Sunday, December 18, 2011

Quartal Stacks And Their Inversions

This lesson is an introduction to chords built by stacking the interval of a fourth and the voicings that one can find by inverting them. While they can be used in other contexts, for the sake of simplicity we will be building them from modes and concentrating on what they are like when put on top of a static, droning root note. Furthermore, since it would be absurdly exhaustive to give examples from every single mode, we'll just be using E dorian.
So, the notes of the E dorian mode are E, F#, G, A, B, C#, and D. Instead of building chords from this by stacking 3rds, let's see what we get when we stack three consecutive 4ths using the notes of the mode. The notes that we end up with (in order) are E, A, D, and G. Using the highest four strings on the guitar, the following voicing is produced: xx2233. Sound interesting?
This is just step one: building a quartal stack from the root. But just like the case with "normal chords" built off of scales, we can go on to apply this formula to each additional note in the dorian mode, building a total of 7 quartal stacks from it. Continueing with E dorian, the result is the following series:


So now we have 7 four-note quartal stacks from E dorian. It could be a practise routine in and of itself to play these up and down the neck. Also, try to see what each of these sound like over an open E ringing out or a droning E note played by someone else. They all have an unique character when played against the root. But things don't stop here. Just like how normal 7th chords have inversions, so do these quartal stacks. Indeed, the way things happen to work out, there are actually more inversions for quartal stacks than there are for 7th chords. So let's return to the first quartal stack built off of the root (xx2233) and see what we can do with it.
There is a simple formula that one can apply to invert this chord. Take whatever notes are at the bottom and top and reverse them, while keeping the middle two notes static. So the G at the top goes down to an E, and the E at the bottom goes up to a G. The result is this voicing: xx5230. Nice and dissonant!
Next step: find another arrangement of these same notes, building now from the G being at the bottom. The next voicing that one finds is this: xx5755. And we can then go on to apply the same formula that we did to the first voicing by reversing the top and bottom notes, which gives us: xx7753.
If we continue like this, this is the series of voicings that we end up with:


That's quite an interesting series of sounds all coming from the original quartal stack. Just like with the stacks we built from each note of the mode, it is of interest to hear what they sound like on top of a ringing open E or some kind of droning E. And a practise routine could be made out of transitioning between these inversions up and down the neck. These are just the examples of what one can do with the dorian mode. The same concept and formulas can be applied to the other modes as well, with just as interesting results. Once you are reasonably used to running through these kind of voicings, it can be a great tool to make your own music with or when improvizing in modal music. Enjoy the new tools at your disposal!

Bobbing In/Out Of Different Keys - The Magic Of Secondary Dominant Chords

Alright so first things first, Using G Major as a template here are the
"in key" chords from the G-Major scale:
I-G Major
ii-A minor
iii-B minor
IV-C Major
V-D Major
vi-e minor
vii*-c# dim
Now, If you feel the desire to use other chords w/ these w/o having the progression sound like crap then you need look no further than what are called "Secondary Dominant Chords". For each diatonic chord in any Maj/min key, (excluding the I/i chord and any diatonic diminished chords) there are these newfangled things called "secondary dominants" that allow you to temporarily (or permanently if u desire) cadence out of the current key and into another.
-Here is a list of some types of secondary dominants: V/of, V7/of, vii*/of, vii 1/2 dim7/of,and vii*7/of.
-the rule for figuring out the V/of or V7/of is to take the root you want to make a V(7)/of and go up a perfect fifth to find the Secondary dominants root and then using that note build a Major triad or a dominant seventh on top of it. So in the context of a G major, if u wanted to Cadence into a minor, you could build a V/ii chord by taking the root of the ii chord, "a" and go up a Perfect fifth to an "E", then build a Major triad on the E-now you have E,G#,& a resolve it to an A minor chord and viola, you have artfully and gracefully changed where "do" is.
The rules are not really any different for making/resolving the vii*/ofs, the only difference is that instead of going up a perfect 5th to find the root of the secondary dominant, you go down a minor second. So again, in the context of G Major, if say you wanted to gracefully move to A minor, you could make a vii*/ii by taking the root of the ii chord-which is "A", go down a minor second to G#, then using G# as the root, build a diminished, 1/2 diminished 7th, or fully diminished 7th on the G#. Than resolve the chord to an A minor chord and are have tonicized a new key.

