~ glossary of musical terms ~

~ labeling the theory ~

~ letters M to Z / A - L ~

M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z

This glossary works to aquaint the reader to our musical and theoretical terms. Please be forewarned that in our own Americana and even to a certain extent with our Euro bretheren and its centuries long history of musical studies, that any one term can have various shades of meanings, all depending on where we might find them in the literature or use them when speaking about theories. For example, explore the term 'downbeat' by clicking the link to the right.

downbeat

For the emerging theorist reading here, this one aspect can upset the 'applecart' of theory discussions. So as each term can have its own 'shades' of meaning, each 'shade' will have its own term when used in a particular setting.

downbeat

So in knowing this out front here just try to be flexible along the way. When you bump into this situation be curious. The I thought downbeat meant ___ . Well it does, but there's finer shades of it to consider too. And then of course there's the slang terms. Like when we use 'downbeat' to describe what time the band 'hits' or starts its performance? Exactly :)

hits

All core theory definitions below are from one of the following sources; paraphrased from and referenced to the Harvard Brief Dictonary Of Music (HBDM). When definitions are derived from Wikipedia they are linked there for descriptions (wiki). Slang terms and artistic concepts are defined by the author and contain the symbol (S) to designate and differentiate these entries from the Harvard derived definitions or Wiki. Anything left over I probably made up along the way.

 
"Imagination is more important than intellect ..."

wiki ~ Albert Einstein

magic

The idea of 'working the magic' is is really all about conjuring our muse into making some music. For even if we just pick up our guitars and strum and hum along, music's big three elements of melody, chords and time combine ina new way for us. The more we purposely shape these three the greater potential for the magic to happen. When share our music we gain the additional magic sent our way by the folks who get to hear us. The give and take the ebb and flow of the energies that bind us through the stories. our listerners, dancers and in a some sense of time simply that I believe music is a magical thing and for those thus smitten, never stops amazing us, or how it motorizes and enthralls the dancers, listeners and especially little children, who truely absorb and clearly express the wonderment of all things musical. The phrase "working the magic" goes way back for Jacmuse for as a kid, there still was a lot of magic in the world and things I did not yet comprehend were often described as magic.
history of magic
essential theory
the stories
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mailbox money

Usually refers to the three note triad with a major third, the triad built on the first, fourth or fifth scale degrees of the major scale.

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malleability

Usually refers to the three note triad with a major third, the triad built on the first, fourth or fifth scale degrees of the major scale.

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major triad / chord

Usually refers to the three note triad with a major third, the triad built on the first, fourth or fifth scale degrees of the major scale.

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major groups of pitches

Simply a listing of the groups of pitches that feature a major third.

major
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major scale

The group of pitches that creates the major tonality, also known as the Ionian mode, one of two basic groups of pitches used to organize and layout the pitches of the system equal temperament on standard keyboard instruments.
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major triad

major scale evolutions

The group of pitches that creates the major tonality, also known as the Ionian mode, one of two basic groups of pitches used to organize and layout the pitches of the system equal temperament on standard keyboard instruments.
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major triad

major tonality, major tonal environment

The brighter side our our yin / yang balance, describes songs written in a major key, the color of music that is based upon the major triad, major scale, Ionian mode etc.

making the changes

Slang for when an emerging artist / soloist clearly articulates the harmony ( changes ) in their lines.

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manual

Meaning 'by the hands', the term is applied iun modern times to the whole mechanism of the black and white keys on our various keyboard instruments.

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master of disguise

Describes a player who creates different illusions of the storyline of a song while somehow retaining the emotional essence of its central theme, the opposite perspective from and the flip side of "master of the obvious."

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master of the obvious

Describes music where an experienced listener can accurately guess where the music is going.

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mean tone tuning

A system of tuning predating the acceptance of equal temper whereby 5ths are tuned smaller than perfect so as to compensate for the syntonic comma.

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syntonic comma

measure / bar

A word to describe a measure of length in our music, in both actual time depending on tempo and as a way to notate our music with written symbols.
time
tempo
notation

measure numbers

A counting number applied to each measure within a piece written music to help locate one's place.

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mediant

Chord built on the third scale degree of the major / relative minor scale.

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medieval

Chord built on the third scale degree of the major / relative minor scale.

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melisma / melismatic

A vocal musical technique whereby one word or syllable receives many pitches.

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melodic filter

A term used to describe running a melodic cell or motif through the intervals of a particular melodic color.

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melodic minor scale

A group of pitches creating the minor tonality distinguished by including a minor third, major sixth and major seventh above the root.

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melodic motions

In this entry, melodic motions is used to describe the way classical musical theory describes the various ways the pitches resolve as the music moves along. Tension and resolution plays a role as do the intervals involved with the pitches as they resolve or not, as the case may be, as the song moves along. In our Americana musics, we mostly measure and label pitches a some degree of 'suspension.'

melodic substitution

Superimposing different parent scales, often based on chord substitutions.

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melody

A series of musical tones that expresses an emotional thought?

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Mersenne, Marin

Thought to be the first to suggest that the solution of the '12th root of 2' provides the numerical factor for dividing the octave interval in the 12 equal parts of equal temper tuning in 1637.

wiki ~ Mersenne
equal temper tuning

metal anthems

simply the songs and their hooks that are the anthems for this genre; 'Iron Man', .

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metronome

An easy way to put any music we are shedding into a performance perspective is to practice it in time; real musical beat time as can be provided many ways today.

Jamm along device for practice which creates consistent clicks to represent the beats of musical time in real time, adjustable rates from fast ( allegro ) through slow ( largo ). Often designated with 'm.m = #' in musical scores. Electric 2 and 4 time generator.

click tracks
shed loops
blues changes
vamps

metronome marking

A metronome marking is a written symbol added to sheet music to indicate the tempo, how fast or slow, the song should go. Using combined letters and numbers, it lives above the clef above the first staff. There's two ways it'll often be represented as shown in the following illustration.

 

the top
shed loops
blues changes
vamps

midden

The pile of detritus material created by squirrels from munching the seeds of pine cones, it's an Alaskan thing.

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middle C

The term middle C is normally associated with the piano and translates to guitar for reading and writing purposes as the C located on the sixth string / 8th fret or the fifth string / 3rd fret. Due to the transpositional nature of writing for guitar, our guitar's "middle C" is pitched one octave above the piano's. We do this simply to ease the writing of the music in treble cleff.

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middle eight

The 'middle eight' is an eight bar phrase in the middle of a song that provides a counter melody and thematic material to the song's original idea.

form in music

middle register

The center pitches of the overall range of a musical instrument, usually consisting of the pitches with the span of a major 10th.

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MIDI

Empowered by a couple of hundred years of a glorius and so varied catalogue of music all written in equal temper tuning, folks thought that this tuning will be around for a while. So a next natural evolution, through more math calculations, has digitized the frequencies of equal temper tuning into midi data thus able to be processed by computors. So now we still get the full palette of musical colors but with the push of a button i.e., a midi piano, we can do it with any recordable sound available.

frequencies
key centers
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millenia

A term to describe 1000 years of earth time.

minor

Minor is one of the two main settings we find in our music. The other is major. These are our two main key centers and we pair them up into being 'relatives.' Minor ranges from a bluesy, somber feel of laid back melancholy to the clash of titans that can only end one way. The minor 3rd determines the overall color as the other common groupings push beyond its natural diatonic boundaries.

minor scales ~ minor groups of pitches

Simply a listing of the groups of pitches that feature a minor third.

pentatonic
blues
natural
harmonic
melodic
Dorian
Phrygian
Aeolian
Locrian
diminished

minor seventh

The interval between two pitches of a minor 7th, a minor triad with a minor 7th, a tonic 7th chord in the natural minor tonality and a Two chord type in the major tonality.

minor 7th
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minor third

The interval between two pitches of a minor 3rd, three half steps, a whole step + a half step, the quality of third in a minor triad, the "blue" third.

major / minor
blue 3rd
minor triad
minor 3rd loop
tuning the minor 3rd

minor triad

Comprised three pitches; root, minor 3rd and perfect 5th.

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minor tonality, minor tonal environment

Describes the color of music that is core based upon the pitches of the minor triad.

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mix

The combined blend of all the instruments in the group when sounded together, often concerned with setting volumes, tones and such things as the e.q.'s, and reverbs in an electronic setting as through a p.a. etc.

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modal blues

A blues performance format or song whereby the performance is basically a four bar phrase based on the tonic V 7th chord, not following the traditional 12 bar blues form.

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mode

A term we use in a similar way to scale, a closed loop or group of pitches to compose with. Today, the term finds common use from the 'church modes' from wayback. This next chart highlights the half steps locations of the seven church modes as found within the C Ionian group, i.e., C major scale.

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Ionian mode formula
1
1
1 / 2
1
1
1
1 / 2
Dorian mode formula
1
1 / 2
1
1
1
1 / 2
1
Phyrgian mode formula
1 / 2
1
1
1
1 / 2
1
1
Locrian mode formula
1
1
1
1 / 2
1
1
1 / 2
Mixolydian mode formula
1
1
1 / 2
1
1
1 / 2
1

Aeolian mode formula

1
1 / 2
1
1
1 / 2
1
1
Locrian mode formula
1 / 2
1
1
1 / 2
1
1
1
Ionian mode formula
1
1
1 / 2
1
1
1
1 / 2

modern

As mostly used in this text, either implies a historical idea or that the musical components used to create the music are well advanced into the upper structure parts of the arpeggio, polytonal sounds etc.

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modern Americana

Here within Essentials the idea of a modern Americana simply implies any of our roots musics that have been filtered through any measurte of Rock and Roll. Interesting is the idea perhaps that nowadays, any of our roots musics not filtered through Rock become in a sense "old timey."

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modern guitarist

A modern guitarist is one who decides to try and use standard music theory principles to evolve their work. Also describes the intellectual and artistic ability to reshape definable musical components to create the varied styles and cross-overs of American music we love.

The idea of a modern guitarist is a blend of two ideas. One is simply to use the theory to understand the relationship between musical style and number of pitches. That as we add new pitches into the pentatonic groupings, we begin to sense our styles evolving from the traditional children's and folk songs towards the blues and country and into rock then pop and on to jazz.

The second idea is provided by saxophonist John Coltrane's path of ascension through the theory. By following historically the harmony developments within Mr. Coltrane's compositions through his career, we can clearly follow his pathway of ascension through diatonic theory and into the 12 tone sphere. While all is originally based in the blues, the gradually expanding perfect fourth motion of the Two / Five cadence, that is later filtered by minor thirds, helps cover all of the basics explored through the Coltrane compositions.

And while not all of us will strive to attain this level of performance, understanding the evolution that this pathway illuminates simply becomes a curriculum for shedding that we can get on and off of at any juncture throughout our own careers. At stopping points along this pathway of evolutions, we find discover solutions that can help us to collaborate with artists in any genre we meet along the way.

John Coltrane
harmonic developments
diatonic theory
blues based
Two / Five
cadential motions
artistic filters
curriculum for shedding

modern jazz

There has always been a modern jazz. Modern jazz is simply the next generation of players who advance what they are bequethed musically. When the term jazz was first coined and Scott Joplin and Eubie Blake came along, they were modern jazz cats. Then a new King Oliver comes along and he was a modern jazz, innovative player in perspective to the existing music of his times.

Then Mr. Oliver's protege Louis Armstrong with his new swing in the 20's, then Benny Goodman and guitarist Charlie Christian and their handling of the diminished colors followed by Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie and their bebop, exhausting the diatonic environment at blistering tempos to became the new moderne of the 40's. Then there's Miles Davis and Bill Evans with modal and the cool becomes the modern sound of the 50's, followed by John Coltrane's 'sheets of sounds' and onto the epic of its day, "Giant Steps", a re-invented harmonic scheme that now becomes a song form that re-invented a modern players core musical challenges.

Then Dave Brubeck, hornmen Paul Desmond and Chet Baker return to a timeless lyricism of tones and tone over newly imported rhythms, followed by Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea to set in a new modern era composing in modal ways and Latin rhythms Then saxophonist Ornette Coleman and guitarist Pat Metheny, free players, who as modern jazz players of today, encourage us to leave no musical Americana stone unturned.

There's a theory evolution in all of this by era's divided music; from diatonic to non-diatonic, from tonal to atonal, from inside to outside, from age old traditional cycles evolving into new symmetrical patterns of pitch, that bring forth new untapped energies for creating the new music of today, to tell and share our modern stories to create and insure a better world for those to come after, ah ... the life, times, evolutions and exciting pursuits of the modernistas of today :)

theory evolution
diatonic / non-diatonic
tonal / atonal
inside / outside
symmetrical patterns
a new symmetry
.

modern Americana

Here within Essentials the idea of a modern Americana simply implies any of our roots musics that have been filtered through any measurte of Rock and Roll. Interesting is the idea perhaps that nowadays, any of our roots musics not filtered through Rock become in a sense "old timey."

