Mark Stefani’s ChordMelodyCafe
In this instrumental arrangement, we return to the popular technique of combining walking bass lines with chords and melody.
Van Morrison’s classic song, “Moondance,” is a cool tune that
straddles the fence between pop and jazz, making it a perfect
candidate for this approach. In this lesson, we’ll set the stage with
an intro vamp accompaniment, before moving into a fairly challenging verse, using a melody slightly modified from the original.
We begin with a walking bass line along with a melody punctuated with chords. Start off using your thumb, middle, index and
ring finger for all these four-note voicings. Have your index finger
on the fifth fret for a bar, then when you come in for the low E
bass note actually plant your index, middle and ring fingers back
on the strings. You may feel the need to use an occasional rest
stroke with your thumb – that way you’re taking care of dampening the fifth string.
When we move up to the seventh position for the Bm7, we’ll play
the low D with the fourth finger on the tenth fret of the sixth
string to sustain the previous chord. There’s also a quick change
over to a C6 before playing an E on the fifth string – you’ll want
to dampen the sixth string after you do it, as you really won’t
want the E ringing out as you play the B note in the bass. Make
sure to play the intro section a little staccato, to give it some of
the jazzy bounce of the original.
In the eighth bar the melody comes into play. Astute players
and fans of the original version will notice the G# in measure 9,
accompanied by the D bass note. The original did have a G natural occurring frequently, but we’ve adopted a G# here to complement the harmony we’re trying to establish. So if you hear this
and it doesn’t sound exactly like the recording, understand that
some liberties have been taken with the melody for particular harmonic reasons.
98 PREMIER GUI TAR MAY 2008
As we touch upon the Bm7 chords in measures 9 and 11, you’ll
notice the D in the bass (on the sixth string in measure 9 and the
fifth string in measure 11), bringing out an E7 sound. Following
the D in measure 9, we’ll use our third finger to play the E on the
fifth string and our second finger to play the B on the sixth string.
This particular move is difficult, not from a technical standpoint
but from a musical standpoint. That’s because if you play that
three note voicing of Bm7, you have to do a real quick hop to
make sure the high A note directly following the jump isn’t slighted. If it gives you any grief, you can simply play the A melody
As we push towards measure 25 and the bridge, we’ll eventually
have our first encounter with the Fmaj7 chord. Crescendo as you
hit this, as it will propel you forward into the bridge. As for the
chord itself, we’ll form it with a 5-6 bar and keep our third finger
poised to hit the G# in the next measure, keeping us from having
to finger hop in measure 32.
As you enter measure 33 and beyond, it becomes important that
you have firm control over your bass line as it moves back and
forth between D and A. When you play the D bass note, come
in with your wrist a little flatter than normal and use the finger-board-side of your thumb to dampen the open A as you play the
open D. If you don’t keep these sounds separated your tone can
become murky, and you definitely don’t want that in this tune.
At measure 41 we enter the final bars, which are simply a reprise
of the introduction. This song will take a lot of practice to get the
movements right, but once you’ve got it, it will quickly become
one of your favorite tunes to comp on.
Head to premierguitar.com
to find video lesson segments, rhythm
tracks, notation and Power Tab - powered