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Rhythmic & Chordal Playing
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Cello Lessons: Bluegrass Improvisation: Just Keep Swimming (CRI)

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We wanna improvise in Bluegrass tunes,
but we have to keep in
mind that the primary
goal of the music is to
keep the energy high.
And so unlike a jazz improvisation,
where you have the luxury to hold
some long notes and leave space,
in bluegrass, we have to keep
chugging away and just keep playing.
And it kinda reminds me a lot of this
scene from was it, Finding Nemo,
where Dory is just like just,
keep swimming, just keep swimming.
That's basically what if feels like
when you're improvising bluegrass.
You just have to keep swimming,
you just can't stop.
And so, for Forked Deer, for example,
the whole tune is just in D major.
So as long as you can just
keep playing notes in D major,
you're 90% of the way there.
So let me, with the backing track,
I'm just going to demonstrate just
running a D major scale up and
down so you can hear this at
this most fundamental level.
I'm just going up and
down the Scale.
You can go
anywhere on the cello.
You don't really
have to do that.
And so on.
Actually, it's pretty unstylistic
to go that high in bluegrass.
It's, you really wanna stay here, but,
my point is, as long as you can just
keep moving in D major,
everything's gonna pretty much sound okay.
And you can just start thinking about,
what kind of shapes do I wanna present and
can I maneuver on the instrument?
So the best preparation for
being able to improvise in bluegrass,
I think, are some of those continuous
rhythmic improv exercises that we did
in the intermediate technique section,
where you just put on a metronome and
you just train yourself to play constant
eighth notes in D major, for example.
Or constant triplets or 16ths.
And that ability to just
keep chugging along and
just keep swimming within the key
is gonna be just a really,
really helpful foundation, to feel
comfortable when improvising in bluegrass.