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.

modern today

Modern today is simply the moment that you are reading these words. Simply used as a historical marker, gives us a point in time to reference from which all other times in history are triangulated from.

wiki ~ the present
wiki ~ triangulation
 
 

modernize

Describes the idealistic core of this opus; that by knowing the theory of music we enable ourselves to continually modernize our art throughout the span of our carres. That is we so choose to do so.

Mostly the idea that as we evolve over the ideas we will look for greater artistic challenges, which translate into more complex theoretical challenges. Thus, a folk player adds blue notes, goes electric and then discovers Bebop Jazz.

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modulate (ion)

To change keys, tonal centers or emotional environments. We use modulation to go to a new diatonic somewhere in the music. If in our story to tell we go somewhere by travel, by thought or by heart, we can sound this out by going to somewhere from our original tonal starting point through modulation in the music. There are many different types of, degrees of and ways to modulate.

In some of our styles, a song's chord progression is the way it goes somewhere else in the song. Moving to the relative minor from major, or vice versa, is most common. We can easily hint to be moving from our diatonic center by borrowing pitches from other keys. This becomes our first level of expanding from the core diatonic motions.

We also can play our melody in one key, modulate and play the same line in a new key. Very common in classical and jazz. Repetition of one idea through modulating through a series of tonal centers, building into an existing musical form to compose a song is fairly common and produced some big hits over the decades. We can go further here and link two different songs together, to segue, which perhaps is the ultimate modulation in telling our stories. Modulation, although not generally used this way, is what happens when hipsters filter or shed one idea through the 12 key centers as arranged by the cycle of fifths.

key center
go somwhere
learn to listen
chord progressions
major / minor
borrow pitches
diatonic
valence
classical music
jazz
filters
compose a song
to segue
shedding / cycle of 5'ths

mon ami

French for "my friend."

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monochord

Greek, a one stringed instrument designed for the investigation of acoustics, with one movable fret.

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monophonic

Music that is created with one melody line with no additional accompaniment, i.e., chords or harmony, it is said to be our oldest form of music. HBD.

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monothematic

One theme, artistic creations with one theme, like a theme park with just one ride, that you want to keep going on again and again, i.e., the blues.

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monster

Slang for a musician with tremendous musical abilities.

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montuno

Spanish for 'from the mountain', in music generally associated with a repeated musical phrase called a vamp.

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morph

Used within this text to describe a change of tonality, i.e., major to minor, tonic family to dominant family etc.

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motif / motive

A re-occurring artistic idea which is developed throughout an artistic piece

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motion to Four

In all of American styles, the harmonic motion from our tonic One chord to Four is probably the most common. Everything from 'Oh Susanna' through the blues and into country, rock pop and jazz all enjoy this motion to the subdominant. Being so popular, there's probably a million or so ways to get there.

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Motown

Style of American pop music from the 1960's, the Supremes, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder on and on. Motown from motorcity perhaps?, is slang for the city of Detroit, Michigan.

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movable shapes

Usually applied to guitar, where a scale, arpeggio or chord shape can be moved intact up and down the fingerboard. This one idea can greatly facilitate the learning. For example, one root position chord becomes many different chords simply by its position on the neck.

movable scale shapes
movable arpeggio shapes
movable chord shapes

multiphonics

Articulating two pitches simultaneously, used usually to describe an effect with horn players.

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musical map

Every picture tells a story don't it ...

 

music notation

The musical notation symbols used here in Essentials, that we use to write down our musical ideas to share with others, that have preserved the music that has come before us and will make available all of our collective music for future generations has been in use now for the last 1000 years or so.

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music software

The music software to create the musical examples in this text is created by Coda Corporation, it is Finale 2001a, which is very excellent indeed.

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music store

Here's a view of my local music store with no shortage of gear for guitar. Look vaguely familiar?

Mammoth Music

music theorist

In entering into the machinations of music and its theories we join a rather august club of musicians and scientists from the last three millenia or so. From the early establishment of the octave interval as the bookends to our pitches, .

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music theory

Music theory is simply a body of knowledge that creates a unique label for each the components of our musics. This becomes the vocabulary we thorists use to describe what we hear. First, there's the identity of the components and events in a song as we listen to music; the pitches and the melodies and harmonies they create moving along in time. And there's the silent architecture we do not hear when listening but which shapes and forms the music into the art we love.

silent architecture

musical alphabet

Our musical alphabet runs from the letter A to G.

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musical evolution

The continual quest by artists to expand the existing musical forms and resources so as to better portray the triumphs, struggles and philosophies of humankind.

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musical examples

With the ability to notate and playback, the theory game has really changed for the non reading players, also that which musical examples are selected to iluminte the theory are selected by accuracy, musical effct and availablity to be found by the reader.

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musical intervals

Measuring the distance between two pitches as defined by the number of half steps between them.

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musical language

In this text simply the idea that we each strive to learn how to create the sounds of the style of music we want to play, these sounds become your language elements for conversing with your Musical Bro's when jamming :)

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musical math

That the numerical equivalents given to the pitches also perfectly close upon themselves or 'proof' themselves by perfectly closing back to their starting point.

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musical styles / evolution

Here in Essentials, America's myriad of musical style combinations have a two stranded helix core, like our own DNA. One strand of our musical style evolution here starts with children's songs which moves into folk, then towards to country and then to the brighter tempos of bluegrass. At this point we need to go back to our roots for our other half of our American musical DNA for the blues, both as a style of music and its blue note influence on country, rock and roll which softens a bit into pop and Gospel and then to fully open up into the myriads of jazz.

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musical styles

Surely a topic of endless nuance we can take an almost pure theory approach based on which pitches we use in creating our musical styles. The trick to layering musical styles into the theory discussions is simply to be flexible and really just to take a bit of the 'e' out of ego and go.

The 'e' out of ego ... simply implies that many of the styles that music critics can easily identify are merged here in Essentials, simply because they have the same core pitches as their basis. For example in rock music, all stems from it's historical core of the 1950's and while everything has changed in the business since, the core pitches are theoretically the same. The exception here is of course in with metalists, whose chords are reduced to just 5th's because of the gear generally used to work the magic.

The idea that the storytelling folk styles include everything from children's songs, all kinds of country, western, swing, fiddle tunes, Irish and bluegrass theory is based on the idea that their core groupings of pitches for creating their melodies and chord harmonies are so similar. So much of the variance here can be attributed to the theme of story being told, tempos, groove and influence of the blue notes.

For jazz players, it's generally all about how thin we want to slice the pitch pie as we head towards a more chromatic sound and chord progressions, as they evolve historically through the decades of the last millenium or so. From open G ragtime banjo to standard concert tuned E Delta blues into swing jazz towards bebop into the hard bop and post bop towards the fusion with becoming new age and easy listening into today's super sliced chromaticism, we can evolve our core 12 pitches with groove, chord progression, choice of color tones and what sound concept we develop to finding the gear to process our signals.

So if your main style is not consistently one of the bolded headings, forgive me for it's a tricky bit of business trying to put into words and musical examples ideas correlating numbers of pitches and the range of styles they love to create. Looking for songs within styles to navigate all of this in a conversational tone reminiscent of the olden day theory books while maintaining perspective and forward motion in the dialogue. I hope that some part of Essentials moves your theory thing forward.

Dr. Miller
music critics
melody
chords
rhythm
musical form
improvisation

musical tonality

Years ago a discussion centered on the evolution of American versus European music in regards to what we Jazz players call inside and outside. Inside is music created with pitches from within the keycenter, outside is not. This gradual evolution took American players roughly 75 years to accomplish while it took our Euro brothers about 300 years.

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musicologist

A musicologist is the scholar of a music's history as within the context of the society in which it is created. Whatever you favorite music is today, just to relaize that it is a pathway into a lifetime of endless coolness in the sharing of something you just naturally love.

Dr. Y. Gibori
Ken Burns
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musicology

The term musicology simply implies the scholary study of music; its histories, the players, the compositions, the times in which it was created and what influence one generation has had on succeeding ones. An endless puzzle of sorts, we who are interested must simply dive in and start to piece it all together the best we can, prompted by whatever our interests in the music might be.

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musicianship

A term that encompasses all of the things that enable us to communicate musically. All things being equal, good listening skills and performing with a wide range of dynamics are two essential cores of our ability to communicate musically.

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natural

Lettered pitches identified without sharps or flats

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natural minor

Also the Aeolian mode, also diatonic major / relative minor which shares the same pitches.

minor melodies

natural scale

Natural scale. In today's world of equal temper tuning and the perfection of midi, we could generally consider the natural scale as any basic intonation of the seven pitches of the diatonic scale that is not equal tempered. The natural scale is generally created from the naturally occurring harmonic series, or the ratios of small whole numbers as in Just intonation, or building all the pitches from two ratios 2:1 (octave) and 3:2 (perfect 5th) of Pythagorean tuning. In a natural tuning, these pitches and scales are not equal tempered in any way. Many artists will search for these pitches in their work, especially when working within the equal tempered harmony as created by a piano or the various keyboard instruments of today. In this work, this differing of intonations combine to create the 'blues rub.'

equal temper tuning
midi
harmonic series
Just intonation

Pythagorean tuning

the blues rub
natural major scale ratio natural minor scale ratio
root 1 : 1 root 1 : 1
major 2nd 9 : 8 major 2nd 9 : 8
. . minor 3rd 6 : 5
major 3rd 5 : 4 . .
perfect 4th 4 : 3 perfect 4th 4 : 3
perfect 5th 3 : 2 perfect 5th 3 : 2
. . minor 6th 8 : 5
major 6th 5 : 3 . .
. . minor 7th 16 : 9
major 7th 15 : 8 . .
perfect octave 2 : 1 perfect octave 2 : 1

nature / nurture

Instinctual or learned, that is the question ...

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neighbor tone

Closely related pitches by physical proximity.

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n'est-ce pas?

From the French, translated here as "isn't that so?" Learning music is like learning a new language; one there's some words it's all about the phrasing. ( timing )

9 out of 10

Simply the idea that the majority of songs are written in a major key. I counted up and compared the major / minor tonality of the songs in the Charlie Parker Omnibook. Of the 55 compositions in the work, 4 where written in a minor key.

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non-diatonic

In analysis of music, defines those pitches that are not part of the tonic parent scale used to create that piece of music, these pitches can be in the melody or harmony.

diatonic
tonic
parent scale
blue notes
7 + 5 + = 12

notation

General term for the symbols we use to write down our music. Notations basics are for pitch and rhythm. Staff lines indicate pitch with note heads while the flags of a note denote its rhythm. We've math here too as our .

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note

General term to describe a musical sound or tone, i.e., a pitch, although said pitch is oftened designated by letter and accidental (if needed).

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'a number'

Slang for a song, usually used in live performances. "right now ... we gonna sing you a little number from our first album ... " etc.

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numerical equivalents

Really just a fancy term that gets to a core approach for understanding the theory. Letters names of pitches become numbers within formulas that allow us to create and project identical elements of any nature from any of our 12 pitches.

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numerical perspective

Creating a numerical perspective of our musical resources is mostly about assigning numbers to letters based on the intervals between pitches. There's a couple of key pairings that streamline the theory allowing for an easier projection of the ideas into our various musics; pitch letters of scales and arpeggios become Arabic numbers, chord letter designations become both Roman numerals and we develop three numerical chord types. What we gain is the ability to apply the same theory principles to any of our 12 major or 12 minor keys and all chords become one of three chord types.

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nuts and bolts

The authors slang term for the various components of our music, i.e., the pitches, scales, arpeggios, and chords.

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in a nutshell

The old timey cliche lick about just getting to the heart of a thing. Each full topic discussion in this work starts off with an 'in a nutshell' description of its contents, mostly just a sentence or two, which quickly read, provides the reader with a choice of whether to stay put and study or move on into an expanded use of the theory topic, as each 'nutshell' entry has its own link forward to various evolutions of the theory discussions currently being tabled :) The links to the right are hopefully some of the giant nutshells for understanding your music.

aural predictability
tonal gravity
scales
arpeggios

the nutshells

The nutshells. The purist of all sounds, the octave interval becomes the initial theory boundry. By a cycle of perfect 5th's our 12 pitches evolve. Later equally tempered into a chromatic scaleof 12 equal pitches, any and all of our scales, blue notes, arpeggios, chords and rhythms can be projected equally from each of these 12 pitches. By simple addition of pitch, our horizontal resource evolves from the ancient pentatonic five to the six of the blues to seven pitches creating the seven modes of the diatonic scale and its perfect balance of major ~ minor energies. We close the loop at eight by doubling the root pitch up an octave, creating the theory basis of closure for the architecture in our musics.

