New chords for the Butterfly

New chords for the Butterfly

I know that The Butterfly is usually played with mostly Em & D.
but I have a pretty cool new arrangement:

first part: Em Em D, Em Em D, Em Em D, Am7 Am7 D
second part: Am7 Am7 D, Am7 Am7 D, Am7 Am7 D, Bm7 Bm7 D
Third part G G G, Bm Bm Bm, C C C, D D D

Try it out! 🙂

Re: New chords for the Butterfly

I can only try to make you feel welcome, as suggested.
🙂

Re: New chords for the Butterfly

Er … Cal, you might like to have a look at what’s already here. Some of it has been contributed by people who’ve been doing it for a while.

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Re: New chords for the Butterfly

Hi. Have you tried these chords with a melody player?
Usually less is best. I’d stay away from 7th chords.
Bm? Maybe G/B or Em.
But perhaps your colleagus musicians like this backing?

Posted .

Re: New chords for the Butterfly

These are treacherous waters. 🙂

There are some melody players who might prefer to keep the tune in a dorian mode all the way through (raises hand!), instead of shifting to the major feel for the 3rd section. It’s a nice dark tune when played well, and the lift to major at the end sounds a bit cheesy to my ears. Or maybe just unnecessary. I do know many folks — both melody players and accompanists — who like it that way.

It’s odd, because I like other tunes that shift into a major mode at the end, like The Gravel Walk. I just don’t hear it that way with The Butterfly. Some melody lines have a stronger implied harmony than others. Tastes vary, and all that. If the musicians you’re playing with enjoy that major feel, then go for it!

P.S. I’d also ditch the 7th chord. Many melody players are not enthusiastic about extended chords. And again, if you’re playing with others that like it, then it’s appropriate.

Re: New chords for the Butterfly

I have generally found the I - iii - IV - V chord sequence a particularly inelegant progression in traditional music but, hey-ho, I’m just a fuddy duddy.

Re: New chords for the Butterfly

Though, by my book, minor sevenths are ok because there’s no tritone involved.
But then, I’m in Scotlandshire.

Re: New chords for the Butterfly

Most people here don’t like the minor sevenths, which I totally understand. I forgot to say that I’m playing this on a ukelele, and minor sevenths on a uke have a very different voice than they do on most other instruments.

For those asking if I play with melody folks, yes, I do. We meet at this little gathering up in the mountains where I live. We usually spend a good chunk of it messing around with stuff like this and trying new things.

Overall, the reason I like tunes like these is that the melodies stay perfect, and precise. The chords, on the other hand, are flexible.

Re: New chords for the Butterfly

I imagine people who are playing with a ukelele accompanist will be more open to unconventional chords.

Re: New chords for the Butterfly

Hi, Cal Harry-

Thanks for sharing your discovery. This is one of the great things about music- learning different perspectives & sharing with other enthusiasts.

Re: New chords for the Butterfly

Hi Cal Harry

Thank you for your contribution AND excitement! It’s wonderful to share positive energy and ideas. There have been many performers, solo/band, who, over the years have challenged established concepts of the rights and wrongs of traditional music. Some to mind would be The Bothy Band, Silly Wizard, Planxty; they all had vision and played and sang how they felt. Completely fresh interpretations!

I hope you and your friends enjoy your music
All the best
Brian x

Re: New chords for the Butterfly

There’s a lot of difference between a 7th chord and a minor 7th chord.

The Butterfly is usually played slowly, lending itself to the use of extended chords which may sound less appropriate at a faster tempo.

Traditional purists will always have a problem with any deviation from the norm. However these norms were frequently created by untrained musicians with a vested interest in keeping things simple and unadorned.

I use the Am7 frequently when accompanying The Butterfly and often add a B to the chord in the hope of inducing cardiac arrest amongst any purists who may be listening.

Sorry if any of this causes offence but there is no absolute rulebook for accompaniment and a lot of the "traditional" approaches are based on the use of relatively unskilled musicians on early recordings, witness the examples of keyboard butchery perpetrated on some early US 78s that became the template for the ceili bands.

Etc., etc.

Re: New chords for the Butterfly

"Sorry if any of this causes offence but there is no absolute rulebook for accompaniment".
Yes there is - "don’t get in the way".

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Re: New chords for the Butterfly

…or…there’s a thousand ways to play a tune right and an infinite amount of ways to play it wrong.
…or keep your enthusiasm to your own music community. I wouldn’t expect accompaniment suggestions to be received openly here in general. If it sounds great to you and your friends that you play with than it is great - at that moment in that space in that time. Take it somewhere else and it may suddenly become diminished.
Also - I don’t think there’s any way we know what you’re playing based on your chord symbols - there’s so many inversions and other possibilities. I don’t even trust that you know what your really playing. I would offer you an honest opinion in the negative only if you asked me for it and I thought it would be helpful. Just try to know your audience in all cases. I say explore. I love it…it’s a great joy in my life.

Re: New chords for the Butterfly

I have a controversial opinion here .that there is no substitution in trad . That’s what I was taught back in the 80’s by an old fiddler who was very forthright about that !!! And it’s stood me in good stead over 3 decades sessioning around Ireland .
I don’t take any note of modern guitar players and how they approach things , I would always favor the opinions of box players who have both chords and melody under their hands , people who know the tunes ….. not to say I get it right all the time !! 🙂
As a tune player ,pipes fiddle whistle etc I have to deal with all sorts of backers , often without much of a clue ,but as long as they get the right rhythm and the chords in the ballpark we simply tolerate them as best we can
The reason guitar players and backers have such a bad reputation at this point should be fairly obvious …… the tune is king, follow the tune , reflect the tune , play the tunes, learn the tunes ….

Re: New chords for the Butterfly

I don’t do much accompaniment these days but my tendency is to "follow the tune". The chords and rhythms I use will usually(If I’ve done it correctly) blend in with the tune. In fact, I will often incorporate chords/part chords when I’m playing the melody to give things a fuller sound.

Now I do realise that in terms of accompaniment, this might sound quite unimaginative and even bland. So, I do understand that more experienced "backers" will want to experiment a little more.

However, if you are going to try out different ideas, you need to have the agreement of the other musicians in the company even if it’s just implicitly stated. Also, a clever and imaginative arrangement created for a performance or recording may not necessarily suit a session situation. Probably, it won’t.

Also, when you have more than one backer at a session(Not ideal at the best of times), it’s not good if people are trying out too many different things at the same time.

Re: New chords for the Butterfly

I started a little chord study for myself awhile back. I didn’t get very far and I plan on goin back to it with some adjusted angles. One of the main points of the study was a comparison of backings of the same tune on different recordings. I think on average, trad players or not, the chords were different about 95%. Now this is not precisely the same as a substitution but I think it’s relatable. To say there are no substitutions seems crazy but I think I know where you’re coming from. I think there is right and wrong and I know when I hear it (my own impression only). For me there are many backers that ruin a tune with shitty accompaniment and there are some that lift the tune up. It is mostly in the rhythm but harmonic tension can be wonderful as well. I know it’s not for everyone but I love John Doyle and David Howley. They both play a lot of modern substitutions but the chords seem pefectly suited for the melody and there is no doubt in my mind that they both know the tunes they are backing inside and out. Charlie Lennon is another example of this perfect backing sense though he does it with more traditional harmony. If everyone played the same chords I would probably only listen to solo recordings. It’s hard for me to imagine the music not becoming a bit bland.