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Mandolin Lessons: Fun With Theory

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Okay, it's fun with theory time.
And this is this is a part of the music
learning experience where you kinda
put the mandolin down, and we're gonna use
our brain a little bit, on this segment.
And that's okay, you know, we like to jam,
we like to play tunes,
but then sometimes somebody will throw
something at us or use a,
use a musical term that we've never hear
So it's great to, to learn a little bit
about the language of music, and
a lot of it has to do with numbers.
And many of you have looked at a piano and
maybe even studied a scale or, or, played
a few notes on a piano,
but basically, there are eight notes in a
scale, okay.
If you're on a C scale you're, you're
going for C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C.
So when you get to G you come back around
to A.
There's no H, I, and J in music, yet,
Unless you're in Germany, then there's an
H, but we won't worry about that.
So, what I'd like to talk about is the
idea of this three-principle chords of
any given key, and the way this works is
they are the one, the four, and the five.
If you were to take that same C scale, C,
D, E, F, G,
A, B, C, you would have the eight notes of
the scale.
And what we're gonna deal with is one,
four, and five,
C, D, E, F, and G, one, four, five.
So whatever key your in, the one, four,
and five are the principle keys.
So let's say we were starting on a G, we
were in the key of G.
We would then have G, A, B, C would be the
four, and D would be the five.
So there is your one, four, five in the
key of G, G, C, D.
And we already played tunes with those
chords in it in the earlier part,
we were in the key of G.
So, let's say we're in the key of A, that
would be A, B, C,
D and E, A, D and E would be the one, four
and five.
So I want you to start thinking about
these, keys.
We'll just stay with, three keys, and, and
we're gonna play the same tune in, in
three different keys.
So, I'll Fly, I'll Fly Away, classical
gospel, bluegrass number.
And we're gonna start off by playing it in
the key of D.
Again, D, E, F, G and A.
D, G and A are our three chords.
So there's our D chord,
which you already learned.
And the G chord.
It is right there, and now the A chord.
You guys need an A chord, we haven't
really shown you one yet.
So here's my bar A chord.
First finger gets the low two strings
barred, then the second string at the
fourth fret with the third string and
the fifth fret with the pinky on the top,
that's your A chord.
It's as if you've taken this G chord and
just slid it up to the neck.
And this is a wonderful chord because it
can slide anywhere on the neck.
more on that later in the instructional
let me sing a little bit of I'll Fly Away.
Please forgive the vocals, folks.
Go to G.
Back to D.
B to A and back B, right?
Now I think we have a guitar rhythm track
for this, and
we'll play along with that guitar.
I might play the melody on the mandolin
this time, and
you guys play the chords in the key of D.
>> A one, two, three and.
>> D chord,
G, D.
A, G.
A, D.
All right,
now we're gonna play the same song in the
key of A.
So, we know our A chord.
That bar A chord.
Just for kicks, I'm gonna show you another
way to play A.
Sometimes I'll just bar the low two
And let the other two strings ring open.
It's kind of a nice A.
It only has A's and E's, but works great.
And a third one,
just to keep you really busy, is the low
string on the C Sharp with the sixth fret.
And the second fret on the D.
then let all of the others pick the top
two strings ring open.
So you can play any of these,
either of these A chords that you like.
So we are now in the Key of A, A, B, C, D,
and E.
Right, the one four and five are A, D, and
So where's our D chord?
We were just playing it, and
now we need an E chord.
Here's a nice one.
The low first fret.
And then you bar the middle two strings.
The second fret.
That's a nice E chord.
So to review we got the A.
A beautiful bar chord.
We've got the D opened.
And then the E chord.
Let's have
that rhythm guitar one more time in the
key of A and
we'll play these chords along with that,
and I'll play the melody.
>> A one, two.
>> [MUSIC]
D chord.
try that new A chord at the sixth fret.
Here comes the E.
And back to the A.
Let's do it again.
D chord.
Here comes the E.
Back to A.
All right,
and now I'm gonna play the melody, and you
guys play the chords.
Play along with me here and you can use
either version of the A, or.
The bar A with the open two strings.
Or the, the spread out one there.
Sixth fret and second fret.
Some people will use their pinky finger
for this one,
if you have short fingers, and then you've
got the bar A, and the E.
Here we go, key of A.
>> A, one, two, three, four.
All right.
We're gonna go now, to another key.
Well, we're really working this I Fly
Away, we're gonna fly away.
So, now we're gonna go to the key of C.
So what are the three principal chords in
the key of C?
C, D, E, F, and G.
One, four, five.
C, F, and G.
So time for a new chord.
The F chord, we haven't really done yet.
Here's the first one I ever learned.
Fifth fret, third fret,
open, and first fret.
That's a great little F chord.
Okay, here's I'll Fly Away in the key of
And I'll play the chords first, nice and
I think we're at 60 beats per minute.
Key of C, I'll Fly Away.
C, F and G.
>> One, two, three.
>> Come the F.
Back to C.
All right.
So I hope that helps you understand
something about the theory of music.
Three different keys.
All I'll Fly Away.
Well I can't say enough about how
important this is.
You now start to,
begin to learn something about the
mechanics in the science of, of music.
One, four, five is very important and so
many songs have these, these three chords.
All of music and hundreds and
hundreds of blue grass songs have sort of
this one, four, five.
And now that you know,
something about keys, hopefully it helps
clarify some of that.
If a singer says, oh, I do that in the key
of G, you'll you'll, be getting
a jump on it to know that the three chords
are gonna probably be G, C and D.
So good luck with that.