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Molokai Waltz (Guitar Lesson)


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Mark Kailana Nelson

Molokai Waltz

Mark Nelson teaches a beautiful piece entitled "Molokai Waltz" in this lesson. This song demonstrates how you can play melody out of chord shapes.

Taught by Mark Kailana Nelson in Hawaiian slack key seriesLength: 13:30Difficulty: 2.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (05:08) Lesson Introduction Mark begins this lesson with some slack key licks that utilize the double stop shapes that you learned in lesson 23. He closes with a commonly used turnaround in C Wahine tuning.

Hopefully you have spent a significant amount of time practicing the chord shapes that Mark presented in the previous lesson. These shapes are used extensively in the current lesson. Malokai Waltz features a melody line that is played in conjunction with these new chord shapes.

Waltz Time

Waltzes are quite common in the slack key repertoire. The waltz is a dance that is played in 3/4 time. The first beat of each measure receives a slight stress. Beats two and three of each measure are considered to be weaker beats. This gives the rhythm a steady "oom-pah-pah" feel.

Background

Molokai is an island located to the northeast of Maui. The Aloha music camp that Mark has discussed in several past lessons used to be held in Molokai.

Tune Time

This piece is played in C Wahine tuning. First, tune your guitar to Taropatch tuning (open G). Then, tune the sixth string down to C. Match the pitch of this open string to the C note that is played at the 5th fret of the fifth string.

Learning the Song

A. Measures 1-4

Rubato Time


These measures are played with a rubato feel. "Rubato" literally means "robbed time." In this time feel, a specific segment is typically sped up. When this occurs, the rhythm of another segment must slow down slightly. The rhythm accelerates and slows like the ebbing ocean tide. Rubato is not the same as free time! Mark provides an example of how to perform this rhythmic feel at 03:41 in the lesson video.

Hawaiian Vamp / Turnaround

Often in traditional Hawaiian music, the terms "vamp" and "turnaround" are used interchangeably.

A vamp is a brief chord progression that is repeated numerous times. The number of repetitions is often left to the discretion of the performer(s).

A turnaround is a chordal segment that implies the dominant chord of the key. A turnaround typically leads into a new section or back to the beginning of the current section. If you have studied blues and jazz music, you are probably familiar with a few common turnaround progressions. These progressions are the V to I and the ii V I. Within the ii V I, a minor triad or minor seventh chord is often used for the ii chord. However, a dominant seventh chord is often used instead. Such is the case in Molokai Waltz.

In Hawaiian music, turnarounds are often repeated. In these situations, a turnaround is used as a vamp. As a result, these terms are often used interchangeably when analyzing Hawaiian music.

Secondary Dominant Chords

The D7 chord that occurs in the first measure is not diatonic to the key of C major. Typically, the note F is natural in this key. The third of a D7 chord is F#. This chord is referred to as a secondary dominant chord. G7 is the dominant V chord in the key of C major. D7 functions as a dominant V chord in relation to a G7 chord. Consequently, a secondary dominant chord is typically labeled as V7/V7or V7 of V7. The D7 chord resolves to G7, which in turn resolves to the tonic C major chord.

A Section

The first measure of this section features a partial barre version of a C chord. Barre the first four strings at the fifth fret. Leave the fifth and sixth strings open. The melody in measures 5 and 6 are played out of this position. A Hawaiian blues note is used in the melody. This particular blues note is the #11. In relation to the key of C major, this note is an F#. Remember that the Hawaiian blue notes are the b3, major 7, and #11. These notes are typically referred to as "Hawaiian blue notes" when they are played over a major chord type.

Thumb Pattern for Bass Line

Since there are only three beats per measure in a waltz, the standard alternating bass pattern that you have used in past lessons will no longer work. Instead, the thumb plucks the three lowest notes available within each chord shape. This bass line is played in a steady quarter note rhythm. It occurs throughout most of the song.

For example, examine measures 5 and 6. In these measures, a C chord is utilized. The sixth and fifth strings are left open. These strings produce the notes C and G. The next to lowest note is G played at the fifth fret of the fourth string. Consequently, these three notes comprise the bass line that is used with this chord shape. The thumb plucks all of these bass notes.

Due to these adjustments, you may want to isolate the bass line from the harmony and melody as you begin to practice the piece. First, practice the bass line by itself. Then, isolate and practice the melody. Finally, add all of the parts together.

