Here is a guitar adaptation of a current French song by Marie-Flore (2022) : Mal Barré.
I discovered this song while searching for French songs for our duo Alice et Thomas.
Why this song.
First, there have been many times when I’ve found a song I thought was cool and thought it would be a good idea to cover it. After picking up the chords and melody, I realize that playing the song doesn’t really sound convincing.
In no way does this call the song into question in my eyes.
On the other hand, there are songs that don’t need much to be fun to play. I think Mal Barré is one of them.
Why is that? Even if it remains a bit mysterious, here are some clues.
Thus, a harmonic grid simple and clear enough to sound easy. Yet, despite the basic harmony, the song is well constructed enough that one does not get bored when unrolling the grid.
Also, the melody is rhythmically set with a clear curve. The “oh chéri” are placed rhythmically in the same way as one would do when speaking
Finally, I could evoke the text, a modern love song which seems to me not gendered. Indeed, a woman can sing it as much as a man. This notion speaks to me and I like it.
I like the rhythmic placement of the voice. The melodies start in the middle of the bar and end on the next bar. It’s as if the melody directs the harmony. For example, in the first phrase “c’est mal barré“, the chord change occurs on the “ré” of “barré“, which triggers the chord of F. And so on throughout the piece.
Also, the vocal range seems important to me to observe. The lowest note is an A within the staff when the highest note is a G at the top of the staff. That is less than an octave. And yet, by dosing the verses at the bottom and the choruses at the top of this register, it is enough to have a significant change of atmosphere.
For my adaptation, I chose a guitar accompaniment that favors the percussive aspect of the instrument. Overall, the technique consists in striking the strings on beats 2 and 4 of the bars. I use this technique a lot for example here with Jardin d’hiver.
Finally, concerning the high notes that I catch on the “and” of the 3rd beat, I favored the notes that stick to the melody of the voice. Especially if this note is not in the chord played. This helps me to sing.
Score and tablature.
If you wish, my transcript and adaptation are available in pdf format just below this text.
This is a non-commercial sharing.