Getting Scales By Method

Hi, after reading various articles about scales and chord progression I still found myself lost as in to:
"how do I get those scales by myself, without having to consult on it?"
Altough there are lots of articles around building scales, none aproaches the subject with a clear formula that explains you how do you get those basic I,II,IV, V, etc...At least, one that shows you how you could get them without having to do it by memorizing those 1 - 3b - 4 - 5b stuff, i propose to show you the basics of building them from the cromatic scale using the tone intervals. may ask, are you that newbie around a guitar?
Well, there is no shame as to admit you just do not know something, so yes I am.
Let's first check a few things you need to know to be able to build these scales.
1. I know the musical notes by heart: (C,D,E,F,G,A,B)
2. I know where there are not "#" or "b" notes (E->F and B->C)
3. I know what a tone and semi-tone are (1Tone = 2Frets | 1Semi-Tone = 1Fret)
4. Examples are in Key of E.
All check?
Let's move on.
1. Getting a Major Scale:
It is composed of a sequence of tones and semi-tones that allows you to find it's notes. To find it's notes we will use the 12 tone cromatic scale, let's start by trying to find E Major Scale.
E - F - Gb - G - Ab - A - Bb - B - C - Db - D - Eb
Ok, so now we have the cromatic scale all opened up and ready to use, let's find those I,II,III,IV,etc, notes.
To do so, we use the Tone Intervals, which in the Major Scale are:

Root - Tone - Tone - SemiTone - Tone - Tone - Tone - SemiTone
(Root one octave above it's start)
(R)    (T)    (T)    (S)        (T)    (T)    (T)    (S)

Aplying this to the cromatic scale we get:

E - F - Gb - G - Ab - A - Bb - B - C - Db - D  - Eb - E
R       T        T    S        T       T         T    S(R)
I       II      III   IV       V       VI       VII   VIII(R)

I: E
II: Gb
V: B
VI: Db
VIII: ENow we have the notes that build the Major scale.
There are lot's of applications to this, you can get the chord progression notes for lot's of blues and rock and roll songs, I,IV,V in the 12 Bar Blues for instance.
But what's really important to retain is the Interval, that (R)-T-T-S-T-T-T-S, because with this you can start playing a scale without even having to remember the notes, just follow the tone progression in the fretboard.
Ok, so this was easy, let's jump to a minor scale.
2. Getting a Minor Scale:
The principle is the same, what changes is the Tone sequence:

Root - Tone - SemiTone - Tone - Tone - SemiTone - Tone - Tone
(Root one octave above it's start)
(R)    (T)    (S)        (T)    (T)    (S)        (T)    (T)

Aplying it to the cromatic scale of E you'd get:

E - F - Gb - G - Ab - A - Bb - B - C - Db - D  - Eb - E
R       T    S        T        T   S        T         T(R)
I       II  III       IV       V   VI      VII        VIII(R)

I: E
II: Gb
V: B
VIII: E______________________________
3. Getting a Pentatonic Scale:
So, pentatonic scale, what the hell is it? As it's name sugests, it's a five note group (Penta).
What happens here is that we pickup the Major or Minor Scales and remove designated notes from them to get the Major and Minor Pentatonic Scales.
Major Pentatonic Scale
- Remove the IV and VII notes from the sequence we built from the Major Scale and we get
I: E
II: Gb
V: B
VI: Db
Ending up with 5 notes.
Minor Pentatonic Scale
- Remove the II and VI notes from the sequence we built from the Minor Scale and we get
I: E
V: B
Ending up with 5 notes.
In order to play this scales we just have to re-arrange our tone structure, for instance, in the minor Pentatonic scale, because we removed the II and VI notes, the tone intervals are now diferent, they are someting like this:

R - T+S - T - T - T+S - T(R)
I   III   IV  V   VII   VIII(R)

Try it out and play it on the guitar, on the E Low String, you'd get something like this:0 - 3 - 5 - 7 - 10 - 12(one octave above)
R - T+S - T - T - T+S - R(one octave above)
E - G - A - B - D - E(one octave above)
4. Blues Scale:
In order to get the blues scale, just pickup the Minor Pentatonic and insert a Vb between IV and V.
It would look like this:

0  3  5  6  7 10
R T+S T  S  S T+S
E  G  A  Bb B D

____________________________Okay, that's about it. This is not the best nor the most used way of doing things, but if you understand this concept of doing things, you'll be able to understand the way you can simplify all this process with other methods.

