Over the Rainbow - A fingerstyle guitar lesson
Guitar Lesson by Kirk Lorange
Difficulty Rating: Intermediate
Over the Rainbow - The Lesson explained
Here's one I did ages ago when cameras were crude and bandwidth expensive. I'm not sure what happened to the original arrangement, but I did it again. I had a good listen to the beautiful version Judy Garland sang in the movie (The Wizard of Oz) and kept it in mind.
It's in G, G for Guitar. G for Good. G is such a Good Guitar key: lots of open strings, roots in good accessible positions, lots of open related chords. By now you must be very familiar with this key and (hopefully) your fingers are recognizing some of the many common moves.
I went straight into it this time, no intro. There's that wonderful opening octave jump: Some - where. Not many melody lines start with an octave jump, it's a brave thing to do and it sure makes it memorable. To this day, when I want to hear an octave jump inside my head, I sing "Some - where".
There's nothing very demanding in the verse sections, just a nice journey through the beautiful chord progression. There are a few 'outside' chords in this arrangement: that Cm is a 'minorized' IV chord, a fairly common thing to write into this kind of tune; there's also a 'majorized' E there, which morphs into E augmented with the melody note, meaning the melody note is the #5 of the chord. That's followed by the A chord, not the Am you'd expect in the key of G. These are the little details that put a stamp on this tune, a "Somewhere over the rainbow' stamp. I think most arrangements use the related chords in that section -- Em and Am7 -- but having listened to the orchestral backing Dorothy sings along to, I prefer these wonderful outsiders coming into play.
That verse section repeats. You'll hear that I don't play each one the same way. I didn't do that on purpose, though. When you've been playing as long as I have, it's almost impossible to play the same thing twice. There are simply so many ways of expressing a melody line running through a chord progression that it's very difficult to remember any one of them and repeat it. It's mostly in the timing that you'll hear the differences, but also in the 'fillers', those notes that come between the melody line notes. I encourage you to do the same ... look for your own variations. Let them come and go.
That middle section -- call it a chorus, I guess -- is my favorite part of this tune. It starts at bar 17. That repetitive top line meshed in with the bass line I came up with is a lot of fun to get under your fingers. It'll take a bit of practice, and you may have to do what I did at bar 22 -- curl my thumb over the top of the fretboard to grab that F# bass note -- but you'll see what a pleasure it is once you get it.
There are a couple of barre chords in it. I do try to avoid them but sometimes there are no other options. It's all good practice.
Not much more to add to this one. I hope you like playing this as much as I do. I just about drove the household crazy over the last couple of weeks ... I must have played it a thousand times!
I think I will again right now ...
Guitar Lesson by Kirk Lorange
As 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.