Below is the lesson for “Yankee Doodle”.
An American classic, this arrangement builds upon the melody by harmonizing it. Throughout this tune, we will be playing harmonized 3rds alongside most of the melody. Okay, I know what you’re thinking… “Harmonized 3rds? What?” Let’s explain what this means.
Take a look at bar 1:
Keep in mind that our melody note is on string 1. Now, look at beats 3 and 4. Beat 3 has us playing B and D. Consider B the root (or parent) note. D in relation to B is a minor 3rd interval. Beat 4 has us playing C# and E. Consider C# the root note. E in relation to C# is a minor 3rd interval.
“Okay, okay, I’m still confused…” No worries, let’s look at beat 3. A simple way to conceptualize the above is to hold your index finger out and consider that B. Now count up the musical alphabet until you get to D:
1 (index) – B
2 (middle) – C
3 (ring) – D
Boom, we have counted to 3. Therefore, our interval is a third (interval is the distance between two notes). This distance of 3 is the main thing that I want you to takeaway from this lesson on understanding harmonies. It’s important to note that there are also different qualities of intervals (for ex: Major and minor), but don’t worry too much about that for now.
Part 1 – Performance & Free Lesson