Dear “Theory Geeks,”
Even among some good musicians, music theory is occasionally regarded as more of a “nice to know” thing. Interesting place to visit, but they don’t want to hang around too long.
By contrast, I am shameless enough – dare I say, proud enough – to put forth that I am a music theory GEEK. I like staying “all up in theory land,” and often.
Music theory teaches us WHAT works, and also what CAN WORK. And, if it AIN’T WORKING, it’s usually easier to know WHY, because you possess a systematic command of how rhythm, melody, and harmony work together.
Notice I put rhythm first. Too often neglected — but I put it first in my musical thinking. More on that in other posts.
OK…If you’ve read this far, I guess we have a quorum! Two geeks is always a quorum in my experience. Partly because it’s so hard to find a third geek, on short notice. Anyway welcome, can I get you some coffee? Orange Julius?*
Continue reading “Eastern Scales, Relative Minor, and The Educated Guess”
Which interval is pictured above?
(a) Diminished Seventh.
(b) Minor Sixth.
(c) Augmented Fifth.
(d) Both A and C are correct, with name depending on the implied key center. They sound the same, by either name.
(e) Both B and C are correct, with name depending on the implied key center. They sound the same, by either name.
(f) The famous “Lost Interval of Egypt.”
THE CORRECT ANSWER is….
Continue reading “Music Theory “Trivia” Time!”
The minor pentatonic scale is a hyper-cool five-note scale. An extremely popular source of melodic and harmonic material in many cultures, this scale’s distinctive signature is heard “all the time” in improvisational genres like rock, pop, blues and jazz.
For those of you who like to put words to your music: The word “pentatonic” comes from the Greek word pente, meaning five, and tonic, meaning tone.
The purpose of today’s lesson is to give you an easy pattern to memorize, and to show you how to use that pattern to construct any minor pentatonic scale. By “construct,” I mean you will visualize the correct five notes for the minor pentatonic scale, starting on any given root note.
As a result you will have “memorized” all 12 minor pentatonics on the keyboard today.
Continue reading “Memorize all 12 Minor Pentatonic Scales – Today. Yep!”
Slash chords in sheet music look like this:
Here’s a detailed tutorial on how to interpret slash chords on piano. This lesson includes insights into several ways that slash chords are used, such as indicating an inversion, implying a descending bass line, or a simply notating a fresh chordal sound.
Composers and songwriters can use the “slash chord idea” in their creative thinking. That is, the effect of playing any given chord over bass notes that are not the actual root of the chord opens up endless possibilities. Some of the thinking behind these possibilities is discussed in this lesson.
Wassup! Today I’m sharing my reply to a question from a student at Udemy.
This is a two part question; first off, is there anything you recommend (videos, specific techniques, etc) to improve my sight-reading that won’t make me want to shout profanities?
I’ve Googled it obviously, but I’m curious about your opinion, as I enjoy your method of teaching.
Secondly, do you find skilled sight-reading necessary for jazz and blues? In other words, in your professional opinion, can I learn to be a proficient jazz and blues pianist without tackling my fear/hatred of sight-reading?
Continue reading “Do you need to read music to learn jazz or blues piano?”
Hey there folks, I got some more theory for you today. Yipee!
The following is a question and answer thread from my YouTube channel, regarding my video about how to quickly visualize any major scale on your keyboard, by using something called the major tetrachord. First, the original video, and then the Q&A.
Hi everyone! I received a question online today (on my YouTube channel), an excellent one, and one which is subject to debate. The question is in response to one of my videos about using add9 chords on piano. (A link to the video is included below.)
I thought I would share the thread here:
VIEWER: Isn’t the D in Cadd9 supposed to be an octave higher? I guess I’m just confused as to why it isn’t Add2 instead.
Learn about the Major pentatonic scale, and its cousin, the “Relative Minor” pentatonic scale (a video lesson). The relationship between any major scale (or key) and its relative minor scale or key is explained here as well, in terms of traditional music theory.
Hello again, piano people!
Todays’ post is about learning “thirteenth chords” on piano. In this video, you will learn a good way to learn and retain all twelve of the standard 13th chords without resorting to rote memorization. In my experience, I discovered early on that learning scales and chords by rote — that is, note-by-note, without any understanding of the patterns they all have in common — is the worst way to go. Learning the underlying patterns that consistently define all scales and chords is absolutely where it’s at!
Ain’t life grand? As in grand piano?
Here’s a follow up to my recent post about “Fourth Chords.” I made this second video to give more insight regarding how “fourth chord” shapes can be superimposed over various roots, to create refreshing voicings for standard chord types, such as major, minor and dominant seventh chords. The goal here is to focus on the practical side of putting these shapes into use!
Video: Fourth Chords, Part Two