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Cello Lessons: “La Cucaracha”

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[MUSIC]
La Cucaracha is
a children's song from Mexico.
It means The Cockroach.
And it's supposed to help you dance.
When you see a cockroach,
you have to dance to avoid it.
So, we're gonna use this tune to work
on some of our rhythmic playing.
We'll dive into the three, three,
two rhythm and actually learn the chords.
After we learn the melody.
So, the melody has a couple upbeats and
it starts like this.
[MUSIC]
It's just three As and then a D.
Starting up bow,
because we have an odd number of pickups.
Up, down, up, down.
Play that with me.
[MUSIC]
Good.
Now, I'm gonna fill in
the subdivisions of this next note.
[MUSIC]
I'm playing three Ds.
[MUSIC]
Let's put all that together.
Play with me.
[MUSIC]
Good.
Now we're gonna play that twice.
Let's count it off.
One, two, three, go.
[MUSIC]
Twice.
[MUSIC]
Good.
So, the one thing I'll say,
is when we start these phrases,
we wanna leave the bow on the string.
So it's all connected
until the very last note.
That last third finger,
the F sharp, is gonna be short.
So it's, long, long, long,
long, long, long, short.
Long, long, long, long, long, long, short.
You can even accent
that note a little bit.
[MUSIC]
In addition to the bow accent, so
I'm moving the bow really
fast on the up-bow.
I'm even kind of, like, re-hitting
the third finger with the left hand.
Really hard.
I don't want you to become tense at all.
But, just even that kind of like intention
with that note can help
it be really strong.
The next phrase is just
a little downward scale.
[MUSIC]
But we've got this extension here.
We learned the extension in the G
major scale on the C-string.
This is the same extension,
but on the G-string.
So, find first finger,
is an A, we're gonna stretch
forward with the second finger
[MUSIC]
and then play the fourth finger on the C
sharp.
[SOUND] These are the fifth, sixth and
seventh scale degrees of D major.
So if you walk up, [SOUND] it makes
you wanna go all the way to D.
In the melody,
we're gonna actually do the opposite.
We're gonna go down.
[SOUND] In order to do that effectively,
we wanna have all of our fingers
down with the left hand for
the C sharp,
with the full extension already.
Let's do it together.
One, two, three, four.
[MUSIC]
Good.
I'm gonna play these
three phrases together.
[MUSIC]
And go.
[MUSIC]
That last phrase starts down bow.
Let's play it all three together.
One, two, three, go.
[MUSIC]
Short.
Short.
[MUSIC]
And one,
[MUSIC]
That last note could be a little longer.
[MUSIC]
So, all of that is on the D chord.
And now we're gonna repeat that
similar melodic rhythm, but
on the A chord and
it's gonna sound like this.
[MUSIC]
So we're starting
with what is an A major arpeggio.
We've got A, C sharp, extension,
and then E on the D string.
The important thing is, even when you're
playing the first finger on the D string,
we wanna leave our fourth
finger down in the extension so
that it's ready to play C sharp.
Repeat after me, starting up bow.
[MUSIC]
Ready?
Play.
[MUSIC]
Good.
We play that phrase twice and
then we cadence with a new ending.
[MUSIC]
It's just a little turn around on A and
then a scale down to D.
[MUSIC]
Let's play that together.
Ready, and.
[MUSIC]
Let me play these three phrases of
the second half of the B section.
Why don't you sing along?
Starting up bow.
[MUSIC]
Ready, go.
[MUSIC]
That last note can be short.
Let's play it together.
One, two, go.
[MUSIC]
And go.
[MUSIC]
Okay, that's the whole A section.
Let's play the whole A section together.
Why don't you sing along the first
time and you can even air bow.
All the phrases start up and
then the last phrases start down.
And then we'll play it
together the second time.
One, two, go.
[MUSIC]
Ba da da da dom.
[MUSIC]
Let's play
it together.
[MUSIC]
It's really
important that you
start those notes
with the three pickups.
Up bow, and even though it ends up bow,
we have to retake to start
the next one also up bow.
Let's move to the B section.
In the performance, that whole
A section would be played twice.
The form of this tune is A, A B, B.
The B section starts after the downbeat.
We had pickups before
the downbeat in A section.
But in the B section
the melody starts on beat two.
It sounds like this.
Three, four, one.
That's the first phrase.
And actually,
you should recognize these notes cuz
they are all in the D major arpeggio.
That I'm sure you're still
practicing every couple of days.
But we start on the fifth scale degree,
the A, [SOUND], then we add D,
the roots, the third, F sharp, [SOUND]
the fifth again, and then back to third.
So let's see if we can play that together.
[SOUND] Ready?
And play.
[MUSIC]
Good, and
that last note is a little anticipated.
One and two and.
[MUSIC]
One and two and.
[SOUND] Good, now we're gonna play the
same rhythm in a different melodic shape.
