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Rhythmic & Chordal Playing
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Cello Lessons: “Forked Deer”

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Forked Deer is one of the best,
most common jam tunes in bluegrass.
And it's gonna make the most
out of our D major scale.
This tune pretty much just runs up and
down the scale for the A section.
So let me teach you to phrase by phrase.
That's our primary
motive at the beginning.
It's just walking up the D major scale.
Up to B.
Then a little turnaround to G,
repeat after me.
Ready play.
Good, next part.
four, one, four, three.
Let's play that together.
Ready, and
let me add to that.
WE have a little
cadence there, one extend four.
Let me play that second phrase, and then I
want you to play it with me a second time.
Okay, I'm gonna play
everything we've got so far.
Listen or sing along the first time, and
then we'll play it together the second.
We've got the first question.
And the first to answer.
And then we have the first question again.
then we're going to have a new answer
that's gonna hang out on the five chord.
So we're just going all the way
down the scale from G to C sharp, and
then we do a little
upward scale back to D.
So let me play the second grouping.
We have the question.
And then the new answer.
Let's play the new answer together,
ready, and.
One more time, and.
Okay, let's put them together.
With, from the question,
three and
Let me put everything we have so
far together.
Let's do the trifecta.
Listen the first time.
Sing the second time.
Then play with me the third time.
Now let's
play it.
Ready, and
Okay, so we've got the whole
first half of the A section.
The second half of the A section
is gonna start the same.
But from here we're gonna
go up to the new ending.
This is a good old
classic bluegrass cadence.
So we're doing the,
from A, we're walking up to D.
One, three, four,
three, Little arpeggio there and then
four, one, four, three.
Let me put that together
And then we just add a couple notes.
We have,
a cadence there, at the end.
Let me just play this whole ending,
let's do the trifecta.
So listen the first time.
Let's sing.
Now let's play it.
Let me put this all in context.
We got the whole A section now.
Let's do the trifecta for the whole
A section I'll play it first time and
mostly in the chuga-chuga blind.
Sing the second time.
Join me the third time.
And ba da da da
da da da da da
da da da da da
da da da ba da da
da da da
Now let's play
All right, that's the whole A section.
B section starts
on a big strong five chord.
So, some people feel like we're
actually like modulating to A.
But you can just think of it as a five
chord [SOUND] that lasts for a long time.
And it goes, the melody goes like this.
That's like the first strong phrase, so
we got o,o,
yeah, let's play that together slowly.
Three and
I'm only using third and
first finger for this.
Let's try it a couple
more times.
Three and
another time, three, and
let's start infecting this with more
style as we're learning it.
So, I'm kind of doing back beat accents.
I'm doing a bow push on that long C sharp,
in order to keep the groove
happening in the long note.
Let's try that together.
Good, so
that's our first answer.
Sorry, that's the first question.
Now going to the first
let's try that together a couple of times.
Three, and
again, and
last time.
So, actually this is gonna
go a little bit higher.
[SOUND] We're gonna have to shift up.
[SOUND] After [SOUND] we're gonna
shift the first finger there.
So we can do this little lick,
so first finger is where fourth finger
would normally be.
[SOUND] This is third position.
one,o,three,o,two,one, And then back to
first position with third finger.
Let me do this new part,
starting [SOUND] from first finger on D.
Let's play that a couple times.
Ready, and
Let's back track, and I'll put it with
the phrase that happens before it.
Let's play that a couple times.
Three, and
last time, and
I'm just doing the Chugga Chugga Bow-in
for that, but I am throwing in
a Run Jimmy right in the beginning.
[SOUND] Well, not really,
actually I'm just doing, down
maybe put this all four of these
big phrases in the B section together.
Let's do the trifecta, so
we are keep it all in context.
Listen first.
We've actually learned the whole tune.
There are no new sections.
The B section is going to end
with the first phrase, again.
That's gonna actually end with the filler
notes that lead us to the same
final phrase from A section.
Let's break this down.
So, the B section ends.
We only get that far
in the first phrase.
Before we do that scale walk up,
the filler notes into
the ending from the A section.
Okay let me put these two together
a couple times for you.
Ready and.
