Billy at the Footy Turn Around – Ending
Darla H., Kansas
I have taught Billy at the Footy numerous times already and am finally getting around to asking about this. In the reference book the last line of this song is shown as V IV I V, however I don’t find the V used anywhere—in the video or audio files or in the music. If we were to use the V chord in order to go back to the beginning, it would be the last chord of the tailpiece which would necessitate different fingering in the left hand of the tailpiece to make a smooth transition. I have never taught this song ending with the V in order to do a second cycle. Do some of you do this? What do you say to your students about the reference notes if you don’t teach doing a second cycle?
Mark M., New York
First, I have to admit a lack of diligence on my part. I was surprised to see this question, having to go look at the Reference notes to confirm that the V was even there at the end of this piece. Of course, it is — the apparent obviousness of the song’s ending-as-taught literally blinded me to its existence!
Two facts — the video materials clearly ending the song without a V chord, and the only remaining V in the song having a walking bass that doesn’t very naturally lead back to a I and therefore being a bad model for repetition at the end — suggest that the song is not designed to be able to bring around another cycle. It’s understandable that teachers and students would be at a loss about what to do to cycle around in the face of that. All of this makes me think that the written materials are likely mistaken.
It’s possible that the hope is for teachers and students alike to be generative in creating a solution to cycle around. I’d generally think, though, given the context, i.e., the brand new introduction of a new, more sophisticated level of walking bass lines for blues, that this is an unreasonable expectation for most teachers and students, and therefore that this is not what’s intended after all. This would lead back to the idea of the final V likely being a misprint.
However, for fun, let’s generate some options for cycling around after the V and IV, using things students already know up to that point in the curriculum.
For the I:
1) Do the I that appears in the first and last chords of the first line of the song: C E G F#.
2) Do the I that appears in the earlier I-before-the-V at the end of the second line: C E F F#.
3) Do the I that appears in Walking With Billy: C E G E
For the V:
4) Do the V that appears earlier at the beginning of the third line V: G F# F E
5) Do the V that appears in Walking With Billy: G B D B
6) Do the V that appears in the second half of the “3” (which is actually a V chord) in Family Tree: G F E D
Different combinations have different pros and cons, e.g.:
2-then-4 and 3-then-5 have the pro of each being a two-chord chunk that students would already know.
Anything that ends with 4 is (as already noted) less than the most harmonically natural way to segue back to I. It has the added con of a physically awkward move from ending V with finger 2 on E to starting the next I at the beginning of the song with finger 5 on C.
Any Walking With Billy options will be simple and natural both harmonically and physically, but this would also make them somewhat disappointing in forsaking the level of sophistication in the bass line which is the main point of learning Billy At the Footy.
My favorite of these options is 2-then-6. I think it’s the most elegant in a number of ways. Only one chord’s worth of material (the V) is brought in from another song, so there’s more integrity for Billy At the Footy than bringing both chords in from the outside. The progression is both harmonically and physically natural for cycling back around to the I. The overall walking-up-then-down character of two already known two-chord-chunks — both Billy At the Footy’s earlier I-then-V and Family Tree’s own “3” (V) — is preserved, which is nice for familiarity, but it’s done in a way that’s colorful and sophisticated, which is nice for this particular song.
But none of this is remotely suggested by, much less obvious from, the materials. I still think, fundamentally, the final V is likely a misprint.
Marty S., Kansas
Regarding the V chord at the end of Billy At The Footy, it is not a misprint or a mistake. It opens the opportunity to start a second cycle. I don’t know if I have missed it in any of the teacher training, but New Zealand teacher Ray Nelson (formally from Kansas City!) taught me the “turn around” when you reach the last I and V chord, which goes like this:
The last 2 chords of the song are a I and a V. The LH on the I plays C E F F# , on the V it plays G, then drop an octave down to G A B and you are back at the C to begin the cycle again. Your RH on the I and V play the Bishop I and V.
When you start the second cycle, change your RH and play twice, “popping” the chords on beat 1 and the “and” of 3: 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
It really makes you sound like a Blues player the second time through when you play it “popping” the chords.
