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Harmonica Lessons: "Fisher's Hornpipe"

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"Fisher's Hornpipe", it falls under
the category of Old Timey Music.
It's because it's a very old tune.
I have a book from 1815
that has this piece in it.
Who knows how old it is.
It's from the British Isles.
A horn pipe was a dance that
a lot of people danced back then,
just like the reel and the jig and
all those other kinds of dances.
And so it has a very simple.
[MUSIC]
It's in the key of C.
I'm going to play it in
first position on C harp.
The very beginning of it.
You can begin it two ways,
you can hit the
[MUSIC]
or
[MUSIC]
so that little
[MUSIC].
This is really cool.
It's fast and really easy because
it just involves three breaths,
even though there's four notes.
It's
[MUSIC].
Six blow and
then one breath on six and seven.
[MUSIC]
It's called a triplet.
So if you're in 4/4 time,
one, two, three, da-da-da.
Di-da-da.
Triple it, you know there's three beats.
Everything else are eighth notes.
Daka, daka, daka, daka.
One-ah, two-ah, three-ah, four-ah.
I never say this stuff, sorry.
[LAUGH] And so everything else is daka,
daka, daka, daka, daka.
And this is [SOUND]
[MUSIC]
You can see this tune is very great on
the harmonica because
you just have to slide.
[MUSIC]
It's the straight major arpeggio from
seven to four.
Starts in six blow and
then the inhaled notes.
[MUSIC]
Then five draw and six straw.
[MUSIC]
And then six blow, five draw.
It's like the scale.
[MUSIC]
And when you're
doing back and forth
[MUSIC],
you can move your whole head.
Or the harmonica.
Or just your jaw.
That's probably the most efficient way
to go back and forth between two notes.
So, I want to make you aware of
these different types of techniques.
[MUSIC]
So this tune takes you over that seventh
hole divider where you
have to play the scale
on the top part of the harp a little bit.
[MUSIC]
And you can
puff some air into
the harmonica.
That's a really authentic
old timey way of playing.
[MUSIC]
That's
pretty fast,
isn't it?
If you're a beginner that's
a little intimidating.
So the second part,
these tunes all have two parts.
You play the first part twice and
the second part twice.
So the second part goes into the key of G.
[MUSIC]
Not the key of G but the chord of G.
Instead of the C chord first,
you have G first.
G, C, G, and
a quick little D sometimes, [NOISE].
So
[MUSIC]
This is eight draw,
seven draw, six blow.
This is hard.
[MUSIC]
You have to practice that.
[MUSIC]
And then this is easy.
This is all blows, eight, seven and six.
[MUSIC]
And there's
of course other
ways to inflect and
play these.
Fiddle tunes have lots of variations.
People play the melodies a little
differently in certain places.
[MUSIC]
That was an over blow there.
You see, I had an F sharp.
See, sometimes people play it
[MUSIC]
and then it was a B flat
[MUSIC].
You'll hear that sometimes.
[MUSIC]
Or not.
[MUSIC]
And then the idea for
the old timey music is
you play solos on it,
but it's not as flashy as blue grass.
But the chords are so simple, which is
one four, one four, one four, one five.
I mean, this is really easy stuff.
[MUSIC]
Basically,
you just paraphrase a tune and
then it goes and you do that again.
It's always A, A, B, B.
And then you go into the five
[HARMONICA PLAYING SOUND].
Now beginner technique,
you can do all of this stuff.
I didn't bend any notes,
you can do it all, but
it's just a matter of how fast
you can move the harmonica.
How comfortable you are at the break
point on the harmonica, between six and
seven when the instrument
flips upside down.
So if you want to look for more of these
type of tunes, you can get old-time
fiddle or mandolin books, that have
old timey music and bluegrass music.
They have all these tunes
written out just as music.
They're really so simple.
It's also good, obviously, to listen and
learn by ear, because that's the way
pretty much the real guys,
that's the way it's transmitted.
Just like Irish music, it's just played.
[MUSIC]