.
But they are classic beautiful works of
musical art.
Iconic in the sense that other people
learn them and
play them over and over again.
It's a connection to our past and our
history, and
our culture, and and also a way of
tribute, you know,
paying tribute to the musicians that have
gone before.
In that, in that sense, bluegrass is very
traditional and really
preserves a feeling and a heritage of, of
music and culture.
So, there are ways of doing
a bluegrass solo on the fiddle that are
in sort of a tradition and a form.
So many of bluegrass
songs have that kind of
very squared off kind of,
there's a phrase [NOISE].
So there's like four phrases, in.
And there, there's hundreds,
if not thousands of songs, that have those
four phrases.
They might, vary slightly on the chords,
you get that sense of, a story told
through four different phrases.
And the general rule with the fiddle solo
for a lot of this
stuff when you're playing a song rather
than a fiddle tune, is that you
are one of the few instruments in the band
that can actually imitate the voice.
We can actually follow the vocal phrases
in a way that
some of the other instruments can't do as
So we have this sort of unique
responsibility to,
to reiterate what the vocalist is singing.
But we can do that with a little extra.
So, in a tune like.
Something similar to a tune like "Why'd
You Wander".
We could play very close to the vocal
in which we sort of sing the song but on
the fiddle and
using the fiddle's capabilities.
So we might go into first phrases like.
[NOISE] Right?
We could play something very close to
We could play
Just like that tune Why Do You Wander?
Except maybe we want to put in some of
those very bluegrassy
double stops that the fiddle is so
beautifully capable of doing.
We could do something like.
Something like that to start.
And the second phrase might be.
So becks is one and then maybe go into
five, spell that out.
So, we actually end and began each phrase
with a little double stop,
and then we play, play a little run and
then often.
The third phrase is very, it's almost
exactly like the first phrase, and that
makes it hang together as a song.
So, we could do something similar to that,
except maybe a little bit more decoration.
just a little bit more stuff in there.
And then the last phrase we just let, let
the animals out of the barn.
And that's where we play our maniacal hot
So that's where we throw in a quote from
some hot fiddle tune,
might be in the same key or something like
So we could play for that last phrase
something like.
Something like that,
where we really just go crazy, play our
fiddle stuff.
And that's that's always very exciting.
Because we, you know,
we played those pretty straightforward
melodies at the beginning.
And then everybody's waiting for it.
They know it's coming.
They know it's coming.
then we back away from the microphone and
get the singers ready to come in.
So we're going to do that on this same
classic form.
Just that way, i'll play it very slow and
then we'll,
we'll play it with a backing track.
Again, we're gonna use that little
That kinda thing.
We talked about that a few hundred
thousand lessons back, that dotted bow.
And then we'll play our double stop.
On the four chord.
We finally got to four chord there.
Then second phrase, very much like the
first one.
We're spelling out that five chord.
There with our fourth very scary but very
good sounding.
Open fourths, and then a little bit of a
variation on
the third time, maybe instead of playing
we'll play something.
With a seventh in it.
Because we are going from the one
we're following a little bit of dominant
motion there.
We're going from the one to the four cord.
Which is one to four, fourth away.
So that's a little bit of our dominant.
Motion arch right there.
So we can put a seventh note into make,
give it a lot of tension and color.
perhaps your little tribute to Kenny Baker
who loved to put the seventh.
And the four chord.
Great fiddle player.
One of the great fiddler players of all
So, again, that seventh, we're using the G
So we're putting.
That of course, is the F Natural.
And then, again, the seventh.
On to the cee, because it just sounds so
good, and bluesy.
And then, that last flurry
And again, ending with that.
Very nice,
fourth double stop.
So that's, a, classic bluegrass form solo.