It begins with a single melody line then doubles, triples, and finally ends up with four-part harmony for most of the track
Jeff Beasley holds B.A. degrees in Music and Classical Guitar. He offers his readers 30 years of experience studio, teaching and performance. He is on the National Guitar Workshop faculty in Nashville, TN. Jeff''s CD, Tiebreaker, is available through CD Baby, Guitar 9 and Jeff’s website, GuitarSource3.com. Jeff is endorsed by Peavey, DiMarzio, RKS Guitars, THD Amps, Ensotec Cables, Keeley Electronics, Knucklehead Strings and In Tune.
Feel free to contact Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org
Holiday greetings to all my “Lethal” readers! Here we are in the holiday season, and I love this time of year. Many times it gives me the chance to play guitar with some family members. That’s always fun, as my relatives’ taste in music is quite different from mine. I get some exposure to traditional music that normally I wouldn’t get to play. Instead of concentrating on increasing my metronome speed with sextuplets, or a new flat five substitution, I wind up playing bluegrass or ‘50s rock ’n roll mixed with Christmas tunes while my grandparents sing along. So don’t be a Scrooge! Try to enjoy yourself and the guitar this holiday.
Continuing on our last theme of analyzing and transcribing some of the music from my CD, Tiebreaker, this month we’re gonna focus on a track entitled, “Page Nine.” I wrote and recorded this track back in 1997. I liked it so much that I included it on the CD. It’s a combination of arpeggio harmony, sequencing, and single-string melodies. It begins with a single melody line then doubles, triples, and finally ends up with four-part harmony for most of the track. I used several different arpeggio inversions throughout the piece to accomplish the harmonic depth. This month, we’ll cover the first part of Page Nine where I build the harmony into four parts.
Here is our main theme utilizing three-string arpeggios in second inversion (fifth in the bass). The underlying chord progression is F#m-D-B-E-C#-F#m.
Now comes the harmonization of the melody in Ex. 1. This harmonization is also used in the next section where the main theme (Ex. 1) is played one octave higher; three-string arpeggios in root position (root in bass) and first inversion (3rd in bass) following the same chord progression F#m-D-B-E-C#-F#m.
This section duplicates the initial melody one octave higher. I used an old Ibanez JEM to record the track. The 24-fret span really comes in handy for reaching some of the higher notes in this section.
Let’s explore the next section using the three-string arpeggio to follow a more extensive chord progression as follows: Bm-F#7-A-E7-G-D-Em-F#7-Bm. The change from the initial melody and chord movements in this passage is very distinctive. It gives the listener a brand new melody line and creates a new harmonic tension.
There we have the first couple of sections of the track “Page Nine.” Some people opt for sweep-picking when using the threestring arpeggios in the main theme, as it’s a bit easier to execute. I opted to alternatepick all the three-string arps in this track. I think it gives the notes in the melody a noticeable distinction versus the sweep technique. Granted, it’s much more challenging for the picking hand, but is well worth the work to accomplish the tone achieved from the alternating technique. I look forward to continuing our study of “Page Nine” next issue, and as always, feel free to contact me with any questions or comments at email@example.com. Remember, “Inch by inch, it’s a cinch.”
And as always, I really enjoy your feedback too. Keep those e-mails coming, and I’ll reply to your messages as soon as I can. firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my web site www.guitarsource3.com. Thanks. I’ll see ya next month.