It's the 3rd degree of a scale or three note triad or chord that determines whether it's tonal color is major or minor. We guitarists most often parallel this theory on the piano, whose white keys are the seven diatonic pitches creating the relative C major and A natural minor pairing.

The theory of scale degree creates the seven modal loops by formula, with the location of the 1/2 steps defining each group. Three are major and three are minor, these groupings become the One, Four and Five positions of major and minor within one key center. The remaining loop creates the interval portal to travel between between the major and minor artistic environments balanced within one key center. Number of key centers or borrowing of their pitches and components within one composition helps to place a work along an ever evolving stylistic spectrum of musical genres.

Any of the seven diatonic modes sequenced in thirds creates its less horizontal arpeggios. Stack and sound segments of the arpeggios on an equal temper tuned instrument to create vertical chords. Chords become sequenced into measured cycles with cadential motions to create the supportive forms for composition. With One, Four and Five as the initial points of interest, thinking by chord type eases our ways of expansion

The old time gallop rhythm is the motor energy of the Americana sounds. Its triplet figure becoming the extraced essence of subdivided time that is woven into the core 2 and 4 backbeat of American musical time, creating the pull of swing in the music. That this joyous rhythm help enliven any musical style is yet another instance of its magic.

interval
cycle of 5th's
12 pitches
equal tempered
chromatic scale
anything from anywhere
scales
blue notes
arpeggios
chords
rhythm
horizontal
pentatonic
blues scale
modes
diatonic scale
major ~ minor
loops of pitches
music architecture
perfect closure
major 3rd
minor 3rd
the piano
the 'relative' pairing
scale degree
formulas
1/2 step locations
three and three
One Four Five
key center
7 is the portal loop
environments
art
borrowing pitches
composition
musical styles
melodic sequence
equal temper tune
chord progressions
musical form
cadential motions
chord type
gallop
Americana
triplets
2 and 4
the pull of swing

octave

(art) The center of our local universe of music theory, the basket that within lives our 12 pitches, an important interval found in the melodies of so many classic songs, (science) also a pitch created by dividing the fundamental pitch or string length in half, a 2 : 1 ratio, so as to make the upper pitch vibrate twice as fast as the lower, the interval range containing the 8 diatonic tones of a closed loop major scale, thus also all of its modes and permutations.

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octave closure

The principle by which a seven note scale becomes 8 with the inclusion of the root's octave to create the looping closure of equal tempered resources.
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octave interval melodies

Just seems like with so many great melodies that have an interval in them somewhere it'd be a shame not to start listing them :)

'House Of The Rising Sun'

octave melodies
Western civilization

octave transposition

The basic process by which musical pitches are moved by octave to place them in a more playable range for the performer.

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offbeat

In European music and analysis, the offbeat is said to be the 2nd and 4th beats of 4 / 4 time, the 2nd and 3rd beats in 3 / 4 time etc., opposite of onbeat or the 1st beat of the measure in 4 / 4 time.

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olden days

The ending of the real olden days could be when our world was no longer only lit by fire; candles, various oils and of course the sun. So all the history of times and eras from that point back is all included and considered the true olden days here in Essentials.

The recent olden days in American music is mostly about the blues, in the days before audio recording allowed us to begin a historical record of the magic :)

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old school

A common enough term eh ? Here in Essentials old school covers a lot of ground; from the natural, animal sources of our music songs i.e., songbirds and dance to having to tune our ax with a tuning fork, a spectrum of thinking and doing and creating without the benefit of electricity or living a lifestyle termed here in Alaska generally as 'life off the grid.'

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Omnibook / the major scale basis

The Omnibook is the collected works of bebop saxophonist Charlie Parker and includes 55 of his original melodies, some with double entries, and their solos transcribed from his recordings. That bop is thought among so many to be Americana's most challenging music to perform becomes a philosophic basis of this book.

An essential perspective; that 52 of the 55 compositions within the Omnibook are clearly written in a major key helps shape the writing perspective of this Essentials work. For while our inclusiveness knows no bounds, I needed a basis to build from without feeling as if I was slighting any artist whose main musical colors might not be the natural relative major / minor group. That weighs the diatonic relative major / minor towards the major side of things.

This music is notated without using a key signature, making its analysis that much clearer as the actual pitches go by.

wiki ~ Charlie Parker

one pitch tritone

Refers to stringed instruments whereby chord shapes include pitches from unstopped strings, open chords are usually found within the first 3 frets on the guitar.

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open chords

Refers to stringed instruments whereby chord shapes include pitches from unstopped strings, open chords are usually found within the first 3 frets on the guitar.

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open G

A cyberbook is simply a book that is written about a topic in which the modern wizardry of today's 'cyber' world is built into the text.

evo Amer tuning
disco
SuperHoot
open G

open tuning

Refers to stringed instruments whereby chord shapes include pitches from unstopped strings, open chords are usually found within the first 3 frets on the guitar.

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oral

By word of mouth, passing along ideas through the spoken word, an ancient teaching style of passing along ideas from one generation to the next.
aural
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organic

Most often used to describe the diatonic origin of musical components from inside to outside, or when one musical idea is developed from a central motif within a composition, also when one's musical and artistic evolution happens from within by one's own intuition. Organic also applies to the natural source of our pitches from the overtone / harmonic series, on through Pythagorean tuning on through to equal temper tuning, midi and beyond, we also look to create the ultimate organic musical ability; to sing and play the line or ... express the 'art in our hearts' on our chosen instrument :)

inside
outside
'what if'

ostinato bass figure

This term is borrowed from the European classical cats and simply implies a simple rhythmic figure that is repeated many times, a great way to build musical suspense.

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(the) other five pitches

This idea comes to us from jazz guitar wizard Jimmy Bruno. That there are seven pitches for the diatonic scale, perhaps more commonly known as the major / natural minor pairing, that if we subtract 7 from the 12 pitches of the chromatic scale, we are left with 5, the 'ther five pitches ... which depending on one's perspective, just happen to be the blue notes too :)

wiki ~ Jimmy Bruno

our own labors

Simply the idea that in the end, we each are responsible for our own learning and improving as players. Add Lincoln quote.

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outro

Slang for improvising a musical vamp used to end a song while performing, intro / outro.

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outside

A mostly slang term that describes musical events within a key center that includes non diatonic pitches, musical ideas, sounds and colors, these non-diatonic events are termed outside, outside of the key signature and pitches shaping the tonality of the musical piece. The blue notes are a common way to go outside in the American styles. See blues rub.

blues rub
non diatonic
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overtones

The pitches contained within a vibrating column of air, a plucked string etc., similar to the different colors in the breakdown or "white light", i.e., the colors of the rainbow.

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overtone / harmonic series

Mathematical breakdown of a vibrating string or column of air into parts, which become different musical pitches termed overtones, i.e., that they are the tones 'over' their fundamental starting note which in the following example is C. Do note the naturally occurring pitches of the V7 chord in the first two measures.

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pitches
C
C
G
C
E
G
Bb
C
D
E
F#
G
A
Bb
B
C

palette

A painters handheld platform for mixing colors, a way for us guitarists to visualize our various groups of pitches or musical resources as aural colors with which we paint our music.

color tones
blues
minor
diminished
augmented
major
pentatonic

parallel motion

Describes moving two or more pitches in the same direction by the same interval. Usually when we get to three or more pitches we're talking chords to which we often apply the term constant structure.

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parent scale

Refers to the main group of pitches used to create a song, key center, a chord or emotional environment, i.e., the C major scale is the parent scale of a song written in the key of C major whose tonic chord is C major. We use the pitches of a C major scale as the parent scale to create improv over a C major chord.

diatonic
key center
in improv

Parker, Charles

 

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parody

Usually meaning to creating different words to a popular melody, a musical satire if you will. Kids do this a lot, they parody the written lyrics and rhythms of a song with their own words and phrases.

melodies
musical satire
lyrics
rhythms

partials

A mathematical term often used to describe the overtones created from the sounding of a fundamental, musical tone.

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passing chords

Transitory chord between principle chords in a chord progression, often defined by era, musical style and what's diatonic in regards to key center.

passing tones

Essentially non chord tone pitches which are within the rhythmic range of a harmonic structure or chord.Essentially non chord tone pitches which are within the rhythmic range of a harmonic structure or chord.

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pedagogy

The study of how we undertake the process of learning something, the development of a curriculum of study for a topic or subject, the art of a teacher. ACD.

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pedal to the metal

Slang term for making the thing go ever faster and faster.

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pedal tones

A pedal tone is a sustained pitch within the fabric of the music, usually in an outer voice, i.e., bass or treble these we term a 'lower' or 'upper pedal.' Most times they feature the tonic or dominant pitch of the current key center of the music.

tonic
dominant

peer pressure

Surely the worst thing about being a teenager, don't submit, strive to be yourself and develop your natural talents, then share the magic of your music with those you love. For once the 'teen' is elimanted from your numerical age, U R GOOD TO GO :)

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pentatonic scale

Ancient musical scale containing five pitches which creates both the major and minor colors. Said to have 'no bad notes', most Americana improv cats love these notes for soloing over the changes, while some advancing cats use them in curious ways to solo through the changes. Over or through the changes ... ?

Pentatonic Sudies For Jazz

wiki ~ Ray Ricker

penultimate

Simply a cool word for the one of something before the last of any kind of sequence of somethings; so the second to last pitch in any melody from any direction, one chord before the last as say Four to One in a gospel setting, the leading tone pitch in an ascending diatonic scale.

sequences
a melody
leading tone

perfect cadence

Five ( V ) to One ( I ) cadential motion with the tonic pitch in bass and lead of the One chord.

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perfect closure (A)

Simply the idea that thanks to the perfect closure of our system of pitches its recent equal temper tuning, that no matter how we slice and dice the theory and its pitches, our machinations, loopings, groupings and all the rest of everything theory will always perfectly close back to our starting point, starting pitches amen.

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perfect fifth interval

(art) the dominant pitch within many common groups of pitches that creates the impending motion towards a future event, (history) the sound and pitch that harkens and heralds kings and queens, Trane's favorite pitch :) ? (science) division of our string into three equal parts, a 3:2 ratio of numbers, the core interval of clockwise motion around our cycle of 5th's key clock, deemed perfect by virtue of its exceptional sound quality.

J. Coltrane

perfect fifth melodies

Just seems like with so many great melodies that have a perfect fifth interval in them somewhere it'd be a shame not to start listing them :)

'Scarborough Fair'

octave melodies
Medieval
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perfect fourth interval

(art) the sub dominant pitch within many common groups of pitches that creates the impending motion towards a future event, (science) division of our string into five equal parts, a 4:3 ratio of numbers, inverse of perfect fifth, counterclockwise or backpedaling the cycle of fifths pattern, deemed perfect by virtue of its exceptional sound quality.

the sub dominant
groups of pitches
keyclock

perfect fourth melodies

Just seems like with so many great melodies that have a perfect fifth interval in them somewhere it'd be a shame not to start listing them :)

'Scarborough Fair'

octave melodies
Medieval
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perfect intervals

Well, if we have something that is 'perfect' in our subject of studies, then we have an uncompromising starting point to view, measure and compare all else to. Thus it is with our pitches. Perfect intervals are so named because they sound the best of what we have to work with. For in comparison to our other intervals, they simply create the purest sound of two pitches resonating together. The first three intervals derived from the harmonic series are termed perfect, the octave (2:1), perfect 5th (3:2) and perfect 4th (4:3). First uncovered, scienced and researched and recorded for posterity some 2500 years ago now, perfect intervals form the basis of our music system and its theories that we enjoy to this day.

harmonic series
2500 years ago
our music system

perfectly closed loops

There's a pretty tight seal on today's most popular pitches. If generated by midi as say in a pop performance, even more so. That our loops and groups have a modern, midi mathematical precision is all about creating 'anything from anywhere', a crazily complete palette of colors.

Often taken for granted, i.e., close enough for jazz ...', precision tuned pitches enable each of our 12 unique pitches to be any possible position in our music. From root of a slow blues to being a #15th colortone, all is on the palette of a modern guitarist.

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perfectly invert

When the numerical measurement between pitches is the same whether moving up or down, i.e., as the tritone interval splits the span of one octave perfectly in half.

