Tuesday, February 25, 2020

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 601 #647)


Take a look at the twelve bar form. Count the number of one chord bars; now the four and five chord bars. Leaving aside the turnaround for a second, you find that 11/12ths of the time, you're playing over I and IV chords...the two most readily available chords on your harmonica!

This leads to the first fundamental - organ sustaining. This is an accompaniment technique Joe's been teaching for a while now and is just comping or padding by playing a sustained chord quietly under the other musicians. The key is that you have to make the chord changes with the band. This teaches you to "play the right chord (or part of a chord) at the right time". And mastering this has two benefits. One, you're able to accompany tastefully and two, you are learning to internalize, count and hear the song form and changes. This is a critical skill that Fundamental #1, Organ Sustaining, will get you.

Fundamental #2 is the train whistle sustain - similar, but it adds a blues dissonance to your accompaniment. The 4/5 headshake is the most common example.

And Fundamental #3 is hard shuffle chording. This is very similar to Walter Horton's accompaniment on If It Ain't Me and it adds a rhythmic element to your accompaniment playing.

Know and master your Fundamentals!

Class Notes

  • Register now! New session starts next week - don't wait to sign up. 
  • The Harlem Harp Party is next week, March 3 at 8:00pm at the Harlem Avenue Lounge. Be there and play!
- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew