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The Road to Lisdoonvarna (Guitar Lesson)

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Steve Eulberg

The Road to Lisdoonvarna

In this lesson Steve Eulberg talks about the single jig style of playing and teaches the song "The Road to Lisdoonvarna" as an example.

Taught by Steve Eulberg in Celtic Guitar seriesLength: 29:23Difficulty: 2.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (00:32) Musical Introduction Steve performs the melody to "The Road to Lisdoonvarna" in this opening scene. In the following scenes, he teaches the melody and chord progression of the song to provide you with practice playing a single jig rhythm.
Chapter 2: (06:10) Lesson Introduction and Single Jigs Single Jigs are related to double jigs. There are some key differences between the two that you must understand. A double jig ("Irish Washerwoman") maintains a steady eighth note rhythm in the melody line. In contrast, "The Road to Lisdoonvarna" features many long-short rhythms in which a quarter note is followed by an eighth note. Think of the phrase "strawberry shortcake." The first word, "strawberry," contains three syllables or three eighth notes. The word "shortcake" is pronounced with a quarter note - eighth note rhythm.

When Steve performed the melody in the previous scene, he included many ornaments. According to the Harvard Dictionary of Music, ornaments are "the modification of music, usually but not always through the addition of notes, to make it more beautiful or effective, or to demonstrate the abilities of the interpreter."

In this lesson, Steve teaches a basic written version of the melody with no ornaments added. If you feel up to the challenge, try to transcribe the ornamented version that Steve played earlier in the lesson.

Tonality / Chord Progression

Unlike the past two Celtic tunes, this song is played in a minor mode. It is played in the E Dorian mode. For more information about the modes of the major scale, refer to lessons 22-31 as well as 35-39 of Brad Henecke's Phase 2 Classic Rock series. In the Dorian tonality, the primary triads are no longer the I, IV, and V chords. Instead, the primary chords are the i, IV, and VII chords. Respectively, these chords are Em, A, and D major in the E Dorian tonality. Since the V chord is a minor chord, it no longer carries out a dominant function. The VII chord is typically used to lead back to the tonic chord.

The E Dorian mode is spelled as follows: E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D, E,

The C# note that occurs in the melody is used in conjunction with the IV chord (A major). C# functions as the major third of an A major chord.

A Section Progression

Fretboard diagrams with proper fingerings to all chords presented in the lesson can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab.

Watch as Steve breaks down the A section of the song at 03:32. This section utilizes the i, VII, and IV chords.

Single Jig Strumming Pattern

Typically, jigs are strummed with a repeating quarter note - eighth note rhythmic grouping. Or, they are played with the "strawberry shortcake" rhythm described earlier. Pay careful attention to the strumming rhythm of this pattern. A breakdown is provided below.

Beat 1- Down
Beat 2 - Up
Beat 3- Down
Beat 4 - Down
Beat 6 - Up


This song, like the last two discussed in the series, features an AABB song form.

Practice Time

Practice the chord progression as notated in "Supplemental Content." Remember to always practice along with a metronome. Then, when you feel ready, return to the lesson video and play along with Steve at 05:28.
Chapter 3: (01:59) Strum Types You can also perform a down, up, down, up strum pattern for each measure. This produces a slightly less dramatic accent on beat 4. This pattern is far more practical when playing at quicker tempos. Spend significant time practicing both of the patterns. Practice the new strumming pattern along with Steve in this scene.

At 00:54, Steve tests your accompaniment skills. He plays the melody while you have an opportunity to accompany him with the chord progression.
Chapter 4: (01:32) Alternate Chord Shapes Steve has demonstrated two alternate D chord voicings in the past couple lessons that can be substituted for the basic open D chord. The first option is the Dadd9,11 voicing that is based on the visual shape of the open C major chord. The second option is Dadd9.

Refer to the "Supplemental Content" section for diagrams of these chords.

Practice Time

Practice playing through the progression with the inclusion of these voicings. They produce a more authentic Celtic sound due to the additional open ringing strings. Open droning strings are a staple of Celtic guitar accompaniment.
Chapter 5: (01:42) Second Half of the Song Form

"The Road to Lisdoonvarna" features an AABB song form. The A section repeats twice before the B section occurs.