And now we end.
One more time, just the ending.
Ready, and.
Let's do the trifecta for
the whole B section, okay?
Listen the first time.
Two, three, and.
let's play
together and.
That's the whole tune but
the notes are just the starting place.
I actually want to dive in and just give
some sort of more stylistic ideas for this
melody just in what I was playing you,
I was instinctively doing some hammer ons.
Into the third in that B
section, listen to it.
I was just going one, three to sort of
make that melodic note stand out more.
I'll do it again.
I was even kind of lifting with the bow.
Lift, down.
That's a really
strong part of the tune.
That little section actually, we can do
a couple different rhythmic variations.
The core melody that we've learned so far,
is just that.
But often times you'll hear
people play something like this.
[SOUND] That's a really great
bluegrass rhythm.
we're gonna play it down up, up down.
Say that with me once.
Down up, up down.
You can do that rhythm just on
the melodic notes.
But actually you can get a lot more
power if you add maybe first
finger on the D string.
And if you can even play a double-stop
with that third finger,
it would sound like this.
Or if you want a super amount of power,
you could play a fifth
on the A and the D and the G string and
it would sound like this.
So, in the heat of a jam,
you would wanna maybe throw that
variation in cuz it would really
help the B section start strong.
This is something
right at the end.
Doing a little slide from the dissonance
of the C-sharp and the D.
And then
into the unison.
That's a great way to end bluegrass tunes,
just to sort of
release that tension.
See if you can try that
sliding from C sharp
to the D,
if you can get it really in tune.
And then in context it'll sound like this.
You can kinda like whip it
whip it.
Whip it off in rhythm
is kind of satisfying.
Often times if you watch the video of
Jeremy and Rushad and I
we were probably looking at each other
to make sure we all
whipped the end together.
This tune is a lot of fun to
experiment with different accents and
bowings, because there's so many notes.
It's just like an endless
stream of subdivisions.
And so you want to have fun with
the accents and everything.
So, you know our chugga-chugga bowing,
our run-jimmy bowing, and our up-down-up.
All of those bowings are gonna
sound great on this tune.
this is chugga chugga
or run jimmy
or the up down up.
All of those are different ways to get
the feel but, you can just
improvise different bowings and
kind of test yourself.
See if you can throw in accents
unpredictably cuz that's actually what's
gonna make the tune sparkle and
really come to life on a rhythmic level.
So let me demonstrate
a little bit of that.
I'm just gonna throw in
accents kind of randomly.
And now,
I'll add bowings.
By adding sort of
unpredictable length of slurs,
the tune really starts to
have an interesting shape.
And even though it's all
just a bunch of D major,
it can actually still feel fresh and
especially as you're interacting
with other musicians.
this is a good tune to add
a lot of drone strings onto,
adding a lot of open A and
open D
Maybe a couple of double stops
that help articulate the chords.
I'll teach you the chords in a little bit.
But maybe two last things I'll say for
this melody is,
there's a really great
bluegrass ornament or
variation you could really call it,
sounds like a little triplet run.
Right there.
Instead of just doing straight
I could just throw in a little triplet.
And it's actually not very hard to
just run down the scale like that.
And it can actually really help break the
monotony of just super-even subdivisions.
So let me try and throw that in,
in a couple places.
And I want to see if you can
hear it when it happens.
I might give you a big eyebrow,
just to help you.
It's kind
of weird with all
the eyebrows.
But yeah,
it actually is a really great thing to
start practicing in your bluegrass tunes.
And you can find different ways, different
places, to throw in these triplets.
And yeah, I mean, I think that's actually
a lot for you to work on with this tune.
And I think we'll move
on to the chords next.
So the chords for Forked Deer are D,
D, D, D, D, D, D, D.
G, G, G, G, G, G, G, G.
D, D, D, D, D, D, D, D.
A, A, A, A, A, A, A, A.
D, D, D, D, D, D, D, D.
G, G, G, G, G, G, G, G.
D, D, G, G, G, G, A, A, A, A, D.
So that's the whole A section.
The way that I think about it,
is we've got one, one, one, one.
Four, four, four, four,
one, one, one, one.
Five, five, five, five.
