New Song: Morning Has Broken

Posted on September 25, 2019

Let’s learn this popular folk song! It was originally a church hymn set to the tune of a traditional Scottish melody but was further popularised in the 1970s by folk icon Cat Stevens. You may notice it has a slightly unusual rhythm – it’s in 3/4 time, which means there are 3 beats per bar. Also, the song mostly uses 3-bar phrases, so you get musical chunks of 3 bars, each with 3 beats. This is different from most modern songs (which typically use 4-bar phrases, each with 4 beats), and helps give it such an old-time traditional feel.

“Morning Has Broken”, made famous by Cat Stevens, is now available in Yousician for Guitar, Piano, Ukulele, Bass, and Singing.

Morning Has Broken for Guitar
by: James Neilson, Music Education Designer for Guitar

In the melody exercise (level 5) you’ll play the vocal and instrumental melodies in the song. It’s a very distinctive and well-known melody – great to have in your bag of tricks if someone asks you to “play a tune”! The main challenge is the frequent string changes and skips, so start slow and practice individual parts as needed.

In the movable chords exercise (level 7) you’ll play the original guitar part, which features lots of strummed chords. There are lots of basic cowboy chords and fancy 7th chords, as well as some more challenging movable shapes like F# and Bm. Many acoustic singer-songwriter style songs like this follow a similar pattern: mostly basic chords, with a few tricky ones thrown in to keep you on your toes.

Morning Has Broken for Piano
by: Arttu Juntunen, Music Education Designer for Singing

Accompaniment exercise (level 6)
This song has quite a lot of chords and this exercise is designed so that you can play only the most essential notes of the chords. This arrangement works really well when you’re playing with a singer. I recommend you start by practicing the first verse, as it is the most comfortable and entertaining part of the song to play.

Melody exercise (level 6)
This song has a beautiful melody that is really nice to play with the piano! The melody moves around quite a lot, so make sure to practice it in a slower tempo to get the fingerings right.

Solo Piano exercise (level 8)
The melody of this song has a lot of movement, so try practicing it first before adding the left hand. Also notice that the song modulates in verse 3, so the whole song moves up one full step. The melody is, however, the same, so you’ll get the feel of it fast.

Accompaniment exercise (level 9)
This arrangement is good for practicing two things: arpeggios and chords. You can start by learning the arpeggio in the intro. Just practice it slowly first with the right hand, and make sure to get all the fingerings right. This makes moving between chords easier! After this, you can practice the chords in verse 1 and verse 3, as verse 3 is modulated to another key. The rest of the song is just variation from these parts, so putting it all together will be easier if you learn these essential parts first.

Morning Has Broken for Ukulele
by: Joona Hasan, Music Education Designer for Ukulele

In the melody exercise (level 4) you’ll play the main vocal melody of the song as well as instrumental passages.

In the chords exercise (level 6) you’ll play mostly familiar chords with a couple of surprises, so stay focused!

Morning Has Broken for Bass
by: James Neilson, Music Education Designer for Guitar

In the basic bassline exercise (level 2) you’ll play the original baseline, but without the fills between chord changes. Concentrate on timing and try to play this one with a light touch to match the gentle mood – don’t use too much force, keep it clean and soft.

The full bassline exercise (level 4) includes the originally recorded bassline. It’s mostly fairly straightforward, but there are a couple of fast string skips to look out for. Pay careful attention to the quality of the long notes, making sure they ring nicely and sustain for the right length of time.

Morning Has Broken for Singing
by: Sonja Patrikainen, Music Education Designer for Singing

This melody has a very wide range, but don’t worry! The best way to start practicing it is to ditch the lyrics at first and sing with something else. Try different sounds and syllables to find one that works for you – it could be humming or the ng-sound, or singing with only one syllable like yee / wee / ning / ying / yah / yeh… It could even be a different one for high and low notes. Remember to start very gently at first, so no pushing! At this point, singing should feel as effortless as possible. Once you’ve practiced singing the melody with these sounds, add the lyrics and see if it feels any different to sing.

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