Old Home Place
The song of the month for October is 'Old Home Place' in the key of G
The chord progression for the verses and for the breaks is:
The progression for the chorus is:
In the key of G: 1= G, 2 = A, 3 = B, 4 = C, 5 = D.
Not only is the progression of Old Home Place unusual, but the arrangement also is. Two verses are sung back to back before a chorus, rather than the usual alternating pattern of verse, chorus, verse, chorus, etc. A typical arrangement for a recorded version of this song is:
When playing this song at a jam, it is best to stick to this form, with the exception that after the first and second choruses, several breaks (instead of just one break) may be placed back to back to accommodate as many lead instruments as necessary. The intro break is usually played on banjo; so, if you call this song at a jam, and there is a banjo player there who feels comfortable playing the intro break, it is advisable to invite him to kick off the song.
Since the chorus starts on a different chord than the rest of the parts of the song, it is a good idea to signal when one is leading into the chorus (especially when leading into the final chorus, and even more so, if several breaks are played back to back right before the final chorus). This is done by playing a run that leads from the G to the D chord: for this purpose, a 3 note run is more effective than a 2 note run. Guitar players may use the ascending sequence B, C, and C# (on the A string) to lead from the G to the D chord. Banjo players may use the descending sequence F#, F, E (on the low D string) to lead from the G chord to the D chord. Bass players may do either.
One may also wish to signal the change from the G chord to the A chord in the chorus by playing a 3 note run. Good notes to use for this are the ascending sequence: F#, G, G#.
Here are a couple of youtube links for the song. The first is from J.D. Crowe and the New South, and is perhaps the most well-known recording of the song in bluegrass circles. The second is from the Dillards, and is the original recording of the song.
Key of Bb
(In the key of Bb: 1=Bb, 2=C, 3=D, 4=Eb, 5=F)
Key of A (somewhat sharp relative to A=440)
(In the key of A: 1=A, 2=B, 3=C#, 4=D, 5=E)
[Note concerning the treatment of the '3' chord, and certain other 'off-chords', in bluegrass. In the key of G, the '3' chord is B. The B chord consists of the notes B, D#, and F#. By adding an A note to this, one creates a B7 chord. Bluegrass guitar players will usually play a B7 chord here instead of a B. When playing a break for Old Home Place, the A note is often the main note I play during the B chord measures.
[The question sometimes comes up: When is it appropriate to use a 7th chord in place of a major chord? Recall to mind the order of letters in the circle of 5ths: F, C, G, D, A, E, B. For the major chords that are to the right of the 1 chord in the sequence (For the key of G, that would be the letters to the right of G), adding the note to the chord that makes it a 7th chord will almost never sound out of place. One reason for this is that the note that is added to these chords to make them 7ths is part of the major scale of the 1 chord. The further to the right of the '1', the more common it becomes to use a 7th in place of a regular major chord. For example, for a song in the key of G that has both an A and a D chord in it, A7 tends to be used in place of A more often than what D7 is used in place of D.
[For the '1' chord itself, and the chords to the left of the 1 chord, the note added to make these chords 7ths is not part of the major scale of the 1 chord. The further to the left of the '1' that the chord is, the less occasion there will be to use the 7th in place of the regular major chord. For example, in the key of G, G7 will usually only be used as a transitional chord to lead the ear from a G chord to a C chord; C7, is used less often than G7, and will lend a 'bluesy' sound to the music, which may or may not be desirable depending upon the feel and mood of the song. And, by the time we get to F7, the resulting sound of using this chord when playing in the key of G will be, shall we say, 'too jazzy' to fit well into most traditional bluegrass.]