Minor Swing (1949) Question

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Minor Swing (1949) Question

Post by pallopenna »

I have a transcription of Django's 1949 recording of Minor Swing done by Scott Nygaard, who is an excellent bluegrass player (and editor of Acoustic Guitar Magazine). His transcription seems right to me in terms of the notes and phrasing, but I'm not sure about his fingerings. They don't "feel" like gypsy fingerings. Can someone tell me how the intro through the end of the first phrase is fingered usually? Thanks.

-Paul Allopenna

If stupidity got us into this mess, why can't it get us out of it?
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Post by lukejazz »

I've learned that transcription myself and played it for sometime as it's presented. After taking some time with the "Gypsy Picking" book I went back through it and applied the traditional arpeggios and fingerings. Really... stick with those trad minor arp and diminished arp fingering that have been outlined by so many others, and it will start to fall into place.

Trying to explain the fingerings in this (discussion) format is too difficult for me. Perhaps I could make scans of my copy with the fingerings and pickings I discovered, and share it with you. I'm no expert for sure, but I will tell you that in a lot of places, Nygaard is totally off the mark in how to finger and pick the thing, but dead on with the pitches and rhythms. Try to ignore the "how to" of the notation and apply what you may have already learned about arpeggio fingerings and picking style.

It took me doing my own transcription work with the traditional approach on a different tune (Belleville) to discover Nygaard's errors.

I have had mixed feelings about this transcription, as I learned it originally in hopes of gaining insight into the playing style (I even taught it to one of my college students for his senior recital) then was hugely disappointed to find out I had to relearn it to get it right - I felt like a big dope.

At least the musical notation is on the money. It was a good effort on his part, but hey, the guy just didn't know about the gypsy approach, and if you don't know, you don't know. Not only that, I think in his favor, he makes a good point about learning entire solos instead of taking the "pet licks" approach. You have three distinct choruses there and - each with it's own approaches and yet bits of it tie together by re-stating musical phrases in slightly different ways.

have fun!
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