[MUSIC]
So,
we have A, B, A.
[MUSIC]
G, F sharp, A.
[MUSIC]
Now we end 4, 1.
Listen once, sing it with me.
Ready?
Sing.
[MUSIC]
Let's play it.
Ready, go.
[MUSIC]
Good.
Let me put those two phrases together and
the first two phrases of the B section.
Three, four, one.
[MUSIC]
Rest.
[MUSIC]
Good.
Let's play that together.
Three, four, rest.
[MUSIC]
Good.
Then, we're gonna repeat that same melodic
rhythm, but over the A chord again.
So, we're gonna start with an A arpeggio,
so we have to get our extension ready.
Move our left elbow forward
to support the fourth finger.
And it will sound like this.
[MUSIC]
So, we have the root,
third, the fifth, and
actually the flat seven right there.
Let's play that together.
Doom, doom, doom, doom,
doom, doom, doom, doom.
Ready and rest.
[MUSIC]
And then we end with a phrase
that might sound familiar.
[MUSIC]
I think that's how it goes.
[MUSIC]
Yeah, it is how it goes.
It's the same ending as the A section.
Let me put those together.
Sing along.
Rest.
[MUSIC]
Okay.
Let's play those together.
Three, four, rest.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
The last phrase of the B section.
[MUSIC]
Yeah.
So after A major 7 arpeggio.
The very final phrase is very similar
to the ending of the first section, but
we're gonna add a note.
It sounds like this.
[MUSIC]
So instead of walking the scale,
all the way down to the D,
like we do in the A section,
we're gonna throw in a little Three, O.
Let's play that together.
And, go.
[MUSIC]
Three, O.
Good.
I'll play the last two phrases
of the B section together.
One, two, three, four, rest.
[MUSIC]
Yeah.
That's the whole tune.
Let's play the whole B section now.
I'll play all four phrases.
I want you to sing along.
And then the second time through,
we'll play it together.
Three, four, one.
[MUSIC]
Rest.
[MUSIC]
Rest.
[MUSIC]
Rest.
[MUSIC]
Good.
Let's do it all together.
Three, four, rest.
[MUSIC]
The B section happens twice,
and the very last time you play this tune,
if you play it three times or one time,
whichever is the very last time,
we're going to add a little
cha-cha-cha ending.
And so that will sound like this.
[MUSIC]
So we skipped
the three.
And we just go.
[MUSIC]
Right down to the D.
[MUSIC]
And end with a big cha-cha-cha.
And thats the whole rhythm
section can play that together.
It's a really strong ending.
Let's try that with the final
ending The D section.
[MUSIC]
From there.
Three, four, rest.
[MUSIC]
Rest.
[MUSIC]
Rest.
[MUSIC]
Rest and a final ending,
cha-cha-cha.
Now, we're ready to play
the whole tune through.
I'm gonna play it once all the way.
And if you want, you can sing it first and
then go back and play along.
Or if you're ready, you can play along
with me right away, La Cucaracha.
One, two, three.
[MUSIC]
Short.
Rest.
Long rest.
Short.
Short.
And rest.
[MUSIC]
Short.
[MUSIC]
And rest.
[MUSIC]
And
rest.
[MUSIC]
To the B section, rest.
[MUSIC]
Rest.
[MUSIC]
And
rest.
[MUSIC]
Let's do the final
ending, rest.
[SOUND]
Cha-cha-cha.
Very nice.
So this is a rhythmic tune.
The backing track is a little faster,
and you're gonna get some really
good practice with your bow rhythms.
And I want us to actually, also,
Learn the chorus to this song so
we can practice our three,
three, two rhythm.
There's only two chords in this song,
the D chord,
which is the one chord and the five chord.
Can you guess which chord,
what's the letter name of the five chord?
If you count up from D, it's D, E,
F sharp, G, A.
A is the five chord.
So we're actually gonna have first,
there's two phrases in each section.
And it's the same chords for
every section.
The first phrase has three bars of D,
and one bar of A.
Repeat after me.
Three bars of D, and one bar of A.
So, we're gonna do a three, three, two
rhythm with our bow, for each bar of D.
For each measure.
It'll sound like this.
Remember the three, three, two rhythm is
[MUSIC]
down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up.
One, two, three, one,
two, three, one, two.
That's for our three,
three, two rhythm, and
I'm gonna play three of those on D,
and then one on A.
[MUSIC]
Three
[MUSIC]
Now to A.
[MUSIC]
Good.
That's the whole first half.
Then the second phrase,
is the exact opposite.
We do three bars of A, and one bar of D.
That sounds like this.
[MUSIC]
One
[MUSIC]
Two
[MUSIC]
Three
[MUSIC]
D.
With the backing track or my performance
track, practice playing the melody and
the chords in the three three two rhythm,
and I hope you enjoy playing La Cucaracha.
[MUSIC]