It's that time of year. For my first Holiday tune "12 Days Of Christmas" I went with an electric/orchestral approach to the arrangement. This week it's time to strip it down to one classical guitar.
I perform the full arrangement with the tab at 7:53. Prior to that are three stripped down versions of the arrangement (with the tab included). In the easiest version I strummed along with the chord changes. Here’s a video performance of the four versions.
Doing a solo guitar piece has its challenges. Here’s how I took it on.
First I started with the melody. Based on the lowest and highest notes in the melody the key of A seemed to fit well on the guitar. Especially since I wanted to play the melody in two different octaves (Easy level in Rock Prodigy).
Then I added the bare bones bass notes to fill in the low end (Medium level in Rock Prodigy).
The song plays the full melody three times so I decided to put the second time around down an octave in the bass. This left a lot of room to play in the higher register. For this I chose a few picking hand patterns that sounded good to me and a note or two of play. Next is the full harmony. Keeping my bass line and melody I added the bare minimum in chord changes (Hard level in Rock Prodigy). Also, I decided to palm mute the majority of the bass notes to add timbre and help the melody stand out.
Finally to wrap it up I added some extra bass notes to keep a groove. When the melody is in the bass I chose a constant cascade of sixteenth notes. (Prodigy level in Rock Prodigy)
Finally for the performance I chose to use a soft attack for the first time through the melody. Then, since the second time around has the melody in the bass and the constant sixteenth notes I decided to ritardando into it to keep the build steady. Staying at the same tempo made the sixteenth notes stand out too much (and was more challenging). For the third time around I added a sharper attack and an instant accelerando to help keep the build. Repeat the last line a couple times as a tag (coda) and it’s done.
Troll the ancient Yule tide carol, Fa la la la la, la la la la.