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Storm Stenvold >> Beginning Classical Guitar >>
Lesson Subject: Beginning Classical Guitar
What you learn: Greensleeves
Teacher: Storm Stenvold


Storm: Hello class, our lesson today features a very famous 16th century piece - Greensleeves. The origin of the composer is not known, so the composer's credit is always displayed as 'Anonymous'. It is rumored that King Henry VIII, could have possibly been the composer, however there is no evidence of his ownership. The Christmas classic 'What Child is This' is composed using the same melody. Greensleeves has lyrics too and is even mentioned by Shakespeare in one of his plays, 'Merry Wives of Windsor'.  The composition has even been covered by artists like Jeff Beck. Greensleeves is in the key of A minor with an occasional F# and G# chromatic tones and a 6/8 time signature. Let's get to the music and videos.

Greensleeves is an excellent composition for developing technique in using two note chords. Here is a video of left/right hand combination.


Storm: Notice the first note comes in before the downbeat, this note is considered a "pickup note". The first three chords are outline with an Am, G and C. There is a chromatic F# in the second bar that makes the transition sound more interesting. Try to hold the C bass note cleanly when reaching to fret the position. Here are the next two bars:

Storm: Your goal should be to minimize the movement in the left hand to cleanly execute the notes. A lot of planning usually goes into the fingerings in classical guitar. Here is the video for bars 3 and 4 that will help illustrate how this section is performed:


Storm: Bars 5 and 6 should feel familiar, it's the same as bars 1 and 2.


Storm: Convenient, eh? The main theme will be repeated throughout this song. Here are the next two bars.


Storm: Bars 7 and 8 outline an Am to E, and then back to an A minor progression. The addition of the G# makes a stronger 'cadence' back to the tonic of A. Here are the next two bars.


Storm: Notice that the 'C' chord is slightly 'broken' or 'arpeggiated' in bars 9 and 10, this can be done best on the first beat of the measure to help bring out the melody.  Remember to use taste, the emphasis can be overdone. You use the thumb and index for the 5th and 4th strings. Here are the next two bars.


Storm: Bars 11 and 12 move from Am to F to E. Bar 13 and 14 is a re-statement of bars 9-10.


Storm: Here are the last two bars.


Storm: Here's another restatement, the last two bars are the same as bars 7-8. You can look at the song as 2 eight bar forms, which is a very nice arrangement. Well that's it for 'Greensleeves'.

Ryan: cool

Glenn: thanks

Storm: You're welcome.

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