That is one chunk,
a really slow one, four, one, five.
Then the second half is one,
one, one, one.
Four, four, four, four,
the first half of that chunk.
But then we finish with a fast one,
one, four, four, five, five, one.
So these are both chunks that
are really common to bluegrass.
And you've even encountered
them in previous tunes.
So we just end with that quick one,
four, five, one.
But the bulk of it is the slow one,
four, one, five.
Let's try this in just a basic
chugga-chugga pattern together.
One, two, ready.
And one, one, one, one, one, one,
one, one.
Four, four, four, four,
four, four, four, four.
One, one, one, one, one, one, one, one.
Five, five, five, five,
five, five, five, five.
One, one, one, one, one, one, one, one.
Four, four, four, four,
four, four, four, four.
One, one, four, four, four, four.
Five, five, five, five, one, again.
Good, I wanted
to give you the feeling
of playing the chords
with the melody.
Let's learn the chords for the B section.
It starts on a big five chord.
Five, five, five.
Five, five, five, five, five,
five, five, five, five.
[NOISE] One, one, one, one,
one, one, five, five, five.
Five, five, five, five,
five, five, five, five.
One, one, four, four,
five, five, five, one.
So that ending is the same as
the A section, one, four, five, one.
But we're basically hanging out on five.
So we've got five, five, five.
Five, five, five, five, five.
But then five, five, five, now to one.
So I'm thinking of,
the five kind of sits for one.
And then we have five, one.
Then we sit on the five again,
and we end one, four, five, one.
Let's play it together.
I'll keep calling it out, and we'll
just do a basic chugga-chugga pattern.
A one, two, and go.
Now, let's put all this together actually
before I say anything more about
the rhythmic component that we're doing.
Let's play the whole tune together.
I'll keep calling out the chords.
A one, two and a top.
One, one, one, one, one, one, one, one,
four, four, four, four, four, four, four,
four, one, one, one, one, one, one, one,
one, five, five, five, five, five, five,
five, five, one, one, one, one, one, one,
one, one, four, four, four, four, four,
four, four, four, one, one, four, four,
four, four, five, five, five, five, one.
One, one, one, one, one, one, one, one,
four, four, four, four, four, four, four,
four, one, one, one,
one, One, one, one, one.
Five, five, five, five, five, five,
five, one, one, one, one, four.
Five, five, five, five,
five, five, five, five,
five, five, five, five,
five, one, one, one, one,
five, five, five, five
Okay we've got the whole tune.
I do want to say, sort of,
now that we've set up a really good
default chugga chugga chord pattern,
your job when you're accompanying other
people in a jam is to interact with
the melodic player, the soloist,
mostly on a rhythmic level I would say.
So all of the things I was just saying for
and improvising bowings, and
making things slightly unpredictable.
We can do that same principle with
the chords, and that's gonna help inspire
a melodic player to feed off of you and
maybe respond with their own accents.
Let me play the chords,
maybe just the A section so
you hear what I'm talking about.
One, two, three, four.
So I was just throwing
a few accents there that
weren't on just the backbeat.
The other thing's let's dive down on
this complemental route a little bit.
The other we can do is we can connect
these chords with some scale so
that there's a little bit
more of a shape to it.
You do hear the same chords,
but I'm just connecting
them all with scales.
That's really gonna help the accompaniment
feel like a counter line.
Almost to the melody.
One other really good
thing to do is to throw in
some long notes in your accompaniment, so
just the occasional sustained note can
really release the texture, again,
from the incessant subdivisions that
are characteristic of bluegrass.
So let me throw in a couple of slurs so
you hear what I'm talking about.
it's starting
to feel a lot
more natural now.
Well, not like so
stiffly kind of I'm doing this chugga
chugga pattern the whole time.
And just the last thing I'll
say about playing chords
is I'm also kinda distinctively.
[SOUND] Doing low notes and
high notes, and
often as the high notes that'll
happen on the back beats, accents.
We talked about that in our
chordal rhythmic playing videos lessons.
So that's definitely gonna apply here,
and again,
that can help just create
a fuller texture, a fuller sound.
To your accompaniment when you're
backing up a melodic play.