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Lesson notes

Heliotrope Bouquet is a piece that has captivated me since I first heard a guitar arrangement of it on the Kicking Mule album The Entertainer. I really enjoyed many of the tunes on the album, done by different guitar players, and was quick to order the accompanying tab booklet to set about learning them.

As I listened more to the original piano arrangements I found many of the guitar versions lacking much of what I heard on the piano. As I started to tackle those parts from the piano music I quickly found out why, and understood why the guitarists had simplified things considerably in the interest of just making certain passages possible and close enough.

About six months ago I decided to revisit my re-workings and shoot for something more accurate, figuring that I was probably a better guitar player now, 40 years later. This arrangement is one of the results of that mission. After a few requests from the TG Community I might as well go ahead with a lesson on it. Any big project must be taken in small steps so we will roll these parts out occasionally.

In Section B of Heliotrope Bouquet the mood picks up a bit and is less pensive and introspective. It kicks off with a diminished chord leading into a bouncing, lilting melody, broken up with slight pauses and sixteenth note rolls into each next thought. It is very important here to get the chord down that you are rolling into early, before starting the roll. Sections A & B are the parts composed by Louis Chauvin.

Section C is where Scott Joplin’s contribution to Heliotrope Bouquet started. There is definitely a change in style, although he quotes a bit of Chauvin’s opening strain in the midst of this typical “Joplinesque” sound. This section includes a difficult passage where the guitar needs to play a doubled eighth note run that is much easier on the piano. We may explore ways of simplifying this as people get back to me with their progress reports.

The last section is a little easier than Section C, although there are more hinge-like moves where one finger covers two strings at the same fret for a beat. There also are some of the piano moves that are unusual on the guitar, namely playing eighth note parallel octaves.