"Home on the Range" - A Study in Harmony

I harmonized this melody as an exercise and as a way of keeping up my “chops” so to speak. The idea was to harmonize “Home on the Range” in a chorale style with an independent bass line that would hold up well on its own and then fill in the inner voices. This was done in a traditional classical style paying attention to the principles of voice-leading and counterpoint so masterfully displayed by composers like Fernando Sor whom I greatly admire and was my model for this little arrangement. Briefly, this classical style involves writing in a way that maximizes the independence of the voices by incorporating more contrary motion and less parallel motion; the parallel motion being more characteristic of a jazz harmonic approach. I still wanted to incorporate modern harmony with a jazz bent as I usually do since jazz harmony has always fascinated me, and show how this more modern harmony can be seen as a natural development or extension of previous harmonic vocabulary. This is the same approach I used in writing my book of studies: Influences, 21 Intermediate Etudes for Guitar. As I completed it I thought it made a good study similar to Etude 8, Op. 6 by Fernando Sor. I also recently finished a set of six of these arrangements called An American Medley available for purchase.

The challenge in playing a piece like this is maintaining a legato sound as well as balancing the voices. From a technical point of view, I think I spent more time trying to figure out a fingering to achieve this than it took me to write the piece. I think eventually through natural selection guitarists will have a minimum of seven or eight fingers on the left hand (right for lefties).

I hope you enjoy this little study. I find it quite challenging to play and an excellent left hand workout. It really does keep my chops up in more ways than one. I know you have probably had enough of this harmonic exploration for a while, so I will move on to other things. Please let me know of any topics that you might find interesting. Even if I don’t have a clue about it the research will keep the dementia in check for a while. Happy New Year!



1 comment

  • james seaberry
    james seaberry
    Bravo!!!! And Giddyup!

    Bravo!!!! And Giddyup!

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