Electric Blues/Old Fashioned Melody

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On the contrary, all reports suggest that he remained a favorite performer right up to his death in , and could easily have kept working and recording had his health not given out. Indeed, one of the most misleading myths about the rural blues players is that they were all down-and-out ramblers, or sharecroppers trying to pick up a few extra bucks. Patton, for instance, always appeared in a nice suit, and according to some reports was given to buying a new car every year. He was not rich, exactly, but certainly was doing far, far better than the black farmworkers who came to the jukes on Saturday night, and probably earned more than a good many of the white country folk who hired him to play at their dances and outings.

Friends interviewed in later years would comment on his dependability, the fact that he always showed up on time and took care of business. His performances were masterpieces of showmanship: he was famed for tricks like playing behind his head or between his legs, to the point that some rival musicians disparaged him as a mere trickster. Unfair as this seems to modern listeners, it highlights an important point: To his live audiences, Patton was not the subtle player and singer we hear on the records, nor particularly noted for his soulful depth.


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He was a man who banged out loud rhythms, shouted so he could be heard to the back of the room, and was a dazzling showman--despite his older, acoustic repertoire, he can in some ways be considered a predecessor to Little Richard and James Brown. For example, the power of his voice is often most evident in his gospel work. This was a quickly-moving musical world, in which styles shifted dramatically in a few years time, influenced by all the new sounds streaming in with traveling shows, records, and radio.

Because, unlike Leadbelly, Patton did not find a white folk audience, and his recordings were directed at contemporary African American rural pop music buyers. And, great as his musical range was and whatever he may have done at live shows, it is those records that earned him a reputation outside the Delta, that were adopted by other players, and that are the bedrock of his enduring fame.

He keeps pausing in his playing, creating moments of tension, then coming back with completely different emphasis.

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Meanwhile, his relaxed vocal sets up still another level of complexity, sometimes joining the guitar, sometimes working in polyrhythmic counterpoint. At times, Patton seems to be singing one rhythm, tapping another on the top his guitar, and playing a third on the strings, all without the slightest sense of effort. This is the work that distinguishes him from his peers, and that sets his circle of Mississippians aside from all the other players in the early blues pantheon. While no other player equalled his abilities, Mississippi consistently produced the most rhythmically sophisticated players in early blues.

It is a mistake to view this music through the prism of modern blues, to see Patton and his peers as the progenitors of the first electric Chicago bands, and thus of the barroom boogie bands that fill suburban bars outside every Ameican city. That is why so few contemporary players can capture anything of his greatness. There is the tendency to play his tunes for driving power, missing the ease, the relaxed subtlety that underly all of his work. It is a control born of playing this music in eight or ten-hour sessions, week after week and year after year, for an audience of extremely demanding dancers, and of remembering centuries of previous dance rhythms--not only the complex polyrhythms of West Africa, but also slow drags, cakewalks, hoedowns, and waltzes.

The debates come hot and heavy, scholars fiercely arguing over whether his lyrics are consciously obscure and poetic or simply careless, whether he carefully composed his songs or often assembled them on the spot. Monroe was greatly influenced by the music of his uncle, Pendleton Vandiver, who was a master old-time fiddler from Kentucky.

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Monroe not only recorded many tunes that he learned from his Uncle Pen but also wrote dozens of new tunes in the fiddle-tune mold. Mark O'Connor, a prodigiously talented multi-instrumentalist who is best known as a fiddler, dominated the CMA Instrumentalist of the Year Award competition throughout the s.

Fiddling had existed in the United States for nearly three centuries prior to the beginning of country music as a commercially popular music genre, and has its roots in European dance music traditions. The word "fiddle," in several variant spellings, has been used to designate various bowed stringed instruments since the twelfth century, and when the violin emerged in the middle of the sixteenth century, it acquired the name "fiddle" as an informal appellation.

In its early years the violin was used primarily as a dance instrument, and it has maintained this function in a wide range of folk music traditions throughout Europe and North America. Early violinists playing for dancers probably performed a preexisting body of dance music; the "modern" fiddle tune repertoire is rooted in the body of tunes and tune types that crystallized throughout the British Isles and Ireland, and in places settled by people from these areas, in the mid- to late eighteenth century.

However, only a minority of the tunes current among American fiddlers can be traced directly to Old World antecedents, and it is probably incorrect to view American fiddling in terms of an imported tradition that developed its own characteristics in the New World. Rather, independent development of local styles seems to have occurred more or less simultaneously in many different parts of the English-speaking world, including various regions of the United States.

Fiddle tunes typically consist of two distinct melodic sections, each of which is played twice in an AABB pattern for one complete execution of the tune. The tune is repeated several times in a performance, sometimes with variations. In the context of a bluegrass or western swing band, players of other instruments will also take turns at playing the melody, or in improvising solos based on it. Country fiddling reflects a considerable amount of cultural synthesis.

For example, the sliding into and out of notes—one of the distinguishing features of Southern fiddling—is generally thought to be a stylistic trait derived from African-American music. Popular fiddlers such as Arthur Smith and Chubby Wise brought this bluesy trait to commercial country music. The Cajun music of French Louisiana has long had a tangential, but persistent, relationship to mainstream country music, with fiddling being perhaps the most distinctive Cajun music element that has influenced country. Aspects of repertoire and style of the German, Czech, and Hispanic communities in the Southwest have been incorporated into the fiddling of that region and, by extension, into regional commercial country styles.

The guitar had evolved in Europe by from a lute-like instrument, with paired strings, into its present form with six single strings. It was refined in America into two major styles: the flat-top, perfected by by C. Prior to the s the guitar had been a refined parlor instrument that was overshadowed in American popular music by chronologically the lute, minstrel banjo, mandolin, and tenor banjo. By the end of the s, however, players were finding the guitar to be more versatile and better suited for the new music than the banjo.

