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Lesson notes

I recently put out an Acoustic Snapshot featuring my piece Wai’uli. I had a few students request a lesson on it so here we go.

The song is really just two 8-measure sections arranged AABABA with an outro tacked on. The last A Section is just a stripped down version of the main theme, and as such, it is where I start this lesson.

The idea is to take a simple melody and chord progression, and dress it up with a few filler notes to thicken up the texture. This lesson will go out over a few weeks to let you digest each part and maybe apply the principals to other songs you are working on.

Now that you have the hang of the stripped down Section A (hopefully), we are ready to embellish it a bit. Part 4 really just adds some harmonic fills, other chord tones, in spaces between melody notes. Most of these need to be played softly to stay behind the melody and not step on it.

The B Section to Wai’uli has the bass line change directions and ascend from E through the D scale, then leaves us on chord V (A), opening the door to return to the A Section. It is really important that each bass note rings until the next.

We finish the lesson on Wai’uli with the Outro and a little summary with suggestions. The Outro was written a few months after the two main sections and extends the chromatic descent theme to be the entire scale.