Right Hand Fingering for Melody / Harmony Notes

Use the index finger to pluck all notes on the third string. The middle finger plays all notes on the second string. Use finger three for all notes on the first string. You may wish to alternate fingers if multiple melody notes are played consecutively on the same string. Typically, the index and middle fingers are used in this situation.
Chapter 2: (02:25) Moving on with Molokai Waltz Measure 7

A position shift occurs in this measure. On beat three, shift back to first position to prepare yourself for the "open" C chord that occurs in the following measure. Or, you can fret the G melody note with the pinkie finger so that it sustains throughout the entire measure as it is written. This option is slightly more challenging to play since it features some awkward left hand shifts. However, it may be worth the effort to sustain the melody.

Measure 14

Notice how the typical bass pattern is suspended in this measure. Since the melody is more active, playing a simple sustained root note creates a nice contrast. This also breaks the monotony of the bass line and grabs the listener's attention.

Measures 15-16

The G chord in measure 15 is a combination of two double stops that you learned in lesson 23. Keep this chord shape held down throughout the next measure. This will ensure that all notes ring as long as possible. Use the pinkie finger to fret the melody note in measure 16.
Chapter 3: (04:11) Review and Moving On At the beginning of this scene, Mark provides a demonstration of the introduction and A section. He stops at the double bar line that occurs at the end of measure 20. At first, listen to his performance. Then, rewind the lesson video and play along.

B Section

Measures 21-23


The first three measures of this section (21-23) are identical to the first three measures of the A section. After these measures, new material is added to the composition.

Measures 26-27

Some ascending double stops occur in measure 26 that resolve to an F chord in measure 27. A five string barre performed by the first finger is applied to this F chord.

Measures 30-31

Some Hawaiian blue notes are used in these measures. The #11 of each chord is played in the melody. In relation to the F chord in measure 30, the #11 is the note B played at the 12th fret of the second string. In relation to C in measure 31, the blue note is F# at the 7th fret of the second string.

Measures 33-35

The same chord changes that comprise the intro vamp / turnaround are used in these measures to bring the tune to a close. However, alternate voicings are used for these chords in order to incorporate the melody line.

B Section Play Along

Mark provides a full demonstration of the B section at 03:26 in the lesson video. At first, listen to his performance. Then, rewind the video and play along with him.
Chapter 4: (01:41) The Entire Tune Mark provides you with an opportunity to play the entire tune along with him in this scene.

Video Subtitles / Captions





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Member Comments about this Lesson

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horstwetjenhorstwetjen replied on March 30th, 2011

Love the song, but I'm curious as to why you made it a Drop C arrangement. In your "Old Time Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar" book you have it as a Taro Patch arrangement. I think it's both easier to play and sounds nicer in Taro Patch.

Hawaiian slack key

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Hawaiian slack key is a beautiful style of guitar that originated in Hawaii. By blending relaxing melodies with intricate fingerstyle playing, this traditional genre of music is sure to please.



Lesson 1

Intro to Slack Key

Mark Nelson introduces Hawaiian slack key guitar and welcomes you to his lesson series.

Length: 9:11 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Basic Slack Key

Mark delves into the world of slack key guitar. He discusses basic concepts such as open tunings and chords.

Length: 34:24 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 3

Bradda John

In this lesson, Mark teaches a slack key arrangement of the classic song "Brother John."

Length: 14:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Old Style Slack

Mark Nelson teaches a beautiful Hawaiian piece that he calls "Old Style Slack."

Length: 30:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

Vamps and Turnarounds

Turnarounds are very important to the slack key genre. Mark explains what they are and how they are used in this lesson.

Length: 22:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 6

Salomila

Mark Nelson teaches a beautiful Hawaiian slack key piece called "Salomila."

Length: 19:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Double Stops in Slack Key

Mark Nelson demonstrates how double stops are used in Hawaiian slack key guitar.

Length: 22:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

Ki Ho'Alu Slide

Mark Nelson teaches a beautiful piece of music he calls "Ki Ho'Alu Slide."

Length: 15:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

More Turnarounds

Mark Nelson teaches a few more turnarounds. He demonstrates how you can link two turnarounds together.

