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Country Vocals Lessons: “Angel From Montgomery”

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We're gonna continue working on
improvising a melody using
a song Angel From Montgomery,
a fantastic song with a very
simple melody as written.
Gives us lots of opportunities to play and
improvise on.
And I've got it in my
comfortable key of C, but
we've also got another backing
track in the key of G.
So, you can choose whichever key is most
comfortable for you and for this lesson,
I'm gonna ask you to submit your
version of Angel from Montgomery,
in your comfortable key with
the intention of singing the melody,
the first verse very true
to how it was written.
And I'm gonna demonstrate that so
that you know exactly note for
note what that written melody is.
But going on from there,
there are several verses.
And it's a perfect opportunity to
improvise that second and third verse,
as you go through to the end of the song,
the chorus repeats three times.
It's a verse-chorus,
verse-chorus, verse-chorus form.
So you get three verses to play with.
And three choruses to play with.
And it's got a beautiful, emotional arc,
so you've got lots of room to grow
the energy and the emotion of the song,
and play with improvising the melody.
I'm gonna play a little bit
of the backing track here, so
I can demonstrate what I'm looking for.
I'm gonna sing exactly the written melody,
the first verse and chorus.
And then,
I'm gonna improvise a little myself and
talk about how I'm making these
particular choices, what's motivating
my choice of change, how I'm going
about deciding to vary the melody.
Here's the melody as written.
Here's the chorus.
So I'm gonna sing the first line of
the next verse exactly as written, but
then start to play with it a little.
So you see how I stretched the melody?
Still working inside the chord changes,
not going into some strange,
unexpected place.
But just raising the note of the melody
to the next note in the chord.
Now I'm gonna do the same with the chorus.
So I just chose a key word here and there.
And instead of singing
the written melody note,
I sang the next note above
that is in that chord.
That's a really simple way to start
playing with improvising on a melody.
As you do it more and more,
it will become second nature where all you
have to do is give yourself the permission
as a singer to step away from
the written melody with the intention
of whatever the emotional purpose is.
I wanna raise the stakes here.
I wanna infuse it with a little
more energy or passion.
Or maybe you wanna go
the opposite direction.
Maybe you wanna kind of contain
the emotion a little more.
You might wanna drop it
down to a lower note,
kind of bring the melody down a shelf.
Down onto the next lower
note in the chord,
to give it a darker quality,
or more ominous.
Here's another trick that you
can use when you're looking for
ways to improvise or
change a melody and make it your own.
Within the pattern of changes, which you
know, you're familiar with the changes,
we know for circle Be and Broken that
we've got these chords to work with.
Is to find your own pattern,
make up your own melody, a riff that you
can repeat that works
inside those changes.
It's almost like writing a new song, a new
melody so I'm just gonna make up one.
So I made up this pattern.
But when the chord changes,
I have to change my pattern a little bit.
Instead of
I need to change it so that I get the
So that I'm still in
the notes that are right
within the F chord as I change that chord.
Again, taking that pattern up.
that I get that A that's
in the A minor chord.
So I just kind of made up my own
new melody and repeated that,
made my own pattern out of that.
That's another way to
improvise on a melody.
Here's yet another trick that you can try.
This is playing just with the rhythm.
So you can stick to the original notes,
more or less, and
just displace the melody rhythmically.
So this would be an example, instead of.
I'm gonna displace the melody instead
of starting it on the down-beat,
this two, three, four, one, two, three.
That's the original melody.
Now I'm gonna displace it
a little bit rhythmically.
One, two, three.
So what I did was I displaced
the original melody.
I kept the original melody almost in tact,
I just started it two beats later
instead of one, two, three.
I went one, two, three.
You'll find that if you follow your
intuition, once you become really
familiar with the key that you're in and
the chords that you have to work with and
establish for yourself the relationship
between the melody and
the chords, that you will intuitively
want to go to certain notes
when you think of the certain
emotion that you want to convey.
So, just practice for now, singing the
melody as it was written, note for note.
And then the next time you go
to repeat that melody line,
just start on a different
note somewhere in the chord.
A note that belongs in the chord but
that is higher or
lower than the melody as written.
See where that leads you and
see what kind of choices
you let yourself make,
as you submit your version
of Angel from Montgomery.