Wednesday, November 25, 2009

the Welcome Table

Here is a very appropriate song for Thanksgiving! It's an old hymn called "I'm Gonna Feast at the Welcome Table". (Sometimes known as I'm Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table). I have tabbed this hymn with a duet harmony part, which would be very pretty for two players play!

There are other more modern recordings of this popular hymn, but click here to listen to my favorite recorded version of this song:
Welcome Table, sung by Nell Hampton of Kentucky. Mrs. Hampton was a blind ballad singer, a neighbor and contemporary of famed fiddler Bill Stepp of Kentucky, and sister to Mae Puckett. This clip was recorded in Salyersville KY by Alan Lomax in 1937.
I hope you enjoy playing this lovely hymn! Try to find a friend to play the harmony part with you, and be sure to sing as well. You don't need a good voice to sing old ballads and just need to feel it from within and yourself free...

Remember that although I indicated an ionian tuning of GGd because it was easier to sing it in the key of G, you can play the tab the same exact way in any ionian tuning, such as good old DAA as well.
But I want to mention another reason I wrote this tab for GGd and not simply for DAA- When playing this tune, I found that if I tuned one of the drone strings to the fifth of the scale and the other drone to the tonic, as in DAA tuning, that at some parts of the song the fifth (in DAA the middle A note) sounded a bit sour and I didn't like it. With both drone strings tuned to the tonic note (as is the case in GGd), there was no sour sound, it sounded sweet throughout. Now if you use the typical string gauges where the middle and bass strings are significantly heavier gauge than the melody string, then if you try to tune Dda then you might break the heavy middle string. So if you tune DDa then keep the middle string down to the same D as the bass string. This might be rather floppy, thus I chose the 1-1-5 tuning in the key of G instead, GGd. This not only was a tuning my string gauges could be happy with, but also my voice!

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