The first viable electric guitar was introduced by the Rickenbacker company in , giving guitarists the volume necessary to compete with other instruments in a big band setting. In Leo Fender of Fullerton, California, introduced an electric guitar with a body of solid wood that produced greater sustain and a sharper tone than the traditional arched-top design.

Invented in Europe in the s, the mouth harmonica has a series of chambers containing reeds that vibrate as the player inhales and exhales. Because most harmonicas are in a single key, it's not unusual to see a musician use a multiple of "harps" over the course of a night's performance. Derived from the ancient lutes of Renaissance Italy, the mandolin came into its present form as a short-necked instrument with eight paired strings in early eighteenth-century Naples, and it has endured as an important instrument in Italian popular music.

Minor composers of the time wrote music for the mandolin; later operatists such as Handel, Mozart, and Verdi scored occasional passages for the instrument when atmospheric touches were needed. Otherwise the mandolin was regarded as a minor-league instrument with limited possibilities. In the United States, mandolin orchestras, with mandolas, mando-cellos, and even an occasional mando-bass, were a popular feature of community life in many areas early in the twentieth century.

A few early recordings were made by soloists Valentine Abt and Samuel Siegel. Giovanni Vicari and Giovanni Giovale recorded some virtuoso pieces for Italian catalogues in the s. Russian-born Dave Apollon headed a crack mandolin ensemble that toured the vaudeville circuit and made two memorable records for Brunswick in Luthier Orville Gibson introduced the flat-backed, scroll-bodied mandolin in Bill Monroe became the mandolin's first country-style virtuoso and brought the instrument into new prominence when he joined the Grand Ole Opry in and featured it on his records in and thereafter.

His mandolin, combined with his group's instrumental and vocal blend, helped define the genre that later became known as bluegrass. By , however, the Monroe bluegrass model dominated. What's THAT all about? On the piano the notes stay put Middle C is always just Middle C.

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This is true of most instruments, in fact. Squeeze them harder! Just ignore the pain. Now strum -- ugh! You have to press the strings harder! Tippy-toe, like a ballet dancer. Hmm, you'll have to cut your fingernails. Oh - you didn't know that learning how to play guitar would involve pain and suffering? Of course, I don't really tell my students their playing sounds bad , even if it does. You must encourage them along , and if they make good progress, talk their parents into trading in the clunker guitar.

But young kids who are learning how to play guitar need easy steps, even baby steps, adding up to building blocks. They need to move one small step at a time, because in reality they are bringing together so many different skills. And they need lots of repetition. The music sheets are usually guitar tablature in combination with standard music notation. But they do need the treble clef notes for the rhythm, unless they pick it up by ear. But here are the ones I've settled on for now:. They move slowly, and have CDs. It is nicely laid out-- it starts with six simple, uncluttered pages each presenting a single topic:.

Unfortunately, there is no real discussion of note values. I guess that's where you, the teacher, come in! Then you turn the page, and it's all music.

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There are no eighth notes in the first part of the book. Just before the final song is another instructional page called How to Play Slurs. It covers slides, hammer-ons, and pull-offs. Then those techniques are introduced in the last song, Watermelon on the Vine.

The book comes with a CD.

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It's a great repertoire book, but unlike the Progressive books, it does not teach notereading. Lots of easy chords and strumming and counting practice before learning to pick individual notes.

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There are also no "lessons" with new things to learn -- just nice guitar tunes getting progressively more difficult. Some of the tunes are surprisingly pretty, and there are lots of duets and rounds to make playing together fun. The songs in this great fiddle series all have chord symbols over the melody lines. If you haven't been playing a long time yourself, or have limited yourself to just one style of playing, you MAY enjoy these books. Or, they may be totally intimidating! They aren't really for your students!

Instead, garner what you can, and pass it on! You may ask, What does the author Frederick Noad cover in pages? With much repetition of note reading , and steady progression into reading notes on each new string, careful preparation of the student pays off so that by the end of Lesson 7, they can be introduced to the famous Spanish study by Albeniz and not have to use tablature! In the following lesson is the beautiful Malaguena. I got it for about six dollars less at Amazon than at Sheetmusicplus, but the shipping at Sheetmusicplus can't be beat, if you have multiple books to order.

And you can't get used books with Amazon Prime's free shipping Another factor that diminishes my pleasure in the book is the fact the notes are tiny. To me, anyway. All my students can see the notes just fine -- but to my over eyes, it is irritating sometimes to have to peer more closely. Still, the book is well worth it. The music selections are wonderful. The Adventures of Tonsta.

A perfect read aloud storybook for little boys or girls. The Adventures of Tonsta highlight the travels of a very young boy with a good heart, who goes about helping folk in trouble. With a red cap on his head and a sack of tools slung over his shoulder, Tonsta seems to meet people in distress wherever he goes. Available at Amazon. Education music resources: here is a list of my favorite materials, whether for piano, voice, guitar or violin student. Read More. Viva la musica is a very old round for singing. Find it here for treble and bass voices and for guitar.


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Ode to Joy, now with advanced "BIG"-sounding arrangements, piano duets, and multiple beginner and late beginner arrangements. Zum Gali Gali lyrics and easy sheet music for piano, voice, guitar, and lead instruments. Multiple keys. Spanish Study, with a new version showing all 3 pages of tablature. This is a simplified guitar version of the famous piece "Asturias. Star-Spangled Banner free sheet music.

Now with a singer's "find-your-pitch" exercise! Search Music-for-Music-Teachers:. Do you have a funny story about this music, or does it remind you of something you'd like to share with other readers? Do you have a question? I'd love to hear it! Please note that all comments are moderated, and will not appear until I have approved them.

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