Foggy Mountain Top
The song of the week is 'Foggy Mountain Top' in the key of G.
Earl Taylor & Jim McCall - key of G
Foggy Mountain Top - YouTube
Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, & Ricky Skaggs - key of G
3 Pickers - Foggy Mountain Top - YouTube
Jason Homey & The Snake River Boys - key of G (starts at 15:36)
Jason Homey and the Snake River Boys, IBA Open Mic, 6_25_19 - YouTube
Here are three youtube jam videos I have made for Foggy Mountain Top. I recommend starting with the one listed first. (Go to the 7:29 mark in the video.) In that one, I am on guitar.
Jason’s YouTube Links – Alphabetical Listing – Parisology (cyberplasm.com)
The chord progression for Foggy Mountain Top is:
This is Prog. V6 on the Basic Chord Progressions handout.
In the key of G: 1=G, 4=C, 5=D.
This is the same progression that is used to play 'All The Good Times Are Past And Gone', 'Amazing Grace', 'Light At The River', and the verses and breaks for 'Before I Met You' and 'Little Cabin Home On The Hill'. Notice that it differs from Prog. V7 in only two places:
V7 is the progression that is used to play 'Bury Me Beneath The Willow', 'Faded Love', 'I'm Waiting To Hear You Call Me Darling', 'A Memory Of You', and 'Wreck Of The Old '97'.
On the Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, and Ricky Skaggs recording of Foggy Mountain Top, notice Doc's choice of pickup notes to lead into the first complete measure of his intro break on guitar: G, B, C, which ascend to a D note. This is the same series of notes that the melody of 'When The Saints Go Marching In' begins with, and is much more effective for starting a break than if one were to use the D half-note as a pickup that is written on the Foggy Mountain Top melody sheets at the bottom of this write-up.
1 3 4 leading to 5
do mi fa leading to sol
Key of G: G B C D
Key of A: A C# D E
Key of Bb: Bb D Eb F
Key of B: B D# E F#
Key of C: C E F G
Key of D: D F# G A
Key of E: E G# A B
Key of F: F A Bb C
This is a good case in point illustrating how it is often not desirable to slavishly follow the sung melody when playing a melody-based break. An alternative choice of pickup notes to use to ascend into the D note that the first complete measure begins with is: B, C, C#, and this is the choice of notes that you will often hear played on banjo and fiddle on bluegrass records as pickups to lead into a melody line that starts with a D note on a G chord. These are the very first notes played on the banjo on the other two recordings provided here for Foggy Mountain Top (a D note is played along with each of the chromatically ascending pickup notes, which is typical on banjo). These are the same pickup notes I recommended for starting breaks for Bury Me Beneath The Willow in the song of the week write up for that song. Refer back to the section on 'Pickups into Breaks' in that write up:
Beginner Bluegrass Jam Songs - Idaho Bluegrass Association
The third measure of lines 2 and 4 of each verse and chorus of Foggy Mountain Top has only one syllable in it, which is sung at the beginning of the measure. And, the measure that follows begins with a rest. During these kinds of 'dead spaces' within the melody of a song, it is very common for a fill-in lick to be played on one or more of the instruments.
In the files at the bottom of this write-up, I have included a chart of simple G chord (the 1 chord when in the key of G) and D chord (the 5 chord when in the key of G) fill-in licks for guitar, banjo, fiddle, and mandolin.
The D fill-ins are intended for measure 3 through to the first quarter of measure 4 of line 2 of the progression, and the G fill-ins are intended for measure 3 through to the first quarter of measure 4 of line 4 of the progression. These G licks are also good to use in measures 3 to 4 of line 4 of your breaks. The D licks given for fiddle and mandolin will work in measures 3 to 4 of line 2 in fiddle and mandolin breaks, but the D licks given for banjo and guitar are not well suited for use in banjo and guitar breaks.
On the chart of fill-in licks, notes in parentheses are not really part of the fill-in lick proper and may be omitted if they are inconvenient to get into from what you were doing immediately before the fill-in measures begin. For instance, if you are playing chop chords on the fiddle or mandolin right up to the point where the fill-in measure starts, you may wish to substitute a quarter note rest in place of the quarter note in parentheses that occurs at the beginning of the fill-in lick measure. Likewise, the notes you play in a fiddle or mandolin break in measure 2 of line 2 may lead you more naturally to play an A note at the beginning of the next measure rather than a D note, for the A note is the melody note. When this happens, just substitute the A note in place of the D note in the D fill-in lick shown in parentheses on the chart.
For songs like Foggy Mountain Top that use a progression that ends with two measures of the 1 chord, and in which the last syllable is sung at the beginning of the first of these two measures (which includes the overwhelming majority of the non-instrumental songs on the current main list and additional songs list), it is common for a two-measure ending lick to be played on the instruments during the last two measures of the progression when the song is going to end. In most cases, this means the last two measures of the final chorus (or, for songs that don't have a chorus, the final verse) of the song.
In the files, I have included a chart of simple two-measure endings in the key of G for fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo, and bass that will work for all of the songs that fit into this category, except for the ones played in 3/4 time.
Notice that the last note played in each of the endings coincides with the beginning of the second half of the last measure. (For 3/4 time songs, appropriate ending licks would have their last note coincide with the beginning of the last measure.)
Since the starting note for the melody of the chorus is the fifth of the 1 chord (a D note when in the key of G), the starting note for the tenor harmony is the root note of the 1 chord (a G note when in the key of G), and the starting note for the baritone harmony is the third of the 1 chord (a B note when in the key of G).
The last note for the tenor harmony is the third of the 1 chord (a B note when in the key of G) and the last note for the baritone harmony is the fifth of the 1 chord (a D note when in the key of G), for, as in the vast majority of songs, the melody ends with the root note of the 1 chord.
19 songs were played at last night's jam: 13 from the main list, 5 from the additional songs list, and 1 that is on neither list:
All The Good Times Are Past And Gone - A
Beautiful Brown Eyes - G
Boil The Cabbage Down - A
Buffalo Gals - A
Bury Me Beneath The Willow - G
Cripple Creek - A
Foggy Mountain Top - G
I'll Fly Away - D
Little Birdie - Bb
My Home's Across The Blue Ridge Mountains - B
New River Train - D
Nine Pound Hammer - B
Soldier's Joy - D
Amazing Grace - G
Angeline The Baker - D
Hand Me Down My Walking Cane - G
Old Joe Clark - A
She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain - A
Red Wing - G
G & D Chord Fill-in Licks
Endings for most songs in G
Foggy Mountain Top - Melody in G
Foggy Mountain Top - Banjo tab
Foggy Mountain Top - Guitar tab
Foggy Mountain Top - Mandolin tab
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