While it’s great to play tunes that just use one form on just two strings, most tunes play on all the strings and can use two or three different forms.
In this lesson, we’ll explore tunes that use the First and Second Forms. But first let’s take a look at this First-Second Form exercise. The important thing to watch for here is that on the D-string the second finger plays on the fourth fret, but on the A-string it plays on the third fret.
Once you’re comfortable with this pattern, you can start looking at the beautiful tune, The Wren, also known as St. Stephen’s Day March, Gweherall and En Dro der Kerfank. An “en dro” is an old Bretan dance. This tune crossed the English channel and became the traditional tune played on St. Stephen’s Day, the day after Christmas. Notice that measures 1 and 2 are the same as measures 5 and 6, and that measures 9 and 10 are the same as measures 13 and 14, and further, that measures 3 and 4 are the same as 11 and 12, and that 7 and 8 are the same as 15 and 16. This is a common pattern in dance tunes. Look for these identical measures in other tunes that you learn. When you know what you don’t have to learn (because you already know it), the tunes get much easier to pick up.
This next tune, with a rather unusual name, uses a first form on the D-string and a second form on the A-string and the E-string. Notice all the measures that are repeated. It makes your job much easier.
These two familiar holiday carols both use a first form on the D-string and a second form on the A-string. In each of these tunes whole lines of music are repeated.