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Music Lessons From And For ATS Members.

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posted on Apr, 2 2009 @ 07:12 AM
Since I come here to learn and enjoy playing music I thought to start a thread where we can learn about that as well.
I don't know alot of theory and thought if anyone can add to this or has a question then maybe another member can answer it.

I will start with relatives and how to find them.I am using a guitar for this.

The rule is that they are 4 notes apart. Aminor and cmajor are the perfect example as they are relatives.
If you are in a minor chord and want to find the relative then count 4 notes down and change it to a major chord.
If you are in a major chord and want to find the relative you count 4 notes up and change it to a minor chord. Again,a good example of this is Aminor and Cmajor.Notice they are 4 notes apart.
The relative will always be opposites of how it started...for example if you were in a minor chord and were looking for the relative you would know automatically that the relative would be its opposite...a major chord and vice versa.

I am looking forward to everyones musical input and hope to see some of your musical knowledge trickle onto this thread.
Feel free to add to this.

Feel free to ask questions.

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 02:55 AM
I'm pretty much self-taught but worked as a pro musician for a while, and my grasp of theory is pretty decent. I'm a guitar player.

I started out with a chord book, and I began by looking at all the E chords. How is E major different from E minor? Which note changes? Each chord has different shapes you can play it in as you move up the neck. Some call these "inversions" but that's not strictly accurate.

So, if one note changes between E major and E minor (G sharp to G natural) in open position, you can work out where that note is in the other positions by seeing which note changes in each shape.

I'll post each idea you can use in a separate post to break it up.

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 03:07 AM
It's a really good idea to learn the major scale.

The OP referred to the relative major and minor chords as being four "notes" apart. I'd like to suggest that because the word "note" has many different uses, it's better to use the orthodox names for this: TONE and SEMITONE.

A SEMITONE is a distance of 1 fret. A TONE (or WHOLE TONE) is a distance of 2 frets.

So, actually, relative majors and minors are 3 SEMITONES or 1 1/2 TONES apart.

The distance between 2 notes is known as an INTERVAL.

Physics and psychoacoustics determine that when you double the frequency of a note, we hear it as the same sound but higher. This is known as an OCTAVE. It's perhaps the most important INTERVAL and we generate scales by dividing the OCTAVE in different ways.

On the guitar, you double the frequency by halving the length of the string. That happens at the 12th fret for open strings. To get octaves for any note you can just go 12 Frets higher.

Most scales are constructed by taking seven notes from these 12 notes and throwing the rest away.

The major scale is constructed using this formula:

tone, tone, semitone: tone, tone, tone, semitone.

Yup. I'm sure is sounds like gobledegook and it's no help. Trust me, persevere and it all becomes clear.

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 03:19 AM
Applying the major scale to the guitar

The easiest way to do it is by using an open string. So if our starting place is the high E string (which means we'll be playing an E major scale), you apply the formula like this:

The first interval we want is a TONE. That means a 2-fret gap. So our first note is the open E, and the second note is going to be on fret 2. That's F sharp.

(It's a good idea to learn the names of the notes as you go. Trust me, it's confusing at first, but it does help in the long run.)

The second interval is another tone, so we again need to go 2 frets up, which brings us to fret 4. That's G sharp.

The third interval is a SEMITONE. One more fret brings us to A (fifth fret).

Next we want another tone (remember - tone, tone, semitone: tone, tone, tone, semitone - which brings us to B at the seventh fret.

Then another tone to C sharp at the ninth: then another tone to D sharp at the eleventh fret.

Our last semitone brings us back to E (octave) at the 12th fret.

So now we have a bunch of notes. All we have to do is find interesting rhythmic and melodic thngs to do with them.

I should say that really, truly understanding the major scale and its possibilities (i.e. what you can generate from it) will help you understand well over 50% of mondern music: and it gives you a vital reference point for decoding the other half.

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 03:37 AM
Putting the above into practice

Well... the possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

One lick might be based on what we'd call 16th-notes. This is a rhythmic thing I may explore in more detail in a later post. For now, just accept that they're counted "ONE-e-and-a",

That gives you a simple rhythm to work with. Just pick the open E for a while, counting out, "one-e-and-a-two-e-and-a-three-e-and-a-four-e-and-a-one-e-and-a-two..." etc etc.

