Justin Bieber’s “Fast Car”

“Fast Car” by Justin Bieber (Live Cover) Tutorial

I’ve put this post up in order to “house” the Guitar Pro score of “Fast Car” by Justin Bieber that I transcribed. Some have had a hard time getting the link to work on Dropbox. Sorry about that.

Here is the link:

Fast Car

In addition, since it’s a tutorial on the live version I’ve had questions about the basic, and alterations of, the guitar strumming pattern for the song. I’ve also had more than a couple questions about the the outro section. Justin seems to “improvise” his way out of the tune thereby creating some very interesting rhythmic devices. It is a little tricky as Justin has clearly learned a thing or three from Dan Kanter🙂

Here are the links to part 1 and 2 of my tutorial set for Justin’s unique and guitar-friendly cover.

Part 1:

Part 2:

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Lorde’s Three Shades of “Green Light”

Lorde’s new single Green Light is a study in contrasts for a guitar cover/tutorial/play-through. It’s the kind of song that grows on you after a couple listens. But, still you sit and ponder. It is worth it? But then you realize that this one has something to work with, it does have merit after all! After listening to what seems like a patchwork of disjointed ideas scattered about it soon becomes clear in the mind of the listener that Green Light does what all pop songs are programed to do.

66c454136a8b9858252bf1bc4124d64bThe content is not heavy. Basically, we have a 5 chord pop song like many others. Where as Green Light revs up slowly and patiently, most pop songs don’t have the patience for such maneuvering as their game is always centered on getting to the point early and often. It’s a mainstay of popular music. Lorde, is a “developer”. Her tendency is to take sparse material and dial things up as the minutes pass. Green Light is no exception,

The pre-chorus/chorus sections are a thing of lighthearted genius as a masterful but typical riff takes over that lights up the song with such energy that even Lorde can’t stay in control (check 3:03 of the video).

For your part, keeping the chorus riff even and controlled is no easy task on guitar, especially acoustic. Keep your right hand solid and bear down on the strumming pattern. That is, if you are covering it at it’s recorded tempo.

I can see this section played a little slower without damaging the intention of the writer. Experiment and see what you come up with.

-Mark

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Here is the guitar tutorial:

“Green Light” Acoustic Guitar Tutorial

Here is the chord chart for “Green Light”:

“Green Light” Chords PDF

 

 

Acoustic Final Fantasy

An Acoustic Duo Cover

“Town Theme” written by the prodigious Anime composer Nobuo  Uematsu, is a short but alluring piece of music. Consisting of a light texture with a hypnotic rhythmic movement, the melodicism embedded in the sections gives it the staying power it needs for its role in the game, Final Fantasy.


I chose to cover “Town Theme”theme using a acoustic guitar duo format. My obsession with random improvised harmonies was perfectly suited to the music’s construction. Not that the work needed my help mind you, it was just my way of interpreting the “hidden harmonies” one hears when the obsession with music runs deep in your brain.

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Like all great composers Uematsu gets to the techniques that color otherwise plain tonal music. This is where the theme becomes legend. An ordinary composer would struggle to rise to such heights with such a project. Writing of this type can be an exercise in frustration as the limitless creative powers one has are kept at bay due to the reality of keeping the music close to home in terms of listenability and ultimately, commercialism.

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The first few seconds of “Town Theme” are telling. A very clever two-measure introduction opens with an artful C major arpeggio. In the following measure the composer wastes no time and goes for the gold medal with a beautiful second-inversion iv6 chord. The Fm/C substitutes for the dominant (as it’s prone to do)  giving measure 3 the push it needs to move forward like a bright, sunny, and brisk Sunday afternoon drive.

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In measures 9-10, an absolutely perfect cadence is set up to put and end to the first melodic statement. The progression, V I vi V2 bVI I5 V I is nothing short of mesmerizing.

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Is it genius writing? Maybe not being that the role o the theme is to bring one back to the center. But, I would challenge you who are composers to attempt such writing using the obvious restrictions during your process.

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You will come out a better writer as you reach deeper into multi-part writing. Keeping track of all voices and rhythms at your disposal your creative power will grow.

Mark Jeffery Campayno