Hey Six-Stringers. Happy New Year, 2016! To help ring in the new year on the right note I present a chord melody arrangement for “Auld Lang Syne”. This is re-posted from my Holiday Guitar Series available from Riff Interactive. I have also posted a playable tab file to Songsterr.com that should be easily found if you search for ‘Guitar Teacher dot com’ (edit: direct link). Here is an audio example of the finished arrangement:[audio:http://guitarteacher.com/media/mp3/Auld Lang Syne.mp3]
A chord melody arrangement is one where we carry the melody of the tune and the chord accompaniment at the same time. This is a demanding styles of guitar playing! For this arrangement I use a mix of fairly stock jazz voicings and some jazzy, ‘extended’ chords that may be new to most of you. This arrangement is a 32-bar form, swing feel in the Key of C.
First off, we need to know the melody of the song.
Now for the jazz, chord-melody arrangement. I play this fingerstyle without any preset technique. Let your right hand fingers go where they want, sort of like jazz itself. I still use the thumb, index, middle, ring fingers for efficiency. One approach worth experimenting with is holding a pick and using a hybrid pick and finger approach. The Dm7 to G7 fit nicely to illustrate the idea of ‘voice leading’ making a smooth connection from the notes in one chord to the next. Three of the notes are common tones and the fourth moves neatly down a half-step.
Jazz is commonly played on Nylon String Acoustic or Hollow Body Electric guitars. Most Jazz players use heavier gauge strings than most styles. Notice how each chord voicing include the melody notes on ‘top’. This is one of the aspects that makes this style so demanding, say for instance, not just knowing a C7 chord, but a C7 chord with an E note on top! This section introduces a bass line on strings 6 (E) and 5 (A). A bass line will usually mix in scale tones, chord tones, and chromatic ‘approach’ tones. Bars 13-16 have a good example of chromatic notes used in a bass line. The next few bars introduce the second section of the song. Much of the same chord progression, only slightly different melody
This section has one of my favorite ‘fake’ bass lines. Simply move down a 1/2 step from the root of the chord and then back again. It sounds like you’re moving without having to work too hard. There are some fun chords in those 4 bars; altered dominant chords, diminished chord substitutes.
Winding down the home stretch of the tune. The last bar uses the ‘harp harmonics’ technique. Jazz great Lenny Breau used this technique to great effect. Here the chord is held at the 7th position and then outlined with the right hand index finger lightly touching the string 12 frets higher. The thumb picks the string to produce a harmonic. The riff mixes these notes with standard notes plucked with the right hand middle finger.
I have a video of me playing this somewhere on my computer that I will try to find and upload. Another New Year’s resolution – get more organized! Have fun and Happy New Year from GuitarTeacher.com