Use alternating up-and-down-strokes. Start with a downstroke so you're using downstrones on the "one" and "and" and upstrokes on the "e" and "a". (Never seen three "ands" in a row in a sentence before, but it makes sense to me at least.)

So now pick out notes from your major scale and play them on the "one", "two", "three" and "four" etc., while pulling-off to play the open string on the other three subdivisions of the beat - the "e-and-a" part.

Expressed as fret numbers, this might give you something like:

0-0-0-0 2-0-0-0 4-0-0-0 5-0-0-0 7-0-0-0 9-0-0-0 11-0-0-0 12-0-0-0

which is a simple run up the major scale.


Variations are important because that's how you wind up generating your own licks.

So first you might want to change the order of the fretted notes. That gives you a huge number of possibilites.

Then you might want to change which note within the beat you're playing the fretted note on. So try playing the fretted note on the "e" of "one-e-and-a".

And so on. The possibilities are not endless... but I suspect only someone like Steve Vai has been thorough enough to get them all.

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 03:41 AM
Hmmm, sure would like to be able to HEAR and SEE what you guys are talking about. hint, hint..
I even bribed you.

How about it?

Also, do either of you play Mandolin?
My wife bought me a beautiful one. I have never played.
I can read music a bit..From my days as a Trumpet player (about 8 years).

I am self taught on guitar, but have slacked off quite a bit.
Maybe you can inspire me?

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 03:53 AM

Keeping good time is incredibly important. I cannot emphasise this too much. There's nothing more annoying than trying to play with someone who can't keep time. It makes you want to punch them in the face repeatedly.

Playing with someone who has bad time is like trying to hang wallpaper on the walls of a rickety shack. You're going to get wrinkles and lumpy bits and things never come out the way you expect or want. It's ugly.

So how do we get good time?

First, use a metronome, a drum machine, or a computer programme (I personally recommend Band In A Box because it's easy to use and you can often find it to download as a toorent.)

Second, learn to count.

By that I mean get it to the point where you don't have to count any more to know where you are. Let's say you're in the most common type of time, known as 4/4 time. We won't worry about what that means for now, let's just say it means the music is organised in groups (known as BARS) of four beats.

Dividing each of these beats into four is what we did in the previous exercise. That's why I called it 16th-notes.

Here's how you count four bars of 16th-notes:

ONE-e-and-a two-e-and-a three-e-and-a four-e-and-a
TWO-e-and-a two-e-and-a three-e-and-a four-e-and-a
THREE-e-and-a two-e-and-a three-e-and-a four-e-and-a
FOUR-e-and-a two-e-and-a three-e-and-a four-e-and-a

See what we did there? You keep count of the beats within the bar and also the number of bars at the same time.

[edit on 3-4-2009 by rich23]

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 04:07 AM
Simple Rhythm Exercise

OK to apply this, the first thing we'll do is simplify it a little bit to eighth notes. We'd count that

ONE-and two-and three-and four-and

The second thing we want to do is to provide ACCENTS. That just means that the note you accented is louder than the other notes around it.

We do this to provide structure. Accents can be strident or subtle, but they do stop music becoming monotonous and amorphous.

So pick a chord you're comfortable with, and slowly strum it, starting with a downstroke, and count out loud as above. The numbers should all be downstrokes and the "ands" should all be upstrokes.

Now try and accent (i.e. make louder) the first beat (the "one") of each bar.

Again, you can vary this. Ultimately you want enough control that you can pick out any stroke within a bar and accent it. If you can accent the "one" in the first bar, the "and" of one in the second bar, the "two" in the third bar, the"and" of two in the fifth... and so on, you'll have some decent control over what you're doing.

Make it nice and even, and try and keep the accented notes all the same volume and the un-accented notes all the same volume.


posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 04:17 AM
reply to post by spacedoubt

Thanks for the bribe!

Er... can't do video or audio at the moment. Or, actually, for the foreseeable future.

I'm explaining as clearly as I can but I do understand what you're saying. It's much easier when you can see or hear what's going on. Any other suggestions?

Maybe I can find some old stuff from when I used to teach and put it up here as a gif or jpeg or something. I'll have to have a rummage.

As for inspiring you... go for a walk, see a live band that makes you want to play, think about playing a song for the woman you love, especially if that's your wife!

Mandolin, no. Some of the principles are the same as guitar but I'm not sure how it's tuned, it might be more like violin tuning.

