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Watch the Moon River: 1 online guitar lesson by Tommy Emmanuel from Little by Little

This is a beautiful, beautiful song. The melody comes from Henry Mancini, and the beautiful lyric is by Johnny Mercer. I heard the song years ago when the movie Breakfast At Tiffanys came out back when I was a little boy. That song was all over the radio and the great Andy Williams did an incredible version of it, which I believe was the real big hit.

I've played this song a billion times with different people, piano players, clarinet players, sax players, a variety of singers male and female. I really never thought about coming up with my own arrangement of this song until I started tuning this guitar down a tone. It just opened up a whole different world for me, sonically, texture-wise, and ideas. It just made me think a different way.

Sometimes we need to do something different with our instrument. I think that's another reason why a lot of players are drawn to alternative tunings. It brings you into a different arena. It causes you to try to think a different way. It's just a beautiful sound. You know that's why so many of us listen to players who play in DADGAD and in open G or open C, with those low notes.

It's a beautiful sound.

I've never been one to play in a lot of alternative tunings (I have enough trouble with the normal tunings!), so in order for me to get that open tuning sound I tune down and then look for ways of making it sound wide and big and have all the different textures and harmonies.

I got the idea to come up with this arrangement when I heard a piano player playing Moon River in a cocktail bar. Instead of playing the regular chords for the "wider than a mile" part, he played a beautiful alternative chord and then went down in tones. My ear was blown away by that sound. It works and I never heard anybody do that.

That's why it's important to go out and hear other musicians and hear what they do and try to "borrow" as much as you possibly can and be inspired. We don't own this music, we don't own any of this stuff. It's on loan to us, it's a gift. Take it and share it.

That's why getting together with other players is so important. Music is not a contact sport. It's a spiritual experience and it's all about: "I have this kind of knowledge and experience, and you have this kind - let's try to learn from each and take what we can from each other and make something different." That's why I beg, steal and borrow.

Chet Atkins used to tell me to always beg, steal and borrow. We all do it, that's how we get better. I was excited when I remembered that "wider than a mile" part that I heard. Then I had to come up with the rest of the arrangement and make it interesting.

I chose the key of C because it had all beautiful open notes and A minor. And you've got variations of chords that you can use. You may find other variations. Feel free to beg, steal and borrow!

NOTE! Tab & notation is not available for this course - it is currently pending licensing.

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