Kolmas Hääpolska

Author: 
Olli Varis
Publishing year: 
2003

The Kolmas Hääpolska learning kit presents different methods of playing guitar in traditional Finnish folk music by utilising a single polska melody. You can learn the melody, two different accompaniment variants and a solo version arranged without accompaniment.

Kolmas hääpolska is meant to be performed at a wedding. If people no longer remember the dance steps, the piece can be performed for instance when waiting for the bride and bridegroom to cut the cake. The melody dates back to the 18th century. This variant comes from Samuel Rinta-Nikkola's score book from 1809.

Melody

Tuning level is a=442 Hz.

tuning, d string

Try to play the melody with as much ease as possible. Strum evenly with your right hand by striking down with the plectrum on the 1., 3., 5., 7., 9. and 11. 16th beat of every bar. Correspondingly use up-strokes on the 2., 4., 6., 8., 10. and 12. 16th beat of every bar.

Learn first to lightly accent the first and third quarter beat in the bar. This is the basic phrasing in pair polska. When you are familiar with accenting the first and the third note, vary the phraseology by adding an occasional accent on the second beat second accent, for example, on the fourth bar of the A part. After this, try backbeat offbeat accents, in other words, strike the second, fourth and sixth 8thquaver notebeat more strongly. This could suit the first bar of the B part for example.

Avoid too big movements. If you find some parts difficult, pay attention to your right hand and then your left hand. Think of the future, in other words, try to think in advance what kind of phrase comes next and how you are going to interpret it.

Melody, slow, left hand from above

Melody, slow, right hand from above

Melody, fast tempo, both hands from the front

Melody, slow, 1st and 2nd round

melody, normal tempo, 1st and 2nd round

Melody (PDF)

Accompaniment

You may approach the rhythmic feel of the polska comp from the point of view of the rhythm of the melody or the dance steps. You can study the rhythmical pattern of the melody by playing the melody yourself. There are many dactyls in the melody in which one quaver is followed by two semi-quavers. The phrases often end on the third beat.

You can become familiar with the dance step rhythm in folk dance courses or dance halls. The basic accents in pair polska are on the first and third quarter note. Stamp your foot on these beats. In circle polska each quarter beats are fairly equal.

NB: Do not mix polska and polka. Polka is two time and polska is in triple time.

Accompaniment version I includes the most typical patterns to polska comp, whereas the accompaniment version II is perhaps more pop-like. Both included two melody rounds (AABBAABB).

Accompaniment version I (folk comp)

Folk comp, both hands from the front

Folk comp, right hand from the front

Folk comp, left hand from the front

folk comp + melody (melody in the left channel, comp in the right)

Melody + comp version, folk version (PDF)

Accompaniment version II (pop comp)

pop comp + melody (melody in the left channel, comp in the right)

Melody + comp version, pop version (PDF)

Solo version

Even if you were interested in the solo version, learn the melody first. When you are familiar with the melody, it is easier to practice the solo version. If polska rhythmics is not familiar to you, you can practice it while playing the melody.

In the 1st round of the solo version, a cross-picking technique is used. Open strings are used whenever possible. At times, the higher note is played with a thicker string and vice versa. Try to play legato as much as possible.

In the 1st round you need to use a lot of the right hand's middle finger. Use it to pick the melody note simultaneously when you strum a lower accompaniment note with plectrum. These passages have been marked in the music with "m". "sl" means sliding. The numbers refer to the fingers in the left hand; 1 = index finger, 2 = middle finger etc. The letter "p" refers to the thumb in the left hand, which is used in low E string fingering in the B part in the 2nd round.

Solo version, slow, 1st round, left hand from above

Solo version, slow, 1st round, right hand from above

Solo version, slow, 2nd round, right hand from above

Solo version, normal tempo, 1st and 2nd round, both hands from the front

Solo, slow, 1st round

Solo, slow, 2nd round

Solo, normal tempo, 1st round

Solo, normal tempo, 2nd round

Solo, normal tempo, both rounds

Solo version (PDF)