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EC accompaniment question for "Red Haired Boy"


McDouglas
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I've recently started working on a few tunes with a folk group here in Dallas.  Right now we are an EC player (me), a mandolin and a fiddle.  Great fun.  We're just sorting out arrangements of folk tunes for our own enjoyment, taking turns passing around the melody.  After learning how to play melodies on the EC for about a year, now I'm  trying to figure what accompaniment sounds right.

 

I've added below a simple score, a pdf file of the melody with a basic accompaniment.  

 

And there's a youtube link to a video score.

 

The accompaniment here is just a starting point but I'd love have some advice on what accompaniment works best/sound best on the EC.

 

Thanks all!

 

 

 

Red Haired melody accomp.pdf

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You can very well start this way I guess - I just would omit the highest note of the chords and entirely rely on open fifths instead - otherwise you‘d have a conflict with the melody sometimes, and the octave isn‘t adding anything, rather drowning out the melody...

 

Best wishes - ?

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Interesting.  I see what you mean.  Maybe I could drop the note that is doubled when this occurs.  Also, if fifths are good are doubled fifths at the octave even better?  Guess I'll have to experiment.  I noticed the fiddle often played a fifth (a double stop on the fiddle).

 

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Something to consider: jazz pianists will often skip the fifth because it's implied in nearly every chord except augmented and diminished chords, so you don't need to hear it to know what's happening. Concentrating on the root and third is what establishes the character of what's going on, and you need both of them. The problem I have with this arrangement is that it's essentially the same thing, over and over--a full blast of each chord, same inversion. Even if you don't drop the fifth entirely, choosing one or two notes that are appropriate at the moment (appropriate to your ear, not theory!) and letting some go will mix things up a bit.

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2 hours ago, mdarnton said:

Something to consider: jazz pianists will often skip the fifth because it's implied in nearly every chord except augmented and diminished chords, so you don't need to hear it to know what's happening. Concentrating on the root and third is what establishes the character of what's going on, and you need both of them.

 

Agreed, save that folk music is often capable of if not demanding some ambiguity - and with the treble EC you‘ll have to find the third apart from the root anyway to avoid a harsh sound which draws too much attention at cost of the melody. So open fifths wouldn‘t be that bad IMO.

 

Besides, my personal way of harmonising with the EC is relying very much on fifts, but alternating in the „bass“ or just below the melody note, finding the moving thirds either at the lower end or in the melody, then assigned by the corresponding fifth so to speak. Result is a spread sound with consecutive significant sixths...

 

Best wishes - ?

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2 hours ago, McDouglas said:

Interesting.  I see what you mean.  Maybe I could drop the note that is doubled when this occurs.  Also, if fifths are good are doubled fifths at the octave even better?  Guess I'll have to experiment.  I noticed the fiddle often played a fifth (a double stop on the fiddle).

 

The double stops of a fiddler I have in mind too - this would in fact happen close to the melody then. You could occasionally double the fifth, but try also just playing the root note or third in the bass, or even develop a „walking“ bass line with consecutive intervals or passing notes...

 

Edited by Wolf Molkentin
typo
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7 hours ago, Wolf Molkentin said:

Besides, my personal way of harmonising with the EC is relying very much on fifts, but alternating in the „bass“ or just below the melody note, finding the moving thirds either at the lower end or in the melody, then assigned by the corresponding fifth so to speak. Result is a spread sound with consecutive significant sixths...

 

This may serve as an example should my remarks come across all-to cryptic

?

 

Edited by Wolf Molkentin
typo
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4 hours ago, mdarnton said:

Something to consider: jazz pianists will often skip the fifth because it's implied in nearly every chord except augmented and diminished chords, so you don't need to hear it to know what's happening. Concentrating on the root and third is what establishes the character of what's going on, and you need both of them. The problem I have with this arrangement is that it's essentially the same thing, over and over--a full blast of each chord, same inversion. Even if you don't drop the fifth entirely, choosing one or two notes that are appropriate at the moment (appropriate to your ear, not theory!) and letting some go will mix things up a bit.

Just to be clear the "arrangement" is really an outline, just some bones to build on.  

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2 hours ago, Wolf Molkentin said:

 

This may serve as an exemple should my remarks come across all-to cryptic ?

I listened to "Let It Be."  Nice work.  What you do is quite good as a soloist.  What I'm trying to sort out is what I "ought to do" when accompanying another soloist.  Maybe in the absence of a bass instrument (again, at this point we are mandolin, fiddle and EC) I ought to play the root of the chord plus something (a fifth or third above the octave), in other words, an accompaniment that is suggest the chord without getting too thick.

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Hi McDouglas,

 

What you have written out here would be fine as a variation, but the main thing I would be doing in your case would be to emulate what a flat picked guitar would do. Bass strum, bass strum in most bars. The bass note might be short and the strum might be shorter (leaving sonic space for the other instruments.) This would be an Um Pa Um Pa idea. The Pa would be accented and very short duration.  The strum or Pa could be a single note or two or three, depending on what sounds good.

