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Flatpicking Guitar Magazine

Free Lesson — November 2018

“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve”

By Frank Loessor

Arranged by Mickey Abraham

PDF | mp3

Hello and Welcome once again to Flatpicking Guitar Magazine’s free lesson portion of our monthly newsletter. This month I offer a cool arrangement of Frank Loessor’s holiday standard “What Are you Doing New Year’s Eve.”

This song was introduced to me by my friend and bandmate Kathryn Belle Long. She wanted our band, Belle and The Band, to perform it at some of our upcoming holiday shows. I was so intrigued by the song’s chord changes and melody I had to learn it — and, I am excited to share this melodic arrangement with all of you. Kathryn stopped by my apartment while I was recording this lesson and she sang a verse on the recording. I’d like to thank Kathryn for adding that special touch to this month’s lesson.

“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” is played in an AABA form. Both A sections are the same except for the endings. Most of the chords for the A section are very traditional (I, VI, II, V) but it has some special little changes that make the song sparkle. Next, the bridge introduces a hip minor section. This section has creative thought out changes that fit the melody wonderfully. I love how the same phrase is played twice over two different sets of chords. First the melodic phrase is heard over C#m, F#m, and Am (which are really cool sounding) but then the same phrase is repeated over C#m, Ebm, and D7. It works so well. After the bridge, the A section is played one more time to conclude the song’s form.

“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” also utilizes hip melody notes that stand out when listening. The melody targets chord tones perfectly while also incorporating tension notes like the flat third and flat fifth. When placed correctly these tones can give a melody a lot of interesting character. Make sure to click on the included lesson mp3 to hear the chords and melody in action.

I hope you enjoy learning “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” and playing it with your family and friends this holiday season. I’d like to once again thank my friend and bandmate Kathryn Belle Long for both introducing me to this wonderful song and for singing on this month’s lesson recording. As always should you have any questions or comments on this e-lesson just drop me a line at michabraham@comcast.net