We had a couple of African fingerstyle soukous pieces already, but this one has got a 6/8 time signature. So if you ever wanted to play the more old school sounding, sassier and somewhat more sophisticated Congolese guitar style, this one’s for you! All you need to do is get the tablature (available below) and start practicing! You’ll notice that the compound time this tune uses makes it a bit different from the kind of sebene guitar music we studied previously. Nonetheless, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one as well! The song is written and played in G major; not a difficult key on guitar by default. But… there are a couple of tricks you need to have in your bag if you wanna play it fluidly! The chord progression has got the very common I-IV-V scale degrees. You’ll fly through these like a charm if you pay attention to your slow and accurate practice regime.
Get The Flow Of The African “Waltz”
Yep, I’m not joking when I call it a waltz. The groove of this song is very close to what you’re used to from a waltz, it’s just a bit cooler. 😉 The first part of the tune seems to be a pretty straightforward single line melody, if you look at the standard notation under the guitar tab. The key thing here is to be able to get into the flow of it, so it sounds like one long, coherent phrase, instead of a chopped up something with fragments all over the place. It can be helpful if you are able to visualize and then play the two measures as a continuous process of breathing in and then breathing out, successively. This section contains mostly 16th notes, and it also has hammer-ons and a pull-off.
Double Stop Harmonies In The Sebene
After you completed all four repeats, you enter the 2nd part almost seamlessly. It’s because of how the song continues from the same starting G note, making a smooth connection between the two sections. While this part appears to be less busy than the beginning one, it has a shift slide right in its initial measure. And then… double stops! We already played some double stops in our previous soukous pieces – they work effectively in outlining harmonies without muddying up the tune. If you have the tab/notation in front of you, you’ll notice that there’s a slight variation in the fingering in measure 3 compared to measure 5. Even though you are required to play the same musical notes, you play them at different frets and hand positions, to help make the sound more fluid and overall smoother. This in turn has the positive side effect of being able to play it at higher tempos. Make sure that you get that little 32nd note embellishment right on time; this is the seasoning on this little piece. Another thing you need watch is to let the top note of the double stop ring when you hammer-on the part below it, so the notes can create the dyads together. After waltzing through the required amount of repetitions, the song ends on a G6sus2 chord.