Free Flatpicking Lesson
"Last of Harris"
Arranged for FGM by Mickey Abraham
Hello and welcome once again to
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine’s free lesson portion of our monthly
newsletter. This month I’d like to present you with this really cool
old-time tune called “Last of Harris.” I learned this tune from
dulcimer whiz, Aaron O’Rourke and we plan to use it on our next duo
recording. For this lesson I have included two versions of the tune.
Both versions are straight forward and are designed to be able to pick
up the tune’s beautiful melody quickly.
The old-time style of playing predates
the bluegrass music of the 1940s. In the old-time tradition, the fiddle,
banjo, and mandolin all play the melody at the same time while the
guitar plays back-up. One aspect where the bluegrass tradition differs
is that in bluegrass all the instruments take turns playing solos.
“Last of Harris” can be interpreted in both styles as one could use the
tune’s chord structure and melody as a springboard for modern bluegrass
One interesting aspect of this tune is
that the B section is shorter than the A section. The A section does
have the usual eight measures that most fiddle tunes have, but then the B
section consists of only four measures. Each section is of course
repeated. Some of your friends might find it tricky to jam on due to
the B section being so short. Lastly, the unusual form would make “Last
of Harris” a confusing tune to contra dance to!
hope you enjoy learning this slightly obscure old-time tune and adding
to your always growing list. If you have any questions or comments on
this e-lesson or cool ideas for future e-lesson you’d like to see here,
don’t hesitate to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.