Intros and bridges

Ferrator
Ferrator
@ferrator
3 months ago
31 posts

I will see if I can get them and look them over. Thank you very much!

I have been working with one from Wayne Jiang.

Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
3 months ago
160 posts

The 2 versions of Morning Has Broken that I plan to use together are by Steve Smith  and then the flat-picked version by Tull Glazener was what I considered for the interlude.   It essentially is the same on a lot of it,  but uses the chords played and then broken into arpeggios.

Ferrator
Ferrator
@ferrator
3 months ago
31 posts

Wonderful! This is excellent stuff!

What got me thinking on this and spurred me on to ask was I had been trying playing some of Part B as an intro. (Usually just the last couple of bars).

When I first learned to play I was drilled on the idea of "keeping the left hand in a chord shape". Really good habit that one.

I am with Lois on the point of the books. If finances ever permit, it is a direction I would like to go.

I am curious, which 2 versions of Morning Has Broken are you working with Lois?

Thank you all so very much! :)

 


updated by @ferrator: 12/28/19 01:50:07PM
Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
3 months ago
160 posts

Dusty, thank you!  I've been envying people who can sing a verse or 2, then throw in something that's not just playing the same thing without the words, and then returning to the words.  Can't borrow Mastering Variations, but see Amazon has a limited # of copies.  DRAT!  It's the sort of thing I should have suggested as a Christmas present. 

Some of what you suggest has come up in a song I've decided to stick to playing instrumentally only.  I found 2 versions of Morning Has Broken.  Surprisingly both are in the same key with the 1 I would play as an interlude taking the spot where your hand is already in a chord and arpeggiating (if that's not a real word, it should be) the chord.  On 2d thought maybe I'll sing on version 1 & use version 2 as an instrumental break. 

O.k. you didn't give the full course or book, but it's a great start with suggestions on proceeding that easily delays my roughly $35 - $70 (buying both O'Rourke's books & including the shipping) for now.  When I am ready to move on to more involved discoveries I now know where to go...to a book or 2.  The librarian in me, of course, approves the book recommendation,

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
3 months ago
1,225 posts

Lois Sprengnether Keel: Because the intro & the ending can easily come from the piece, they aren't as hard to come up with something.  My puzzlement is always that "filler" between sections or verses.  Suggestions? 

Lois, this is a big question, for at essence you are asking how to improvise or take a solo.

First, just some terminology.  The term "filler" is usually used for what we do in short spaces, say a few beats in between melody lines or when the melody line sits on a long note.

If you want to play a whole verse doing something different, there are other terms.  If you stay close to the melody, it would just be called a "variation," and there are some strategies for creating variations.  Aaron O'Rourke teaches this stuff by differentiating between melodic variations, harmonic variations, and rhythmic variations.  (He has a book or two entitled "Mastering Variations.")

If you leave the melody behind, you are playing what would have been called many decades ago a "musical interlude," but what we refer to more recently as "a solo." In both cases the chord progression is the same as the verse you are replacing, but you are no longer pretending to play the melody.   The way to learn to do this just by feeling or by ear would be to record yourself just playing the chords of the piece and then practicing coming up with alternative melodies.  You start by finding the safe notes, which are just the notes of each chord. If you venture to a note that is not a chordal tone, that's OK, so long as it's a passing tone and you get back to a chordal tone soon, probably the first beat of the next measure.  As you get a feel for the chord progression, you can perhaps plan how to move from a safe note for one chord to a safe note for the next one.

One of my golden rules of dulcimer playing is to keep your left hand in the shape of a chord at all times.  That way you can pluck any note and it will sound OK.  In that sense, each of your fingers is already fretting a safe note.  Sometimes you can play several filler beats or a section of a solo just by playing arpeggios (the notes of a chord) in a rhythmically interesting way. And sometimes starting with an arpeggio will lead you to more adventurous melodic invention.

A lot of folks who teach this stuff will demonstrate certain scales, such as the 5-note pentatonic scales, as good for improvising.  They are, but on the dulcimer we only have 7 notes anyway, so we are already pretty close to the pentatonic scales. And even if you play around with those scales, it is still a good idea to resolve your improvisations on those chord tones, so I would still stress keeping close to those chord positions.

Both Aaron O'Rourke and Stephen Seifert teach this stuff. You might look for some of their online lessons.

Finally in the interests of full disclosure, let me confess that I think in my own playing I am pretty good at filler and often play tunes adding lots of bass notes, extra strums, rhythmic arpeggios, short licks, and some chord substitution, so that each verse sounds a little different than the others. In that sense I am creating variations. But I am not good at all at those longer musical interludes or improvisational solos where you leave the melody behind.  When I perform a song with words, I almost always include one or two verses of an instrumental break, and the audience probably thinks I'm improvising, but the truth is that I compose that stuff and practice it over and over again (OCD anyone?), the same way you practice a new song.  It's not very inventive either, but it does add a little break from the vocals, and hopefully every now and then I get lucky and find a cool lick here and there.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
3 months ago
160 posts

Dusty Turtle:

@Ferrator, first, bridges and intros are different. Bridges are usually part of the composed song.  It might be considered the "B" part that contrasts with the main melody.  The kind of intro you are talking about is not a formal part of the composed song but a few bars played before the song starts.

One trick for an intro is to play the end of the "B" part of the song.  For example, if you were playing "Silently Night" you might begin very slowly playing the part that goes along with the words "Sleep in heavenly peace," then pause for a moment, and then begin "Silent night, holy night . . . ."

You ask a very good question that gets at the difference between merely playing a song and playing an interpretation of a song, which would include intros, filler, perhaps a musical interlude (what we used to call the "solo") as well as an ending.

Because the intro & the ending can easily come from the piece, they aren't as hard to come up with something.  My puzzlement is always that "filler" between sections or verses.  Suggestions?

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
3 months ago
644 posts

You chose RVW's Fantasia on Greensleeves as an example of what you would like to do. A fantasia often involves playing with a "theme" or phrase of music in several different styles. It tends to be highly improvisational. You really need to be very familiar with and comfortable with the tune before you start improvising on it. One of my favorites is Seven Variations on God Save the King.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
3 months ago
1,225 posts

@Ferrator, first, bridges and intros are different. Bridges are usually part of the composed song.  It might be considered the "B" part that contrasts with the main melody.  The kind of intro you are talking about is not a formal part of the composed song but a few bars played before the song starts.

One trick for an intro is to play the end of the "B" part of the song.  For example, if you were playing "Silently Night" you might begin very slowly playing the part that goes along with the words "Sleep in heavenly peace," then pause for a moment, and then begin "Silent night, holy night . . . ."

You ask a very good question that gets at the difference between merely playing a song and playing an interpretation of a song, which would include intros, filler, perhaps a musical interlude (what we used to call the "solo") as well as an ending.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
Ferrator
Ferrator
@ferrator
3 months ago
31 posts

Is there an easy way to come up with a bridge or an intro?

For example, I have one of the Jessica Comeau books. Included is Scarborough Gaire. Now it is blatantly obvious that the version in the book and the one she plays are quite different. Granted, she is a pro and therefore, makes the big bucks. But is there a rule of thumb for doing that sort of thing?

Right, put in 3 zillion years of practice and all...

Ralph Vaughn Williams did something pretty incredible with Greensleeves: 

Ideas?