Wednesday, December 13, 2017
I like working in Dflat (five flats) for some reason. I think it is because it has chords unrelated to C, so that if I combine those two keys, then I have about 20 chords under my fingers, if I include modulations to other keys related to these two keys, tritone substitutions, secondary dominants... I don't have to learn 12 keys really well; I can have about 3 or 4 I know pretty well and I have most if it covered.
Someone was asking how to memorize all the chords. You don't memorize them, you learn them in relationships to other chords and keys. You know them. If you tried to memorize them by rote out of all context it would be much harder. A harmonic context distant from C major is simply a different context, where things have a different meaning, but where the relationships are completely commensurate.
A musical composition has to make sense to me, melodic, rhythmic, structural, and harmonic. I have to work on it until it all fits together. The surprising thing is that I know how to do this, that I knew how from my first song, and that more sophisticated harmonies do not make my songs necessarily any better. They are just fun to compose in their own way.
Everyone who listens to music knows what melody is and can recognize one or have one stuck in the head. There is no actual criterion for what a good melody is except for one that someone responds to subjectively as a melody. We can say objectively that some music is more complexly organized or longer, but can we say that the Beatles's "Michelle" is better or worse than some other melody that a lot of people like as much? There are melodies from Bach I don't think are great, and others that are.
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
If you play a pentatonic scale though it is almost automatically melodic [plays first line of someone to watch over me]. That means leaving out the 4th and the 7th. You can put the seventh back in as a passing tone and you have all you need. You can melodize all day long and never have to use the 4th.
What I feel missing in discussions of melody is the idea of lilt. This is not up or down, or down then up or up then down, but an engaging "up-down" contour that catches the ear at a certain angle.
Take Ornette's "Latin Genetics" in the last post. The A sections of the tune consists of a series of 7 chords arpeggiated in a downward movement to the same five note rhythm, with another down-up phrase at the end, played twice. It has a nice lilt to it and part of this is the lack of movement in the first three notes of the motif. The other part is you never know whether the next phrase will start or end lower or higher than the previous one. The tune sounds both simplistic and unexpected.
Thursday, December 7, 2017
[Bb Db Eb F Ab]
Now play these over a progression in the key of Db major. You will find that these notes work well over the chords I IV V ii and vi. Probably iii and vii as well, though I haven't explored these as much. There is some tension in the tritone sub.
If you play an F minor pentatonic you also get a good set of notes to play in this key.
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
So in Spanish you would say: "literatura latina." That would be literature written by Latinos and Latinas: the adjective modifies the noun, which happens to be feminine in gender. The x is a way of neutering the gender. If the noun happened to be feminine, then you would say "feminismo latino."
From the perspective of speaking English, gender is only applied to persons and animals with a designated sex. So people think of Latino / Latina as only applying to people. Hence you need to say "Latinex" to keep things gender neutral. The word was invented by someone who doesn't think in Spanish.
Monday, November 27, 2017
As part of my project "razor's edge" I outlined my goals as related to music. As you can see, it is not just "get to be a better piano player," but a good deal more than that. I basically want to retire to being a songwriter, as my full time hobbyjob, in 10 years time. I started this project in Sept. 2015, without knowing that it was the start of something. I figure need to be about 80% of where a truly good pianist is, though that is a nebulous concept because 80% of what, exactly? For me it might mean playing tastefully and tastily within my particular technical limits. I'm about 30% now, realistically. Writing out these goals makes me realize that I need to focus on one thing, like mastering Sibelius, that is holding me back from other things.
Lose fear of other recording technologies