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For this next celtic guitar masterclass I wanted to look at simple piece called the Irish Sea. Its a simple waltz in the key of G dorian. I think it will accessible to folks with basic fingerpicking skills, and will provide a simple primer on arranging in the Orkney tuning.
This piece has two parts, A and B, and like most celtic tunes, is played AABB, repeating each part twice. On the recording I only played each part once.
The A part is fairly straightforward. The melody is played in mostly first position, with a simple bass harmony implying the G minor to F chord progression. In measure 4 I chose to harmonize the C melody note with a C chord, just for a change in flavor. Please note in measure 16 the hammer on from the open 4th to the G note on the 5th fret. Other than that I think it is pretty self explanatory.
The B part goes up the neck a bit, using different harmonizations to create some tension and variety. Its nothing to difficult, still just a melody and a bass part, but will give players some insight with up the neck Orkney patterns. Hitting that big low C in measure 22 is alot of fun.
Give the audio recording a listen, and try to make your playing legato, with smooth transitions between the melody notes.
I hope you enjoy the piece, and can apply some of the techniques to your own arrangements. Please get in touch if you have any questions.
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