Although a session player called Tommy Tedesco who used to write for Guitar Player magazine back in the eighties always used to tune every instrument to guitar tuning - mandolin, bouzouki, oud, whatever.

The trade off is that although it's easier to play you might miss out on things that are characteristic of each instrument because the tuning no longer supports them.

[edit on 3-4-2009 by rich23]

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 04:30 AM

is that playing too fast slows you up.

By "too fast" I mean faster than you can play correctly.

Why? A variety of reasons.

One: you learn your mistakes, not learn from them.

Suppose you're trying to learn a really fast guitar lick. You play it as fast as you can, you get a few notes in and then stumble.

You do it again, you get to the same place, and stumble again.

You do it a third time, and now you are learning that mistake.

Two: you build tension into your playing.

Something I've learned from t'ai chi: muscles (or in this case, tendons) work in pairs. Consider your arm. You have a muscle to flex your arm (your bicep) and a muscle to extend it (your tricep). This is because all muscles can do is contract.

So if you're flexing your arm, any tension in the extensor muscle will be working against what you're trying to do. You'll be fighting yourself.

Speed comes from a combination of relaxation and accuracy.

Let go of the urge to be a fast guitarist and you'll get there a lot quicker. Aim for being relaxed and accurate and the speed will come surprisingly and unbidden.

I say this not as the fastest guitar player in the world, but as someone who's overcome the problems caused by years of bad practice to get to a reasonable state of competence.

[edit on 3-4-2009 by rich23]

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 04:59 AM
Well, you'd certainly need a web cam at the very least.
Even a cheap one would do the trick. But if it's not in the cards right now, I understand.

I've already learned a couple of things.
I's like to add the importance of learning on a comfortable instrument,
There's nothing worse than having to "force" a string down onto the frets.
Especially for a beginner, you will end up with sore fingers. It will discourage practicing.

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 05:37 AM
reply to post by rich23

Rich23 You have given alot of great information so far.Thank you and keep it coming.The thing on building your speed naturally was bang on and I have told people that exact same thing...don't learn the mistake.
If you can do it slow first then the speed comes naturally,or as they say learn to crawl before you learn to walk.

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 05:45 AM
reply to post by spacedoubt

I am not sure how far you have gotten with the mandolin and I totally understand wanting to see with your eyes to fully grasp things without doubting if you are doing it right or not.
I have a webcam so I might get that up and running to help things out a bit.
The notes to tune a mandolin are G D A E.
If you don't have a tuner you can use this video.

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 07:08 AM
Building Chords (1)

Chords can be built up in a variety of ways, but usually they emerge from scales.

Remember I said you have 12 notes to start with, you throw away five and keep seven and that's your scale. (Like all statements, this is a generalisation to which there are exceptions. We won't go there now.)

So you give each of these notes a number, 1 through 7.

You then use every other number to create your chord, and the simplest chord has three notes and is known as a TRIAD.

For simplicity's sake we'll use the C major scale because it hasn't got any sharps or flats:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

So a simple chord of C major would contain the 1, 3 and 5 - C E G.

These are known as the ROOT, THIRD and FIFTH of the chord.

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 07:12 AM
Building Chords (2)

You can extend it beyond a three-note chord. As you move past the octave you keep numbering:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Sorry about the spacing above, I tried putting more spaces in and it hasn't made any difference.

That's where seventh, ninth, eleventh and thirteenth chords come from.

However, it is a little bit more complicated than that.

[edit on 3-4-2009 by rich23]

[edit on 3-4-2009 by rich23]

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 07:19 AM
Building Chords (3)

Broadly, there are three different kinds of chord.


Major chords are made as simply as you like from the major scale as I related in previous posts.

Minor chords have a FLATTENED THIRD. In other words, if you are building a C chord, where C major will be spelled C E G, C minor will be spelled C, Eflat, G.

If you're looking at the guitar, then if you play an E major and then an E minor in open position, you can see that you have to take your finger off the note on the G string, going from G sharp to G.

Dominant chords... they're a little bit more complicated and I'm going to have to come back to that.

PS, if you play bottom E, then B on the A string second fret, then E on the D string second fret, followed by a very quick change from E major to E minor (with the changing note on top, so you might play it in seventh position with the changing note on the B string)... you might recognise the theme from a well-known science fiction film.

