Hi I’m Vi Wickam with myTalentForge.com and I have a free fiddle lesson for you today!
This is a tune called Tennessee Waltz, it’s one of the most popular fiddle tunes you’ll ever hear.
Now, it’s also a singing song, which makes it a great fiddle tune for you to learn.
If you’ve not heard this song before, I would highly encourage you to find some of the great recordings of this song, that are out on youtube with people singing it.
People like Patsy Cline, who just sing it beautifully. I always encourage my fiddle students to listen to other versions of the song when they’re learning. Because if you can sing the song in your head while you’re learning, it’s going to be a whole different thing. You’re going to be really making music, not just playing the notes.
So, this is Tennessee Waltz- I’m going to play it first and then break it down for you. […].
So, that’s the Tennessee Waltz!
You’re going to notice that there’s a repeating rhythm pattern that goes […]. Those are swing 8th notes […]. And then it goes through the whole song, you’ll hear […].
Keep that rhythm in your mind.
We want to play this beautifully, we want to take our time with it. We don’t want it to be rushed or robotic sounded.
This is where it comes- where it’s helpful to sing the song in your head. And if you have other versions of it you can reference, it will make it easier. Learning the lyrics is also a great thing to do as a reference for you.
So, let’s break it down a little bit, and see the notes.
We’re in the key of D. [0, 1, 2, 0]. Then you repeat it… [0, 1, 2, 0]. Then we repeat it up an octave [3, 0, 1, 3]. And then we take that rhythmic pattern and we walk it back down in B minor [1, 0, 3, 1].
And then we have that same rhythmic pattern, but we’re doing the first ending to this [3, 0, 2, 1, 0, 2, 1].
So we’re ending on an E note, which is the 5-note of the 5-chord, or it’s inferring an A chord. So, when we end a song or end a section of a song on a 5-chord, it doesn’t sound finished. It sounds like we’re going to have to do this again, we have to finish it.
So, we go back to the second time through this phrase […] repeat that [0, 1, 2, 0] up an octave just like before  and back down . Repeat that. […].
And here’s where we get the second ending . You hear how that sounds resolved, we’re ending on the D note.
That’s a great way to know we’re in the key of D. We end on the D note.
So that’s our A Part. […].
Our A Part really is combined- it is two littler A parts that have a first ending and a second ending.
And as you hear, we’re in the Key of D, which means we have the notes from the key of D.
Which means we have normal fingers- whole steps between open and 1, and 1 and 2 on the D string and the A string. We have the low 2, or a G nature on the E string […].
Threw a little G Sharp in there just for kicks! So those are our notes for this song.
Let’s go to the B Part then! […].
So we’ve got that same pattern, but we take it in a different direction […]. So same rhythmic pattern […]. Each of those little figures kind of mimics that general pattern.
Then we’ve got a little extended variation […3, 0, 1, 3, 1, 0…1, 0, 3, 1, 3, 0… 3, 4]. Or you could do […] if you’re not comfortable, but the 4 is going to sound a little prettier.
This is a waltz, so we want it to sound pretty! […].
[3, 4, 3, 0, 2] So that’s a D arpeggio coming down [3, 0, 2]. That kind of implies a B minor there […]. There’s our ending on the E note again.
So, that kind of first half of the B Part gives us a little echo or a variation on the part that stretches it out a little bit. And it’s beautiful! […].
Now, the second half of that phrase you’ve already played once. We played that in the A Part.
And now we’re going back to loop back to a full half A. [0, 1, 2, 0…0, 1, 2, 0…3, 0, 1, 3, 1,0 ,3 ,1…3, 4… 3, 0, 2, 0, 3, 2, 1, 0, 1, 2, 1, 0].
That’s all the way through! You’ll notice that once you’ve got that A Part down, basically half of the song is going to be repeating material. So it’s a lot easier than it sounds, and it’s a beautiful tune.
I hope you enjoy learning it!
I’ll play it one more time for you, just to get the feel of it.
So take a deep breath, enjoy it, it’s a waltz. Don’t be afraid to close your eyes when you’re playing it because it’s a beautiful tune. And when you play with your eyes closed, you’re not distracted by the things around you.
This is the Tennessee Waltz. […].
That was the Tennessee Waltz!
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I hope I’ll see you soon!