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Fiddle Lessons: “Evening Prayer Blues” Key of E

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since blues, the blues and blues phrasing
is such a big part of bluegrass,
I'm gonna spend a little bit more time on
And I think we're gonna use a tune called
the Evening Prayer Blues.
Sort of an armature to talk about this.
Again the, the approach in blue grass for,
bluesy stuff is sort of set by Bill
Both Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs both had
their own very strong blues.
Feeling in their playing and of course,
Bill really had an amazing approach to it
and just very forceful and, and
because the mandolin is tuned very much
like the fiddle, we can use some of his
ideas just moving right over from the
mandolin to the, the fiddle.
He used that chord, the chap chord.
he'd play sort of a blue, blue licks out
of that position.
And, he would use a lot of.
Again, that, that blues third.
He wasn't able to bend as much on,
on the mandolin.
He would go back and forth between.
Of course,
with the fiddle we can do all that
And make that really bluesy.
Sliding from the minor to the major.
You could slide back again from
the major to minor.
And then slide up again.
That's very bluesy.
And then he also, of course, used the
That Mixolydian harmony sound of
the major scale with the flat 7.
But he'd also the major 7.
It's kind of interesting.
He could actually mix that in.
So it would actually go back and forth
between those two.
In a really interesting way.
It still sounds bluesy even though he was
using the major 7.
So there's that kind of magic of
conviction that happens
at almost no matter what note you play.
If you can play it with enough conviction
enough feeling, it's gonna be right, you
So that's kind of an interesting thing.
Bill adapted a tune called The Evening
Prayer Blues,
from the playing of a fellow named DeFord
Who was actually the first black musician
to play on the Grand Ole Opry
way back in 1952, 1953, for a few years.
There, and he was amazing instrumentalist.
He could play just about any instrument,
but he specialized in harmonica,
and he had this great tune called the
Evening Prayer Blues
which he made popular playing it on the
And the original [LAUGH] of that tune was
very pared down.
It was just very core blues sound.
It sounds a little bit like.
And that was kinda it.
You know, it was very haunting and Bill
Monroe picked up on that piece and
turned it into sort of a show piece for
the mandolin.
In which he did some funny, you know, like
odd length bars, things like that.
And you can hear a lot of mandolin players
play that in the key of G.
Which is a great blues key for mandolin,
also for
fiddle and I learned this tune from David
great bluegrass guitar player and he had
moved it into the key of E.
And I like that a lot so I kind of adapted
You know this is the kind of tune that
actually became a template for
a lot of Bluegrass tunes.
Bill used the melody for, also for the
song, I'm Working on a Building, right?
That kind of thing.
So its really kind of sneaked into a lot
of different kinds of music.
So I've kind of made my own adaptation of
it which really works well for fiddle and
I've put it in the key of E which works
very well for guitar, and
I think I'm gonna show you the E version.
You can go to there's a lot of recordings
of this
tune also in G on the mandolin that you
can reference.
It's good to know both versions, and
you might even wanna make up your own
version in some other key at some point.
But this is the version that I've come up
with in E.
And again, it starts so, it starts with an
E note.
I'll just play, play it for you here.
And it's very melodic.
It's very, it's a very clear melody.
And that's really important for this
cuz it's easy to kinda get lost in the
blues lick land, you know, so you wanna.
Kind of make sure that you're playing
clearly playing the phrases very
in a different way.
Even though, we're sliding a lot, I still
want to be definite.
So, here we go playing kind of a slow
One, two, three, four, one.
So that's, the first part.
That's one time, through the phrase.
The first part,
that's one time through the phrase of the
first part.
And what's happening I'm sliding a lot,
I'm sliding on.
On the fifth.
On the fifth degree of the scale, we're in
the key of E, so
the fifth degree of the scale is a B note,
So we're sliding on the B.
going back and forth between the A and the
G sharp is kinda nice because we're
playing on two different strings so we're
rocking back and forth on the string which
gives us kind of the opportunity to phrase
that in a real rhythmic way.
You can also, if we do it in G,
we have a very strong.
We have that.
But when we play it in E, we get to rock
back and forth on two different strings,
which is kind interesting.
And then pushing up a little bit on that
to get that blues feeling on the third.
And then the second, going on.
All right, and then a little tag.
So, we have an odd length for the melody
It goes one, two, three four.
So, we're really adding a couple of beats
in that last half of the first part.
Second part, is pretty normal.
We start with a Start with our fourth
finger on the B.
And then we have the same lick that
happens almost every time.
Again, we have this opportunity.
To rock back and forth there so
we get a nice reliable.
Fourth and then we can,
we can move around.
So, this, what happens here?
We play the whole thing.
Two, three, and
Okay, that's the first half.
And again we're, we're pushing up.
the second half, very similar to the first
And then we add a little pick up, phrase.
And we're back into the a part.
So I'll just play this as a complete first
part and
second part with repeats section and
then we'll have a little performance of
it, with guitar.
One, two, three four, one.
Second part.
Now, one of the most important things
about this tune, with tune phrasing like
Is that, we wanna make sure that those
long notes go for
the entire time that they're supposed to
And if we're not playing this with an
accompaniment it's, the temptation,
of course, is to go.
So we want to really let those notes ring
And one of the ways to let that, let those
notes be the le,
the length that they need to be is to just
keep some part of our body,
like our foot don't have to be stamping.
But we just keep that foot moving a little
bit, or our leg, or
just some little part of our body.
Just keeping that rhythm, and just
relaxing and
that's one of the reasons why we're doing
these long bows.
You know?
At the beginning of the day,
it's just to make sure that we're relaxed
enough and
just comfortable with the bow just really
stretching out like that.
Three, four, one.
And on these long bows we can also,
because of the unique nature of the bow
and instrument, the violin,
we can change those notes.
One of the things that is great about this
instrument, is that we can get softer.
And then we can get louder again on these
long notes.
Unlike the guitar, banjo, mandolin and
other pluck strings.
We can actually go away, and then come
And do all kinds of fancy things with long
So you should really take advantage of
that ability and you know, do,
try different things with a long note and
change the tone, stuff like that.
All right.
here's a performance of Evening Prayer
Blues complete through this cycle.
And then maybe I'll just, I'll just start
it with a little bit of a, a rhythm thing.
And Scot will come in and we'll do a
just go through the melody.
Here we go, one, two, three, and.
This tune, Evening Prayer Blues,
would be a great tune to I think I'm gonna
do a coffer video on this.
I'd like to see what y'all can do on this
it's got some really nice things.
It's the blues.
Blues scale, blue slides, things like
And also those long notes.
Where you gonna be using the whole bow,
and that's also something that we wanna
check in and see how,
how that's going with everybody.
How, how you're doing with the long bow?
And how you're doing with the blues
phrasing and just putting those slides in?
So one chorus of Evening Prayer Blues
would be great send that in.
We'll, I'm sure everybody else will have
some interesting observations,
things to say also, and I would be happy
to help in any way that I can.