Simple accompaniments for quick tunes

Playing with others, especially at a fast tempo, can be daunting for any musician. Some of the reasons for this feeling of helplessness can be attributed to:

you usually play alone – you don’t know the melody well – you might not know the chords – you might not have chord knowledge – you try to play too much – you try to play “it all” – you don’t know where the chords change, etc.

A good way to approach playing in a group, for example an Irish session, is to first learn just the chords. Play them slowly and methodically. Use open 5th (see the you tube tutorial).

Here is a way for you to solidly learn to accompany a tune that you may want to play in a group, or at a pub in an Irish session. Provided for you are

1 — lead sheet

2 – chord chart

3 – sound files both fast and slow

You can  download the files mentioned above for free.  They are at www.folkharp.com – see categories on left side, choose free PDF dowloads and look for Breeches full of Stitches. Enjoy!!

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2 Responses to Simple accompaniments for quick tunes

  1. Karen Nelson says:

    Mary,
    I love your blog, and have recently been playing catch-up with your older posts. One topic I would like to see info on is the skill level markings for sheet music. I spend lots of time on Melody’s looking for music (thanks for my recent acqisition, by the way – Steve Hill’s Easy Classical Pieces). Because music appears to have three basic marking levels of Beginner, Advanced, and Professional (with various names used), the preview option is essential for sussing out whether I think I can play a particular piece. I am between the bottom two levels, so I see a wide spectrum of skills necessary in the Beginner-to-Advanced materials. Maybe you could write a post on markings? Specifically, what is the standard for playing levels, who assigns them (arranger, publisher, or retailer), and what crieria is used to determine the targeted player. As a consumer, access to that information would make my finding and purchasing music easier.

  2. Hi Karen,
    Almost a year later – better late than never. Here is one way that music can be graded – this is from Darhon Rees-Rohrbacher. It is a good idea to tackle an article on this, and I will put it on my list.
    B = Beginner
    No lever or pedal changes required. Primarily single notes used in both hands. Two hand coordination is minimal. Simple meter and keys used only. Minimal range of the harp used. No uses of harmonics, pres de la table or glissandos. Length of piece not more than two pages.
    AB = Advanced Beginner
    No more than four lever/pedal changes required. Primarily single notes used in both hands with simple placings. Occasional chords employed on slow-moving notes. Mostly simple meter with occasional use of compound meter. Simple harmonics, pres de la table or glissandos may be used. Length of piece not more than four pages.
    I = Intermediate
    Several lever/pedal changes may be required, Independent use of both hands or either single notes or triads required. Some larger chords used with wider hand spacing necessary. All simple and compound meters used, but not rhythmically challenging. Harmonics, pres de la table or glissandos may be used freely. No restriction on length of piece at this or higher levels.
    AI = Advanced Intermediate
    Substantial lever/pedal changes may be required within the piece. Complete hand and finger independence necessary. More complex fingering, connecting and replacement of notes, technically somewhat demanding. More rhythmically challenging, syncopated, or having rapidly changing note values. No restrictions on use of contemporary harp sound effects.
    A = Advanced
    Numerous lever/pedal changes within the piece and/or cross pedaling. Complete hand and finger independence in contrary motion required. Rhythmically challenging, highly syncopated or complex. Technically quite challenging; finger demands are considerable. Exploitation of all contemporary sound effects on the harp can be expected.
    V = Virtuoso
    Extensive lever/pedal changes within the piece. A “showy” piece, requiring complete technical mastery of the instrument and the highest level of musicianship.

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