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performance

In this text mainly implying preparing for performance, whether shedding to spontaneously improvise our music, work out every pitch or a combination of both.

Folk.

Blues.

Country.

Rock.

Pop.

Jazz.

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performance vehicle

The mood, form, tonality and rhythms of a particular piece of music, creating categories such as a ballad, swing Latin etc.

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period

A European term used in the discussion of form in music, whereby a musical phrase becomes as a sentence in prose, also a historical era of musical style, such as the "swing" period.
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permutation

A permutation is simply the recombining of the existing elements of a musical idea into different new shapes and structures, with pitches or theory principles. While generally applied to the pitches in a lick, it is also very common with time in creating rhythm variations.

time

this book's philosophy

Two strands of thought weave the core philo ideas of this work. One, that the number of pitches used in creating any musical work consistently reflects the musical style that it sounds like. Thus our understanding the theory can be simply viewed as a gradual addition of selected pitches to our core groups. Second, that while we've like 10 locations to sound out a 'C' note, each one is different; in tone, timbre, emotional, physical playablility and bendability, string tension and etc etc etc.

Combining these two cores creates the 'essential' part of 'modern' as titled. Essential is the theory of the 10 'C' notes, the modern is the way each of the 10 unique notes can be added or subtracted from our music to influence musical style. This applies even for just a bar or two of music to say jazz up a turnaround ... to a full on total rework of a nice idea.

groups of pitches
jazz up
the turnaround
nice ideas

phrase

Term for a musical or verbal statement, expression of an idea.

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phrasing

Describes how a particular player articulates their phrase or ideas, part of a person's artistic signature.

artistic signature

piano and guitar

Musical instruments that represent the entire melodic and harmonic resource available from equal temper tuning.

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piano forte

Literally the ability of soft (piano) and (loud) pitch sounds that live in conventional pianos. This one additional ability to the existing keyboards of the day created a dramatic transition in Western music. This new instrument further encouraged composers to venture deeper into the key cycle eventually demanding the equal temperment tuning.

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letter names of the white piano keys and locating the two diatonic half steps B to C and E to F

piano tuning

Equal tempered tuning is a system of tuning whereby each of the 12 pitches are equally distributed within the octave, thereby rendering them equal to one another. And as applied to a full piano keyboard, this equality is extended over an aural range of seven octaves. Thus with equal temper tuning, all musical events are equally projectable from each of the 12 pitches of the chromatic scale, thus creating the full palette of musical colors enjoyed by the modern guitarist.

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piano tuning method and its math

Getting the strings of a piano up to tune is a snap these days. There are electronic tone generators that have the 'tuning 10th' pitches as presets. Cats push the buttons and twist the hammers. Once the 10th is done the rest of the pitches are found by octaves.

For many, the musical math that allows this process to happen is more than just fascinating, for the history associated with our tunings is woven in with the complete recorded history of our civilizations.

The 12th root of 2 becomes the multiplier for finding the 12 pitches of our octave.

From the base pitch A of our tuning 10th, vibrating at 220 cycle per second ...

A 220 multiplied by the 12th root of 2 (1.0594631) equals 233.081882 which is the frequency of Bb.

Bb / 233.081882 x 1.0594631 = ##### / B

Bb / 233.081882 x 1.0594631 = ##### / B

 

especially when the history of as qual tempered tuning is a system of tuning whereby each of the 12 pitches are equally distributed within the octave, thereby rendering them equal to one another. And as applied to a full piano keyboard, this equality is extended over an aural range of seven octaves. Thus with equal temper tuning, all musical events are equally projectable from each of the 12 pitches of the chromatic scale, thus creating the full palette of musical colors enjoyed by the modern guitarist.

civilization
12 root of 2
cycles per second
Western civilization

piano chord voicings

Equal tempered tuning is a system of tuning whereby each of the 12 pitches are equally distributed within the octave, thereby rendering them equal to one another. And as applied to a full piano keyboard, this equality is extended over an aural range of seven octaves. Thus with equal temper tuning, all musical events are equally projectable from each of the 12 pitches of the chromatic scale, thus creating the full palette of musical colors enjoyed by the modern guitarist.

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Picardy third

Using the major third in cadential motions in the minor tonality, usually the last chord of the piece.

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pick up note

One or more notes or chords used as an intro into a melody, verse etc.

wiki ~ anacrusis
melodies

pitches

Musical name for a specific musical note or sound designated by letter or number.

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pivot chord

A term used to describe the chord used to move from one key center to another, most often a dominant type chord which contains pitches of the key center the music is modulating towards.

key change
modulation
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plagal

Originally from the Greeks, who used this term to describe a "mode within a mode", in modern times often referring to a chord cadencing with the tonic and subdominant chords.

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plain chant

Plain chant

Monks of Fontgombault AbbeyRecreators of early plainchant style song with a bit of organ in the mix. Super examples of modal, monophonic music.

planing (plane - ing)

Describes moving one chord voicing by a consistant interval or pattern, i.e., half step, whole step / half step etc.

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pocket

More of a slang to describe when the groove and rhythm of a song is locked in among the players creating it. Also, commonly based on the 2 and 4 beats of the big four beat, cool grooves hang in the pocket :)

time
big four

polyphony

Two or more musically significant melodic ideas played simultaneously without chordal accompaniment.

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polytonality

The simultaneous sounding or use of more than one key center in composition or performance. In improvisation, generally associated with the stacking of major triads one atop another or moving major triads over a pedal tone, temporarily disguising our sense of key center.

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pop-ish

My term to describe the idea that in any of our musical styles, there's songs that lean towards pop music. Also often termed 'crossover', artists are simply taking the core elements of a style and adding pop style flourishes. One benefit of which might be acceptence of the song by a wider range of radio stations, thus more air play = more $. Top 10 melodies make nice paydays too :)

top 10
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popular / pop music

Term used to describe melodies that every listener of American music might recognize and perhaps hum the tune from memory, also famous players and established musical styles.

love songs
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portal

A portal can be viewed as a magical window of sorts that from its outward appearance gives no definitive hint of the true coolness that lies beyond.

the half diminished chord
the #15 arppegio

position

Usually for players of stringed instruments, position generally refers to the placement of the 1st finger (index) of the hand fretting the strings.

the 5 shapes
blues elevator
localized position

position shifting

Developing the ability to rapidly and accurately shift the index finger to the proper fret location, up and down ther fingerboard.

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post bop

In this work defined as; a rather brief period in jazz history that follows after bebop that mainly evolved bop's Two / Five cycling into a new cyclical pattern. Pioneered by John Coltrane, presented in his composition "Giant Steps", artists often refer to these cycles as "Coltrane changes." This harmony was the penultimate step of the evolution of Americana harmony into the 'free' jazz which was to follow in the early 60's.

bebop
Two / Five
John Coltrane
wiki ~ Coltrane changes
penultimate
free jazz

pour moi

French for "for me."

pour toi

French for "for you."

 

power chords

As the name describes, chunks of harmony that can energize the music. Also, creating chords from the root / 5th interval and running them through distortion and overdrive filters.

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power trio

A mostly rock configuration of bass, drums and guitars. Cream, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Double Trouble, Chili Peppers are popular rock power trios.

Cream
Jimi Hendrix
Double Trouble
Chili Peppers

pre-knuckle

My term to describe a concept that goes way back in the history of our evolution, from "knuckle-dragging."

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prime numbers

A number that it only divisible by one and itself.

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principle triads

The One, Four and Five triads / chords of the major and minor tonalities.

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proper

Just totally having a bit of fun here ... when articulated in speech with a bit of high brow knowing, 'proper' is mostly about theory 'rules' of the road; the proper way a thing is done. Most times this is about finding a diatonic source to find a solution, that is if there is one. We then add artistic liscense to this process, that allows and encourages us to break any theory rules when the situation neccessitates or the art demands.

essential theory

public

Used to describe music that we hear incidentally in public places, an elevator, the grocery store etc.

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pure legit theorists

The idea that there is a clearly historical and quantifyable evolution to our music theory of Western Civilization. Coupled with the idea that music outside of this tradition is not deemed serious. HA!

 

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purity of sounds

Our whole system of music theory is based on the purity of sound found with the octave interval of great renown. Of course our ears initially decided this with the help of historically later quantifyable mathematics, which simply reinforced what our ears told us was true in the first place, as theorists we base this purity on the degree of complexity of the numerical ratios that create the intervals of our music.

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Pythagoras

The ancient Greek scholar who is credited with organizing and recording in written form the core principles of the music theory of our pitches as we know them today, circa 500 BC or so. (Grout, p.5)

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Pythagorean comma

The error in pitch, slightly sharp, found when closing the cycle of fifth's when created by using the ratio of 3:2 in tuning the 12 pitches of the chromatic scale. This is corrected by the equal temper tuning method.

Pythagoras
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Pythagorean tuning

A system of tuning whereby all of the pitches are created by using the interval of a perfect fifth, the ratio of 3:2.

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quarter note

Rhythmic designation of one beat in 4 / 4 time.

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quartile melody and harmony

Refers to melodic motion and chordal harmony created with intervals of the perfect fourth. Distinct from our tertian building of chords of major and minor 3rd's, quartile chords stack fourths; both the diatonic fourths within a key center and staright perfect fourths. As our most common arpeggios and harmony is built in thirds, termed tertian harmony, quartile sounds are fresh. We do combine the two; various triads supporting stacked fourths.

quote

Generally means to play part of the melody of one song in another.

quotable melodies

radio dial

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range

Describes the available pitches, from the lowest to the highest pitches, on any given instrument.

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ratio

A numerical depiction that describes quantities relative to each other i.e., 2:1 octave, 3:2 perfect 5th etc.

wiki ~ ratios
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realization

I believe this term originally refers to the thorough bass of the Baroque keyboard cats of the 17th century. As the music evolved on the newly emerging keyboard instruments, the music was written in such a way as to use numbers underneath the staff / bass pitch that the player would 'realize' in creating the harmony, the numbers being representative of the intervals of pitches above the root to create the chords. Here in this Essentials text, the term generally implies any actual music created from lettered or numbered musical symbols, for example, what we think and actually play when they see a G 7 or V7 chord symbol.

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real book

Collection of published songs, also called "fake" books.

 

fake book
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real time

Refers to "as it is happening."

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registration

Refers to the pitch range of a particular instrument. Also register.

wiki ~ register music

reharmonization

Working out a new set of chord changes for a melody.

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relative major / minor scale

One group of pitches that creates two tonalities based on their intervalic formula i.e., C major / A natural minor. There are 12 different major keys, 12 different minor keys, all created from two distinct shapings of the same intervalic formula, so 24 possible tonal centers.

diatonc
key centers
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relative minor

The minor tonality balance as found within the diatonic major scale, sharing identical key signatures thus pitches.

diatonic
key signature

 

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Renaissance

The minor tonality balance as found within the major scale, sharing identical key signatures thus pitches.

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repeat sign

Staff notation mark that repeats us back to to a former point in the music.

notation

resolve

To release musical tension.

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retard

Retard, French for a gradually slowing of the pace and tempo of the music.

Western civilization

retrograde

Implies a reverse or backward motion.

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rhythm changes

A set of stock chord changes used for writing tunes such as "I Got Rhythm and "Oleo."

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rhythm loops

These are kind of the big thing nowadays, as folks generally just call them beats. There's advertisements for cats who'll create beats for your raps. They form the rhythm motor for the contempoary hip hop and rap music.

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ride

Slang for soloing, to take a ride, to improvise musical dialogue in real time.

 

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ride time

Slang for the amount of time a player gets to solo / improvise within a performing group.

improv

riff

Slang for a short musical phrase.
ditty
hook

rig

Our 'rig' is whatever it takes to produce the musical sounds we're hearing. So for us guitar players, everything from say a beater nylon string acoustic to a synth guitar setup that through a p.a. can sound like string sections and pipe organs. Pro players often end up with a lot of gear as they get hired to cover and create the myriad of different guitar sounds in our musical fabric of today. The 'rig' becomes the gear they take to the gig to get the sound they hired on for. Thus the oft included caveat in the musical want ads of having ... 'pro gear and wheels.' The cat has the means to make the sounds and the wearwithal to get it there too :)

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ritard

Slowing down the pace of the music for dramatic effect, often found at the end of performing a song.

 

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right on it

Slang for starting a song directly with the melody, i.e., no introduction.

