by David M. McLean
One of my favorite pieces of Christmas music is "Do You Hear What I
Hear?". No only is it a gorgeous piece of music, but it's a helluva lesson
in composition and a great structure from which to practice multiple techniques.
Below is a very simple version (primarily melodic, so the harmonic options
are completely open for you to interpret individually) arranged for guitar.
It makes heavy use of harmonics - both natural and tapped - and touches
on compositional ideas of both theme & variation and call & response.
I also like playing it with a long delay to get those cool "rounds" (like
"Row, row, row yor boat").
Learn it note for note as transcribed, and you'll realize how skeletal
it is...meaning there is a lot of room for you to play around and alter
the arrangement to suit your personal tastes. I suggest recording the basic
melody and then using that to play against so you can see what you come
up with...or just download the MIDI of the transcription and loop it so
you can just jam until you come up with some ideas that really suit you.
If you record it, be sure to send me a copy - I'd love to hear it!
See ya next month!
M. McLean is the proprietor of Skinny
Devil Music Labs, former guitarist of the avant-garde fusion-metal
band Aurora-Sen, guitar instructor, and columnist for TinFoil
Music Magazine (where he conducts interviews in the on-going series
“Guitar Gods”). His new solo album, “HUNGER”,
will be released later this year, as will the acoustic collection, "Alien
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