Piano Lessons and Sheet Music
This week’s irocku lesson, ”Little Martha”, is a beautiful melodic piece of pure poetry, a masterpiece written by Duane Allman and recorded just prior to his tragic death. read more »
Recorded in 1971, just weeks before guitarist Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident, it was released on the album, ”Eat A Peach”. The Allman Brothers (Duane Allman and Dicky Betts on guitar, Greg Allman on piano and vocals, Butch Trucks on drums, Berry Oakley, bass and Jai Johanny Johanson on drums and congas) were riding high in 1971, having just recorded and released their legendary live album, At Fillmore East. Known for blistering live shows and scorching instrumentals, the band was also able to strip it down, playing beautiful melodic pieces of pure poetry. ”Little Martha” is a just that. The song's melody, according to Duane Allman, came to him in a dream in which Jimi Hendrix shows him the riff. ”Little Martha” is actually, Martha Ellis, a 12 year-old girl whose grave the bandmates stumbled across at a cemetery. You can see and feel the youthfulness of Martha in this song as she skips and bounces along in a grass filled field, laughing and joyous and innocent. When a song allows the listener a complete escape into an alternative world it is pure magic and the melody of ”Little Martha” does just that.
Following the release of, ”Eat A Peach”, the band added keyboardist, Chuck Leavell to the line-up as an additional instrumentalist to support Dicky Betts in the lead guitar role. Then in November of 1972, bassist, Berry Oakley was killed in a motorcycle accident; ironically, just a few blocks from where Duane Allman was killed a year earlier. The band could have derailed but they forged ahead and over the next four decades and 13 albums solidified its position as one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time. In 2012, the Grammy organization awarded The Allman Brothers Band with the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award.
"Little Martha" uses only major scales and just a few chords. No blues notes or extended chords. The song’s beauty is in its’ simplicity. If you didn’t know it was written Duane Allman you might have guessed Chopin or Mozart.
Levels 6 and 7: The quickest way to rock is by learning the Groove Chart! To help with improvising, practice the E major and the A major three-octave scales and the E7, F#m, B7, A major, and the Bm chords.
First Week: Beginners practice the Lesson. Intermediate and Advanced students practice the Groove Chart and the Lesson.
Second Week: Add the Exercise and Improvisation to your practice. The advanced levels use a 3-note cross-rhythm against 4/4 time in the left hand so work that left hand pattern until it’s second nature before adding the right hand.