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Harmonica Lessons: "Life in Eleven"

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Hey everybody.
This is gonna be a little
lesson on how to play in 11.
And the reason why I'm doing this
is that there's one of the tunes on
the Flight Tone CD,
it's called Life in Eleven.
And it's referring to the rhythm of 11 and
someone pointed out to
me that it is also 2011.
So maybe that was in Bela's mind
when he thought of the name.
But I wrote a lot of the material for
this tune,
especially the opening rhythmic
figures and opening melody figures,
as well as the idea for the structures of
the solos that are in 11, 4 and 11, 2.
So I just thought I'd let you
know because it's very funky and
bluesy on the harmonica.
And I'll play you an example on
my fine stereo system right here.
I'm in the dressing room, outdoor
dressing room at Sun Valley, Idaho, but
I just had the urge to do this.
the basic
The rhythm is 11, 8, and it's divided
into groups of twos and threes.
And so in real time, it's going one,
two, one, two, one, two, three,
one, two, one, two, one, two,
one, two, one, two, three, one.
2 plus 2 is 4, plus 3 is 7,
plus 2 is 9, plus 2 is 11.
So we'll slow it down for you.
The idea is 2, 2, 3, 2, 2.
So, it's 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2,
3, 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2,
1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 1, 2, or in like Indian
rhythmic notation it'd be taka,
taka, taka, ti, taka,
taka that's a lot easier to say.
Taka is two and takata is three.
[SOUND] The way the Bulgarians feel it,
is in slow and quick accents.
The two is a quick and
the three is a slow.
So they feel, quick, quick, slow, quick,
quick, quick, quick, slow, quick, quick,
quick, quick, slow, quick, quick.
And so, the way it is,
you think of a clock, you've got your
hours, your minutes, and your seconds.
And so the hour would be eleven.
Tock, tock, tock, one bar of eleven.
The minutes are kind of the pulses.
[SOUND] The two, two, three, two,
two, two, two, three, two, two.
And the seconds are [SOUND].
So it's kind of like a watch.
Harmonica, the opening figure that I play,
is this.
And I'm dividing up the rhythms
with the inside of my mouth.
I'm going
So it's on an inhale, first it's a draw.
Draw blow.
Draw blow, draw blow, draw.
I'm dividing each group in taka and
I'm seeing those Indian rhythmic
[SOUND] First, the inhale.
[SOUND] Then, the exhale.
[SOUND] Then, the inhale.
So it's in, out, in, out, in.
And then the next one is out,
in, out, in, out.
That's all I'm doing.
And it's just like blues.
It's like a blues vamp,
except it's Bulgarian.
And then I
play the actual
melody which is.
And I'm taking
advantage of the two draw.
three blow being the same note.
[SOUND] So it’s
one draw two draw, [SOUND] and
then three blow two draw.
It’s sort of similar to some
of the rhythmic breathing rudiments.
So it's
It's two draws with, it's a slide,
and then blow draw.
And then,
that's the three notes, two draw bend
It's an A harp, by the way.
Two draw bend, two draw, three blow.
That's the three notes.
And then.
Three draw, two draw,
three blow, two draw.
So I'm using the, taking advantage of
the fact that I have that E as two draw or
three blow,
to separate it rhythmically for
me and make it sound more percussive.
So the first part is,
and then,
two blow, three blow
two draw, three blow
then four blow, three blow
two draw
then three draw, two draw,
three blow, two draw
And when you do this, the most efficient
way is to just move your lower jaw.
I'll show you sideways.
I go up.
So there's three licks, there's the first
one, the second one, the third one,
and then back to the first one.
That's the first one.
That's the second one.
That's the third one.
That's four draw, three blow.
Four blow, three blow.
That's the same as the other ones in
the middle and end of it.
So there's four of them.
Number one, number two, number three,
and then back to number one.
So that's
that second
And then in the third
one I go
And it's just thirds with
a little bit of bending
It's pretty easy to figure out.
It starts on four draw and
goes up to six low.
Then it starts on the four blow and
goes up to five draw.
It's all along the Mixolydian mode.
There's nothing fancy here,
just a little bit of bends.
I'd vary
it a little bit.
And then the complicated stuff
starts, which is much harder.
From the beginning of
the tune to this point,
any intermediate harmonica
player could play it.
Its just a matter of developing your sense
of rhythm and understanding the eleven.
[SOUND] Its just another kind of vamping.
So download The Flecktone CD,
or just download this one tune,
Life in Eleven, and try it out on E harp.
Good luck everybody.