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How To Prepare A Song For Performance

“I Played It Better At Home”:  Social Facilitation & The Ledger System I hear this flustered defense on a near-daily basis.  A student, after practicing their assignment into a virtuosic show-stopper at home, now can’t seem to produce the same results in their lesson.  Something about playing in front of me makes them nervous, they

14 Dec 2020
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Guitar Phrasing 2: Reversing the Play/Rest Combinations

The “Rest/Play” Approach In our previous lesson, we learned the most conventional two and four measure phrase play/rest combinations.  These phrase combinations will take you a long way; solos need to have some level of conventionality in order to be recognizably musical.  Using only familiar phrasing might render your solos bland, however.  In order to

12 Dec 2020
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How to Solo Over Chord Changes

Improvising Over Chord Changes  When beginning to improvise on the guitar, students almost invariably learn what is called a “key-centered” approach.  This entails determining the key of a song or chord progression, then using its corresponding scale as a pallete with which to improvise.  This is a useful and entirely valid approach that guitarists at

10 Oct 2020
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Lydian Mode

Lydian Mode Formula W W W H W W HF Lydian F G A B C D E F Intervals R M2 M3 +4 P5 M6 M7 P8 Characteristic Pitches: NoneCharacteristic Progressions: I-II or I-VIIm The mode built off the fourth degree is an soaring, ethereal mode. While it technically doesn’t have a characteristic avoid

24 Aug 2020
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Structuring Song Sections: Two Progressions Per Section

Structuring Song Sections: Two Equal Length  Progressions Per Section While repeating one progression for the entirety of a verse, chorus, or bridge can be quite effective, adding a second progression to a section can have interesting effects.  This technique can be used to provide contrast or push the song into a new section, or both. 

24 Aug 2020
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Minor Arpeggios

12 Jul 2020
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Major Arpeggios

12 Jul 2020
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Harmonic Rhythm

Harmonic Rhythm  When coming up with a chord progression, many less experienced songwriters fail to value the rhythmic placement of the chord changes as much as other elements.  However, when and how often a chord change occurs has a dramatic effect on the overall perception of a chord progression.  The frequency and rhythmic placement of

07 Jul 2020
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Major Key Cadences

Major Key Cadences    Musical composition is built on the convention of tension and resolution.  A melody or a harmony progressively cycles between these two ends of the spectrum.  In harmony, this convention is best embodied in the technique of cadencing, where tension from a dominant or subdominant chord is resolved into a tonic chord. 

29 Jun 2020
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Triad Chord Families

Triadic Chord Families The diatonic chords in a given key share certain pitches and characteristics which allow them to be grouped into families.  These chord families capitalize on the hierarchy of melodic stability of the individual pitches in a key to create different effects in a chord progession.  Understanding these families is helpful in creating

29 Jun 2020
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