Friday, April 25, 2008

Song of the Week: Hey Little Red Bird


Dan Zanes is returning to Seattle, and once more, we're going to see him. Last year, it was as much fun watching Lucia dance with the other children as it was to listen to the music taking place on-stage. In honor of the concert, this Song of the Week is an original composition by Dan Zanes called "Hey Little Red Bird." The song is in the key of F, and silly man, Zanes has the chords actually written out in the key of F. That's all very well for violinists (like Philip the Pun) and cellists (like my cousin), but what guitarist likes to play in the key of F unless s/he has nimble fingers for all of those barred chords? Lady K might be up for it, but not I! So, I have transposed the song to the key of E. Slap a capo on the first fret, and you're good to go. The "B" chord is now a B7. It sounds jazzy that way, and if you do an alternating bass line (move your middle finger from the 5th string to the 6th string, same fret), you'll evoke the sound of the tuba harmony.


Click on the image to enlarge it


Speaking of red birds, do you know The Lion and the Little Red Bird, by Eliza Klevin? It's a good storytime selection for when you want to show how people can be friends even when they don't speak each other's languages.

8 comments:

Anamaria (bookstogether) said...

I'm impressed by your guitar work! Leo plays a little violin, too (really little, it's an 1/8 size)--I wonder if he could figure this one out.
And thanks for the Kleven book recommendation! We're fond of lots of her books (I think the pin~ata one is my favorite).

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Anamaria: Thanks! I just wrote a paragraph with recommendations on how to play this, then realized that I missed that Leo played a little violin, not a guitar. I thought 1/8 was small for a guitar.:) That'll teach me to think before the first cup of tea is down. I need to look for the other Klevin books, as this is the only one in my collection.

Phil said...

Violinists (and cellists) don't play chords, so in that sense it really doesn't matter to us what key it's written in. And if I'm figuring my keys correctly, it still doesn't matter because the fingerings (at least for the violin) are not difficult in either case. Now if you get into some key with three or more sharps or flats, that's when things start getting tricky...

HipWriterMama said...

Have fun seeing Dan Zanes! I bet Lucia will have a ball.

Jules at 7-Imp said...

Have too much fun. Wish I were there.

Jules, 7-Imp

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

HWM and Jules: Thanks! We did have a good time. We had front row seats again, though Lucia didn't actually sit in her seat. Grownups who went up with their kids to the mosh pit had to crouch down, so we stayed in our seats except for when we helped out with the "train" on "Catch that Train."

Phil: I've got you down for the solo in "Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us."

Anamaria (bookstogether) said...

1/8 is small for a violin, too! Thank you so much for thinking of us. Glad you wnjoyed the show! Now where is my Dan Zanes cd (we have House Party)...

Lady K said...

Okay, now I have another song to learn, BOTH ways. I think I may go to the music exchange store to get myself a capo, though, because while my fingers may be nimble, they're a little rusty.

Thanks for the inspiration. xoxo!