The Evart Funfest

Glen Newton taught workshops on chord substitutions and bass runs at the 2004 Original Dulcimer Players Club Funfest in Evart, Michigan. He also performed with Dan Kirchner and Ted Bailey in the Friday night concert, playing guitar on some selections and making his debut performance on mandolin playing "Undecided" and "Lover's Waltz."

At the 2006 festival, Glen's workshops taught attendees how to modulate and make song endings more memorable, and with Dan Kirchner's help, he taught chord progressions and variations for three timeless tunes. He also performed on guitar and mandolin with Dan and bassist Jeff Gardner, as Reunion 2, on stage at the 2006 festival.

At the 2008 festival he once again taught workshops on bass runs, with the assistance of his wife, Jo, and John King singing "Blue Water Line" to demonstrate how bass runs make the song more interesting, and with the help of Dan Kirchner on guitar. He also performed twice: first with The Balladaires on the Friday night concert, accompanied by Wes Linenkugel on bass and Dan Kirchner on guitar, and second on guitar with Dan, as Reunion 2, on the Saturday afternoon concert.

If you would like the handouts from Glen's workshops, click on the workshop title to open a separate browser window with a copy of the handout in PDF format.

Chord Notation (28KB PDF)
Description: This handout was not a separate workshop in itself but rather provides some basic information about five types of chords, typed notation for chord progressions, and the use of Roman numerals in chord progressions. It is useful background for all of the workshops.
Goal: Understand how chords and chord progressions are written.
Bass Runs (276KB PDF)

Strumming is a good way to accompany a song. Adding bass notes - even just the root and fifth of the chord - makes the accompaniment more solid. Adding bass runs from one chord to the next or one song section to the next gives your collaborators and listeners a welcome sense of anticipation as they hear you accompany the melody. When moving from one chord to another, a two- or three-note bass run helps make a smooth transition. Furthermore, if you are jamming with people who aren't familiar with the chord progression to a song, a well-chosen bass run can give them advance warning of the next chord and help them keep up wtih you. And adding contrary motion and runs in thirds and tenths puts some extra polish on your accompaniment. This workshop covers bass runs for the most common chord transitions - up and down a fifth, fourth, and third in 4/4 and 3/4 time. Using both tablature and standard music notation, the handout illustrates these techniques, both out of context and in the context of the song "Blue Water Line."

Goals: - Strengthen the listener’s appreciation of the chord progression by the use of bass runs.
- Help other instrumentalists anticipate the next chord in unfamiliar songs.
Chord Substitutions to Keep Your Audiences Awake (67KB PDF)

The published chords for a song are just a starting point for creating chordal backgrounds that bring out the richness of the music and support your own interpretation. But if you make poor choices of substitute chords, you'll confuse and even annoy the audience. This workshop presents some guidelines for choosing subsitute chords wisely, using four subtopics:
- enhance individual chords with added tones,
- enhance chord progressions,
- be creative in turnarounds, and
- create memorable endings.
The following workshop expands upon that final subtopic.

Goals: - Support the melody with appropriate interesting chords and logical progressions.
- Pick progressions appropriate for the genre and tempo of the song (e.g., simpler for folk songs, richer for jazz; simpler for up-tempo, richer for slow songs).
How to Create Memorable Song Endings (133KB PDF)
Description: The last thing the audience hears when you perform a song is the ending. Do you simply play the last chord and stop? If so, this workshop is for you. The audience will remember your song and talk about long after your performance if you use a double or triple ending, flat 6th to tonic progression, instrumental break, or one of the other techniques taught in this workshop.
Goal: Help the audience remember the song by creating a memorable ending.
Classic Chord Progressions (18KB PDF)
Description: "Heart and Soul", "I Got Rhythm", "Sweet Georgia Brown" - the chord progressions of these songs show up again and again in popular music. In this workshop, you'll learn these classic chord progressions and some popular variations on them.
Goal: Learn to jam on popular chord progressions.
Modulation Makes Melodies More Memorable (14KB PDF)
Description: You can spice up your performances by modulation - changing from one key to another - between choruses or verses. Changing the key of the song supports the excitement of the unfolding story, leads to different chord voicings that pique the audience's interest, and can make the song easier for someone else to sing so that you can take turns singing the verses or switch lead and harmony on the choruses. In this workshop you'll learn five handy modulations and practice applying them to some well-known songs.
Goal: Create interest by changing keys between verses or choruses.

This page was last updated
Friday, February 07, 2020.

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