“St. James Infirmary” – American Traditional

Below is the lesson for “St. James Infirmary”.

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A hauntingly beautiful melody entangled in a harmony of Jazz and Blues; this fingerstyle arrangement is ideal for the seasoned intermediate player. There are two factors that set this song apart from a traditional blues. The first is that its form is comprised of eight bars instead of 12. Second, it’s set in a minor key and deviates from the standard 1, 4, 5 chord progression. With the eight bar form in mind, we can break this arrangement into 4 sections: Intro, Theme 1, Theme 2, and Outro.

The “Intro” introduces us to the chord progression and the rhythmic theme of the piece (dotted eighth feel). This feel is very similar to the swung rhythm covered in this lesson, but the differences will be highlighted in the part 1 lesson. The remainder of the piece incorporates the melody, with each theme adding new variations to the mix.

Part 1 – Performance & Free Lesson

Part 2 – For Premium Members


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