How to Arrange an Easy Melody for Fingerstyle Guitar | David Hartley | Skillshare

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How to Arrange an Easy Melody for Fingerstyle Guitar

teacher avatar David Hartley, I'm a musician based in London, UK.

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Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (13m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Learning the Melody

    • 3. Finding the Basic Chords

    • 4. Adding some Percussion

    • 5. Reharmonisation

    • 6. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

In this intermediate class, we're going to be arranging a simple melody for the fingerstyle or classical guitar.

The song I have chosen to use is 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star', but you are very welcome to experiment with your own songs. We're going to start from the very beginning, and step by step add new ideas to make our arrangement more exciting!

You will learn how to play the melody, how to choose suitable chords, and how to use basic fingerstyle techniques.

Meet Your Teacher

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David Hartley

I'm a musician based in London, UK.


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1. Introduction: Hello and welcome to this class how to arrange a simple melody for finger style guitar. In this class, we're going to be taking a simple melody, adding some courts, some rhythm. And so Fink style guitar technique to make our own unique arrangement. You'll project for this class will be to take these ideas and to arrange them in your own unique way. You can then upload either your performance or notation of your arrangement. 2. Learning the Melody: The first thing that we need to consider is the melody. Now, you could use any melody that you like. But for this class, I'm going to be using Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. And I'm choosing that because it's short and it's simple. And that makes a lot easier to think about the other things later on when we have a nice simple melody. I'm gonna put the notes for this melody on the screen. They're also going to be in the project description so you can download them there. If you have any other songs that you want to play, you can either try and look at the notes online or from a book, or just try and work out the melody by air. So let me play through Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, and then you can hear the melody on its own. I've chosen to play this spin G major, and it's very important that we know what the key is, because everything else is going to relate back to that song in the key of G major. I could've chosen to play in another key. I could have chosen a major or C major. But really I'm looking for a key that is suitable for the guitar. And that means notes that are under the fingers in this first position, maybe using some open strings. This is our first arrangements where you want it to be as simple as possible. So now that we've got the melody, we've understood it well, spent some time just practicing it so that you really become fluent with it and you can start to play around, because later on we're going to be playing around quite a lot. And so once you feel comfortable, we can move on to the next stage. 3. Finding the Basic Chords: The next stage is to try and work out the courts that we're going to use as trying to fit the harmony of the piece to the notes. There are no rules at this stage. You could use one core throughout, you could use a 100 courts. But what we're going to try and do is keep it fairly standard. So we get a bit of variation, but nothing too confusing. In this song, typically the note changes every two beats. So we have two Gs, two days, two 0s. So we're going to try and change the cord every time the note changes, which is every two beats. Seeing as we're just trying to work out the basic harmony, we're going to use three chords for now. We're in G major. So we're gonna use a G major chord. We're also going to use the four chord, which is C Major. And we're also going to use the five chord, which is D major. We're going to add some more course later to try and spice it up a little bit. But for now just those three courts will get us through. So let's begin with our first note, which is a G. Morgan is a G major chord. When we say we're in the key of G, that means more than just we're going to use the G major scale. It means that G is the center. There's a gravity towards the note of g. So at the very beginning, we want to really start at home. You want to start at the center. And so it makes sense to use G-Major chord. The next note is a D. Now I could use g again because that has a DNA. Or I could use d-major. And then the next note is an E. So for that one, I'm going to use C major. And then back today I'm going to use G-Major, but I could use d. So, so far we have G major and D major. C major. Now earlier when I was saying about g being this gravitational center where everything wants to come back home towards. We have a little phrase. And what that means is that we've started in G. We've got away slightly, but we've come back to G. It's like little cadence. It's the end of a phrase, select coming home again just for short period. Carrying on, we have a C. So I'm going to use a C major chord, B. It's going to be achieved. And then the a, D major chord. And finish with a G. You may be wondering, how do I know which chords to use? Well, it all depends which notes are in which chord. So for example, in a G major chord, we have the notes G, B, and D. So every time you play a G, a B, or a D, I can use a G-Major chord. Only play the C. I can't use a G-Major chord because the notes, the notes of C is an n G Major. I can't really use a D major chord because D has the F sharp and a. But I can use c. So this three notes in each cohort. And depending on whether the melody note fits in that court, determines whether we can use it. The second stage is about trying to create those little Kaelyn says trying to come back towards G-Major because that's the home. And so as we, as we get towards the end, you can hear that we have that nice ending when we get back to G major. So those are our basic chords for now. Spend some time just seeing if you can, you can just strong the cause on their own. Just trying to get used to them. You could also try and do one dam which is trying to play the melody sort of on the top of the court. So the highest note that I play, highest in terms of pitch, is always going to be the melody. In times of batons fingering, there isn't too much to do because the notes are all in the court. So those are our basic chords. We're going to add some more ones later, but for now, just spend some time getting used to them and trying to put them together with the melody. 4. Adding some Percussion: So now we have two of the basic ingredients. We have the harmony with the courts, and we have the melody. There's one more ingredient that we need to look at, and that's the rhythm. We're going to begin with the simplest rhythmic exercise by just placing the roots of each chord, either G, c, or d. Each time the medicine that changes every two beats typically. I'll show you what I mean. Now going forward, we're going to add a lot more stuff, but I think it's very important to keep that basic idea of having the moving each time the code changes. It provides a kind of rhythmic flow, harmonic progression. So now we've added the bass notes to give us a harmonic rhythm. We're now going to look at our right hands to try and give us more of a percussive sound. So we actually get that kind of rhythmic element to the arrangement. This is the kind of thing we're going to be aiming for. To do this, I'm just placing my right thumb on the string every other beats to get myself that little percussive sound. I'm then playing the melody at the same time by moving my finger the other way. As I put my thumb down on the string. Let's have another look. You're going to want to spend quite a bit of time getting used to this rhythmic pattern. Play around, see what I'd say is you can come up with, you can add other notes in the chord if you want to like this. But the basic idea is the same events at the same chords, the same melody. And then to use our right hand for basic recursive pattern. 5. Reharmonisation: So far we've only been using our basic chords, G major, C major, D major. Now we can start to try and add in some other calls that we get a different flavor or different color. We're still going to be using quotes from G major that you can use, basically any chord, as long as it has the node that you're playing in that court. Let me play for a few and you can see how they said, I'm going to start with G major. Now I could try D minor, a minor, B minor. A minor. G major. C major. Certainly slight difference, but it just gives it a different color. Another idea that you could try is try and use extended courts. So for example, start with G-Major. Then you could use G7, C major seven. G major seven. So we're basically using the same cause, but we're just adding in the seventh, either in a minor seventh, major seventh or dominant seventh. And again, just play around with what sounds writes. A lot about making your own arrangement is using your own tastes and your own ideas. Hopefully this has given you some ideas on how to read, harmonize the calls that we're using. 6. Final Thoughts: Thanks very much for watching this class and I look forward to listening to your projects. Don't forget to follow me and check out more profile for lots more music-related classes. Thank you.