Length: 9:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

Return to Salomila

Mark Nelson returns to the song "Salomila." Learn an altered version of this song that will put your slack key skills to the test.

Length: 14:30 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

Building Blocks

Mark Nelson provides you with more slack key building blocks. He demonstrates some new turnarounds that involve playing double stops in sixths.

Length: 23:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Return to Old Style Slack

Mark Nelson returns to the song "Old Style Slack." In this lesson, he teaches a more advanced arrangement of the song.

Length: 23:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

Double Stops and Chords

Mark demonstrates some additional double stops and discusses common slack key chords.

Length: 18:30 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 14

Taropatch Blues

Mark Nelson teaches an original song called "Taropatch Blues." He also explains how improvisation is used in the slack key genre.

Length: 19:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

Series Review

Mark Nelson reviews the lesson series up to this point and discusses its future.

Length: 16:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 16

Aunty Style Slack

Mark Nelson introduces the G Wahine tuning, also known as double slack. He teaches a song in this tuning called "Aunty Style Slack."

Length: 21:10 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 17

Clave Bass Studies

Mark introduces the concept of the clave rhythm. He explains what the clave is and provides some fun Hawaiian themed exercises to play.

Length: 15:56 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

Malasadas

Mark Nelson will teaches a slack key piece called "Malasadas." This lesson applies the clave bass pattern from lesson 17.

Length: 14:17 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 19

Double Stops and Chords

Mark expands your knowledge of double slack tuning. He introduces some common chords and double stops in this tuning.

Length: 13:57 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 20

Playful Popoki

Mark Nelson teaches a beautiful Hawaiian slack key song entitled "Playful Popoki."

Length: 23:08 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 21

Playful Popoki Part 2

Mark teaches another version of "Playful Popoki."

Length: 25:17 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 22

C Wahine Tuning

Mark Nelson introduces C Wahine tuning.

Length: 10:54 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 23

Expanding the Tuning

Mark Nelson expands on Drop C / C Wahine tuning. He explains how familiar chords and double stops can be played in this tuning.

Length: 15:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 24

Hi`ilawe

Mark Nelson teaches a classic Hawaiian slack key piece entitled "Hi`ilawe."

Length: 18:12 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 25

C Wahine Chords

Mark "Kailana" Nelson covers the Drop C / C Wahine tuning again in this lesson. This time around he introduces more chords and variations.

Length: 10:54 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 26

Molokai Waltz

Mark Nelson teaches a beautiful piece entitled "Molokai Waltz" in this lesson. This song demonstrates how you can play melody out of chord shapes.

Length: 13:30 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 27

Kowali

Mark Nelson teaches a Hawaiian slack key piece entitled "Kowali" in this lesson.

Length: 13:42 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 28

Kowali Modulation

Mark Nelson returns to the song "Kowali" and introduces the concept of modulation in this lesson.

Length: 11:30 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 29

Sanoe

Mark Nelson returns to the world of Hawaiian slack key with a beautiful piece entitled "Sanoe."

Length: 17:36 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 30

Sanoe Modulation

Mark revisits the beautiful song "Sanoe." He explains how the song modulates in this lesson.

Length: 11:31 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 31

Catching up & Moving on

Mark Nelson returns with more slack key! Find out what Mark plans to teach in upcoming lessons and learn his approach to fingerpicking technique.

Length: 14:00 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 32

F Wahine Tuning

Mark Nelson explores the wonders of the beautiful F Wahine tuning.

Length: 29:37 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 33

My Yellow Ginger Lei

Mark Nelson shares his rendition of the beautiful slack key song "My Yellow Ginger Lei."

Length: 14:55 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 34

Mauna Loa Part 1

Mark Nelson teaches a basic version of the song "Mauna Loa."

Length: 10:26 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 35

Mauna Loa Part 2

Mark teaches a more elaborate version of "Mauna Loa."

Length: 12:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 36

Kawohikukapulani

Mark Nelson teaches a song called "Kawohikukapulani" and discusses the history behind it.

Length: 9:19 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 37

My Yellow Ginger Lei Variations

Mark Nelson talks about discovering your own style as he plays and improvises "My Yellow Ginger Lei" in F Wahine tuning.

Length: 27:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 38

He Aloha No'o Honolulu

Mark Nelson shares his rendition of the song "He Aloha No'o Honolulu" in F Wahine tuning.

