Friday, June 3, 2011

Why The Hell Not?!?!

Seeing that my two-quarter project is rapidly coming to a close I thought I would take a moment from posting music theory stuff and get back to the songs that made me want to study music theory in the first place. So I am going to take the opportunity to post a 30 Day Song Challenge I found earlier this week. Since I don't have 30 days to fill this out, I will do it in one day. I think it will be fun to look back at this a year or a few years from now and see how much of a difference a few rotations around the sun can do when it comes to my taste in music. The funny thing is, all of these songs in the challenge are Day 01. Laughter, next to music, is the best medicine after all!!

Day 01 - Your favorite song: "Be Quiet And Drive" by Deftones
Day 02 - Your least favorite song: "This Love" by Maroon 5
Day 03 - A song that makes you happy: "Do You Realize??" by The Flaming Lips
Day 04 - A song that makes you sad: "The Last Day On Earth" by Marilyn Manson
Day 05 - A song that reminds you of someone: "So Much Beauty In Dirt" by Modest Mouse
Day 06 - A song that reminds you of somewhere: "Svefn-G-Englar" by Sigur Ros
Day 07 - A song that reminds you of a certain event: "The Great Below" Nine Inch Nails
Day 08 - A song that you know all the words to: "Parabola" by Tool
Day 09 - A song that you can dance to: "Space Cowboy" Mighty High
Day 10 - A song that makes you fall asleep: "Joseph Merrick" by Mastodon
Day 11 - A song from your favorite band
: "Hexagram" by Deftones
Day 12 - A song from a band you hate
: "All-Star" by Smash Mouth
Day 13 - A song that is a guilty pleasure: "Better Off Alone" by Alice DJ

Day 14 - A song that no one would expect you to lov
e: "Joyful Girl" by Ani DiFranco

Day 15 - A song that describes you: "Present Tense" by Pearl Jam
Day 16 - A song that you used to love but now hate
: "The End" by The Doors
Day 17 - A song that you hear often on the radio
: "Eleanor Rigby" by The Beatles

Day 18 - A song that you wish you heard on the radio: "Eulogy" Tool
Day 19 - A song from your favorite album: "Knife Party" by Deftones
Day 20 - A song that you listen to when you’re angry: "Cheyne Stokes" by Chelsea Grin
Day 21 - A song that you listen to when you’re happy
: "Float On" by Modest Mouse

Day 22 - A song that you listen to when you’re sad: "No Giving Up" by Crossfade
Day 23 - A song that you want to play at your wedding: "Act Nice and Gentle" by The Black Keys
Day 24 - A song that you want to play at your funeral: "What A Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong 
Day25  - A song that makes you laugh: "Friends" by Flight Of The Conchords
Day 26 - A song that you can play on an instrument: "My Own Summer" by Deftones
Day 27 - A song that you wish you could play: "Mouthful Of Cavities" by Blind Melon
Day 28 - A song that makes you feel guilty: "Televators" The Mars Volta
Day 29 - A song from your childhood: "Revolution #1" by The Beatles
Day 30 - Your favorite song at this time last year
: "Diamond Eyes" Deftones

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Turning One Cool Riff Into Several Cool Riffs

Once again, as I searched through my old stack of Guitar World Magazines looking for inspiration I happened to find this article by John Petrucci of the band Dream Theater. I'm still not a fan of his band but the more I read stuff by him and see his tutorial videos online, the more I have respect for him as a guitarist.

In the article John talks about permutating one simple riff and turning it into several cool ideas. He provides the following advice to those who may have fallen into a musical playing or writing rut. While tinkering around with a riff and still retaining its original melodic and harmonic intent try:

1) Play the riff an octave higher or lower

2) Harmonizing it either diatonically with intervals such as thirds or sixths, or with parelled power chords (root-fith)

3) Add different effects to the riff

4) Split up the notes in the riff and have a different guitar play each section

5) Change the riff's time signature


Monday, May 30, 2011

Technique:Music Element #4: A Lesson by Victor Wooten

"All of a sudden I realized something about my own methods of learning. I usually tried to block out all other things so I could cram new information into my head. It rarely worked. My brain, being cramped already, would usually spit the information back out. I could imagine a "No Vacancy" sign posted on the door to my brain saying  "No more information please."

...When I play at my best, I'm not thinking. I'm in the 'zone.' Music is flowing through me, but this flow is broken sometimes when I make a mistake. My mistakes are often caused by frustration, and making mistakes often causes me to become frustrated. Many times, poor technique is at the root of the problem. Poor technique robs me of free expression. It's like I hear what I wanna play, but my technique doesn't allow it to come out.

Now, in order for me to play freely, I need good technique, but I don't wanna be thinking about my technique while I'm playing any more than I wanna be thinking about my mouth when I'm talking. So, when I practice, I use 'concentration' to learn what technique is. Then I use 'not concentrating' to get completely comfortable using the technique. Combining the two concentration methods allows me to get a complete grasp of the technique.

If 'not concentrating' is where I want to end up, I need to add it to my practice routine. Combining 'concentrating' with 'not concentrating' is necessary to complete the circle. This is yin and yang. Both parts are needed to complete the whole. We know how to concentrate and we know how to practice concentrating, but do we know how to practice 'not concentrating'?"

(*pages 84-85)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Crash Course in Chord Theory: Part 2

The most commonly used chords are constructed from stacked thirds. Chords can also be constructed from seconds, fourths or fifths but these types of chords are less common. 

However, if you happen to stack another third onto any of the basic chords you will now have a Seventh Chord.

The names of the chords from left to right are: 
M7=Major-Major Seventh
7=Major-minor Seventh
m7=minor-minor Seventh
m-M7=minor-Major Seventh

Anything past a seventh chord is considered and extend chord. If you happen to stack a third upon any seventh chord you will get a ninth chord. If you then stack another third upon your ninth chord you will get a eleventh chord. And finally, if you stack on more third upon an eleventh chord you will get a thirteenth chord.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Turkish Rhythms: Thanks For The Tip, Brubeck!!

After listening to "Blue Rondo A La Turk" at least a dozen times I decided to find more information on the song. This is what I found.

1) One source I found said that the song was a play on Mozart's "Rondo alla Turca" (which is the 3rd Movement Sonata for piano NO. 11 in A Major).

2) "Blue Rondo A La Turk" is written in “rondo form,” which consists of a repeated melody interlaced with different tunes and variations. In other words, one or two sections keep on coming 'round' again and again. 

Here is an example below:

3) The tune begins in a 9/8 time signature, arranged in a rapid “2+2+2+3” pattern, which changes to a “3+3+3” pattern every fourth measure. Near the middle of the song, the beat then shifts to a more traditional 4/4 time signature.

4) A 9/8 time signature is a common time signature in Turkish music. This is more likely than not why the word "Turk" is in the title. The meter 9/8 in Turkey is often associated with the clap and dance folk style "Karsilama."

*Here is an example I found of Karsilama*


Saturday, May 21, 2011

9/8 Time "Blue Rondo Ala Turk"

How I have gone this long without knowing who Dave Brubeck is is a mystery to me. I feel as if I have been missing out on such good music and am trying to catch up. After listening to "Take Five" and loving his use of 5/4 time I started to look for more of his music. I recently found a song of his called "Blue Rondo A La Turk."

The songs makes use of a 9/8 time. It is a compound time signature that can be counted in a more than one way. Some musicians prefer to count in multiples of three (3+3+3) while others may count in multiples of two with an extra beat added at the end (2+2+2+3).


EXAMPLE OF 2+2+2+3