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September 2012 Free Flatpicking Lesson
from 
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine

"Hangman's Reel"

Arranged for FGM by Mickey Abraham

           
        Hello and welcome once again to Flatpicking Guitar Magazine’s free lesson potion of our monthly newsletter. I’d like to thank those of you who have taken the time to e-mail me positive feedback on my FGM e-lesson tabs.  It’s great to know that you guys are finding these arrangements playable and useful. For this month’s lesson I’d like to share with you an intriguing four part fiddle tune called “Hangman’s Reel.” “Hangman’s Reel” is a tune that stems from the old-time fiddling tradition and has enjoyed a recent resurgence in popularity, largely due to flatpicking legend Bryan Sutton recording it on his 2003 album Bluegrass Guitar.  
        The form of Hangman’s Reel is AABBCDD. Some of the sections are eight measures long while others are only four measures long. “Hangman’s” unique form separates it from many other traditional fiddle tunes. It has a well thought out form that seems to build momentum as it goes along. The A section begins with a cool fiddle-esque theme that is reminiscent of standard tunes like “Big Sciota.” The B section then enters into a shorter 4 measure section that is based on the call and response nature of the I and V chords.  Next, the C section introduces a lot of tension as it goes to the V chord.  The V chord is held throughout the C section, building tension until it is all resolved to the I chord when the tune surges into the final D section. This last section has a lot of quick I, IV, V chord changes that function as the tune’s grand finale. Click on the lesson mp3 to hear the tune’s melody and form in action.      
      This lesson arrangement is perfect for both the intermediate player who wants to learn the tune’s basic melody and the beginner who is looking for a worthy challenge.  My goal with this arrangement was to really bring out the tune’s melody while staying true to the flatpicking tradition. If you listen close and pay attention to the lines you will notice where I have inserted bluegrass fills, classic G runs, and ‘floating licks’ in place of original fiddle melody -- I mean, this is flatpicking guitar magazine, right!     
        I hope you enjoy adding “Hangman’s Reel” to your list of flatpicking tunes.  Should you have any questions or comments on this e-lesson or any hip ideas for tunes you’d like to see featured hear in the future just drop me a line at michabraham@comcast.net..

"Hangman's Reel"

Hangman

Hangman

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