B Section Progression

The B section uses the i, IV, and v chords in the E Dorian tonality. Respectfully, these chords are Em, A, and Bm.

Learn the progression from the notation provided under "Supplemental Content. Practice the progression on your own. Then, return to the video and play along with Steve. He uses the first strumming option in this scene. Accompany Steve while he plays the melody at 01:02.
Chapter 6: (02:09) Play the Chords Play the entire chord progression to the song along with Steve. He plays through the entire song form twice in a row (AABBAABB). Begin with strumming option 1. Use strumming option 2 during the second repetition of the form. Feel free to use any of the alternate voicings for D major discussed previously.
Chapter 7: (05:07) Alternate E Minor Chord Steve demonstrates a new shape for E minor that is based on the visual shape of the open Dm chord. This voicing is played in third position. Notice how the third finger is used to fret the note G. Since G is played as the lowest note, the chord is written as Em/G. When the third is played as the lowest note, a chord is said to be played in "first inversion."

Em (Am shaped barre)

You can also play an Em barre chord at the 7th fret. This barre chord shape is based on the visual shape of the "open" Am chord. Now, the highest note in the chord is a B. Use barre chord voicings for the A, D, and Bm chords when using this voicing for Em. Steve demonstrates the appropriate barre chord shapes for these chords at 01:30. Use the Em shaped barre chord at the seventh fret for a Bm chord. Compare the overall tonal quality of each voicing option. Compare all three Em chords back to back. Repeat this process with the remaining chords discussed in the lesson.

Alternate Bm Voicing

This voicing adds the 6th and the 11th to a Bm chord voicing. These open ringing strings (G and E) produce a mysterious quality.

Choosing Voicings

How do you know when to use each voicing? Start with one set of chords such as the open chords. Then, play with barre chords. The next time, change one of the chords such as the tonic chord. Begin to mix and match various voicings to see how they sound with one another. Celtic guitarists will frequently use numerous voicings for the same chord within a single performance. Make sure that the voice leading remains smooth between chords. Use your ears to guide you.
Chapter 8: (01:22) Exploring Chord Possibilities Watch as Steve demonstrates a wide variety of chord voicing options as he plays through the progression. Use this performance as a guide to playing your own accompaniment to the song.
Chapter 9: (03:30) Learn the Melody Melodic Leaps

The past melodies taught in this series featured a lot of stepwise motion and very few leaps. This melody is slightly harder to play and memorize, because there are more large melodic leaps. For example, the melody begins with a leap of a perfect fifth.

Position Playing

Since the melody features several notes at the 2nd and 4th frets, Steve opts to play it second position. However, he plays open string very frequently. Pay careful attention to the fretboard location of each note as you work through the notation provided in the "Supplemental Content" section.

As you learn the melody, notice if any phrases or phrase segments repeat. Analyzing these elements will make the melody easier to play and memorize.
Chapter 10: (02:00) Second Half of the Melody Steve teaches the B section in this scene. This section follows a sequential pattern that outlines the chord changes. Is there any material from the A section that is repeated in the B section?

Practice Time

Learn the melody and practice it on your own. Then, play the B section along with Steve.
Chapter 11: (03:15) Play Along and Final Thoughts Give the long notes in the melody a slight accent. By accenting notes that already receive an agogic stress, the signature rhythmic feel of the single jig is brought to the foreground.

Practice Time

Play the melody to the entire song as Steve provides the chordal accompaniment. Remember that this song has an AABB form.

At 01:38, play the chords while Steve plays melody. The next time through the song form, play the melody while he plays the chords.

Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.

joe faulisejoe faulise replied

I am so confused on the strumming patterns for the first three songs cant get a one of them. What you play is not in the supplemental stuff they are different so what are the strumming patterns for the first three songs

jboothjbooth replied

The important thing with strumming patterns is really to focus on the "feel" of the strum pattern vs the exact "down up down" pattern. Try playing with a few, see which one sounds better and then experiment with the feel. Then try watching Steve, see what pattern you think heis playing. This is actually a really useful exercise if you plan on trying to learn songs on your own in the future.

figaro123figaro123 replied

Omg this is awesome!!! LOVE THIS SONG!

gregster1gregster1 replied

Your GOOD!!!!!! Maybe someday I'll put it together. Thanks

J.artmanJ.artman replied

Fantastic lesson! Keep em coming!

jboothjbooth replied

The supplemental content will be up shortly!

Celtic Guitar

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Celtic music is a rich, diverse style filled with hundreds of years of culture and beauty. This style of guitar attempts to capture the rich cultural heritage of the music and transfer it into the world of guitar. From reels to jigs to horn pipes, Steve will get you well on your way.

Introduction to Celtic GuitarLesson 1

Introduction to Celtic Guitar

Steve Eulberg introduces Celtic guitar in this lesson. He will talk about the history of the music and cover some basics such as rhythm and timing.

Length: 16:11 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
The Rakes of MallowLesson 2

The Rakes of Mallow

Steve Eulberg talks more about the reel rhythm and teaches "The Rakes of Mallow" as a demonstration.

Length: 39:03 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Irish WasherwomanLesson 3

Irish Washerwoman

In this lesson, Steve Eulberg ventures into the exciting world of the double jig. As a demonstration, he teaches a song entitled "Irish Washerwoman."

Length: 27:13 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
The Road to LisdoonvarnaLesson 4

The Road to Lisdoonvarna

In this lesson Steve Eulberg talks about the single jig style of playing and teaches the song "The Road to Lisdoonvarna" as an example.

Length: 29:23 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Air Fa La La LoLesson 5

Air Fa La La Lo

In this lesson Steve Eulberg teaches a classic Celtic song entitled "Air Fa La La Lo." This song is heaps of fun to play and sing along with.

Length: 26:59 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
O Waly, WalyLesson 6

O Waly, Waly

Steve Eulberg teaches a hauntingly beautiful Celtic song called "O Waly, Waly" in this lesson.

Length: 19:01 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Rickett's HornpipeLesson 7

Rickett's Hornpipe

Steve Eulberg teaches a classic Celtic piece entitled "Rickett's Hornpipe."

Length: 24:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Another Jig Will DoLesson 8

Another Jig Will Do

Steve takes you into the world of slip jigs using the song "Another Jig Will Do" as an example.

Length: 36:43 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
The Lilting BansheeLesson 9

The Lilting Banshee

Steve explains and demonstrates the double jig. He uses "The Lilting Banshee" as an example.

Length: 34:26 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Celtic Guitar ResourcesLesson 10

Celtic Guitar Resources

Steve talks about some great resources for learning Celtic songs and lyrics.

Length: 12:47 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
O'Keefe's SlideLesson 11

O'Keefe's Slide

In this lesson, Steve teaches the Celtic tune "O'Keefe's Slide."

Length: 27:47 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Rocky Road to Dublin 1Lesson 12

Rocky Road to Dublin 1

Steve Eulberg teaches a classic Celtic tuned titled "Rock Road to Dublin 1."

Length: 32:58 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
The Rose Garden ReelLesson 13

The Rose Garden Reel

Steve teaches a great Celtic tune called "The Rose Garden Reel."

Length: 19:02 Difficulty: 3.0 FREE
O'Keefe's Slide Part 2Lesson 14

O'Keefe's Slide Part 2

Steve Eulberg presents his second installment of "O'Keefe's Slide." Here he demonstrates melodic embellishments known as ornaments. Steve explains two new ornaments that can be incorporated into the melody....

Length: 23:20 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
O'Keefe's Slide Part 3, The Final OrnamentsLesson 15

O'Keefe's Slide Part 3, The Final Ornaments

Steve completes "O'Keefe's Slide" by demonstrating the final ornaments. Studying this lesson will leave you with a better knowledge of how to add ornaments to a Celtic style song.

Length: 25:17 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Kesh JigLesson 16

Kesh Jig

Steve Eulberg teaches a Celtic song entitled "Kesh Jig." Here Steve provides a demonstration of both the rhythm and melody parts. The song is presented in standard tuning as well as open G tuning.

