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Learn Guitar Online, Cat Stevens 3 Tips to Play Acoustic Guitar

Mike P Hayes

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Cat Stevens songs are a favorite among guitar players of all ages. It's hard to imagine a party or campfire sing along without a couple of Cat Stevens songs being played on acoustic guitar.

With songs like Father and Son, Moonshadow, Morning Has Broken, Peace Train . . .in your repertoire you simply cannot go wrong.

Cat Stevens are popular for number of very important reasons: 1. the melodies are easy for the public to remember / 2. the guitar chords are not very has to play and most importantly. / 3. Cat Stevens songs sound good with a solo acoustic guitar.

In recent times, studio effects have become a part of the overall finished product. The end result is that while a particular music production may sound interesting and be visually stimulating while watching the video clip it is extremely difficult to re- create that piece of music without and enormous amount of lighting, amplification, audio effects etc.

The original role of the recording studio was to capture the event, since 1957 however in many cases the studio has tried to “create the event", by adding studio effect such as reverb, echo, distortion in an effort to make the piece of music more interesting.

The problem with this approach of trying to “create the musical audio event" is similar to watching a movie that has been created primarily to “showcase" or “showoff" the latest visual effect . . . the problem is often a weak story line.

Cat Stevens songs do not require anything more that an acoustic guitar, that is because Cat's songs are structurally strong and stand up without any electronic props or tricks. That's the acid test of a good song . . . does it stand up on it's own merits?

Only a small number of artists like, The Eagles, Creedence, Cat Stevens etc, have the craftsmanship to write sound material that sounds great with one guitar.

Here's three tips to help you play Cat Stevens songs:

Tip 1. Learn to recognize musical intervals

Musical intervals measure the distance from on note to the next, just as a builder must have a system of measurement to measure the length, width and height of their building materials a musician must be able to recognize the “sound" of an interval.

Listen to the introduction of “Peace Train" for a good example of the interval of a sixth. On the first hearing it may appear that only one single note is being played, subsequent listening sessions will reveal that a harmony note is being played also.

When you listen to “Peace Train" the first notes you will hear are: C - D - E - E - D - C , these notes are played on the second string of the guitar, a second note is played beneath each of these melody notes.

The harmony notes; E - F - G - G - F - E are played on the forth string. It's a good idea to play the introduction with you right hand fingers (for right handed players).

If we measure the distance from the low harmony note (E) played on the fourth string to the melody note (C) played on the second string we will discover the distance is six E=1, F=2, G=3, A=4, B=5, C=6, hence the naming of the musical interval.

Tip 2. Understand how relative minor chords function

Each major chord has an related minor chord that represents the opposite musical effect, for example if we say that the major chord represents = bright then it's relative minor chord would represent= dark.

Further examples:

major chord = happy / minor chord = sad // major chord = male / minor chord = female.

Musical examples: C major = A minor / G major = E minor / D major = B minor / A major = F# minor / E major = C# minor etc

Cat Stevens often substitutes the relative minor chord in place of the major to develop his musical story. Listen to “Father and Son" notice how he changes the second chord in each verse.

Verse 1: G to D/F# verse 2: G to Bm (relative minor to D major) verse 3: G to D major.

Tip 3. Learn to read music standard music notation

Although many artists do not read music if you wish to play a variety of music being able to read standard music will help to research and understand where many of the popular artists get some of the material from.

For example, Cat Stevens popular hit “Morning Has Broken" was originally a traditional Gaelic melody by Mary MacDonald written in 1880. When it was translated into English by Lachlan Macbean in the 1888 book “Songs and Hymns of the Gael", the translator gave the melody the name “Bunessan".

Cat Stevens understands that a song is a 3 minute story and Cat knows how to tell that story.

Mike Hayes develops systems and products to help you succeed in your guitar playing. Find out more about how to learn guitar fast with his popular free ecourse, available at: =>


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