Reading Standard Notation 1 - Pitch


Reading the notes #1 – Pitch.How to silence a guitarist?
Tell him to play from sheet music.
Hello to All and Welcome to my next music theory lesson. This time we will talk about reading standard notation – or just reading the notes. There’s not much to say about guitarists and standard music notation, which an old joke from the beginning shows us. Hendrix haven’t knew them and kicked asses with his guitar skills, that’s right. But we’re not as gifted as him (as far I know :P ) so a little lesson about them won’t be a big deal, yup? Ability of using them helps you understand music a lot more, so don’t be afraid of them. Let’s break the stereotype. Knowing how to read the notes is , obviously not a must for a guitarist-at-home , but if you want to keep it professional, you should gain this skill for sure. Just imagine playing with a pianist and trying to communicate with him talking about notes as frets. It’s a language of music and a very important studio tool. Before you proceed reading that one, I suggest you to read my previous lesson here. To be honest, it’s essential to know the previous one. At the bottom of the lesson is the graphic with all the pictures. To see them, Just go down.
Enough of this chit-chat. Guitars tuned properly? Let’s get to work.
Notes are placed on staff. Pitch is mapped vertical(the higher the note is, the higher the sound is), rhythm is mapped horizontal. This lesson is about reading the pitch, so don’t mind the rhythm. Staff is made from five horizontal parallel lines. Look at the picture #1 now. We put notes on lines(1), and spaces(2) between them. Lines and notes are being numbered as you see on the picture. Do not confuse the staff with the guitar strings! Guitar music is being written with a G clef(3) also called a treble clef. G clef, obviously is a clef(music theory language ?) and that little flourish (that’s my own name for it, it’s not an official name) in the middle of it(4) shows us where the G note (5) is.
Rest of the notes are located as you can see on the picture #2. In that example I used C major scale, which is the most natural scale to place on the staff, because there is no accidentals. Notes, as I said before, are located on the lines and between them. For example, C note is on the line, so D note will be on the space higher than C. So if D note is on the space, E note will be on the line, etc, etc. Compare tab with the notes to know where the notes are on your guitar, but… You know it from my previous lesson, right? To show you the C major scale I used three versions of the tab. As you can see ( and hear – play it on your guitar now ) they sound the same, look the same in the standard notation, but vary in tabulature. Check it out now (the funk soul brother). Right about now.
I’ve also marked other “landmarks” – The C notes. When you will be playing in the key of C major ( more about keys, and the circle of fifths in one of my future lessons) it’s an important place to know. Notice that the lower C note is on the line that we call a ledger line. We use them if there is no more staff lines or spaces between them, we write down some more short-versions of them, and count out the notes normally, as we do on our 5-line staff. Examples of those notes can be seen on pic #3.
The ability of playing this melody using few fingerings forces us to define the position in which we will be playing. It makes reading the notes a lot easier. For the beginning we will use first position, as in the #2 A example. That means that every note we play can be played only between 0 and 4th fret. It’s called an open position. (look at pic #4, also). Now it’s time to remember where the notes on the staff are. Use mnemonics for that! The first set of notes – the one on the spaces is an easy one to remember – just know it’s F A C E (from lowest to highest). The other one – E G B D F is a little harder. I’ve found a great mnemonic on it in the internet: (E)lephants (G)o (B)ackwards (D)own (F)reeways. And a one for FACE is Farting Always Causes Enemies. They’re funny and weird, so you’ll won’t forget them for sure.
So, a little recipe how to play notes goes like this:
1. Looking at the note, consider its name. Use a G clef as a prompt. If it’s distance is too big to count out from G, use mnemonics to find the one you are looking for.
2. Knowing the name, connect the name with a place on fretboard, and then with a fret.
3. Just play the note.
Few first tries are going to be a hard way up the hill, but when you get to the top, you’ll never fall down. It’s like a learning how to ride a bicycle. Remember how many bruises it took to learn? But now you can ride it and write an SMS. (If sober).
That’s all about reading the notes. We have left rhythm behind, but it’s a subject for a whole another article. Deal with this one and within a week or two you’ll get another one, including rhythmic issues.
Haven’t you been thinking that I will let you go without a homework ?
Find on the net, or buy a staff paper and write some of the notes from today’s lesson, then name them. Remember to stick only to notes in the open position (from the low E (6th string) to the G (3rd fret, 1st string). And do it in reverse – think about some notes as letters, and place them on the staff. Mind the range! Only open position allowed.