Length: 20:03 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Open G Tuning - Celtic ApplicationLesson 17

Open G Tuning - Celtic Application

Steve Eulberg breaks down open G tuning and demonstrates how it it can be used in Celtic music.

Length: 11:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Kesh Jig in Open G TuningLesson 18

Kesh Jig in Open G Tuning

Steve revisits the Celtic tune "Kesh Jig" now that he has covered open G tuning. Working in conjunction with lessons 16 and 17, this lesson explains how the tune can be played by a multiple guitar ensemble....

Length: 21:56 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Swallow Tail JigLesson 19

Swallow Tail Jig

Steve teaches an old Celtic song entitled "Swallow Tail Jig." Here you will learn the chord progressions that harmonize the A and B sections of the melody.

Length: 13:24 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
After the Battle of AughrimLesson 20

After the Battle of Aughrim

Steve presents a lesson on an old Irish song called "After the Battle of Aughrim." In this lesson you will learn the chord progression and three different ways to play the melody.

Length: 25:23 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Scottish Strathspey - BrachanlomLesson 21

Scottish Strathspey - Brachanlom

How does a pocket full of nickels and dimes help teach you an old Scottish song? Find out how in this lesson on the strathspey "Brachanlom."

Length: 22:01 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
The Wind That Shakes the BarleyLesson 22

The Wind That Shakes the Barley

Steve presents another great Celtic guitar lesson. He covers "The Wind That Shakes the Barley." Enjoy!

Length: 23:53 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Reluctant Bus BoyLesson 23

Reluctant Bus Boy

Welcome to this unique Celtic song lesson entitled "Reluctant Bus Boy!" This song was written by Steve Eulberg himself and was inspired by his son.

Length: 16:55 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Steve Eulberg

About Steve Eulberg View Full Biography An Award-winning multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter, Steve Eulberg weaves mountain and hammered dulcimers with a variety of unusual instruments to create thought-provoking, smile-inducing, toe-tapping acoustic experiences.

He has sung and composed for religious communities, union halls, picket lines, inter-faith retreats, mountain-top youth camps, as well as the more familiar venues: clubs, coffeehouses, bookstores, festivals, charity benefits and showcase concerts.

Born and raised in the German-heritage town of Pemberville, Ohio, Steve was exposed to a variety of music in his home. Early piano lessons were followed by trumpet in school band, and he became self-taught on ukelele and guitar and harmonica. Mandolin was added at Capital University where, while majoring in History, he studied Ear Training, Voice and took Arranging lessons from the Conservatory of Music.

While at college, he first heard hammered and mountain dulcimers, building his first mountain dulcimer just before his final year. Seminary training took him the west side of Denver where he built his first hammered dulcimer. With these instruments, he was able to give voice to the Scottish, English and Irish traditions to which he is also heir.

Following marriage in 1985 to Connie Winter-Eulberg he settled in Kansas City, Missouri. There he worked cross-culturally in a church of African-Americans, Latinos and European Americans, with music being a primary organizing tool. He moved with his family in 1997 to be nestled beside the Rocky Mountains in Fort Coillins, Colorado.

Founder of Owl Mountain Music, Inc. he teaches and performs extensively in Colorado and Wyoming with tours across the US and the UK. He delights in introducing the “sweet music” of dulcimers to people in diverse settings and in addition to his own recordings, has included dulcimers in a variety of session work for other musicians.

In 2000 he was commissioned to create a choral composition featuring dulcimers for the Rainbow Chorus in Fort Collins. It was recorded in the same year (BEGINNINGS). He is currently at work on a commissioned symphony that will feature hammered dulcimer and Australian didjeridu.

Eulberg passionately believes that music crosses cultural and language barriers because music builds community. Influenced by a variety of ethnic styles, his music weaves vital lyric with rap, rock, folk, gospel and blues. Audiences of all ages respond well to his presentation and to his warm sense of humor.

Steve is a member of Local 1000 (AFM), The Folk Alliance, BMI and BWAAG (Better World Artists and Activist's Guild).

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