Friday, March 22, 2019

Blog Post Submissions Are Welcome

Want to publish something in one of our blogs?

If you blog about teaching or learning music, or if you have a website about teaching music, learning a musical instrument, or any aspect of music theory, why don't you submit something for publishing in this blog.

It's a great way to get personal exposure as well as free promotion for your blog, website or music-related products or service.

 If you are interested Check It Out Here.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Learning to Read Music - Part 1 - Overview of the Staff

The musical staff is the basic framework for traditional music notation. The staff consists of a series of five parallel lines. The sequence of musical notes that make up a song are then placed along these lines. The two dimensions represented on the staff are pitch and time.

Pitch - whether a note sounds "high" or "low" - is represented by placing notes higher or lower in the series of staff lines.
Each line and space between the lines represents a specific note position. An oval shaped note under line 1 is understood as D. A note on line 1 is E. And so on, until we get to E again in the top space, and F on the top line.

Time - There are actually two different components to the time dimension of music. Every piece of music has a beat which varies from song to song, and sometimes within the same song. This is called the tempo of the music.

 Get the FREE Course on Learning to Read MusicTempo is normally measured in terms of beats per minute (bpm), and is indicated at the very beginning of the first staff line of a composition. In our example the tempo is indicated as 80 beats per minute. And this tempo is maintained unless a different tempo is indicated.
The length or duration of individual notes is  measured with reference to that tempo. If a song has a tempo of 60 bpm, then each beat will be one second long (1/60th of a minute), and in 4/4 time, each quarter note will have a duration of one beat.
The notes placed along the staff therefore tell us three very different things about the sounds they represent. First, they tell us the pitch of the sound. Second, we are told how fast or slow the piece is to be played (its tempo). And third, we know from the shape of each note symbol how long that sound is to be held - the duration of each note or rest.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Sometimes Playing on Fewer Strings is Better

When I work with a new student who is learning guitar from scratch we first play 4 string versions of G, C and D because they are a bit easier to play. The fact is though, that these chords where you don't use all the strings may actually sound better than "full" chords in some cases.

For example a 4 or even 3 string version of D lets you highlight the higher strings. And an A (or even more commonly, a B chord) played on strings 4, 3 and 2 - where you don't play string 1, can sound perfectly adequate when used the right way.

Rock guitarists actually use two string combinations a lot. So-called "power chords" are 2 string chords played on the lower strings like the well known riff from "Smoke on the Water".  And "double stops" are two string combinations played on the higher strings (a la Chuck Berry).

The bottom line is that a "chord" is not always played by strumming across all six strings. To get the best sounding string combinations you need to strike the most appropriate strings.