Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Bravest Cowboy

Today I actually cleaned up my office, which was getting drowned in accumulated piles of junk that I thought were really important but which didn't actually need to be piled around everywhere at my fingertips. A good fresh start for Spring! I got rid of some things that were emotionally difficult to sort through, as well. I feel unburdened, and I love the visual shock now when i walk into my office and wonder if I'm in the right place.

Well I've been promising myself to post another relatively simple mixolydian mode tune again soon for the benefit of all you mix-heads out there (I know you're out there lurking and going through withdrawal) here is a good ol' western cowboy song for you- The Bravest Cowboy.

But wait! Before you get too comfortable, I pulled a little trick on you... I made it in mixolydian all right (tonic D note on the open melody string) but I put it in BAGPIPE TUNING! Ha ha. Actually, I started playing it in old reliable DAD tuning, but I found it had that odd sour feeling to it that I dislike in some D tunes. I have mentioned this before, in this post where I might have to kill you. The sour feeling comes from the interval of the 5th- the middle string tuned to A. (remember, in the musical scale abcdefgabcd-etc, an interval of a 5th is 5 steps or intervals up from the tonic key note, the key note being 1. For key of D then: D=1, E=2, F=3, G=4, A=5) Now usually I just LOVE that 5th interval in tunes. But in some happy type D songs, that 5th interval just doesn't sound quite right to me, and when that happens I simply tune all my strings to D and then it sounds great. Try playing it both ways and you'll see what I mean! It's also called a unison tuning. So for bagpipe mixolydian D tuning, your bass string will be a low D and all your other strings will be the higher octave D, all the same note. (For myself, I just tune all my strings to the high D for bagpipe tuning, since I don't use heavier bass and middle strings at all, I just use .010 strings everywhere because I don't care for the bass string sound...but that's for another post altogether!)
There are some slightly interesting strum patterns in this one that are good to practice as well- I worked them to not conflict with the rhythm of the lyrics. This is actually a good one to practice singing along with your dulcimer player on, since both the dulcimer melody line and the lyrics are relatively plain and simple, and there is only one part to the tune. Try it by practicing with just the first verse a few times! Plus, you needn't worry about how 'good' your voice is, since cowboys are supposed to have cruddy voices! (unless they are cowboy movie stars of course, but those are fake cowboys)

So now you have a cowboy mixolydian tune. You could play it while watching Tom Mix.

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