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Eidelweiss - A Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson.

Guitar Lesson by Kirk Lorange

Know your fretboard
For this lesson, I will now be charging a small fee of US $3.95 for the Printable PDF of the TAB/Notation. Click here to order it.

My daughter Georgia was watching The Sound of Music the other day, for the umpteenth time, and I heard Christopher Plummer singing Eidelweiss from the other room. Such a lovely tune and he does such a nice job of it. I also love the fact the he's playing a Goya nylon string guitar, identical to the one I bought new in Montreal in about 1966. My first good guitar. I still have it!

I decided to turn this into a lesson and sat down to figure it out. G, as usual, turned out to be the best key. Apart from one chord -- the A7 at bar 31 -- the progression is pure diatonic, it's all related chords. Here is a sketch of the progression in Roman numerals:

| I - - | V - - | I - - | IV - - | I - - | vi - - | ii - - | V - - |

| I - - | V - - | I - - | IV - - | I - - | V - - | I - - | I - - |

| V - - | - - - | I - - | - - - | IV - - | II - - | V - - | - - - |

| I - - | V - - | I - - | IV - - | I - - | V - - | I - - | - - - |

So there you can see that red majorized ii chord.

It's in 3/4 time and it's all pretty straight forward, BUT ...

There is something very interesting about this tune. Once I started having a close listen to it, I realized that at least half of the chords are 'slash' chords, chords with a bass note other than the root. I don't think I've ever seen that before. There are a bunch of 'first inversions', where the third of the chord acts as bass note, and a 'second inversion', where the fifth acts as bass note*. There's even a 'third inversion' chord -- a rarity -- where the flat seven acts as bass note. That's the G/F (pronounced 'G over F'). I particularly like that one as it's part of a bass line that descends in semitones.

So there you go, even a seemingly simple, diatonic tune like this one -- it's almost a nursery rhyme -- can have hidden complexity once you start looking into it. Of course you don't have to play the chords as slash chords. If you're simply strumming along, you can leave off those bass notes after the slash, just play the plain old chords, but they do sound nice.

Execution wise, there's nothing complicated about this one. No barre chords, no huge stretches.

*The first inversions are G/B, A/C#, D/F# and C/E. The second letter is the note to use as bass note, and it's always the 3 of the chord.
The second inversion is the G/D. D is the bass note to play, and it's the 5 of the chord.
The third inversion is that G/F. F is the bass note to play, and it's the b7 of the chord.

(More on slash chords here)

In the intro, there's a C/D. That's another inversion that I don't know the name of (fourth inversion?), but it uses a 2 as bass note. You could also call the chord a D11.

This is a wonderful tune to play, once you get it down it rolls off the fingertips. Enjoy!

For this lesson, I will be charging a small fee of US $3.95 for the Printable PDF of the TAB/Notation. Click here to order it.

Guitar Lesson by Kirk Lorange

Kirk LorangeAs well as putting together these fingerstyle guitar lessons, I am also the author of PlaneTalk - The Truly Totally Different Guitar Instruction Package, which teaches a mindset, a way of thinking about music and a way of tracking it all on the guitar fretboard. Yes, there IS a constant down there in the maze of strings and fret wire, a landmark that points to everything at all times. I call it The Easiest Yet Most Powerful Guitar Lesson You Will Ever Learn and many testimonials at my site will back up that rather superlative description. If your goal as a guitar player is to be able to truly PLAY the guitar, not just learn by rote; to be able to invent on the fly, not memorize every note; to be able to see the WHOLE fretboard as friendly, familiar territory, not just the first 5 frets and to do it all without thinking about all those scales and modes, then you should read more here.