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( between a ) rock and a hard place

Just an old cliche used here to describe some of the intellectual rub I struggle with in discussing the theory and the music while not trying to ding anyone in regards to what is most important artistically to them :)

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rocketship

This is just a reference to a humorous, fictional story that theorist wizard Dr. George Russell cooked up in his modern musical treatise titled the Lydian Chromatic Concep Of Tonal Orgainzation. Mr. Russell writes an endearing story describing some of our tenor saxophone heros as they modulate key centers, which in the story are towns along the Mississippi River. Mr. Russell uses a steamer, running the local route that stops at each town. There's also an express steamer that stops only at the large towns along the river.

Then the story describes Mr. Coltrane, who in a rocket ship, who not only visits every town, small and large, but once picking up the key center pitches, can ascend limitless, melodic heights before returning to the next town along the way.

Really the V7 logo on Trane's ship is just the stuff of legends of course but the V7 chord itself was surely a transport of choice for Mr. Coltrane's explorations. Mr. Russell's work was a sure fit piece of the puzzle for my early work in developing the #15 system of pitches.

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George Russel
Lydian Chromatic Concept
Coleman Hawkins
Lester Young
John Coltrane
how Trane got there

Sharp (#) 15

how Trane got there

Rodney

Pun intended :), Rodney was a fictional planet invented wayback when we we're kids. In later years we used it to describe 'outside' musical sounds, music a valence or two beyond the diatonic sphere of things.

roll

Term used to describe a definite picking pattern on a stringed instrument, often associated with the banjo, i.e., a banjo roll, perhaps the earliest of the popular American stringed instruments, also a series of drum strokes.

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Roman numerals

Symbols used by theorists to denote a particular chord's location within a key center, based on the scale degrees of the tonic scale, upper case ( IV ) denoting major sounds, lower case ( iv ), the minor colors. In more advanced harmonic motions beyond the diatonic realm, these symbols are paired with the idea of chord type, categories of chords that streamline the theory and its learning process.

key center
scale degree
major / minor
colors
colors
chord type

root

The term root mostly is used to identify the fundamental pitch of a chord, used in naming the chord, i.e., C is the root pitch of a C major chord. We'll also generally apply the term to scales, arpeggios, keys etc.

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root motion

Term used to describe the fundamental pitches of chord progressions.

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root position

Simply a chord whose identifying pitch is the root or lowest pitch of the chord. From this point we create a further variety with chord inversions. Dr. Miller would always say ... 'if you think from the root of the chord ol' boy you'll never get lost.'

inversions

rote learning

This learning method is based on simple repetition of the materials to be learned. We simply repeat the process as many times as necessary to retain the info. Along the way we label up the component parts. They're just handier with a name. We rote memorize the names as words and create discussion.

Learning things by rote is the old fashioned way from another era really, and once the dues are paid in the learning, we usually get to keep it all forever. Here in theoryville Essentials there's at least five things to rote learn, which when combined together create an intellectual architecture to build upon forevermore.

rote master

The crash course for the theory becomes simply a rote memorization of three things. The trick to success is also in three parts; to rote learn their symbols, their sound and location on a musical instrument.

1) Letter symbols for musical notes located on your fretboard. There are 12 to rote know.

2) Letter and numeric symbols for chords. There are three to rote know.

3) American big four time. One rhythm symbol and a loop counting to four .

letter names / pitches
chord type
loop counting

rubato

From Italian generally meaning to 'rob', rubato is the displacement of musical time within a given tempo to accommodate interpretive phrasing. Commonly found in the last few measures of the performance of a song and is often conducted through gesture by the leader of the group.

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running

Slang term for executing a musical idea through various sorts of filters, sequences, chord changes i.e., "running the changes."

rush

"To rush", playing faster than the tempo being employed, accelerating the existing tempo.

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sacrifice

Or pay some dues and play the blues ... actually the term sacrifice here is about purity of pitch and how when we equal temper tune our pitches to enable the anything from anywhere, some would say we sacrifice the natural beauty of the intervals, especially the major 3rd, to achieve this 12 tone ability. This simple arguement raged in Europe during the 1600's and forward as the sciences, which creates equal temper tuning, were debated as part of the everyday and spiritual life of Europeans of the day.

blues
equal temper tuning
major 3rd
Western civilization

samba

Latin flavored dance groove, super popular for the jazzers from the early 80's onward, became the staple of the 'new age' jazz, often with a 'two beat' pulse, or said to be 'in two', as happening a groove there ever was as advanced players in this style can make the barlines simply go away.
time
rhythm
no bar lines

scales

The groups of selected pitches from which we create our melodic and harmonic ideas.

groups of pitches
melody
harmony
modes

scale degree

Putting a numerical label on pitches within a scale in relation to a tonic pitch. In this work we capitolize the letter used with a written number to designate its scale degree. This capitalization of written numbers applies to chords also. Upper and lower case Roman numerals define the major / minor triad within any given chord in relation to their scale degrees.

scale degree theory names

Each of our diatonic scale degrees of the major / relative minor groupings have academic theory names. The following table created from the Ottman book cited here.

Ottman, Robert. Elementary Harmony, Second Edition, p.5. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1970.

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scale degree
major key
scale degree
minor key
1
tonic
1
tonic
2
supertonic
2
supertonic
3
mediant
3
mediant
4
subdominant
4
subdominant
5
dominant
5
dominant
6
submediant
6
submediant
7
leading tone
#6
raised submediant
 
b7
subtonic
#7
leading tone

#6 / #7 imply raising the diatonic minor pitch by half step

scale formula (s)

A term we use to describe the intervals, mostly whole steps and half steps, used to create our groups of pitches from which we create our melodic ideas. In the formulas, intervals are designated by the fraction 1/2 for a half step or one fret or the number 1 for a whole step of two frets, wider intervals are designated by their intervals from the root pitch of the scale under consideration. The following chart lists our common melodic scale resources and their interval or scale formulas.

intervals
groups of pitches
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Ionian mode / diatonic major scale

1
1
1/2
1
1
1
1/2

Dorian

1
1/2
1
1
1
1/2
1

Phyrgian

1/2
1
1
1
1/2
1
1

Locrian

1
1
1
1/2
1
1
1/2

Mixolydian

1
1
1/2
1
1
1/2
1

Aeolian / diatonic natural minor scale

1
1/2
1
1
1/2
1
1

Locrian

1/2
1
1
1/2
1
1
1
( this one chart's theory is probably worth the price of admission here :)
harmonic minor
1
1/2
1
1
1/2
1+1/2
1 / 2
melodic minor
1
1/2
1
1
1
1
1/2
harmonic major
1
1
1/2
1
1/2
1+1/2
1/2
augmented ~ whole tone
1
1
1
1
1
1
.
diminished ~ minor 3rd
1
1/2
1
1/2
1
1/2
1
1/2
altered dominant / combines diminshed with whole tone
1
1/2
1
1/2
1
1
1
Klezmer/ fifth mode of harmonic minor group
1/2
1+1/2
1/2
1
1/2
1
1
               
               
               
               

scale syllabus

C pentatonic major scale
             
diatonic major scale / Ionian mode              
C Dorian              
C Phrygian              
C Lydian              
C Mixolydian              
C Aeolian              
C Locrian              
C whole tone scale              
C pentatonic minor scale              
C Blues              
C natural minor              
C harmonic minor              
C melodic minor              
C diminished              
C altered              
C Klezmer minor              
C chromatic scale              

scale length

A stringed instrument's scale length is the distance from the nut; usually a bone or plastic type string guide located at the base of the headstock, to the bridge; usually located below where the strumming or picking hand works its magic.

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scale shapes

A stringed instrument's scale length is the distance from the nut; usually a bone or plastic type string guide located at the base of the headstock, to the bridge; usually located below where the strumming or picking hand works its magic.

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scat

Simply a slang term for the vocalization of our musical phrases. Many jazz singers scat sing improvised musical lines in the tradition of the horns, guitar etc. Some scat sing and play their guitar lines together. Guitarist george benson is such an artist. "Sing the line ... play the line." I've heard that many time over the years from top artists. The idea simply to internalize the musical phrase then find it on our gits. Also, a proven way to help your guitar lines to swing is by getting your scat vocal lines to swing.

searching

The musical jazz hero of my generation is John Coltrane and the adjective used to describe his approach and process to his art was that of 'searching.' The idea that an artist will, over the course of their careers, continue to examine their work and their resources to find new combinations of existing elements to not only better express their ideas but to also increase the creative challenge in their work.

second ending

The idea of a second ending in our musics is a way to extend our musical forms and a handy way to notate music back before 'cut and paste' was a couple of mouse clicks. Here's an example of the '1 ~ 2' common bracketing notation in written music. There's no sound file for this music here but the full score is included.

second inversion

A chord voicing where the lowest pitch of the chord voicing is fifth chord degree of the triad, i.e., C / G.

Root position triad = C E G

First inversion = E G C

Second inversion = G C E etc.

chord voicings

secondary dominant chord

Creating a dominant chordal color on a scale degree other than Five in the major tonality, when one dominant chord precedes another, i.e., D 7 to G 7 etc.

Back in the day, when the Sears Roebuck catalogue was the mail order king, composers and players coined the phrase of a 'Sears Roebuck' bridge. Basically a cycle of dominant chords moving by perfect fourth. For example for a tune written in Bb, the 'Sears' eight bar bridgeof the harmonies such as D7 / G7 / C7 / F7 would not uncommon.

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Segovia, Andres

The diatonic major and minor scale study book by Andres Segovia.

Andre Segovia
classical guitar
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segue (segway)

A compositional component that is used to smoothly connect sections within arrangements or one song with another, creating a continuous flow of the music.

connect sections
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seminar part one

what is music to you / make a listwhat is

what does music mean to you / make a list

then just connect them up

time / evo swing

scale / arpeggio / chord

learning tunes

composing

questions

order
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seminar part two / guitar and bass method

what is music to you / make a listwhat is

what does music mean to you / make a list

then just connect them up

time / evo swing

scale / arpeggio / chord

learning tunes

composing

questions

order
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sequence

An ordered series of events.

order
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serialist

A method of musical composition whereby the parent scale is created from all of the 12 pitches and can be modulated to any of the tonal centers of the chromatic scale, often termed 12 tone composition.

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set

In math and music :), a set of elements is a way to define the limits of its components. For we music theory scientists, our 'set' is the 12 pitches of the chromatic scale. And from this 'set of 12' we then 'group' up our variously numbered musical components; pentatonic, diatonic, blues and modal scales, the blue notes, triads etc.

math and music
12 pitches
groups

set list

The list of songs, usually in order, that a band is to perform. Organizes a program for performance. Helps in organizing a variety of musical styles into one show.

seven

# of days in the week ? # of pitches in acient the diatonic scale? Right, 7. # of pitches in the modes? Seven. # of pitches in the relative major / natural minor scale? Seven. The number of diatonic triads in a key center? yep, 7. The leading tone 'traffic cop' pitch pitch is on Seven yes? Sure is, so the age old natural magics of all things seven includes much in our music and its theories.

traffic cop
wiki ~ Seven

seventh chord

Generally implies a chord containing a triad and seventh chord degree, major, dominant, minor, augmented or diminished.

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shake loose

Inspired here by KB, simply an Alaskan slang term that describes what might come to mind as we shed through our choosen music while knowing its theoretical basis. As we pan through the library and discover the nuggets, we theorists can then begin the filtering process transforming the often raw nuggets into the beautiful art that we alone have discovered, transformed and shared with everyone.

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wiki ~ Shakespeare

The bard of the ages wrote in a form of verse called iambic pentameter, a rhythm of words and phrases that simply uses an unaccented and accented pulse on alternating words ... and if this sounds like one of our couplings of American 8th notes, with the accent on the offbeat, then let the swing begin :) Counted like this:

1& 2& 3& 4& / 1& ... 2 3 4 / repeat

now adding some lyrics lifted from the bard himself ...

'to be or not to be is how we roll ... 2 3 4'

'to be or not to be is how we roll ... 2 3 4'

'to be or not to be is how we roll ... 2 3 4'

wiki ~ Shakespeare
wiki ~ iambic pentameter
8th notes
swing

shape

In this text a slang term used to describe a chord voicing as created on a guitar or other chordal stringed instrument.

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sharp

In tuning, to create a sound slightly above the desired pitch. In notation, the # symbol to raise the written pitch by half step. These are the nearly always one of the black keys on the piano keyboard.

tuning
notation

shedding

Slang for practicing; push the buttons, shed, chop shop, woodshed etc.

sheets of sound

Originally a way of describing term the physical effect upon the listener created by hearing rapidly articulated arpeggios, as first originated by John Coltrane during the 60's.

arpeggios
John Coltrane
60's
Western civilization

"Shine A Light"

shout chorus

Usually the last chorus of a song being performed whereby all of the players involved turn the passion of their part up a notch or two, i.e., to shout. Common in the blues and Dixieland styles.

