Lesson 15 – The Caravan Exercise

The Caravan Exercise

The song Caravan was written by Juan Tizol and recorded by Duke Ellington in 1937. Since then has been performed by thousands of artists in styles ranging from jazz to bluegrass, surf to rap, and everything in between. A lot of people are surprised to learn that there are actually lyrics to this song, as it’s often performed as an instrumental.
The melody is simple yet sounds very exotic, evocative and arresting.

In this simplified arrangement we use only the intro over an alternating bass pattern. It may look and sound simple, and it is – but its actually quite challenging to keep a solid rhythm while letting the melody sing out. For some reason, this piece is very confusing to your fingers. Start slowly, and if it helps try playing the bass and the melody separately until you get a feel for the arrangement, then put them together.

Caravan Excercise

Caravan Excercise

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5 Responses »

  1. great lesson, thanks for getting this out to us fingerpickers!

  2. Thanks Terence!

  3. It’s been a little over two weeks since I started following your lessons, and I’ve made it to this arrangement. I’ve been practising for about 2 hours over each day and am extremely pleased to have got to this point. The learning curve of the lessons and exercises is just right – challenging enough to keep me interested, but not too hard to cause frustration. I can only say I am amazed that this is free! Thank you so much.

  4. Hey Mr.Worm,
    Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad this has inspired you to hunker down on the six string, and I really appreciate the feedback. Let me know if you’ve got any comments or questions on the material.
    This site will always be free, although this means putting up with sporadic updates from a questionable source – but hey, you get what you pay for!

  5. Do I have to damp bass notes with the left hand? Please, make a video about damping.

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