January 2010 Free Flatpicking Lesson
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine
"Catharsis" by Amy Cann
Arranged for FGM by Mickey Abraham
Hello to all eager FGM e-newsletter readers. This month I’d like
to share a fantastic fiddle tune in the mysterious key of Gm. I feel
this melody is full of attitude and cool ideas -- and I’m sure that once
you work out the fingerings and picking, that you too will find
excitement in picking this tune on the guitar. This tune was written by
Vermont fiddler Amy Cann. I’d like to thank Amy for allowing me to
teach this fantastic tune in FGM. This is the first published guitar
arrangement of this song. How cool!
Perhaps what is most amazing
is how tunes get circulated around the world. Although this tunes was
written in Vermont it has made its way across the country and the world.
One cannot hold a great tune down. The most popular version was
recorded by the Irish fiddler Natalie McMasters. Her version has been
picked up by many Irish fiddlers and is often taught at fiddle camps.
My guitar melody is played
out of an Em position with a capo at the third fret. This is the most
popular way for a flatpicking guitarist to approach a tune in the key of
Gm. This way, all of our open strings can be used to both make the
tune easier to play but also make it sound like the flatpicking genre.
The A section has a couple spots where you must allow the high E string
to ring out while shifting your hand to a higher neck position. Due to
these songs not originating on the guitar, some of the notes may seem
like a stretch. All these notes were, of course, in first position on
The real magic of the tune
appears in the B section. You will notice that the repeating pattern of
rocking eighth notes gives “Catharsis” a unique sound that wants to be
played and heard!
Most Irish flavored tunes
have many chord variations. The chords I have supplied in the TAB are
inspired by the rhythm playing of the great John Doyle. The melody,
coming exclusively out of the Em scale position, lends itself to many
chords possibilities. I can, in fact, insert any chord in that key and
the tune will work. The tricky part is to find chords that enhance the
tune’s melody. I particularly enjoy how some of the melody phrases
resolve back to the root note while the chords stay unresolved until the
next measure. Take a listen to the mp3 to hear how these chords react
with the melody!
Catharsis simple chords:
Good luck and have fun! I hope you find the melody and chords to
“Catharsis” to be as rewarding and interesting as I do. If you have any
questions, comments, or concerns on this e-lesson or awesome ideas for
future e-lessons, just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.