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shred

Slang for the sound of tearing up steel, associated with the various types of overdrive / distortion sounds for guitar.

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shuffle

Slang for a blues groove usually in 12 / 8, using a triplet feel to motor the basic groove.
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sideman

Sideman industry slang for accompanying member of a musical group.

accompany
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sightreading

Reading standard music notation.

accompany
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silent architecture

A term of mine that describes the pitch organization and funtionality of the Pythagorean cycle of 5th's filtered through equal temper tuning.

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simple intervals

Those intervals found within the span of one octave.

the octave
interval
steps
# of frets
inversion
common symbols
perfect unison
-
-
-
-
minor second
one half step
one fret
major 7th
b2
major second
one whole step
two frets
minor 7th
maj 2 / ii
minor third
three half steps
three frets
major 6th
b3 / -3 / min 3
major third
two whole steps
four frets
minor 6th
3 / iii
perfect fourth
five half steps
five frets
perfect 5th
per. 4 / IV
augmented fourth
three whole steps
six frets
diminished 5th
#4
diminished fifth
six half steps
six frets
augmented 4th
b5
perfect fifth
seven half step
seven frets
perfect 4th
per. 5 / V
augmented fifth
four whole steps
eight frets
augmented 4th
#5
minor sixth
eight half steps
eight frets
major 3rd
b6 / -6 / min 6
major sixth
9 half steps
nine frets
minor 3rd
6 / vi
minor seventh
5 whole steps
ten frets
major 2nd
b7 / -7 / min 7
major 7th
11 half steps
11 frets
minor 2nd
maj 7 / vii
octave
six whole steps
12 frets
octave
8 / VIII

simplicity

This is a theory term in this work that correlates to the number of pitches in any musical component. For example; the more pitches in one chord, the more complex 'in theory' that chord is said to be.

music and math
by the numbers
musical styles
core philosophy

single

Slang for working a gig as a solo performer.

Also one song released on its very own.

perform solo
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single note lines

Perhaps more of just a fancy term to describe melody lines created by individual pitches strung together. We use this term to dilineate from the chord melody and octave styled lines.

chord melody
octaves
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sitting in

Bringing your instrument to a musical performance or jamm session and playing with the band.

 

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sleeker

Sleeker is usually faster and in music that means basically two or three things to make it go faster or sound like the music is going faster; has more energy and intent towards one certain event or component. The basic forward motion of the music? Yep.

Most times making music sleeker has to do with tightening up the spaces between the pitches thus we're thinking in more by half step intervals, i.e., chromatic? Exactly. Subbing Two for Four is a proximity to One. Passing diminished chords on #Two and #Three fill in between the steps of the diatonic scale.

forward motion
half step
chromatic
Two
Four
One
passing diminished
#Two
#Three
diatonic scale

slide

A glissando. Creating a smooth motion between pitches, the sound of which includes the pitches in between, also usually a glass or metal bar device used by guitar players on the strings to achieve this effect, a favorite of blues players. Author's slide. This is a rather heavy piece of glass. Slides can be made of anything that will slide along on the strings and let em' ring out.

glissando
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softening / softer

My slang for the gradual obscuring of a musical color and its tonal direction by the addition of various color tones. In a visualization of this, view the fine art paintings from the Impressionist era of the 1850's and forward. For those who need to dig deeper, just explore the evolution of fine art paintings from 1800 to 1900 with an eye towards the colors and the representation of the subject matter in the picture.

tonal gravity
aural predictability
evolution of style

softening process

In this text applies to the lightening of color from the darker diminished color towards the pentatonic, and all points in between.

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soloing

Implies one musical voice playing or creating the melody.

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sonority

A clarity of resonance in chords, where each pitch within the chord is clearly distinguishable

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the sound and the theory

A play on words here for sure but simply the idea that certain theory components need the right kind of sound to make them work. The best example just might be the open 5th chords of rockin' metalists overdrive, without which the chords sound a bit thin in spots. A bit of reverb for the blues cat, acoustic players and vocalist is usually in order. The stereo reverb, chorus and delay combinations for the modernist etc.

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spectrum of musical styles and resources

Simply the idea that our musical resources can be displayed in an array or linear format ranked by their theoretical complexity and by their use in the general styles of American music.

musical resources
linear
complexity
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spell

Of all the basics in our studies of music, so much of the learning goes back to spelling the letters. Just like with words, we as theorists want to be able to spell out the letter names of the pitches in our musical components. While it's pretty vast at first, there's a few shortcuts, that once rote learned, make the spelling of scales, arpeggios and chords a snap.

spelling chords

Total game changer for the evolving theorist and improviser. Luckily there's an easy method set in stone. This pic is from a friend who studied with Jackie McClain in the 70's. 'Spell the chords' with your horn was a way to shed one's improv. In Jackie's own hand ... :)

Chord spelling chart in C major.

wiki ~ Jackie McClain
 
scale # degrees
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
C major scale
C
D
E
F
G
A
B
C
arpeggio # degrees
1
3
5
7
9
11
13
15
C major arpeggio
C
E
G
B
D
F
A
C
chord # / quality
Imaj7
ii-7
iii-7
IVmaj7
V7
vi-7
vii-7
VIII
diatonic 7th chords
CEGB
DFAC
EGBD
FACE
GBDF
ACEG
BDFA
CEGB

square roots of numbers

In dividing the octave in 12 equal parts, the way we create equal temper tuning, is created by using the mathematics of the square roots of numbers.

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staccato

Italian for detached, refers to a style of melodic phrasing whereby each of the pitches is separate from one anther.

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stacked

Slang for using some sort of rig where the comonents are stacked one atop another i.e., a Marshall stack, Hiwatt, Fender, Mesa Boogie etc.

Marshall
Hiwatt
Fender
Mesa Boogie

staff

Template of lines and spaces for notating music.

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stand

Slang for bandstand, stage etc.

essential theory
essential theory

standard

A 'standard' in our collection of music usually implies a song that has withstood the test of time through the ages and remains a living song as each new generation of listeners comes along. For players, these songs are the ones often requested at work and the ones folks just know and enjoy the best. For us theorists, there's usually something 'theory unique' in the tune, apart from being popular, that we can identify, understand and add to our skills as players and composers.

Saints

Swing Low
Sloop John B
towiki ~ 100 tunes

standard tuning

Refers to centering all pitches from the 440 A, also refers to the conventional way to tune a guitar, E,A,D,G,B,E, or violin, G,D,A,E, bass E,A,D,G etc.

tuning
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stanza

A regulary repeated metrical division of a song or poem, also know as a verse in a song.

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start your E chord

From racing cars of course but musically from lead singer John Gaines, who fronted the top 40 band of my friends called "Fast Tracks." They did this huge thing when there was a birthday in the house. On John's command of "Gentlemen, start your E chord", which for the guitar players was the open E major through various devices, keys with a B-3 patch, all through a giant p.a., John would then commence to host, roast and then toast the lucky birthday girl or boy, of course followed up by the whole club singing the classic. Huge fun for everyone.

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static

"Unmoving", in music, often used in describe a harmonic situation where one chord is used for extended periods of time, i.e., "static harmony."

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stepwise

Consecutive melodic / harmonic ascending or descending motion using the pitches of a select melodic grouping of pitches, i.e., scale.

 

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stoptime

Usually an alternating between short bursts of music and silence, as in early rock or between choruses / soloists in traditional up tempo jazz arrangements.

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storyline

In this text used to describe the spiritual content and emotional environment of a song.

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straight ahead jazz

The idea of a 'straight ahead' style and its sound in Americana jazz might be summed up by the word 'mainstream' as it applies to the jazz music up through to the late 1950's or so. For in each era and generation of artists there's a 'straight ahead' sound that embodies a sort of outwardly conservative presentation that keeps cats working $.

The suggested link to the 1957 "Milestones" album is this author's fave that is a few mouse clicks away to listen to for most computors. Dexter Gordon's 1982 album "Gotham City", while looser in many ways than the aforemetioned, is as straight ahead and mainstream in tradition yet created decades later, thus a sort of 'jazz voice from the past showing an original pathway' in lieu of the dramatic new chromaticism of the early 1960's that veered us from the diatonic Americana of the past 100 years or so.

Career players of any style should find and absorb these recordings in heart. For all of our Americana musical colors are in full display with a rhythm of swing as wide wide joy as it may ever get. Well ... :)

towiki ~ Miles Davis / "Milestones"

towiki ~ Dexter Gordon / "Gotham City"

stretch out

Extended soloing.

soloing
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strength of player

Slang to describes a players ability to build and manage musical tension.

players ability
musical tension
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strophic

Perhaps the simplest song form, one reoccurring section of music is used to support one or more verses, many childrens songs are created in this form.

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style / evolution

Simply the idea that we can theoretically create a parallel perspective comparing our musical styles with the pitches that we generally use in creating a style. The range is five pitches for children's songs and folk ideas through to the 12 tones of jazz. That by the gradual adding or subtracting of pitches from their core groups, we can stylistically influence the overall sound of the music. So by sheer number of pitches used to create melodies, the following style sequence emerges; folk, blues, rock, pop and jazz. Author's note: please be flexible here in regards to labeling styles and look for the combinations of these core five that theoretically create the genre you love.

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subdivision

Common term used to describe the division of a musical beat or pulse into smaller units. In this following graphic we subdivide our note values in common 4/4 time. The big 4? Yep, the big 4. The original marching time for the Americana parade in New Orleans..

time
the big 4
New Orleans

 

subdominant

The diatonic fourth scale degree of the major / relative minor groups of pitches, harmony built on the fourth scale degree.

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substitution

Simply replacing one musical component with another. In jazz, we use subsitution to create variety and evolve the music. I'm a great believer in the role of boredom in the advancement of American music. Cats just get tired of the same old same old at work. I know I often did. So things naturally evolve and oftentimes these evolutions simply are devised to create greater improvisational challenges. Trane's advancement into the double Two / Five motion in his earlier "Moment's Notice" days is my best example of this idea of 'relieving the tedium through greater artistic challenge.' And in this case cited, a super clear evolution of the theory to follow to fully understand its process.
evolve the music
improv
John Coltrane
a double 2-5
a super clear evolution

suggested melodies

While there a oftentimes many songs to illustrate a musical component, when one comes to mind it is suggested. These suggested melodies form the list of 25 supplemental melodies that are optionally purchased as mp3 download file.

Music form / 'I feel Free.' The Doors.

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super nova

Describes game changer things that re-arrange the theory planets :)

two pitch tritone
2 and 4
spelling chords
#15

suspension

Generally describes melodic motion of non-chord tones resolving by diatonic step to chord tones

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sussing out

An Alaskan slang term meaning to figure something out by one's own effort.

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swing

Swing. The term swing is many things in American music; it describes a particular style / era of jazz music from the 30's, it is a slang term implying a rhythmically powerful music of any style, i.e., swings hard, it is an elusive rhythmic concept based on rubbing one rhythmic feel against another, creating boundless joyous dance grooves, good vibes and big smiles.

Here in Essentials Theoryville, all of the American musical styles can swing and of course often do. And while the term is not applied to somes styles such as folk or rock or even pop for that matter, nine times out of ten if we dig the tune chances are there is a bit of swing in there somewhere. All that swing is is a bit of stretching the time against the 2 and 4 of the groove. Even if it is subtle, the magic of the swing helps to lighten things up and motor things along a we bit more merrily.

For example, most all of the country music has a nip of Texas Swing somewhere in there. Early rockers the Allman Brothers drove their grooves hard on 2 and 4 and clearly there are times when there's just no stopping the momentum of the swing in their music. In pop music, there's a ton of swing in the Beatle's grooves, all through their catalogue. On and on and on as the saying often goes ... :)

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symmetrical / scales and chord structures

Really any grouping of pitches based on a perfectly repeating intervalic formula. For example, the chromatic scale is consecutive half steps. The augmented scale is made up of just the whole tone interval and its triad two major third intervals. Diminshed is whole step / half step repeated and a fully diminished 7th chord is created with the minor third interval.

whole tone augmented
minor 3rd diminished
diminished 7th chord
quartile harmony
#15

syntonic comma

A small interval between musical pitches used to correct the imperfection of tuning systems.

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tacet

Latin for silent.

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tag

Slang for cliche ending of song, to tag, add a repeated harmonic / melodic cycle to extend the performance of a song.

