Suo-Gân is a traditional Welsh tune,  first appearing around 1800 with lyrics set by the Welsh folklorist Robert Bryan.  Originally intended as a cradle song, it has also been adapted as a Christmas carol.  The song’s title literally means “lullaby” (suo = lull; cân = song).  The tune is characterized by two repetitive, dotted-rhythm figures:

Suo-Gân Notes

Suo-Gan is an intermediate level piece that requires skill with slurring, ornaments, and playing in the higher position on (1).  The intro and outro consist of a series of cascading harmonics alternating between VII and XII frets.

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For fingering the harmonics, it’s best to use “1” at VII and “4” at XII. Your left-hand should be centered behind 8th position, with “1” and “4” slightly extending to reach the harmonics.

At the end of the 1st measure, notice the open G string.   This provides opportunity to shift your hand into open position to prepare for the chord on the downbeat of m. 2.

In m. 3, the harmonic “B” on (6) might be better played with “3” to help place “4” on D at the end of the measure.  This is a more gradual option for shifting the left-hand to open position.

The melody begins at m. 6 with a simple arpeggiated accompaniment in three variations: the first two in G major and the last, in A major (m.42).  Sometimes it may not be clear to see the melody, since it intertwines with the accompaniment, for example:

The first ornament (m. 11) as two grace notes is played very quickly right before the 4th beat.  Another way to express this would be to use the alternate notation on the right, which appears a little more rhythmically complex, but sounds exactly the same.

On the 1st beat of m. 25, the single grace note should be played directly on the beat with the bass note A.  For more on grace notes and ornaments, see Ornamentation.

In the outro at m. 60, a beautiful campanella effect is created by placing and sustaining “3” on C#, while playing the following VII fret harmonics with “1.”  The C# sustain is indicated by an indefinte tie.


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