White Ape

Leo Kottke

<9406210910.tn174235@aol.com> To: dgaudet@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca
Status: OR
Dear Terry + Elpi brensham et.al... I'm a regular notes and measures-type composer, not strictly a guitarist, but I believe these tips will help. I could just write out the notes, which is how I hear these recordings, but let me know if this method is sufficient for you. I spent a total of about two weeks with Leo on various days during the years '74-'81 while I was a personal liason for concert producers in Iowa. As such, I saw him practice and perform most of his repetoire written up to that time. He was such an intelligent and genial fella that I've continued to follow his work via articles, mutual friends, tv etc. My work as an entertainment specialist with a national press clipping service in Los Angeles ('88-'90) helped me find additional info. Careful examination of all recent Net postings re Leo leads me to believe that dgaudet@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca (Dean Gaudet), the archivist of the hobbes.linfield.edu acoustic ftp is probably the most well-organized and "guitaristic" of all us Leophiles. His transcriptions are very reliable for any tunes in standard tuning. But on to White Ape... This is the version he used ONLY when playing a 6. The 12-string version-as recorded-uses different fret positions to take advantage of the bass string pairs upper-octave notes. He also plays some of the D chord arpeggios above the 12th fret, since it was played on a cutaway (bass E string on the 14th fret/A and D strings at the 12th) - which you'll see sounds ENTIRELY different on a 12 verses a 6. The basic pattern, in standard tuning, is an exercise in 1st position use of arpeggiated chords on the 4 lowest strings throughout the first thematic statement. Begin with a hand position where the thumb is close to coming around to the fretboard at the 2nd fret. Make the C major chord variation of Index finger on D string/2nd fret, 2nd finger/lo E string/3rd fret, 3rd finger/A string/3rd fret, and just play the lower 4 strings for the whole first pattern. Think of it like a Cello voicing, and try to flow thrugh the pattern with lightness and precision, fluidly. That will allow greater emotional effect in the latter expansion of the theme. Play the whole first pattern with only the thumb, striking evenly downward. >From the previously outlined first hand position which comprises the first 4 notes, move your 2nd finger down to the 2nd fret (lo E string) while leaving the other strings open, playing the next 4 notes as lo E/2nd fret,open A, open D, back to open A. Placing your index finger on the A string/2nd fret, your pinky on the D string at the 4th fret and your 2nd finger poised above
the open G string at the 2nd fret, play open lo E,A string (w/index), D w/pinky, open G, G w/2nd at 2nd frt, open G,D w/pinky, open G. Begin opening pattern again, but this time after the first eight notes, make the Em pattern using your 2nd and 3rd fingers so you can do the next two notes-the octave E pitches, followed by open G string, then a walk-down on the D string of 2nd fret to 1st fret (if you did the chord as stated it's easy to have your index there) to open D, ending the phrase with the A string/2nd fret. Start the motif a third time, but this time the eighth note is a two-fret slid note from 2nd to 4th fret on the D string using either your 2nd or 3rd finger (he did both-at whim), followed by the open lo E, then slide the D string back to the 2nd fret, voicing BOTH notes this time, the D string open, the A in the 2nd fret,the open D string, open A string, A string/2nd fret..then repositioning as at first in the song go A/3rd fret,lo E/3rd,A/3rd,D/2nd..lo E/2nd, open A, open D..finishing with the A then D strings in the 2nd fret. If you become fluid on those changes you can see how each time this theme comes around it is just improvisations on this pattern in the bass strings. I never saw him play it exactly the same twice, but the idea is to reach out farther from low to high on the fretboard during the arpeggiation of these chords as the song progresses. (see earlier note re D chord above 12th) the other theme he uses to wind us back around to this C chord/D chord/Em chord pattern (which is the main theme) is even simpler. Just noodle around on these chords: You ended the bass pattern on Em. Start there, but now use the treble strings to voice the upper theme, accompanying the notes with the usual bass strings in the 1st position major chords (on the beat.) Using your fingers (he very rarely uses picks, even on 12) hit open B, open hi E (simul lo E,which continues to ring), then arpeggiate the Em chord with your fingers from the lo to high strings. Place your 3rd/pinky on the B/hi E in the3rd fret and hit B/3rd fret, E/3rd fret then open as transition notes to a lush, rolling D major chord (hammer-on the hi E as chord forms if desired). D major sus (open hi E string),D major chord, G major chord, A major chord sus (open B string), A chord, A with the B/3rd fret, which obviously leads back to D(chord). Finally, arpeggiate an A chord from the A string up to the B string open-2nd fret-3rd fret, then a second time, but with just the 2nd-3rd fret for the B string. After a two beat rest, you're back to the bass string motif. The coda on the record, which I never saw him play in concert (probably 'cause it's thin without accompaniment) is just playing an open lo E string while sliding up and down on the D string along a mixolydian (warpath guitar, if you prefer) scale - ending with a B chord using the 3 lowest strings 3 times..lo E/2nd,A/2nd,D/1st fret...two beats rest and back to the main bass motif. If you ne to the recording and follow these directions, meanwhile learning to ignore the string section, clarinets, sitar etc. the simple beauty of the tune should reveal itself to you easily enough. It plays very well behind spoken prayer, by the way, although it was conceived as movie music. RSVP...MiklPorter@aol.com

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