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taking it out

Slang term used to describe the moving of a musical idea from inside ( diatonic ) to outside ( non-diatonic), also used to describe the ending of a song during performance.

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target chord

Term for the the final destination of a series of chords or chord progression, i.e., the target chord of the Two / Five / One chord progression is the One chord.

chord progression
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tear it up

Slang for when players aggressively approach the music.

 

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techno

A modern way of making music from synthesized sounds which are looped together, there are a few subgenera within this style, most all of which are associated with dance.

synthesized
looping
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teenager in love

Changes slang for the common harmonic motion of 1 / 6 / 4 / 5 in the major tonality, after the pop hit of the same title from the 50's. Could easily be ( 1 / 6 / 2 / 5 ) also.

wiki ~ "A Teenager In Love"

tele's (old ) tele twang that crisp and biting tone that comes from working the back pickup and picking near the bridge.

wiki ~ Fender Telecaster

tempered tuning

Pitch adjustments associated with the equal tempered system of tonal organization.

equal temper
pitch adjustments
tonal organization
Western civilization

Temperment

Isacoff, Stuart. "Temperament ... The idea that solved music's greatest riddle." U.S.A. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 2001..

Stuart Isacoff

tempo

The pulse rate of the music, the rate at which the musical sounds move through time, i.e., faster tempos are often termed brighter while slower tempos more towards a ballad etc.

pulse / rate
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tempo markings

temporary modulation

The idea of a temporary modulation implies a short term move to a new key center. We term this without any real definition of length of bars etc. Chances are we're not moving into a new section of the form of the song in a new key, but creating a solid cadential motion to get to the new key. In doing so, we gain the potential to bring the various aspects of the chosen cadential motion to the realization of the modulation. This opens up a wide range of options in composing and in creating improvised lines through the changes.

pulse / rate
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tension / release

That magical energy dynamic that helps well crafted musical art to generate its own momentum by the way the notes and their rhythm are all knitted together. We build tension with sound various ways; with pitches, arpeggios, chords and rhythms then release the tension when the resolution is sounded.

tensions

Artistic energy that seeks release, also the upper structure chord tones, i.e. 7, 9, 11, 13, #15 and their alterations.

tertian

Refers to harmony (chords) constructed in major and minor thirds. This chord construction has been the predominant method ever since we've had the various keyboard instruments. And probably even before, although the writing style was not quite so vertical as with the advent of equal temper tuning.
harmony
keyboards
polyphonic music
homophonic music
equal temper tuning

testimony

The sharing of thus cleansing of one's musical soul through impassioned performance, sometimes a 'blistering' performance that beholders remember for their whole lifetimes.
blue notes

Tetra chords. Originally from the ancient Greeks, tetrachords are thought to be descending groups of pitches with the half step at the bottom thus

E D C B ~ A G F E

In today's interpretation, we generally use the term to describe any group of four pitches within a scale, of any interval combinations in either direction, here in an ascending fashion, example 4a.

From H.B.D. p. 299.
first tetra chord
second tetra chord
C
D
E
F
G
A
B
C
1/2 step
1/2 step ~ leading tone

We can mix and match these critters creating new tetrachord combinations combined into unique scale groupings. From this we can diatonically generate, or not as the case may be, arpeggios and chords and compose new works. In composing, I'd imagine we could use one, two or any number of tetrachords to create new resources for our work. We'll examine these tetrachords again further into this discussion.

text

Tonal resources for the creative musician © is a music theory text that helps expand the readers vocabulary of musical terms providing a greater awareness and understanding of the musical resources used to create American music.

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theatre masks

Representing the joy and sadness of our major / minor diatonic pairing.

theme and variations

A compositional style whereby the stated theme of a song is further developed through improvisation by creating variations of the original idea. In jazz performance, this historically is a basic element of the art form which happens in realtime. The spontaneity often being the energy which drives things forward.

theory / style dynamic

This text is based on the premise that we can parallel an increasing complexity of music theory with a corresponding evolving complexity in the American musical styles we love. Thus the flip side of this premise may also be postulated, that the various styles of American music can be similarily examined for complexity and located somewhere along the music theory / musical style continuum which we create as the backbone this text. The benefit of this perspective is creating the modern guitarist, who learns and understands not only the theory of our musical elements but how they become the key components of the various American musical styles.

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the third

The third above the root is the center of the three note triad styled building of our tonic centered music. We've two varieties; minor and major, which determine the minor or major emotional character of songs, keys, scales, arpeggios, chords, chord type. Really whatever we have resource wise that is of this major / minor duality, the 3rd above the root is the decider pitch. And it's as simple as that thank you very much.

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third and seventh

The two pitches within a seventh chord that determines chord quality.

chord quality
chord type
1 pitch tritone
2 pitch tritone

third degree

The pitch that determines whether a scale or triad is major or minor.

major / minor
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three times and out

This is a very common way to end the arrangement of a song during performance. Very common in blues and jazz. We simply repeat a part of the last phrase of a song three times to end the live performance of the song.

arrangements while you wait

third inversion

A chord voicing where the lowest pitch of the chord is seventh chord degree, i.e., C / B.

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timbre

Term to describe the various hues of musical colors, musical instruments, sound quality etc.

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time signature

Numerical fraction describing the rhythmic groove of a musical composition.

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tonal

As pertains to sound, audible sound, things we can hear.
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tonal center

A resting point in the music, often used to describe the key center or current key center in multi-key composition. The appearences of tonal centers throughout a piece of music most often become the resting points that we can feel as the story unfolds and also have a of sense coming up as tension builds and is released in the crafting of the music.

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tonal environment

My term for the overall feel and color created by a piece of music. Major key, minor key, bluesy, swing, bossa, straight ahead, country etc.

musical styles

tonal function (ality)

How musical elements function within a tonal gravitational environment, the ability for all pitches to properly function musically due to the proper intonation of equal temper.

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tonal resources

The "nuts and bolts" of our music. Pitches, scales, chords, drums, the theoretical systems etc.
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tonal gravity / location location location and proximity to the tonic

The force in music created when one pitch is designated as the center of the music, the tonal force used to create and release artistic tension in the music. Behold a circle rainbow chakra themed color look at the seven diatonic valences of tonal gravity.

As musicians, we can initially measure tonal gravity with the numerical musical intervals. We use this bit of math to get started and then our muse kicks in. Eventually all that becomes rote memorized and our own musical journey begins anew.

rainbow chakra
seven diatonic
music and math
measure / intervals
muse
rote memory

tonal resources

This sort of dialogue in the discussions is really for hip cats who simply do not have a big picture of the theory mumbo jumbo. And that when they reach a high enough vista to see the lay of the land, mumbo jumbo lane merges into the 'golden road of unlimited devotion' ... thanks man.

Dennid DeBlasio
the solution
thanks man

tonal stability

the degree to which any given chord color creates the aural sensation of being at rest, oftentimes created by tonic function chords.

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tone row

Generally implies using all 12 pitches of the chromatic scale to create the parent scale for composing music.
wiki ~ atonality
serial music
12 tone

tonic

the tonic pitch

A theoretical name for the first degree of any scale or chord that is the predominant key of a given piece of music, usually determined by the key signature i.e., the tonic of a 'blues tune in A' is A.

The chosen one center pitch of a tune, song, melody, riff or lick, composition, key center, scale, arpeggio or chord around which all other eleven pitches orbit :)

One
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tonic base

As used here in this work, our tonic base or basis describes the emotional character of our song. Easily defined as say major or minor, our tonic base could be modal, polytonal or beyond. Defined by a combination of pitches, bass notes and chords, all of America's popular music styles are written with this sense of tonic base. Music outside of this popular zone is often termed, free, experimental or modern.

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tonic (function) chord / tonic harmony

A theoretical name for the chord built on the first degree of any scale or mode. Also a chord that can function as the tonal center in a musical composition.

tonality

A rather handy and malleable term; used to describe various theoretical aspects of our musical components, our tonic centered compositional styles and systems of tonal organization, also commonly used to describe; the overall key of a piece of music such as C major, the overall musical effect or quality of a particular musical idea, i.e., major / minor / dominant seventh etc., equal tempered versus modal systems, tonal versus atonal etc. Loyalty to the tonic :)
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top

Slang for the beginning of a new chorus, the first measure in a song, the beginning.

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top 40

top 10

#1

$

fill the dancefloor

Top 40. The current listing of the 40 most popular songs in America at any given second. If you've written a tune on the top 40 there's a chance it'll move up. See below.

Top 10. Are the top ten songs of the top 40. You're getting ready to land.

#1 is the top song of the top 10. If your song goes #1 you've landed and if your 'legal' is cool, mailbox money for awhile.

$. For those in the business and the know, there's a lot of longterm loot created in all these songs. Be sure to copywrite your ideas. Now a days an iPhone to record and $ to pay for the registration is all it takes to secure your work for 75 years as YOURS :)

Fill the dance floor. Surely a ton of fun for everyone and in the business of music, there's supposed to be a ton of work for players when their band can fill a dancefloor. It's that age old combination that brings folks together for all kinds of coolness. Hope that always stays true for you and for generations to come.

wiki ~ top 40
mailbox money

trading fours

Slang term for an arranging technique whereby improvising musicians each successively take turns of four bars to create an idea. Often done with the drummer, the soloist takes 4 bars, then solo drums for 4 bars, a repeated pattern following the form of the tune.

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traditional harmony

Term used to describe a perspective of the theory as derived from classical literature, i.e., the European masters of equal temperament.

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traffic cop

A visualization. In Theoryville, USA, we need a 'something' to direct where we are going in the music. And while rhythm and momentums will get us there, we also have the V7 chord. With its two pitch tritone tension, the resolutions of these pitches can direct us to new key centers or not, as the case may be.

The term as used here was inspired by watching the documentary 'Jazz', created by Ken Burns. For there's a scene in old Chicago with a rather stern and grim looking policeman standing in the middle of an intersection chock full of moving, turning and cars and traffic, waving their arms like conducting a symphony, kind of like the comedy of the Keystone Cops.

Theoryville
a two pitch tritone
wiki ~ Jazz Ken Burns
wiki ~ Keystone Cops

train wreck

Slang for when the players in the group make a series of bad choices while performing, usually resulting in unplanned, temporary musical chaos, train wrecks are oftentimes found at the end of performing a musical piece, see "arrangements while you wait" from above.

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transcribe

To transfer the music from a live performance or recording into musical notation, to one's instrument.

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transpose

To respell the music exactly from one key center to another by keeping the same interval distances between each pitch. For example, the pitches of the C major scale transposed to up a sixth to A major.

C D E F G A B C

A B C# D E F# G# A ect.

~

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treble clef

Symbol used to denote the second line of a musical staff as the pitch "G" natural.
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triad

Three note chord comprised of a root, a third and a fifth. With the two intervals we only get four different combinations, no more no less ... and here they are :)
essential theory
add 7th
major triad
minor triad
augmented triad
diminished triad

triangles of knowledge

Simply describes a personal visualisation of how succeeding generations of thinkers accumulate and sift through existing knowledge, creating a wide basis of information. This is represented by the bases of the triangles in the following graphic. Sooner or later the thinkers begin to focus in on something they need to discover or understand to advance their craft and eventually somebody solves it. Often times the solution opens up even a bigger vista of possiblities out of which new challenges inevitably arise.

These solution pinnacles of new understanding are represented by the top apex points of the triangles. Once a new level of understanding is developed, oftentimes it empowers new directions of thought and the sifting process begins anew. In my two dimensional representation, this evolutionary intellectual process looks something like this;

Making fire, evolving new metals, navigation, square roots of numbers, vaccines, electricity and nowadays computors are all examples of this process.

triplets

A rhythmic division into groups of three.

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Tristan chord

Decades ago I wrote a college paper on what is historically known as the "Tristan chord." Created by Richard Wagner in the 1860's. Essentially a half diminished grouping, as an important motivic idea for the larger work it created quite a stir in the day so it seems.

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tritone

Tritone. Musical interval of the augmented fourth / flatted fifth comprised of three whole tones, which divides the octave in two perfect halves, also the essential color as a single pitch blue note and a two pitch major 3rd / minor 7th combo in the dominant chord, among the most dissonant pairings of pitches available to the modern guitarist.

art ~ tritone
splits the octave
a two pitch tritone
augmented fourth
diminished fifth
a blue note
two pitch combo
dissonant
tritone substitute

tritone substitute

Term usually identifying a dominant type chord that is built upon the tritone of the chord it is being substituted for, i.e., Db7 is the tritone substitute for G7. In Two / Five / One motions we evolve a descending chromatic bass line.

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tune

Slang for a musical composition, musical piece, song, melody etc.

