Popular Music Lesson

Super Mario Overworld Theme Song

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It's-a-me, Matt! here with Hoffman Academy
to teach you an easy arrangement of the
"Super Mario Brothers Overworld Theme".
Let's get playing.
You'll notice right off the bat that this song is in 4/4
time. We're going to be using a lot of
eighth notes and eighth note rests, which
will make the rhythm a little more
complicated, but that's okay. We're going
to count through it and make sure that
we know exactly where each note is
As for position, we're going to use two positions mainly.
Some people
refer to these positions as butterfly positions
because our thumbs are going
to be right next to each other
rather than playing the same notes at
the same time.
For this first position I'm going to put my right hand in a C major pentascale
with my thumb on C,
and my pinky on G,
and my left hand will be
right below it with my thumb on the B
below my right hand C, extending all the
way down to an E and my left pinky.
For the second position of the song, you'll
notice that it's another butterfly position
just one note higher than the
first one,
with our right hand still on white notes but starting on D,
going up to A and our left hand,
with our thumb on C and our pinky on F.
Let's start at the
beginning in our first position.
With our right hand thumb on C and our left hand
thumb on B.
Let me play the section for you first, and then we'll dive into it.
In our right hand we're using the notes
of a C major arpeggio DO MI and SO.
For this first rhythm I'm going to count it
like this: instead of counting, 1 2 3 4
I'm going to count 1-& 2-& 3-& 4.
That way I can feel where the eighth notes are supposed to land.
This one's going to land on 1-& 2-&.
I'm going to repeat the section a few times so that you can really feel
that eighth note rest on beat 2.
1-& 2-&
Take it nice and slow and repeat it over and over again
until the rhythm is nice and smooth. Taking it from a slow tempo like this,
1-& 2-&, to how it's felt in the song,
Two fast notes, a short break, and then the same
note again.
With these first three notes, rhythm is key
so it's important to get lots of repetition based practicing.
Make sure that you play and say the rhythm
out loud to yourself either through
TI-TI rest TI, or through counting, 1-& 2-&
Repeat this several times on your own
until you have the rhythm nice and
smooth and can play it without pausing.
Go ahead, give it a try.
I'm gonna add two more notes to this
Here's how the counting for this works.
We're going to say beat 3, but
not play anything just like we did for beat 2.
1-& 2-& 3-& 4
If we can get this rhythm, then the rest
of the song won't be so hard. This is
probably the hardest syncopated rhythm
that we have in the entire song.
Syncopation is when we have rhythms that don't line up with the beat in a natural way.
Typically this will look like rhythms landing on off beats,
or landing
on down beats but then maybe immediately
landing on off beats after or before. The
rhythm will feel
off-kilter or unresolved. I'm going to play the entire
first measure now of this song with counting.
1-& 2-& 3-& 4
You probably noticed that I didn't play
any notes on count 2 and 3.
You could even say it out loud like this:
1-& rest & rest & 4
Whatever helps
you not play any notes on beat 2 and 3.
That's the key to getting this
sort of off-kilter rhythm.
Listen to it one more time without counting.
Here's with counting again.
1-& 2-& 3-& 4
If you have trouble with
this rhythm, go back to the first part
where we just cover the first half of
the rhythm, where we were only playing
three notes. 1-& 2-&
the next measure is much more simple.
We're going to start with our right hand G and our
rest for a quarter note,
and then play our left hand G on count 3 like this:
1 2 3 4
1 2 3 4
Now that we have the first two
measures learned, let's put them together
Because the first measure is so much
faster, it's a good idea to count through
both measures so that you really feel
how long that rest in the second measure is.
1-& 2-& 3-& 4
1 2 3 4
One more time. Count with me this time.
1-& 2-& 3-& 4
1 2 3 4
If it helps you to keep counting these subdivisions, the
'& counts',
feel free to do so. That won't change how you play the song.
1-& 2-& 3-& 4-&
1-& 2-& 3-& 4-&
Let's t ...