Length: 11:25 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 39

He Aloha No'o Honolulu Part 2

Mark Nelson covers an extended version of "He Aloha No'o Honolulu" and continues to touch on the subject of creating your own style.

Length: 20:17 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 40

Makee Ailana

Mark Nelson shares his beautiful rendition of the song "Makee Ailana" in this lesson.

Length: 22:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 41

Tiare Tahiti

Mark Nelson shares his rendition of "Tiare Tahiti," a lovely song named after the sweet Tahitian Tiare flower.

Length: 20:22 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 42

Tiare Tahiti Part 2

Mark continues his discussion on the song "Tiare Tahiti" in this lesson.

Length: 17:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 43

Series Wrap-up Part 1

Mark Nelson begins his series wrap-up with a lesson about the similarities and differences between tunings. The song "Sanoe" is used as an example.

Length: 12:27 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 44

Series Wrap-up Part 2

Mark continues his series wrap-up with another great lesson filled with information on tunings.

Length: 21:23 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 45

Series Wrap-up Part 3

Mark Nelson concludes his series wrap-up with a lesson on "My Yellow Ginger Lei" in Taropatch tuning. He also shares tips and advice to continue on your own until he returns to JamPlay with more lessons.

Length: 19:51 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 46

Bring Back the Slack!

Mark Kailana Nelson is back by popular demand with more amazing slack key guitar! In this series reintroduction, he talks about what he will be teaching in his new set of lessons.

Length: 10:27 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 47

Nanea Kou Maka i ka Le‘ale‘a

Mark Nelson continues his Slack Key series with another song called "Nanea Kou Maka i ka Le‘ale‘a." Mark lays out the basics of the song and talks a little about making it your own.

Length: 24:38 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 48

Intros and Outros

Mark Nelson talks about intros and outros using the tune, "Nanea Kou Maka i ka Le‘ale‘a" as an example to work from.

Length: 19:34 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 49

'Ulupalakua Part 1

Mark Nelson introduces "'Ulupalakua," a song he will be using to teach different skills and techniques. In this lesson, he explains the tune and asks that you get it under your belt before moving on.

Length: 6:42 Difficulty: 2.0 FREE
Lesson 50

'Ulupalakua Part 2: Singing

Mark Nelson touches on singing and backing up a singer in this lesson. He uses the song "'Ulupalakua" as an example and explains the lyrics.

Length: 25:02 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 51

'Ulupalakua Part 3: Variations

Mark Nelson demonstrates some fun variations to spice up your playing using the song "Ulupalakua" as an example.

Length: 29:23 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 52

'Ulupalakua Part 4: Three Songs

Mark Nelson wraps up this tune by demonstrating two similar songs you may play now that you have "Ulupalakua" under your belt.

Length: 8:01 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 53

Hula Blues Part 1

Mark Nelson introduces the catchy "Hula Blues" in this lesson. He asks that you get the song under your belt before moving on to the lessons to follow.

Length: 20:22 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 54

Hula Blues Part 2: Variations

Mark Nelson continues his instruction on the catchy tune "Hula Blues" with some fun variations.

Length: 23:33 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 55

Hula Blues Part 3: Singing

Mark Nelson continues the "Hula Blues" with a lesson on lyrics and singing. Mark demonstrates some useful tips and tricks to get you going.

Length: 15:53 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 56

‘Opihi Mo‘emo‘e Part 1

Mark Nelson introduces a new slack key tune called "‘Opihi Mo‘emo‘e" in this lesson. As usual, Mark starts off by going over each section of the song and asks that you to get it down before moving...

Length: 23:41 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 57

‘Opihi Mo‘emo‘e Part 2

Mark Nelson shows off some fun variations for the catchy slack key tune "‘Opihi Mo‘emo‘e." His primary goal for this lesson is to help make this song unique to your personal style.

Length: 13:36 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 58

‘Opihi Mo‘emo‘e Part 3

Mark Nelson wraps up the tune "Opihi Mo‘emo‘e" in this lesson, providing full tab and discussing song structure.

Length: 11:50 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 59

Mark's Slack Key Blues

In this short miniseries wrap-up, Mark Nelson slides into his own version of the blues, slack key style.