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tuning

Slang for a musical composition, musical piece, song, melody etc.

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tuning down a 1/2 step or more

Simply lowering our standard tuning pitches by half step. Electric Blues guitar kings Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn were know for empolying this tuning as it reduces string tension a wee bit facilitating the string bending they both are famous for. Modern metal cats often tune down so I hear, there's also a 'dive bomber' whammy bar to explore which goes all the way to slack the strings.

Jimi Hendrix
S.R.Vaughn
whammy bar

tuning octave

The area of the piano keyboard, often from C / 523 to the tenth above, C / 1046, that creates the "tuning octave" whose pitches are used to tune the rest of the piano keys.

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tuning 10th

Slang for a musical composition, musical piece, song, melody etc.

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tune

Slang for a musical composition, musical piece, song, melody etc., or 'to tune up' an instrument.

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tuning octave interval / tuning major 10th interval

These two intervals are what a majority of piano tuners use to get a piano tuning started and are located in the lower middle of a piano keyboard. Generally the keys most played in performance. Once these core pitches are tuned up together and can make music, the upper and lower pitches in the remaining octaves are simply (ha) tuned up to match up with these. This is a super simple explanation of what these cats do in tuning. For there's often dozens of factors and each piano is like each of us, unique in itself :) Here are the letter name pitches.

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slide

tuning pitches

There's a standard way tune that is generally called concert tuning. This is the way cats would tune to play with an orchestra. There's no limit really to the way we might une our gits, included here are four common ways to tune up. All an open tuning does is give us a nice sounding chord by strumming the open strings, thus they generally work well with any kind of slide.

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tuning pitches

standard concert tuning
open E
5 string open G banjo
off
Hawaiian 6/9

turn

Somewhat of a slang term for the way a player or composer shapes a musical idea, oftentimes a melodic twist of pitches into a line or the target pitch, part of a players artistic signature.

musical shape
artistic signature
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turnaround

As the term implies, we 'turnaround' at the end of a musical phrase thus; a musical idea located at the end of a musical section often followed by repeat sign, the Two / Five / One cadential motion and it's variations, any kind of cadential motion located at the end of a phrasde, the 10th and 11th bars of the 12 bar blues form are commonly known as the turnaround, as it returns back to our startpoint to begin a new cycle.

musical section
cadential motion
repeat section
Western civilization

turn the beat around

The term used to describe when the beats 2 and 4 of our music become beats 1 and 3 in 4 / 4 time, i.e., we loose the backbeat thus the swing all essential to the American groove.

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tutti

Describes when all of the voices in the mix play the musical line together.

HBDM

tweaks

Advanced ~ tweaking the organic pitches of our silent architecture into today's resource is all about equal temper tuning, as we've gradually developed a keener and keener sense of how the pitches could sound and the ability to make instruments capable of playing these as tuned musical tones. Of course we still usually demand the 'everything from anywhere' concept; scales, arpeggios and in tune chords in all keys plus the blue notes from each of the 12 pitches of the chromatic scale. So is this the resource that equal temper tuning creates and provides? Tis is indeed mon ami.

silent architecture
equal temper tuning
a modern guitar
everything from anywhere
scales
arpeggios
chords
chromatic scale

twelve

Twelve pitches ... how many eggs in a dozen or numbers on and old clock ...? Right, 12. And truth be told in the theories of it all, that's all we get. is what we get and this number figures into all we theorists might ever conjure up and do.

art
equal temper tuning
a modern guitar
everything from anywhere
scales
arpeggios
chords
chromatic scale

two pitch tritone

Refers to stringed instruments whereby chord shapes include pitches from unstopped strings, open chords are usually found within the first 3 frets on the guitar.

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12 keys

The # of different tuned pitches from which we create American music, as found on a piano etc., also represents 12 major keys, 12 minor keys etc.

sharp # pitches
major / minor
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24 keys

The number of different musical key centers as created by equal temper tuning, also represents the combined 12 major keys and 12 minor keys.

in theory that's all we get

12

twelve pitches

Eggs in a dozen? The numbers on the face of any old clock? How about the number of core pitches in our theory and musical resource for creating American music ... ? 12 / twelve / XII :) Even with adding in the blue notes too ? Yep, for even the deepest of the emotional blue has a definite pitch in it somewhere. Artist James Brown surely knew. So in theory that's all we get, 12, yet in playing music only one note I've ever heard defies this theory. Write for details.

American music
blue notes
wiki ~ James Brown

Two chord

Harmony built on the second scale degree of any group of pitches; mostly though the Two chord from with the diatonic scale and one of three of the Two / Five / One usually jazzier cadential motion.
diatonic scale
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unison lines

As the term implies, the pitches of a melody line are played simu,taneously by multiple instruments. We'll hear this style of melody in various styles; old time fiddle music, various jazz rock genres, fusion, and in metal, where all of the players will 'unison' on the line either with pitch or rhythm. This becomes very powerful when well executed and handled carefully.

musical styles

up beat

Term used to describe tapping time with a foot. When the foot goes down its a downbeat. Foot coming up to catch the next down motion? Right, an upbeat :)

rhythms

up front (out front)

Slang term used in performance by improvising musicians that usually implies something is going to happen before the melody of the song gets sung, i.e., like an intro, pedal tone, drum solo, etc., we count off a tune "up front."

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upper structure / extensions

In this text, chord tones found above the seventh, i.e., the 9th, 11th, and 13th chord degrees.
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valence

The term and idea of valence comes to us from science, describing the orbits of electron rings or valences scooting around a nucleus of protons and neutrons, at least in 60's science. In our Essential's theory valence describes the degree of distance from a tonal center. We measure this distance as aural predictabilty i.e., the easier it is to predict where the music is going the closer to home we are the greater the pull of tonal gravity. the gravity, the higher we can predict events and our valence is in the first or second ring around our tonal center. Following seven chakra colors of course, examine this next illustration to visualize the above ideas and vocabulary.

.

electrons
protons
neutrons
tonal center

tonal center

tonal center
tonal center
seven chakrastonal center

vamp

Slang for a repeated musical phrase, usually two or more chords that create a groove for jamming, writing tunes, improvising and creating background music to fill spaces in shows and what have you.

repeated phrase
improvising
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vamp (lines)

Slang for a repeated musical phrase, usually in a blues coloring, commonly used for beginnings and endings of tunes as well as a background figure behind a soloist, can be chords or a melodic line.

blues phrase
musical phrase
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vanilla

Slang for any generic realization of a musical element, i.e., a chord voicing of root, third, fifth and seventh, scales right out of the box etc.

chord voicing
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vehicle

My term used to describe the artistic elements of a musical style / form of music. i.e., Latin, Rock, Bebop, 12 bar blues, A / A / B / A song form etc.

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verbiage

Using words to describe abstract artistic concepts.

 

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vertical

Term that describes the basic shape created by the pitches of a melodic line, implying arpeggiated or non step interval figures.

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vibrato

Adding a slight vacillation to the pitch which can increase the emotional expression of the players statement, i.e., warming up the tone.

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vibrations

The resultant physical effect of a string or column of air that is set in motion by plucking or blowing. At what speed these waves or vibrations are created determine the pitch of the vibration.

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visualize

A rather human level of cogitation whereby our imaginations and creativity conjure up an idea that we then begin to 'see' in our minds eye which then begins to manifest. Also, among the first steps we humans can do to bring a notion to fruition, in the physical, emotional and spiritual realms.

wiki ~ visualize

vocal harmonies

Vocal harmonies are melody lines sung along with a lead line in a song. Usually the harmony parts are made up of pitches of the triad or chord being used at that moment in the tune. For example; if the lead voice sings the tonic pitch then the harmony line would would most likely be the 3rd or 5th of the chord. There's lots of vocal groups out there nowadays, just explore. For vocal harmonies, 'The Manhatten Transfer' jazz styled acapella quartet sums it up.

pitches
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voicing

Arrangement of pitches for a particular chord.

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voice leading

A term used to describe how the pitches (voices) of one chord merge into another, derived from the early music of chorus and voice range, from high pitch to low we have soprano, alto, tenor and bass.

pitches
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voilà redux double

"By magic appearing." French for 'and there it is ... ' :) An old fashioned term that is used when something we are searching for magically appears

Double is double so two times as much.

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walking bass lines

Walking bass lines are an integral part of creating the American swing rhythm. They are mainly comprised of quarter notes often with a bit of a push or swell on 2 and 4. We can find these walking lines in most of our American styles, creating that magical sense of swing in the music.

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walking

Describes a mostly step wise bass line using quarter notes.

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waltz

Instrumental or dance music in 3/4 time common in any of our musical styles; children's songs, folk, country, blues, rock, pop and jazz for starters.

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Watchtower changes

Watchower changes are the core harmonic motion of Bob Dylan's "All Along The Watchower." They qualify for 'three chords and the truth' status

Bob Dylan
three chords and the truth
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wayback machine

The time travel machine of Mr. Peabody and his friend from the comics on Saturday mornings.

wiki ~ WABAC
google Mr. Peabody

well

"Well" as in water well, used as a cliche / slang term for where a player might go to get a musical idea when things run a bit dry.

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well tempered

A tuning system that predates the common practice of equal temper tuning that produces some keys better tuned than others.

tuning
equal temper
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Well Tempered Clavier

A collection of musics written by J. S. Bach in two volumes, the first published in 1722, that includes individual pieces written for each of the 12 major and minor key centers. Exhaustively including all of the diatonic melody, arpeggios and harmony available from the then, relatively new equal temper system of tuning.

wiki Well temepered Clavier
J S Bach
WTC / prelude #1

Wendy Williamson Auditorium

Western music

In this text, slang for any and all music created with the equal temperament system of tonal organization as its basis, this term is often applied in music as is the term western civilization in historical contexts, meaning all of the history and peoples that date back to the ancient Greeks and forward from there, through the settling of Europe and onto America.

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Western music@wiki

Western harmony

Chords based in the equal tempered system.

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whammy bar

Mechanical device on the modern electric guitar that allows changes of intonation with the push or pull of a lever.

electric guitar
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'what if' and 'why'

Those magical three words that articulate our minds ability to project towards the next level of any particular thing, that we search and sift our existing elements for new combinations of coolness that might better express the art in our hearts.

where the coolness lives

Marketing aside, if a tune went top 10 in anybody's listing there's a hook worth looking into, learning by rote off the record and ran through a couple of your best keys.

top 10
1889
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whole step

Combines two half steps together i.e., the interval from C to D is a whole step.

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whole tone

Combining two half tones together to create a whole tone, i.e., the interval from C to D is a whole tone, the whole tone scale is created exclusively with whole tones.

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whole tone scale

The whole tone scale is created exclusively with whole tone intervals. From these pitches we can locate the various whole tone melody and chordal colors.

wide interval studies

Wide interval studies create melodic lines using our bigger intervals atop one another. Example 1.

 

Analysis.

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willful denial

Wide interval studies create melodic lines using our bigger intervals atop one another. Example 1.

 

Analysis.

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wolf tones

Originally named to describe some of the harmonies created in "just intonation" or non tempered tuning, that resulted in sounds similar to those made by howling wolves, today, often used to describe a overly strong sounding pitch on an acoustic instrument somehow created by the physics of the specific woods used in its construction.

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woodshed

Slang for a place where one sheds, also to review a difficult musical passage, i.e., to practice.

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work the magic

Slang for a place where one sheds, also to review a difficult musical passage, i.e., to practice.

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worked out / written out / written

Describes our musical ideas being written down in standard musical notation. Also used to describe improvised solo sections that are written out and played from memory or sightread.

xylophone

Perhaps our oldest non-voice melody instrument now of the percussion family constructed of wooden bars that are tuned to various pitches.

wiki ~ xylophone

Yin / Yang

Seeking the balance, from philosophies of the East, here in Essentials to illuminate our intertwined pairing of the relatives; major and minor. Commonly symboled thus:

we get the best of both yet with a bit of each in the other :)

wiki ~ Yin and Yang

zither

A stringed instrument of ancient origins, multiple strings tensioned over a box and played with a plectrum ... hmmm sounds an awful like our guitars yes ?

wiki ~ zither

 

"I don't know anything about music, in my line of work you don't have to."

wiki Elvis Presley
whole / half step pitches
C
D
Eb
F
Gb
Ab
A
B
C
half / whole step pitches
C
Db
Eb
E
Gb
G
A
Bb
C

"That's one of the wonderful things about science; not a one of us has to believe it yet it can still be 100% correct."

paraphrased from a local bumper sticker
~ super theory game changer ~
e
b
h
h
h
subdivide