Mel Bay Learn to Play Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar

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9780786641093: Mel Bay Learn to Play Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar

Hawaiian slack key guitar (Ki Ho'alu) is one of the world's great acoustic guitar traditions. This tradition includes virtuoso guitar pieces, but the majority of songs played slack key are classic Hawaiian melodies either played as instrumentals or as accompaniment to vocals with instrumental breaks between the verses. The term "slack key" does not refer to a type of guitar, but rather to any guitar played in the slack key style, that is, in alternate tunings with "slacked" strings and fingerstyle technique. Acknowledged slack key master Keola Beamer is a member of a family known for its musical artistry for generations. We are fortunate to have him writing in conjunction with veteran Mel Bay author, educator and multi-instrumentalist Mark Nelson, who simply followed his love of the music to the Islands. Written in standard notation and tablature to accommodate numerous alternate tunings, this book is presented in four sections: 1) The most common tuning introduced by fairly easy songs; 2) Illustrations of how to build your own arrangements; 3) A presentation of various slack key tunings; and 4) A selection of duets in the slack key style. Historical and cultural insights are offered throughout in the spirit of aloha, producing an informative, musically enlightening book with soul and humor. The companion CD features tuning tracks and informal introductions of the audio content by the authors, plus some beautiful slack key music.

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About the Author:

Mark Nelson is considered one of the nation's premier mountain dulcimer players. Winner of the 1979 National Mountain Dulcimer Championships in Winfield Kansas, he is equally at home playing soulful Celtic airs or lightning-fast fiddle tunes on numerous members of the dulcimer family, including the Swedish hummel, Appalachian dulcimer and Hungarian cittera. In addition, he is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and composer who has recorded with musicians as diverse as Irish fiddle master Kevin Burke, steel pan virtuoso Andy Narel, and jazz vibraphonist Fred Raulston. With a recording and touring career that encompasses some twenty years, ten recordings, three videos and numerous books, Mark remains active in both the dulcimer and new acoustic music worlds. He has performed at festivals, colleges, workshops, and concerts across the United States and Canada. Recent projects include a children's book and CD for Mel Bay Publications called You Can Teach Yourself to Make Music with Homemade Musical Instruments and Mel Bay's Complete Book of Celtic Music for Appalachian Dulcimer. His brand new CD has been released on the Wizmak label; Entitled Autumn, it is an evocative recording of original solos on dulcimer, hummel, guitar, MIDI guitar and acoustic and MIDI dulcimer. This fall marks the release of Mark's latest Mel Bay book and CD: Scottish Airs and Ballads for Appalachian Dulcimer. Mark lives in Southern Oregon's beautiful Applegate Valley, where he spends his time maintaining a small digital recording studio, playing, and composing. Most of the time, he hangs out in the hammock and amuses the dogs, but last July 4th he marched in Ashland Oregon's Independence Day Parade, playing his electric dulcimer through a battery powered amplifier. Keola Beamer is a master of Hawaiian artistic expression. The fascinating history of his family can be traced back to the 15th century, to such distinguished kupuna* (ancestors) as Ahiakumai Ki’eki’e, queen of the island of Hawai’i, one of the kapu (sacred) twins born of Kame’eiamoku, favored wife of Kamehameha Nui. In traditional Hawaiian society, ali’i (royalty) such as these recognized that sounded words possess mana (spiritual power). They encouraged musical expression as a way to preserve information and communicate with one another and the gods. Throughout the generations, the Beamers have been involved in the performing arts. In the 20th century, they have produced a number of influential performers, composers and teachers. Keola’s great grandmother, Helen Kapuailohia Desha Beamer (1882—1952), was one of Hawai’i’s most prolific and accomplished composers. She was also a skilled dancer whose grace left a lasting imprint on the hula (Hawaiian dance). Her granddaughter, Winona (Nona) Kapuailohia Beamer, is Keola’s mother. A noted chanter, composer, and singer, Nona is revered for her scholarship and accomplishments in the education of Native Hawaiian children. Keolamaikalani Breckenridge Desha Beamer carries the legacy into the 21st century. “My family is serious about music,” Keola says. “We came from a history of oral tradition in which music was a central component. Our genealogies, land boundaries, and navigational information were all in the chant form. We are now just beginning to realize the wealth of that knowledge and how so much of it has been lost. We are finally making some serious footholds in regaining some of these meanings and incorporating them in our own lives.” Keola has played guitar, piano, and ‘ohe hano iho (bamboo nose flute) since he was very young. He studied hula and sang in glee clubs while attending Kamehameha School for children of Hawaiian ancestry in Honolulu. Keola was an active teacher of ki ho’alu (slack key guitar) in the 1970’s and compiled the first comprehensive teaching manual on the subject, Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar (Oak Publications, New York). His contributions to slack key during the 70’s began to spark public interest in ko

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