Watch the Breakdown online guitar lesson by John Stowell from Modern Chord Melody
Lonely Blue Angel Breakdown - As is the case with a few of my compositions, the melody here employs a mixed meter (5/4, 3/4, 4/4). I think that sometimes musicians create challenges for themselves to develop new skills. In my case, I'm not very fluent with odd meters, but by using them occasionally in my writing, I'm slowly becoming more comfortable with them. This melody employs a couple of chords that have large stretches. I trained myself to be able to play chords with difficult fingerings gradually, learning to use the sides as well as the tips of my fingers.
This melody uses relatively simple harmony, although the progression (like most of my writing) is a bit unorthodox. The transitions between the different meters in the melody weren't planned, but happened organically as the tune unfolded. Several pedals are employed at various times during the theme, the low open E string during the opening phrase and a B natural on the high E string during the last few bars of the tune. I've made that last phrase into an ostinato to accomodate a drum solo for a trio recording of the tune. I often employ pedals when I comp as well. This device can often make transitions between chords smoother.