 

Quarter note runs would add interest and drive. Example: measure 2 could have bass quarter notes walking up to the D chord (B, C#, D,  -)

 

I hope you continue to enjoy your Texas trio. Making music in a small group is the best!

Edited by Jody Kruskal
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4 hours ago, McDouglas said:

What I'm trying to sort out is what I "ought to do" when accompanying another soloist.

 

I should have read your post more carefully, sorry for that. However, albeit doubling another instrument could be an option too occasionally I would then all the more suggest to develop a „bass“ line.

 

Optimally you would follow the rules for cadences, i.e. reverse movement of the „outer“ voices, strictly no parallel fifths etc. - or just stick with a „rustic“ style in the manner you‘ve beginning to apply, which wouldn’t have to be a bad thing either.

 

Additionally you could play with the pulse or rhythm, like Jody suggested...

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5 hours ago, Jody Kruskal said:

What you have written out here would be fine as a variation, but the main thing I would be doing in your case would be to emulate what a flat picked guitar would do.

@McDouglas,

I absolutely agree with Jody here!

The material you're using in this example is an Irish dance tune, and Irish dance tunes are conceived as a single melody line, playable by a lone fiddler or fluter, that has the dance rhythm built in, and mostly suggests a harmonic progression (though it may suggest different harmonic progressions to different musicians,depending on their background.) The flat-picked guitar in Irish music is a modern addition, but it has managed to assert itself because Irish guitarists have found ways of applying the aforementioned, suggested harmonic progressions that are imanent in Irish jigs and reels, without affecting the pulse of the tune itself, as adequately rendered by the fiddle, flute, pipes, concertina or tenor banjo. Note: the guitar is nice to have, it is not essential. The guitar adds nothing, it merely emphasises what is already there (in Flamenco it's different!B)) A guitar accompaniment to an Irish dance tune should be such that the music is complete without it.

 

With your combination of EC, fiddle and mandoin, the obvious way to play a jig or reel would be in unison. All your instruments have the same bottom note, and plenty of room at the top end of the range. For dancers, that would suffice, but for listeners - or your own enjoyment - you need a bit of variation. The simplest variation would be for the designated lead instrument to play the straight melody, and for the other two to play little variations. The next variation would be for fiddle or mandolin to use double stops, or open drones on the G or D strings. The EC can do that, too. The next enhancement would be harmonies.This is where the EC comes to the fore!  Like the guitar harmonies, the EC must be "in character" and must not interfere with the pulse of the lead instrument. I've played jigs and reels often enough in a folk group to know that there are sources for guitar chords for Irish tunes, so if you get chords from an Irish source, you should be on the right road, without having to be too creative.

The next thing would be to learn the commonest chord shapes on the EC. That's what beginner guitarists do! There are chord charts for EC available. Once you can progress smoothly from D major to G major to A major, you can accompany The Red Haired Boy!

You've identified the buttons you can press at each point in the tune - but which ones should you press?

Jody's "oom-pa, oom-pa" idea is a good start. Press one of the buttons on the "oom" and the other two in the "pa".The "oom" should be low and soft, so as not to impair the pulse of the lead instrument. The next refinement would be to leave out the "oom", and play only the "pa" on the 2nd and 4th beat ot the bar. (Don't worry, there won't be an embarassing silence - your two companions will be playing their strong beats at the time! In principle, you should play less in an ensemble than you would solo.)

Or you can play the notes of the chord as an arpeggio, i.e. one after the other as quarter notes (crotchets).

One accompaniment that the EC can do but the guitar can't is to underlay the whole phrase between two chord changes with one continuous chord.

 

So there are a lot of things you can do to accompany the RHB on the EC without learning harmony theory. Just learn your chord shapes, and use scores or lead sheets that have the chord names in them. Then just mix up your oom-pas, off-beat pas, arpeggios, and held chords until it sounds rhythmically appealing.

 

Have fun!

 

Cheers,

John

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I would not be afraid to hang back and not do anything a lot of the time. One of the things I notice amateur musicians in bands doing is feeling like they have to be playing as many notes as possible, all the time, regardless of what everyone else is doing (which is often playing as many notes as possible, all the time. ) As a bass player, I was certainly guilty of this!

 

Edited by mdarnton
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1 hour ago, mdarnton said:

I would not be afraid to hang back and not do anything a lot of the time. One of the things I notice amateur musicians in bands doing is feeling like they have to be playing as many notes as possible, all the time, regardless of what everyone else is doing (which is often playing as many notes as possible, all the time. ) As a bass player, I was certainly guilty of this!

 

Yep.  Less can be more.  Another thing that would be interesting is to encourage the string players to pick up lower pitched instruments Mandola Or viola.  With two fiddlers in our dance band I've been having a blast playing viola!

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