[edit on 3-4-2009 by rich23]

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 07:34 AM
Going back to relatives I decided to give you guys a list of what chords are relative to each other. # means sharp
C is relative to A minor
G is relative to E minor
D is relative to B minor
A is relative to F# minor
E is relative to C# minor
B is relative to G# minor
F#(orG flat) is relative to D#minor(orE flat minor)
D flat is relative to B flat minor
A flat is relative to F minor
E flat is relative to C minor
B flat is relative to G minor
F is relative to D minor

Here is also a chart of all the notes on the fretboard and a bit of extra information.

Edit to use what Rich23 said about the 7 notes in the scale and how it pertains to relatives.
From what he typed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Another way to find the relative is to count the notes of the scale,when you get to the 6th note then you have found your relative.
Again if you start out in a major chord then your relative will be minor and vice versa as I have mentioned before.

[edit on 3-4-2009 by DrumsRfun]

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 07:36 AM
reply to post by rich23

So glad to have your input.You are making this thread very useful.
You have alot of good knowledge...looks like I will learn something after all.
Thank you,I really appreciate it.

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 10:21 AM
Building Chords (4)

Chord Scales

Ok, hang on to your hats because this is where things start to get a little bit more complicated.

Let's pick a nice easy scale. C major, no sharps or flats. The white notes on the piano. Now if you remember, we started to build our chord of C major by simply taking notes 1, 3 and 5 of that scale. Just alternating notes, easy.

You can do this for any note in the scale.

Here's the tricky part. If you remember, I said that the INTERVALS (the distance between the notes) in a major scale went like this:


Because that's an asymmetrical arrangement of intervals, it means that the chords you build from each note will be different. Let's look at that in more detail...

C (tone) D (tone) E (semitone) F (tone) G (tone) A (tone) B (semitone) C

So for building chords, that gives you:

C (tone, tone) E (semitone, tone) G gives you C major.
D (tone, semitone) F (tone, tone) A gives you D minor.

Following that logic through, and expanding it to four-note chords, we come up with this table (don't worry about the terminology, we'll come back to that)

I Cmajor seventh - tonic
II D minor seventh - supertonic
III E minor seventh - mediant
IV F major seventh - subdominant
V G dominant seventh (or just G seventh) - dominant
VI A minor seventh (here's your relative minor) - submediant
VII B half-diminished, or minor seventh flat fifth - leading note

Now here's the thing. A very large proportion of pop music is generated using just these chords. If you get a good handle on how scales and chords and MODES (coming up in a while) all fit together, you'll really start to understand how Western music works.

Don't worry about the tonic, dominant stuff. That's really there for future reference and for completeness. The main thing to get hold of is how the chords fit together.

If someone wants to, they can generate chord scales for the other eleven major keys. This is all stuff I know already so I've put the basic info out there - it's up to others to fill in the gaps for yourselves.

It might seem like huge amounts of work, but take it one key at a time and you'll find that it's a structure you can really relate music to. Knowing this stuff really helps.

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 10:32 AM
Thank you for your kind words, drumsrfun.

I thought I'd give some examples of books that have really helped me. I'm afraid I started learning music long before the internet really kicked off, so most of my resources are outside of that.

Ted Greene's Chord Chemistry is amazing. He is Mister Lord God King of Thorough. A huge, bewildering amount of chord voicings for chords you think you'll never need. Then at the back he goes through lots of different ways of playing a 12-bar blues, gradually building from simple to extremely complex. Way cool.

Mick Goodrick's The Advancing Guitarist is an astonishing journey. It's highly conceptual and basically gives you a lot of good little ideas that you can go away and permutate to your heart's content.

If you're feeling in a rut, heed the words of an extremely wise musician (unfortunately a smack addict, but, you know, back in the day, they all were) - Bill Evans.

"When I'm feeling bored and frustrated with my playing, I just go back to basics. You can always find something new."

I can say he's right from personal experience. People learn all these exotic scales, but they usually don't know the major scale inside out, upside down, and six ways from Sunday. There's always more to be had.

Nicolas Slonimsky's Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns is pretty daunting but is an invaluable resource for things like diminished scale patterns. You play through a few of those and then you start hearing where Miles and Coltrane got loads of stuff from.

I know. None of these is exactly beginner level.

I'm kind of hoping someone will contribute a good set of entry-level websites for music noobs.

[edit on 3-4-2009 by rich23]

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