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Harmonica Lessons: "Foggy Mountain Breakdown"

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[MUSIC]
That is
basically the melody
to Earl Scruggs'
famous tune
Foggy Mountain Breakdown.
For those of you who don't
know who Earl Scruggs was,
he was the originator of the three
finger roll on the banjo,
basically creating the modern
style of bluegrass banjo.
He played first with Bill Monroe and
I would say that bluegrass in it's early
days was kind of parallel to be-bop.
It was a revolutionary, hyper version of
traditional old-timey Appalachian music,
the same way that be-bop
revolutionized swing in America.
And they started happening roughly
around the same time in the 40's.
So, Earl Scruggs wrote
this simple tune and
of course, the melody was played on
the banjo with some note bending.
It was very bluesy in the way
country blues is, it bends.
[MUSIC]
From two up to three up the scale,
instead of.
[MUSIC]
It doesn't have
the urban blues sound.
It's the notes along
that pentatonic scale.
Look up the pentatonic scale lessons.
So it starts out on the third.
[MUSIC]
And then it goes down to the sixth.
[MUSIC]
And what that's happening in the chords,
it's going from G, G, G, to E minor.
To G, so it's going from
the major to the relative minor.
Same scale.
[MUSIC]
The pentatonic scale works
either as a major scale,
[MUSIC]
or a minor with the same notes,
with the E minor chord,
[MUSIC]
It's such a universal scale.
And on the banjo.
[MUSIC]
He's bending that note which
you can only get on the harmonica
with the first hole overblow
[MUSIC].
But for this of you who don't do overblows
it's perfectly fine to just play.
[MUSIC]
[SOUND] And
you hear the country bending thing.
[MUSIC]
I'm doing a little tonguing.
[MUSIC]
It's that flat third.
[MUSIC]
To the second.
[MUSIC]
And then it goes up to the five chord.
[MUSIC]
And there's a sort of
bluegrass bluesyness.
[MUSIC]
It's not done.
[MUSIC]
It's
[MUSIC]
it has to do with the relationship of,
like when someones playing on a fiddle.
There is a certain style of fiddle
playing where they never hit the fourth.
They play that sharp fourth.
[MUSIC]
It has to to do
with a very old scale,
that has to do with the overtone series.
It's a special brand of tonality
that's found in eastern Europe,
throughout certain places in Europe,
the south part of Poland and
in the Appalachian mountains.
So that's kind of
the essence of the melody.
Now when you're soloing over this,
you can use.
[MUSIC]
Pentatonic runs and.
[MUSIC]
All the way up to nine blow.
[MUSIC]
And you can hit that flat fifth,
that flat seventh rather,
[MUSIC]
you can introduce an overtly
bluesy sound in on the five chord.
[MUSIC]
Or on the one chord if you want.
[MUSIC]
But not on that.
[MUSIC]
You don't want to have an F natural on
an E minor chord.
[MUSIC]
It's
just ignorant,
[LAUGH] and there's
an ending lick.
[MUSIC]
It goes.
[MUSIC]
Earl does that on the banjo,
blang, goes up.
So for those of you who can do over blows,
it's the sixth hole over blow
to the seven draw and for
those of you who can't,
you can just do it on the third hole.
[MUSIC]
So I'm gonna solo on
it a little bit for you.
With a track.
[MUSIC].