are based on this book...
Folk Guitar Song Collection
Bass Runs: Key of A minor, cut time
"The Bonnie Ship, The Diamond", p. 11
The first thing to notice here is that a lot of folk songs
are written about boats! I guess that is like a lot of rock songs being
written about cars.
Moving from sociology to music, let's notice the time
signature here. The "C" with the line through it means "cut time". 4/4
becomes 2/2, the half note get one beat and there are 2 beats per measure.
That is the feel of the song even though it is written in 4/4 time.
If you don't understand this, don't worry, my upcoming
"Beginners Path: Chords and Rhythm will make all of this clear. Suffice it
to say that your foot will be tapping 2 beats every measure as you play
this, instead of 4. When you listen to the midi's below, you will see what I
On page 49, you will see some information that
reinforces the material on Mel Bay CheckPoint #8 on the key of A minor. One
important addition is the introduction of the Dorian Mode. This is
essentially another type of minor scale (mode is interchangeable with
scale). The special sound of the Dorian mode comes from the 6th note being
So, that is why you see the F# popping up in this song. F is the 6h note of
the A Natural Minor scale, so we raise it to F# i this Dorian based song. In
addition, the melodic minor pops up in the measure before the first ending,
with the presence of the E7 chord, which contains the G# (which is used in
the bass run).
In the 3rd measure we have something interesting,
"contrary motion" between the melody and the bass run. The melody notes are
going up on beats 3 and 4, and 1 of the next measure, E, F#, G. The bass
notes are going down at the same time, G, F#, E. This produces a very
satisfying effect, used often in music.
Here are some further tips:
Hold 1 and 2 on their notes when switching from the
Aminor chord to the C chord.
Hold 2 on its note from Aminor to Eminor.
On C to E7, place 1 and 2 while maintaining arm weight
and the Heavy Arm with the 3rd finger.
Remember to play the melody as well as the
Hear a midi file of the song...