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Cello Lessons: “Blackberry Blossom” (Beginner Bluegrass Tune)

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[MUSIC]
Blackberry Blossom is one of the most
common bluegrass tunes to play and
to jam with,
so it's a really good one to know.
This is actually gonna be the fastest,
the most note-filled tune
that we've learned so far.
But it's gonna consist a lot of
sequences going down the G Major scale,
which you're already familiar with.
So let me show you the first pattern.
[MUSIC]
It's just the scale degrees.
One, two, three, one.
Let's play it together.
Ready, and.
[MUSIC]
Good.
So, that's the pattern we're gonna
sequence, and we're gonna start it from
the next note down, F sharp, and then
we're gonna keep going down the scale.
It will sound like this.
[MUSIC]
Let's see if we can walk that
pattern all the way down
to the open D string.
One, two, three, four.
[MUSIC]
Let's try
it one more time.
Three, four.
[MUSIC]
Good.
Now the next phrase is gonna dive
us down to the lower strings.
[MUSIC]
That's the next four notes.
O, three, one, O.
Let's play that.
Ready and.
[MUSIC]
Good.
And then the next four notes.
[MUSIC]
So we'll land there.
So this is utilizing our big extension,
our forward extension on the C string.
[MUSIC]
So that fingering is two,
four, O, two, one.
The key to playing in an extension
is to keep your hand in that shape,
the extended shape.
You don't wanna relax it and
lose your hand shape,
because this tune's gonna move fast.
So if you leave your hand in this
hand shape, it's very easy to
wiggle the fingers within that hand shape,
and you'll hit all the right notes.
Let me do these last two phrases together.
Sing along.
[MUSIC]
Second
finger.
Let's play that together from the open D.
Ready, and.
[MUSIC]
Because the C string is really thick and
we're also doing an extension
which is a little more
difficult of a hand shape,
I'm putting my first
finger down with the second
finger even though.
[MUSIC]
That second finger comes first,
I'm putting the first finger down so
that I can really get my arm weight
sinking into the string and
pushing the string down comfortably.
Watch one more time.
[MUSIC]
Extend.
[MUSIC]
You'll notice that we play
third finger on the G string.
[MUSIC]
And then we're gonna have to extend that
second finger to where the third finger
would have been on the C string.
[MUSIC]
Let's play it together.
And
[MUSIC]
extend.
[MUSIC]
Good, let me finish this phrase so
we can get out of the C string.
[MUSIC]
We go, one,
two, O, one.
Together, and.
[MUSIC]
Good, then we put all
twelve of those together.
[MUSIC]
Extend.
[MUSIC]
Let's play that together.
Ready, and.
[MUSIC]
Good, we're almost
done with this section, and
it's going to end like this.
[MUSIC]
Actually ends on a half cadence.
We talked about that in the minuet.
It's ending on a five chord.
Three, O, three, O, one.
Let's play that.
Three, and.
[MUSIC]
Good, let me go back.
Play a bigger section,
then you'll repeat after me.
[MUSIC]
Let's
play that.
Three, and.
[MUSIC]
Okay.
That's actually the whole
first half of the A section.
Let me connect what we just played to that
sequence that comes down on the upper
strings.
Sing along once, and
then we'll play it together.
Ready, and.
[MUSIC]
Let's
play it
together.
Three, and.
[MUSIC]
Extend,
now release
the extension.
Three.
[MUSIC]
Good.
Now we're gonna add some connector notes
to get us back to the top of the piece.
So we ended here.
[MUSIC]
We hold that and
then we're gonna do a little
triplet up the D-string.
[MUSIC]
It's a new rhythm actually, but
we're just walking up the scale.
See if you can play those four notes.
[MUSIC]
Ready, and triplet one.
Good, I'll connect that
with the last phrase.
[MUSIC]
And we'll do it fast there,
right at the end.
[MUSIC]
One and go.
[MUSIC]
Good.
So let's play the whole first section,
and we'll add those connector notes.
And we'll actually start the second phrase
the same way the first phrase starts.
Let's do it together.
Three, four.
[MUSIC]
Extend.
[MUSIC]
Release the extension.
[MUSIC]
Back to the top!
[MUSIC]
We made it almost all
the way through on the repeat
of the first phrase.
But we're gonna end it differently.
Instead of ending on the five chord,
we're gonna end on the one chord, so
it feels really final.
And that final ending sounds like this.
[MUSIC]
That's a really common tag in
fiddle tunes.
You'll hear that in multiple tunes.
[MUSIC]
So for us on the cello,
we're gonna play, three, O, one.
Extend for that F sharp, and
then release on the G string again.
Let's play that together.
Ready and.
[MUSIC]
Good.
So that's the second ending.
Let me play the second time
through the tune with that ending.
Why don't you join me.
Ready and.
[MUSIC]
Extend.
Release now, second D and ending.
Yes.
Got it.
