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Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Free Lesson

April 2019

Liberty

Arranged by Mickey Abraham

download PDF | download mp3

Hello and Welcome once again to Flatpicking Magazine’s free lesson portion of our monthly newsletter. This month I offer a beginner version of the classic fiddle tune “Liberty.” “Liberty” was one of the first flatpicking tunes I ever learned roughly twenty years ago. I was working at Gordon’s String Music and Gordon showed me a simple rendition of the tune. I distinctly remember playing the tune for the first time with Gordon and Jane for a contra dance. I’m certain you will enjoy adding this classic melody to your list of favorite fiddle tunes.

Recently, one of my ten-year-old students played “Liberty” on her fiddle and for some reason it sounded more beautiful than ever. She had learned the tune from her parents who play bluegrass. What was so cool about her playing “Liberty” is that I played that tune at her parents wedding ceremony! I’ve been teaching “Liberty” a lot recently in my private lessons and it seemed like the perfect tune for this month’s newsletter lesson.

Although I claim this is a beginner version their are some tricky passages that will challenge your right hand. In the A section, for example, going between the string skipping quarter notes and the eighth note connectors might take some practice to get smooth. Next, in the B section you will encounter a full C chord shape played in the melody. I find it difficult to alternate pick the entire chord with the same flow as picking notes on one string. Even after many years of practice I still find passages like this to be a fun challenge. It’s also one of the more unique melodic moments of the tune. The melody spans more than an octave over this phrase. Can you think of any other tunes that jump this far of a span in 5 eighth notes (two beats)? Make sure to click on the included lesson mp3 to hear the chords and melody in action.

I hope you enjoy working on this simple arrangement of “Liberty.” As always should you have any questions or comments on this lesson just drop me a line at michabraham@comcast.net



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