The song of the week will be 'I Saw The Light' in the key of Bb.
Though not originally a bluegrass song, I Saw The Light has by now become a bluegrass jam standard. Everything about the song - its melody, its chord progression, its subject matter, etc., makes it perfect for bluegrass. I Saw The Light was written and originally recorded by Hank Williams.
The Stanley Brothers - key of Bb
Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys - key of B
For the sake of comparison and contrast, here is the original Hank Williams recording of I Saw The Light (key of G):
Progression & Melody
The chord progression for I Saw The Light is:
Notice that the last line of the progression consists of five measures, instead of only four.
In the key of Bb: 1=Bb. 4=Eb, and 5=F.
The Bb chord consists of the notes: Bb,D, and F
The Eb chord consists of the notes: Eb, G, and Bb
The F chord consists of the notes F,A,C.
Together, these notes make up the Bb Major Scale: Bb, C, D, Eb, F, G, A, but the melody of I Saw The Light, like many other songs, makes use of only 5 of these: the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th notes of the scale (In Bb, these notes are Bb, C, D, F, and G: these 5 notes form what is called the Bb Major Pentatonic Scale.)
For playing in the key of Bb, banjo and guitar players almost always capo the 3rd fret so they can play as if they were playing in the key of G. (Bb is 3 half-steps higher than G.) For this reason the melody sheets attached here for guitar and banjo are written in the key of G.
[In the key of G: 1=G. 4=C, and 5=D. The G chord consists of the notes: G. B, and D. The C chord consists of the notes: C, E, and G, The D chord consists of the notes: D, F#,, and A. Together, these notes make up the G Major Scale: G, A, B, C, D, E, F#. The 5 notes: G, A, B, D, and E form the G Major Pentatonic Scale.]
I welcome harmony singers to sing not only the choruses with me, but also on the last line of each of the verses: "Praise the Lord, I saw the light" (the last line of the verses uses the same words and melody as the last line of the chorus.)
22 songs were played at the jam on Wednesday:
Are You Missing Me - G
Ashes Of Love - G
Cherokee Shuffle - A
Gold Watch And Chain - Bb
I Saw The Light - Bb
Little Cabin Home On The Hill - C
Little Liza Jane - D
Love, Please Come Home - G
Reuben - D
Steel Rails - G
Temperance Reel - G
Turkey In The Straw - G
We'll Meet Again Sweetheart - Bb
Wildwood Flower - A
Wreck Of The Old '97 - A
Long Journey Home - C
Red Wing - G
Roses In The Snow - C
Cabin In Caroline - G
Cluck Old Hen - A
Flint Hill Special - G
Footprints In The Snow - G
Have a happy Thanksgiving!,
Jason's Intermediate Jam Blog 2019 - 2021
Weekly on Thursdays
Songs regularly called at the Beginner Bluegrass Jam and links from Jason's "Song of the Week" emails. (from Renee)
in alphabetical order