Length: 5:00 Difficulty: 0.0 Members Only
Lesson 60

B Flat Tuning Part 1

Mark Nelson introduces and explains an open Bb major tuning in this miniseries introduction.

Length: 14:09 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 61

B Flat Tuning Part 2: Green Rose Hula

Mark Nelson goes over a tune called "Green Rose Hula" in the beautiful B flat tuning.

Length: 12:25 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 62

B Flat Tuning Part 3: Pua Lilia

In this lesson, Mark Nelson takes a look at more complex harmonies while teaching the beautiful song "Pua Lilia".

Length: 12:57 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 63

B Flat Tuning Part 4: ‘Ulupalakua

Mark Nelson wraps up his open Bb tuning miniseries with a look at a song you might recognize from previous lessons, "‘Ulupalakua".

Length: 10:28 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only

About Mark Kailana Nelson View Full Biography Ki Ho `alu, or slack key guitar, is a uniquely Hawaiian music. Legend has it that Spanish cowboys hired to teach cattle handling in the 1830's brought the first guitars the Polynesians had seen. Until very recently, slack key was almost unknown outside of the Islands.

Mark's lifelong interest in slack key led him to write "Learn to Play Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar" (Mel Bay Publications), with legendary Hawaiian musician Keola Beamer – the first widely available instruction method for this gentle art. Keola and Mark co-host the Aloha Music Camp – an immersion into the music and culture of Hawaii held each summer in the Hawaiian Islands.

Mark's 2004 CD, "The Water is Wide," brings together the nahenahe sounds of slack key guitar with the sweet sounds of the dulcimer. In 2006 he released "Old Time Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar," nineteen classic Hawaiian songs recorded live in the studio. A book of note-for-note transcriptions in Tab and standard notation facilitates learning the songs.. His most recent book and CD set, "Ke Kukima Polinahe," is the first-ever recording of traditional slack key music arranged for the dulcimer.

Mark began playing guitar and bass professionally at the not-so-tender age of 12. Over the years he's added a number of instruments, including mandolin, `ukulele, bodhran and the Appalachian dulcimer and its European kin.

In the early 1970's Mark was one of a handful of free-spirited musicians who created a whole new vocabulary for the Appalachian dulcimer and guitar. He created a driving flatpicking dulcimer style, playing the instrument with a force and passion seldom heard before. A first place win at the National Mountain Dulcimer Championships in Winfield, Kansas in 1979 led to appearances at festivals, colleges and coffeehouses across North America and Europe, and a recording career spanning over 25 years.

He's an engaging performer, artfully weaving stories and humor with heartfelt music to transport the audience. Mark has performed just about everywhere from Barrow to Boston; Sligo to San Diego. He's shared the stage with performers as diverse as Grover Washington, Jr.; Norton Buffalo; Phoebe Snow, Doc Watson, George Winston and many others. He once worked as a banjo playing gorilla in Dublin, but that's another story...

"Nelson is a musician who possesses that rare combination of insight and talent necessary to successfully transcend conventional concepts of genre and culture."
John Berger, Honolulu Star-Bulletin

"Every once in a while a musician comes along who can make an instrument speak in tongues"
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

"Mark Nelson seems to be on to something new and sweet with his marriage of Appalachian dulcimer and Hawaiian slack key guitar. Drizzle is one of the most achingly beautiful slack key numbers heard in years."
Danny Carnahan, Acoustic Guitar Magazine

"It's my sunset-have-a-martini-on-the-lanai soundtrack every night!"
Duke Walls, Hana, Maui

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Greg J.

"With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace"
 

I'm a fifty eight year old newbie who owns a guitar which has been sitting untouched in a corner for about seven years now. Last weekend I got inspired to pick it up and finally learn how to play after watching an amazing Spanish guitarist on TV. So, here I am. I'm starting at the beginning with Steve Eulberg and I couldn't be happier (except for the sore fingers :) Some day I'm going to play like Steve! I'm self employed with a hectic schedule. With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace, rewinding and replaying the videos until I get it. This is a very enjoyable diversion from my work yet I still feel like I'm accomplishing something worthwhile. Thanks a lot, Greg


Bill

"I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students."
 

I am commenting here to tell you and everyone at JamPlay that I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students. I truly enjoy learning to play the guitar on JamPlay.com. Yes, I said the words, ""enjoy learning."" It is by far the best deal for the money.



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