So this is how the basics of reading notes go. I would be pleased if even 10% of people who will read the article will learn the basics of standard notation. Anyway...
Learn. Play. Rock.
Grateful for your attention
Daniel Kaczmarczyk
PS. How's my english today?

Setting Yourself Apart

Scales? Yeah sure they're great to practice and all, but playing them over and over till you can play them fast enough to convince yourself you deserve a little self esteem is a tad...Tragic, in all honesty.
Not going to lie, this was me, about 2 years ago or so. I was convinced I wanted to be the fastest, most theoretically aware, flashiest...Did I mention fastest? Player in the world. Oh how deluded I was, sitting in my room for 7+ hours a day mindlessly running through scales and sweeps, hoping I would somehow create some new, exciting music that people would want to listen to.
The big awakening I had was when I started listening to this little band you may have heard of, 'The Dillinger Escape Plan'? Yeah so as I sat there listening to the utter chaos that was drilling into my eardrums, scrambling my brain and confusing the hell out of me, I realized, 'Hey, this is really, really amazing, unique, exciting, and quite frankly, a little scary.
So since that fateful day, I decided, instead of trying to fight my ADHD that I've struggled with since I was a child, why not just channel all these racing thoughts and 'hundred mile an hour' ideas onto the fretboard? I couldn't give less of a $h1t about the Hendrix, blues, BB king wanna-be's out there who'd criticize it and say 'it's not music' and crap like that. It excites me, and a number of other people for that matter.
Labels like 'Extreme Metal' 'Mathcore' 'Grindcore' are just sort of guidelines to the sort of thing I'm talking about, but think crazier, more individual, more adrenaline pumping. That's what I strive for, and I just want to get the message out to some younger players and aspiring beginners out there that, you don't need to be an amazing mind or fretboard wizard to make fun, exciting and erratic music that people secretly love to listen to. It feeds a part of our human instinct, Impulsitivity.
If you're not interested in making music that's never been heard before, and have yet to have the epiphany of 'Oh my God, why am I trying to play all this cliched bull$h1t?' Then feel free to umm...Leave some abusive comments on how dumb I am and stuff? Yeah? Cool, can't wait.
Below is a tab of a song I wrote the other day to sort of give an example of the style/idea I'm trying to convey. It's just a little demo I composed in like 5 mins to give you an idea, you know? Haha.

So Much Worse On The Way Back Down.

     E  E  E  S  E  E  E   E  S      S E    E  E   E    E   E  E    S   
  S E   E    Q    E  Q    S    S. S Q    Q    E  E  S.  
  T E  Q      E   E   Q    S.     S. E  E  S  E  E  E  E  S.  
  T H        Q    E  S T    Q    S  S  S  S E   E  E   E   
  S  S  S  S  S   S   S  S   S  E.   E    E     E    E.   E   S  H          
                \4 \6/                                      
  E.   T Q      E  Q.     T    Q    S. T S. E.  T Q    T T  

Yeah mad stuff. So if you're skeptical of my ideas and vision, or interested and want to hear more about it, just leave a comment or whatever, Love, hate, it's all good, seriously. So this was a very, very stripped down version of what I'm trying to say/convey. Hopefully I can share some more of this stuff with people, depending on if this is received well, because to be honest, I've never seen any lesson like this on UG. Ok so yeah, let me know guys, hope you like it.

Setting Yourself Apart. Part 2

Okay, so in the first part of this lesson, judging from what people have said to me, there was a lot left to be desired, for this I apologize. This time around, I hope to articulate myself better.
I'm going to be using my own songs I've written as a sort of tool, to demonstrate certain techniques and sounds that can be useful for this style, by breaking down little parts of them and explaining why they're there (etc).
Ty Lowry.

