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Harmonica Lessons: "Norwegian Wood"

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[MUSIC]
Well,
this is by way of
introduction to
the Beatles song
Norwegian Wood.
And I have here my trusty professional
Raagini Indian drone box.
And the reason why is that the Beatles
use the sitar for the first
time in this song because George Harrison
was getting interested in Indian music.
And so, the melody of the song is
actually based on an Indian Raga,
one of the characteristic
melodies from a Raga.
And a friend of mine told
me that it's Bageshri.
Indian Ragas are similar to our idea of
modes, except that they're not just modes.
They have very specific types of
melodic structures within the mode,
and there's certain notes you're
supposed to emphasize more than others.
And you're supposed to go from
one note to another differently
when you play an ascending run from
the way you play a descending run.
And it's a very,
very involved theory that I don't
want to go into too much detail here.
But it's the introduction
to Norwegian wood.
Now this tune was written by
the Beatles in the key of E.
[MUSIC]
The Dorian mode
[MUSIC]
major scale with a flat at 7th.
It uses all the notes of the scale for
the beginning part of the melody.
So I thought I would play
it on an A harp and cross.
[MUSIC]
And for
those of you who can't bend.
You can play it way up
starting on eighth draw.
[MUSIC]
That part of the melody works
up there with no bends.
But when I listen to the Beatles'
original, I discovered that
George Harrison played that melody, but
he ornamented it the same way that Irish
music has a specific ornaments that goes
along with the character of this Raga.
And I realized that it's more like
[MUSIC]
and if I were to play that
[MUSIC]
I could do it in cross-harp
with an A harp.
I thought well what happens
if I pick up an E and
here's a low E harmonica that I have.
[MUSIC]
That way I can
[MUSIC]
I can slower up to it,
which is closer to
the character of the music.
So sometimes the harmonica that you pick,
you can pick harmonicas for
these tunes even.
Simple tunes like this.
Just due to the fact, maybe you might
want to slur a bend instead of playing
two notes next to each other
with a breath direction change.
So in first position is starts
on the sixth hole blow.
[MUSIC]
And then you bend the third hole
draw bend down a half step.
First the whole step and then bend up
[MUSIC]
to five draw.
[MUSIC]
Then I thought, I could also
play it in an interesting
way on a G harmonica.
This is for you advanced
players who can do over blows.
And then you can give
expression to different notes,
depending on what key
harmonica you play it on.
[MUSIC]
In fourth position on an E harp,
fourth position major.
[MUSIC]
That is the fifth hole blow.
[MUSIC]
The fifth hole over blow.
[MUSIC]
Fourth hole draw bend, for
sharp on a G harp.
[MUSIC]
Three draw, four draw, four draw bend,
three draw bend down that whole step.
[MUSIC]
And then you can do that.
[MUSIC]
bending on the two draw.
[MUSIC]
So the melody works well for
the first part on all of these harmonicas.
And then there's a second
part of the tune.
[MUSIC]
And for all of you know who a little bit
about music theory, or
just have good ears,
all of a sudden we're in E minor.
[MUSIC]
Because
the words get
a little ironic.
And you discover,
if you listen to the lyrics that the song
is not gonna have a happy ending.
I have to pull the pedal forward to me,
here.
Whoa.
So to play in a minor key on an A harp
[SOUND] The second part of the tune.
[MUSIC]
You have to know how to over blow.
[MUSIC]
Or.
[MUSIC]
But the song,
seems to want to go up
higher at that point.
Not going down lower.
You can do it bending if you want.
Or if you play it on the E harp.
[MUSIC]
It's kinda hard to play
the melody up there.
You can solo over the chords,
do whatever you want, but to actually play
the melody involves a very precise
eight hole blow band in first position.
[MUSIC]
And then a six hole over blow,
that's hard, down lower.
[MUSIC]
You don't want to hear it there.
You can play it on the high E harp.
Maybe you could do it in the same
register that you played the melody,
in the major key, in the middle
of the harmonica if you want.
I try to stay away from high
harmonicas playing melodies.
However, the G harmonica which is
harder to play the first part in.
If you want to play the middle.
[MUSIC]
E minor is fourth position.
[MUSIC]
You can even harmonize it.
[MUSIC]
So, an unlikely choice,
the G harmonica actually
works just about as well
as the A harmonica in many
ways if you know how to over blow.
And you get more expression and be closer
to the original character of the melody.
So I've tried to lay it out for you here.
And in the next part of the lesson I'm
going to perform it on different harps.
[MUSIC]