The Happy Farmer for Modern Guitar Ensemble

By: Robert Schumann
For: Large mixed ensemble
page one of The Happy Farmer for Modern Guitar Ensemble

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Robert Schumann
Year of composition
Easy (Grades 1-3)
2 minutes
Rock and Pop music
License details
For anything not permitted by the above licence then you should contact the publisher first to obtain permission.

This is a delightful adaption of Robert Schumann�s classic �The Happy Farmer�. The Happy Farmer was originally written for solo piano and published in 1848 in a compilation of easy-to-play piano works called �Album for the Young� (Op. 68). The Album was written for for his three daughters. In this arrangement, the Bass features with its bouncy melody and is supported melodically by the lead guitar, harmonically with the rhythm guitar and rhythmically with the optional drum kit. This piece is fun for the whole ensemble.

The first four bars are used as an introduction to establish the key of C and to hint at the melody to follow. The Lead Guitar has an arpeggio pattern, which mimics The Happy Farmer�s tune. The Rhythm Guitar and Bass are used for harmonic support which follows a basic �Circle of Fifths� pattern. The tempo of these bars is to be treated freely, as to give contracts to the rest of the piece. Once the piece reaches section A the tempo needs to stay at a constant, yet driving speed. The addition of natural harmonics is also used as an effect to give a delicate touch, contrasting with the rest of the piece. The crescendoing crash cymbal rolls are to appear from no-where and to be let ring during the second half of each bar. Time can taken on the pause (bar 4) to add suspense, but also the drummer will need to swap their mallets for sticks.

Once section A has been reached, the tempo remains constant to the end. The Bass leads and the drum kit needs to be supportive and not overpowering.

In section B, the Rhythm Guitar enters with chord stabs. These chords need to be full (but not held on) and confident (but not to heavy or light). The Drum Kit player should be aware about the changing drum patterns. Also watch out for the changing C chord in the Rhythm Guitar part.

Section C sees the entry of the Lead Guitar who plays a harmonic variation on the melody. The drums fall into a steady pattern, but be on the lookout at bar 20 when there is an emphasis on the syncopated notes.

In section D, the Lead Guitar takes over the melody to allow the rest of the ensemble to take a break. Only a quick break though as everyone has to be ready and together for the stabs in bars 24 and 26.

Everyone joins in for the last section (E). Remember to have fun!

The Modern Guitar Ensemble series aims to develop ensemble skills among students learning instruments associated with Rock and Popular music. Each piece also comes with optional guitar TAB parts which lets you decide what is best for your students, what you want to teach and how to teach it. This allows any student, no matter how much standard music notation they can read, to be able to participate learning and having fun. You can also chose as to how large you want the ensemble; just a trio or include the whole class. It is also up to you and the students as to what sound you want to create. Develop you students musicality by letting them decide whether to use distortion, chorus or reverb. The options are endless.

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