Well here they are!
Two videos to guide you through the “slow part” of The Last of The Mohicans Theme. This smooth lyrical melody appears in the sounds track version as a layer over the rhythmicky (Hot Violinist technical term), five-note-roll-filled part that starts the song. This is a stroke of composer Trevor Jones’s genius in arranging the basic fiddly part that was written by Dougie MacLean, god bless you wherever you are.
When I was first learning this song, I was sad that I wouldn’t be able to play these two parts at the same time on one violin (without growing a couple more arms).
I was afraid it might not even work as a solo arrangement!
My game plan was to play the main fiddle part over and over again so many times at the beginning that it would almost start to create a loop in the audience listener’s imagination. That way when I come in with the slow part, maybe they’ll still be subconsciously feeling the other part and have a good experience.
There have a been a few critics over the years who will say something like, “Why does everyone like this? It’s way too repetitive.”
But the overwhelming consensus (based on my observation of YouTube views, comments, roaring applause, festival-roaming people stopped in their tracks with turkey leg held up in front like statue of liberty torch, and tears streaming down the cheeks of even the toughest looking biker dude) …is …it works!
I recorded this very raw version with E Muzeki in 2005 for our Sindh album which is available in my webshop.
Many tunes on this album had complicated productions that took us multiple days to record but we decided to try this one raw first. We recorded the guitar and violin in two separate rooms but live together via the headphones.
I still remember standing beside the stone fireplace in our recording engineer Ron Flynt’s living room right after that first take. I was surrounded by a maze of audio cables that snaked from the mic and my violin around the corner, down the hall, and back to the garage which had been nicely converted into a control room. I also had a plaid scarf rolled up on top of my head to keep the headphones from painfully resting on my elf ears. Sexy.
After a few generous moments of the last ringing guitar chord, Ron’s matter of fact voice clicked into the headphones, “That was sensational.”
And that’s the take we kept! I think that is the only truly one-take performance I ever released on any of my recordings.
Later with Circa Paleo we got back in the studio and had a field day (or ten) playing around with overdubs and all kinds of fun production tricks. That resulted in two versions of this song that we didn’t want to part with, so we put them BOTH on our Tideland album. 😛
That one is out of print, but you can get a CD Baby download card with collectible album art sticker as part of my discography pack if you’re interested in checking them out.
My most recent sheet music arrangement follows the formula of my original solo violin arrangement:
-Play the the rhythmicky part on repeat as much as feels satisfying to you (bars 1-16)
-Then the smooth melody in the high octave (bars 17-32)
-Then a variation of this slow melody in the lower octave (bars 33-49)
-Then back to the rhythmicky part with a variation to wrap it up (bars 50-70)
If you still need to get a copy of the sheet music, please sign up for my newsletter, then click confirm in the confirmation email you recieve, and it will fly to your inbox magically.
Instructional videos #1-8 on my YouTube channel are all about the faster fiddly part.
Now I’ve released video #9 which guides you through the slow melody in the higher octave:
And video #10 which guides you through the slow melody in the lower octave:
I hope this helps some of you guys to get a little bit more traction learning this one!
If this still leaves you with more questions, please post them in the comments section below, so we can all try to figure this out together.
If this is all still a little advanced for you, but you’d like to play this tune one day, please stay tuned! I have a very exciting plan in the works for you total beginners. I’ll be sharing the details with you all very soon!