Saturday, March 6, 2010

Kickin' it Off Part 1- Short Kickoffs

Being as this is my first post here aside from the brief introduction I thought it might be appropriate to tackle kickoffs; how a tune is begun.

How many ways can a tune be begat? Alot. So many that this first post will only cover the quick kickoffs (1 measure or less) and I will follow it up with a post on longer kickoffs.

It has been said that the most important parts of any song, story or performance are the beginning and the end. The beginning is where an audience will form its first impression (what is this? do I like it?) and the ending is where all things are tied up and judgement is passed (was that good? did it stink?). Obviously the body is extremely important as well but I have found that a glorious middle section (the 95% between the intro and ending) coupled with an unclear and unappealing intro and ending usually won't fly where a mediocre middle section with a stunner of a kickoff and a great big 'bring down the house' kind of ending often will. If everything is happening then look out!

Most short kickoffs can be accurately described as a handful of notes leading to the the first melody note (the first pitch sung in the case of a non-instrumental). It is therefore important to know what the first melody note is as that is the note the kickoff will lead to. Most tunes begin on the 'I' chord (the G chord in the key of G) and most melodies begin on one of the 3 notes in that chord (for the G chord the 3 notes are G, B, and D, which are the open notes on your 3rd 2nd and 1st strings respectively). For all the examples in this post I will stick with the good old key of G.

So without further adieu here are some kickoffs in G. Kickoff #1 is very standard and leads to a G melody note.

Sound familiar? This next one is almost identical but the replacement of the E note with an F gives little grittier sound.

Kickoff #3 leads to the G melody note from above.

Kickoff #4 is a little more difficult; it contains the low notes from Kickoff #1 but adds a high harmony part. A little bit of contrary motion (one part rises, one part descends) going on here.

Kickoffs #1-4 all led to a G melody note but for kickoffs #5-7 we'll try leading to a B melody note.

These last 4 kick off to a D melody note.

Kickoff #11 is a series of hammered triplets.

Here is a video summary of all the kickoffs :

So there you have a few kickoffs to get things started. Hope some of you enjoyed that/ got something out of it. My blog will cover alot of banjo related things and sometimes the lesson style posts may seem either too advanced and too basic for any paticular individual. If you have any questions or feedback just shoot me an email or post a comment.

Up next: extended kickoffs...

1 comment:

  1. Great blog Devon! Impressed with all the work you've put into this.