Let's play both times through
the A section with the first ending and
the second ending.
You can sing along and then you can
go back and play along with you want.
I'll play it just once.
One, two, three and.
[MUSIC]
Extend,
release.
Triplet.
[MUSIC]
Extend.
[MUSIC]
Release.
Extend to the second ending.
Very good.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
Let's move
to the B section.
Now in most fiddle tunes, the B
section is higher than the A section,
and this tune is no different.
Often times you'll find fiddlers refer
to the B section as the high section.
However, this is where we
have an identity crisis,
as a cello player playing fiddle tunes.
Cuz fiddle players have an E string,
so often times,
their B sections will utilize the E
string, and that's a string we don't have.
So, in order for us to play fiddle tunes
very comfortably and strongly in first
position, we very often have to
play the B section an octave lower.
So the B section on cello is
actually our low section.
So that's why I'm playing it down here.
[MUSIC]
The B section's gonna start on an E minor
chord.
So you'll hear in the backing track
it goes from G major which is happy,
to a darker sound with the E minor chord.
Repeat after me.
We'll learn the first phrase.
[MUSIC]
Three, one,
three, O, one.
Ready, play.
[MUSIC]
I'm slurring the last two notes up.
[MUSIC]
Then the next phrase.
[MUSIC]
It starts 3, 1, 3, D,
same, but we're gonna do a little,
like, four note up slur.
[SOUND] Up, O, three, one, O.
Repeat after me.
[MUSIC]
Ready, play.
[MUSIC]
Good, let's put those two together.
Sing along the first time.
[MUSIC]
Ready,
play.
[MUSIC]
Good.
Next part starts the same
as the first phrase.
[MUSIC]
But
we're gonna walk all the way up to the G.
[MUSIC]
Let's play that together.
Ready and
[MUSIC]
Good.
Now, from there,
we're gonna do this little lick.
[MUSIC]
So it actually has a little cell
from the first section.
[MUSIC]
So you know that, and then.
[MUSIC]
O, three, one, O.
Let's sing that.
[MUSIC]
Ba, da, da, ba, da, da, da, da.
Now let's play it.
Ready and.
[MUSIC]
Good.
We're halfway through the B section.
Let me play everything we've got so far.
Feel free to hum along and
then we'll play it together.
Ready and.
[MUSIC]
Up,
Up, Up,
That's it.
Let's play it.
Three, four.
[MUSIC]
Up,
up, up,
Good.
The best thing about fiddle tunes is
they're kind of modular melodies.
So, the second half of the B section,
like the A section,
is gonna be almost all the same, but
we're gonna have a different ending.
The second half of the B
section sounds like this.
[MUSIC]
So just
the ending
was new.
Let me play you just the ending,
starting fourth finger, on the G string.
[MUSIC]
We're gonna do three notes and a down-bow.
[MUSIC]
And then another three notes on an up-bow.
[MUSIC]
So those together sound like this.
[MUSIC]
And we're gonna finish what is actually
a little three, three,
two rhythm with two final notes.
[MUSIC]
So, it'll sound like this together.
[MUSIC]
Okay,
let's sing that together.
[SOUND]
Good.
Then we're actually gonna do
the same tag from the A section.
Although it's gonna be an octave
higher than we learned it before.
And it sounds like this on the A string.
[MUSIC]
One, four, O,
three, one.
Wrong string.
I messed up.
[MUSIC]
We're gonna end on the G.
Let me combine all of this together.
The full second ending.
Sing along first.
[MUSIC]
Let's play it.
Ready, and.
[MUSIC]
Good.
Here is the whole B section.
One, two, three, and.
[MUSIC]
All
right.
In performance,
we would play the whole B section twice,
cuz this has the standard
fiddle tune form of A, A, B, B,
which as you may remember is very easy to
remember because it spells A, A, B, B.
Let's play the whole tune through,
see if we can remember the whole thing.
But, I'm gonna add one new element.
We're pretty much playing straight
subdivisions for this whole tune.
And I wanna see if we can impose
the chugga-chugga rhythm onto this.
So we would be accenting one, two, three,
four, one, two, three, four,
one, two, three, four.
And that's gonna give us the ever
important back beat that's really crucial
to all fiddle tunes, okay?
I'll play it once,
you can listen to my accent.
And then you can sing along and
then you can play along.
Blackberry Blossom with chugga chugga.
One, two, three and.
[MUSIC]
Repeat
the A
section.
[MUSIC]
B
section,
retake.
[MUSIC]
Again.
[MUSIC]
Very
good.
Keep working on that chugga-chugga
rhythm so we get a strong back beat.
So let me show you what the connecting
notes sound like between the end and
the beginning of the B sections.
[MUSIC]
And then we would just keep
going on the B section till the end.
Practice this tune with the backing track,
and work on your back beat, the chugga
chugga pattern, and I look forward to
hearing you play Blackberry Blossom.
[MUSIC]