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Harmonica Lessons: Bossa in A

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So the Bossa in
A is a tune that I wrote for
my out of the box volume one DVD.
Except that the form of it that's on
there, is not really the complete form.
Because it has a bridge that goes into C,
and I wanted it on the DVD,
I wanted to keep it simple so for those
of you that got the DVD and said, hey,
where's the extra part from?
The extra part is the part of the tune
that I didn't put on the DVD.
So, there is a chart in
the PDF Attachment that you'll be
able to look at for all the chords.
And the challenging thing about this
tune is Chris sets up this beautiful
bossa nova groove, and
it's a one to a flatted two, which is,
the flat two with the flat five chord is
what's called the flat fifth substitution.
So it's [SOUND] it's an A.
[SOUND] And then,
over that flat five chord.
[SOUND] The C major arpeggio works.
So it's [SOUND] A to C.
[SOUND] You could think of it that way.
And then when
you're ready start the tune.
Okay we'll stop it there.
So, the challenge of playing this tune.
Sorry, I love playing this tune.
But the challenge on the harmonica is,
I wrote it in A major on a C harmonica
which is people usually don't usually play
in what's called fourth position major.
To play that scale you need to do some
very precise bends and
not have it sound pinched.
Especially that fourth hole draw.
You want.
it has to be in tune because it's
the first major note of the melody.
And then I
articulate between
the G-sharp and the A.
It's really tricky.
However you can do it to sound believable.
I'm thinking as if I were
a flugal horn player or
a trombone player
And I articulate that
F-sharp with my tongue
and then I bend up into the D because I
And then when I play the E,
I slur up to it with a four overblow.
The way a guitarist would slide,
[SOUND] no, a slide over a fret.
[SOUND] Right, exactly like that.
Because when I'm doing the over blow.
It's like you sliding your finger over
the frets of the notes.
And the same
thing with that G.
I slide up over the [SOUND]
over the fifth hole overblow.
And then I'm trying to get a big
sound out of that A-flat.
Which is a little note.
It's a little reed.
And I'm trying to get a big sound so I
try to pull my tongue all the way back in
my mouth, instead of
If you have it more to the front,
the timbre of the note's
gonna be more trembly.
[SOUND] As opposed to [SOUND]
if you have it further back,
it's gonna be a darker sound.
And this is really some very,
it sounds like nitpicking, but
it makes a really big difference
in the sound of the melody.
And I'm trying to, by having images
of larger instruments in my mind I'm
trying to make the C harmonica
sound like a deeper instrument,
a deeper harmonica than it is.
And then
And then I do a little trill,
I just take advantage
of what the instrument
gives me between a [SOUND] C-sharp and
And then it goes into C.
See I'm articulating
with my tongue.
It's so important that all these
notes be really really in tune,
that's one of the things that's
hard to play about this tune.
It'd be easier to play it if I were
playing it on like an A harp or
something where you have the bends take
place further back in the throat and
they're easier to do.
There's a little bit more leeway,
you know, a little bit more slippage.
So begin.
And then I put fills in
it between my own melody and
I do it differently each time,
as Hugh will attest.
>> Very much.
>> Now, we're in the E chords, right?
>> Yeah.
>> [MUSIC]
And see that,
that's just one note.
I mean if you look at the chart,
none of those runs are in there.
So I'm just improvising over E major so
now we're in the 5th position major.
Which is another scale that takes very
pinpoint control over bends and overblow.
And I was playing
licks that had 4ths in them and
then implied the pentatonic scale.
yeah, pentatonic scale and
then the next chord is
an augmented chord and
then I go up to a C
and see that chord that,
what would you call
that chord on a guitar?
>> This chord would be
a sharp 9 with a flat 13.
>> That's what jazz musicians call it but
it's an augmented chord with a sharp 9.
and the scale that goes along with that
is the altered scale.
It's very similar
to the diminished scale but
it's a 7 note scale.
It's a whole model system
which I'm gonna do
some lesson about in the future,
so that's why
the augmented arpeggio also works on it
as well as
It's one of those 5 chords, it's like the
glue that hold things together in jazz.
And you eventually have
to learn how to improvise
over these chords with this altered scale.
But also, there's melodies that I
knew like certain melodic conventions
that people improvised in I learned
those when I heard a chord like that,
I would play those before I even
knew about the altered scale.
So, you can look at improvising
from many different angles and
they're all correct and
then it goes back to the 1 chord.
So it's a G7,
so I can
to the F sharp.
And then again,
then we're in the D Dorian.
You can play whatever you want.
Sometimes if my mood is more aggressive or
if I want to surprise people
I'll play a lot of really fast stuff
there and then have Chris play a solo.
Or, if I'm really
moody I'll play
and then maybe hand
it off to Chris.
And sometimes, you don't finish
a melody like where the melody ends,
you can actually kinda overlap
where the first solo begins.
So, if I go
see what I mean?
And, Chris knows that I'm overlapping.
And so he continues to clamp and
then I sort of sneak in on the piano.
So, I'm not thinking, my god,
the melody is over so
I have to jump on the piano immediately.
It's kind of a musical cross fade live.
>> And it's also handy for
the accompanist as well to consider that,
that might happen.
So you don't want to just jump right
in because you know it's the top of
your chorus.
You wanna wait for
the other fella to finish his idea.
And then maybe you can
build upon that idea or
start it fresh, but only after that
musical information has been played.
>> Yes, correct.
>> [LAUGH]
>> Yeah, he's pretty good.
So, this is a C harmonica,
it's a customized Joe Filisko one.
I love it very much.
But you don't have to have a customized
harmonica to play this music.
If you adjust the reed clearances on
a good honer, you can get all the notes,
I mean it won't feel or sound exactly
the same as these but it's pretty close.
So, I hope that answers some of
people's questions about this tune.
I really can't think of what else to
say other than obviously when you
play over the changes you have to
improvise for all those chords but
that's for you to try, and
send me videos and I'll respond, okay?
So good luck.