Monday, August 27, 2007

NAF Playing Tip #28: Guitar Chords to accompany the NAF

I've gotten many inquiries/requests from guitar players who would like to accompany a flute player or create music for the NAF. This is a difficult question to answer, since it really depends on the skill of the NAF player and the goals which you are trying to accomplish.

First of all, if your objective as a guitarist is to set the stage for a improvisational jam at a flute circle where you may be playing with a range of experience in the flute players, then it's best to keep the song structure to a mode (Mode 1) which enables the flute player to stay in the simple fingering of the NAF.

Here's a great link on Clint Goss's site which highlights some chord progressions for the Guitarist and the corresponding key for the flute player. Print this out and keep it in your guitar case or flute bag. Link:

However, this shouldn't stifle your creativity as there are many scales on the NAF. Writing a song and melody line in something other than a minor pentatonic scale will require additional skill on the part of the flute player, but it's also a great way for a flute player to stretch their skills.

In my opinion, one of the best NAF/guitar groups out there today is Elysium Calling. With Kenneth on flute and Garth on Guitar, these guys have a magic that I have yet to see duplicated in another NAF/Guitar duo. Yet, you won't hear a stream of minor pentatonic music from these guys. Garth is a master guitar player and writes music that speaks to his heart. Together with Kenneth, they work out a melody line that fits the groove of the guitar part, regardless of whether it's minor pentatonic, major diatonic or something else. Or visa versa, Kenneth will discover a nice melody line that Garth fills in with an appropriate chord line. While I have bragged about Elysium Calling as a NAF/Guitar duo, there are many other artists out there who have composed music first on the guitar and added the Native American Flute as the spice. This list includes Mary Youngblood, Mark Holland, Douglas Spotted Eagle and others.

If you want to understand the basic pentatonic scale on the guitar, check out an earlier post in which I describe the basic pentatonic scale on the Native American Flute.

The bottom line for all of you guitar players out there is to download Clint's guitar chords, practice 'em a bit, make up a few basic simple songs and then hop over to a flute circle near you!! You are invited to attend any scheduled NCFC Flute Circle, you might want to contact the flute circle leader prior to the event so that they can make time for some open jam time.

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