“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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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