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Song Accompaniment On English

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I've been playing for a while now, and can play some solos quite reasonably, but am now wanting to accompany myself while singing also. I've heard some great English players who sing as well, the latest being Barrie Temple from Newcastle. But they all seem to play such complex accompaniment that there seems to be now way into it for someone who's just starting off to sing with the 'tina.

 

Does anyone have any hints please? What should I do first? - learn basic chordal accompaniment, or should I shadow the tune with some harmony? Can anyone suggest any CDs or other resources on the net perhaps?

 

Any other clues gratefully received.

 

Thanks, Tom

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Can I suggest this approach to technique:

 

pick a simple song, nursery rhymes and Christmas carols are good

 

work out the chords you would use to accompany it and play them while you sing it - don't worry that it may sound a little thick and clunky on the changes

 

now play the tune alone and sing to that - this will sound smoother but thinner

 

once you have both versions down pat, blend them - notice where you can use your spare fingers to add chord tones while you play the tune and where you can use bits of the tune to link between chords, hopefully leaving a drone in there for added smoothness

 

the more you fool with it, the better it sounds

 

when changing from a G chord (GBD) to a C chord (CEG), for example, you can leave the G as a drone; just changing the other two tones simultaneously can sound like a hiccup, but playing them to build up the chord in the change can work well:

 

G GB GBD GBE GCE GC

 

this also gives a passing E minor chord (GBE) which sounds quite attractive, and using different numbers of buttons lets the accompaniment swell and diminish as you go

 

another option with a change like this would be to add an F note in the transition, giving G7, which leads nicely into C

 

Hope all this helps, the real key is to experiment and find what works for you with a simple melody first and build on it

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Dick Miles has been promoting a book and CD on accompanying singing on the English. I've seen no reviews but they do have it at the Button Box.

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...but donnt talk about the bluegrass scale ho ho ho ho

The following quote is from this PDF document, which told me more about "the bluegrass scale" than I ever wanted to know. :D The document also contains a photo, but it's not in color. :(

The bluegrass scale is of European origin. The scales look much like the lecanium soft scales that infest trees. Females produce a waxy cottony material in which they deposit their eggs. The crawlers are a bright pink color and hundreds per square foot can become a nuisance when they are crushed and stain clothing. At present, this scale is found in areas surrounding Lake Erie.

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The following quote is from this PDF document, which told me more about "the bluegrass scale" than I ever wanted to know. :D
I saw also some interesting "Crane" info in this document ;)

Crane flies, yes. But I hope mine stays put. :o

Also the "Annual Bluegrass Weevil". Could that be a cute name for a music festival? :)

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I have been struggling for some time to find some clear advice on this topic. Most people who do it well respond by saying it is a matter of finding what sounds good to you and experimenting. The two times that I have actually sat down with a teacher for a couple of hours what they have actually done is take a song and work out an arrangement for it without really clarifying the principles. I did buy the Miles book but while the arrangements were interesting, it seemed to present the same problem of not really explaining the basic theory behind working out such arrangements. So I have been trying to find these principles myself by working with a music theory book which shows how to build up diatonic substitution and additional chords to supplement the main triads in the familiar keys. I am sure that are many techniques such as using two-note chords and counterpoint harmonies, but I must say that while I could work on an arrangement, it is difficult to add accompaniment on the fly without a clear grasp of the theory involved in doing so -- at least for me.

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Thanks for some really useful replies so far. I'm in London yesterday and today and will be reading in more depth on my quieter day tomorrow.

 

Tom

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dearbrightfield,ihave abook with alot of song s arranged for english. cost 18 eurosplus postage

some of the songs have different arrangements theyare in simple keysand cover chordal arrangements

single line harmony ,melodyand chord substitution. dick miles.butit doesnt mention the bluegrass scale

ho ho ho ho .

 

 

Wish I had picked up on this yesterday before ordering from Button Box - did try to find nearer to home but when I couldn't I ordered it from Button Box - price not quite as favourable as above. Oh well I guess I should have not been so impatient and asked on here if it was sold nearer to home. :(

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Can I suggest this approach to technique:

 

Thanks Jon

 

I've been reading all this advice again this evening and you've provided some really good tips.

 

Tom

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My gosh, Dick, I wish I had seen your replies before ordering your book from the button box!! It's waay more expensive there.........So I hope it's good!!! :)

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Can I suggest this approach to technique:

 

work out the chords you would use to accompany it and play them while you sing it - don't worry that it may sound a little thick and clunky on the changes

 

once you have both versions down pat, blend them - notice where you can use your spare fingers to add chord tones while you play the tune and where you can use bits of the tune to link between chords, hopefully leaving a drone in there for added smoothness

 

the more you fool with it, the better it sounds

 

 

this also gives a passing E minor chord (GBE) which sounds quite attractive, and using different numbers of buttons lets the accompaniment swell and diminish as you go

 

Hope all this helps, the real key is to experiment and find what works for you with a simple melody first and build on it

 

Hi there

 

This piece of advice made perfect sense to me and when I put it into practise this weekend - it worked! thanks. :)

Carol

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Why, thank you kindly, ma'am.

 

Now if I could just find the time to practice what I preach (just got in from work, kids to bed then... oh, can't make any noise!)

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