     E  E  E  E  E  E     H        Q       Q    H           H.            
  Q    E  E  E  E     H.              Q    Q    E  E     Q    E  E  E  E   
  E  E  Q    Q       H        E   E     Q     E   E   E    E    
                NH             NH                                       
  E   Q.        Q       Q      E  E   Q        E    E   E   E    Q      

So as you can see, that is basically just a pretty melodic sounding piece that's Finger Picked, or Hybrid Picked, played on Acoustic/Clean Tone, and in the original version of it, I used a capo on the 4th fret, made for a richer harmony. The purpose of this piece in the context I've been discussing, is to not only create a false sense of security/tranquility within the listener, before blasting them with an onslaught of maniacal riffing and sliding. I will now provide you with an example of the aforementioned 'Maniacal riffing and sliding'
Thunderwall punching cyborg NOT thunderborg, Jenson.

     E  E    Q    H           H        E  E  E   E   
   E    E  E  E   E   E   E  E      E  E   E  E   E   E    E   E   
  E   E   E   E   E   E   E  S S    E.  S E   E  E   E   E  E   
  S S S S S S E  E    E  E   E     E  E  E.  S E  E  E  E   
  S S E  E  S S S S S S E  E      E  S  S E  E   E  S S  S S S S   
  S E  S  S  S S  S  E  E  S  S  S  S  
  E.  S  S S S S  S S S  S  S  S T  S  T  
  T  E  T T T T  E    E    E    S. T  S. T  S. 
  T  S  S  S. S  E.  S S S S S  S S T T  
  T  S  S  S  S  S  E   E   E   T S.  T  E    
  S E.   E  E  E  E  E  E     E  H        E  E   E    

....*Wipes sweat of forehead* PHEWW!! that was a real toughie, I had to copy and paste every line of these tabs from my notepad file, individually, line by agonizing line.Hopefully most of you will agree with me when I say that, a majority of that stuff was pretty Straight-Forward, yeah? With the exception of the sweeps, I know those shapes are a bit difficult to get under your fingers, but yeah, all I can say is, keep practicing them until you have them comfortable enough to tackle the 'Economy-Picking-esque' Little lines that I threw in there too.
So, lets recap, starting from around the second bar, you'll notice is where the sliding starts to introduce itself, some of these are very long position shifts, but are well worth it, for the unique sound they produce. You may have also noticed the little erratically random 16th note, chromatic runs that pop up a couple of times, I do these to add tension and 'hostility' to the lines, combined with string skipping and other scale shapes, I think it works to accentuate a dazzling effect.
I have much more to cover in further parts to this...series? I guess you could call it, I hope this was an improvement on the first part and I really hope you guys like it. Cheers, Ty Lowry.

Pinky Dexterity Exercise

Exercise 1
This is more of a warm up for the next exercises.
Start slow then gradually speed up until your little finger slows down by it self if it does not and you are that proficient then maintain that speed with as much consistency as you can.
Use your ring finger for the 12th fret then hammer and pull off away with your pinky/little finger.
You can also to this on the other strings but if you choose to do so then make sure that as you hammer and pull off you do not hit the strings adjacent to the ones you are using. Keep it as clean as possible.

E 12h13p12h13p12h13p12h13 and so on ----------------------------------
B --------------------------------------------------------------------
G --------------------------------------------------------------------
D --------------------------------------------------------------------
A --------------------------------------------------------------------
E --------------------------------------------------------------------

Exercise 2Only pick the first note.
Don't use your pointing and middle finger in this exercise.
You could also move up the fret board if you wish.

E -------------------------------------------------------12h13p12h12---
B --------------------------------------------12h13p12h12--------------
D ----------------------12h13p12h12------------------------------------
A -----------12h13p12h12-----------------------------------------------
E 12h13p12h12----------------------------------------------------------
E -------------------------------------------------------13p12h13p12---
B --------------------------------------------13p12h13p12--------------
G ---------------------------------13p12h13p12-------------------------
D ----------------------13p12h13p12------------------------------------
A -----------13p12h13p12-----------------------------------------------
E 13p12h13p12----------------------------------------------------------
Exercise 3
HOLD 12 and 15 with your pointing and ring finger and pull off with your pinky.
Start slowly until you get the pattern gets stuck in your head.
This exercise will help your pinky/finger become more precise.

E ---------------------------------------------------------------------
B 15-h18p15-h17p15-------------h18p12------h17p15----------------------
G 12--------------h18p12-h17p12------h17p12------h18p12----------------
D ---------------------------------------------------------------------
A ---------------------------------------------------------------------
E ---------------------------------------------------------------------

I hope this helps! Cheers!


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