Marty S., Kansas
Hi Darla and everyone!
I’m sorry if I did not explain the “turn around” clearly enough (or maybe some of you did not read my post thoroughly enough), but I will re-post with more clarification. Let me assure you that I myself and many other Simply Music teachers have been playing the “turn around” in Billy At The Footy as I described in my previous post.
The V at the end of Billy At The Footy is not a misprint nor a mistake. The V chord is supposed to be at the end of Billy At The Footy as it is supposed to be there for Walking With Billy in level 3. I know this for a fact because Neil Moore himself just played this exact song with my 12 year old daughter here in Kansas City recently. She played Billy At The Footy, and Neil Moore himself improvised up top. It was fantastic to watch!
Before they started to play, Neil asked my daughter if she knew the “turn around” and she said yes (because she does!) and they played Billy At The Footy 3-4 times through, each time my daughter playing the “turn around” on the last I and V, and they would begin the song again before they finally finished the last time through with the ending that is on the video. Neil was not shocked or surprised that she knew the “turn around”…he expected her to know it. I do not know if this “turn around” appears anywhere in the teacher training, however. It was taught to me by another very talented and very reputable Simply Music teacher, Ray Nelson. My previous email was to clarify to those that think it might be a typo or a mistake that the very last V chord in Billy At The Footy is not a misprint or a mistake…but is there to provide the opportunity to cycle throughout the song again.
I will try to be more clear in my explanation this time around. Here goes!
We all know the 12 bar blues pattern. The very last 2 chords of the pattern, chords 11 and 12, are usually I and I. In your book, the last 2 chords of Billy at the Footy are I and V. If you wanted to end the song having only played it through once, then DISREGARD the V at the end and play the ending that is taught on the video. If you wish to cycle through the song again, however, when you reach chords 11 and 12 (the last I and V on the page) replace the ending you learned on the video with this “turn around”.
The “Turn Around”: When you reach the 11th chord in the 12 bar blues pattern of Billy At The Footy, it is a I chord. Play Bishop I in your RH, and in your LH: C E F F#. Then at the last V, play Bishop V in your RH and play in your LH: G then drop down an octave and play G A B, and you are ready to play the song again from the beginning. When you cycle through the second time, play the RH chords twice, “popping” them on beats 1 and the “and” of 3: 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + for a variation.
I hope I was more clear this time.
Barbara G., Massachusetts
I learned from a Simply Music teacher (I don’t know where) a different “turn around” for the I V at the end of Billy at the Footy.
Here’s what I’ve been teaching. Please let me know if I should change to Neil & Marty’s version, or if I just have another option.
If you are going to repeat the song for another cycle, the last 2 bars are:
RH plays the I Bishop chord holding for 4 counts (without the “walking 3rds” shown on the video)
LH walking pattern as if you were going to do the I ending: C up to Bb, A, Ab as shown on the movie.
At the V:
RH goes to Bishop St. V chord and holds for 4 counts
LH continues walking down using the same V pattern as earlier in the last line: G, F#, F, E
Then back to the beginning, until you want to end, using the I I final ending as shown on the video.
I’m glad to know another option for the turn-around, as Marty described it. Multiple endings/connectors & rhythm variations on songs with multiple verses is always good to know.
I always joke & reaffirm my students’ efforts when they come back with a different variation for playing a song, even if it’s an misunderstanding of what was initially taught. If they have discovered a way to play a section that makes musical sense, I congratulate them on having made their own variation or arrangement, and then proceed to teach the one I intended them to play.
Maybe I’ve made my own arrangement for that ending. Does anyone else do the turn around this way?
Marty S., Kansas
I think your turn around is great and I don’t think there is any specific turn around version that has to be used. The only reason that I offered to teach the version I had been taught was because some teachers were thinking the book had a typo or misprint. In explaining that the V at the end had a purpose, I merely wanted to give an example of how they could use it to recycle through the song again.
I really like your turn around and plan to use it as well as the one I know for all my students!