~ Americana melody ~

~ ... that melody expresses emotion ... ~

folk licks
evolutions of melody
folk licks
creafting melodies
blues licks
rock licks
blues licks
melody
melody
melody
melody
melody
songs

 

In a nutshell. The theory basis of melody here is summed up in the idea that the melody of a song alone can define the 'divinely human essence of the story being told.' That, with or without the words of chords, we can get a sense of the artist's intent from the pitches and rhythmic flow of the just the melody.

So in theory, whatever we might need to get this across is in play; pitches, rhythms, the spoken words or lyics to our songs, supportive harmony, musical foms, all woven around the magic of a motif, that central idea that often initially energizes our creative process.

an idea

Overview. In this work, the study of melody is initially focused on conjuring up some emotion and expressing it through sounding out the pitches of a melody. For once this inner connect is wired up, the personal magic of expression created by doing it becomes the energizer to do more and more to better express ourselves.

The study of melody is presented in a manner that also encourages the reader to explore those theory elements that will develop their understanding and abilities to create and perform melodies in the manner in which they choose to do so.

For while there is a programmed sequence of melody topics building upon one another to illuminate the whole of our melodic resources, through the linking of selected discussions to others, the unique experiences, artistic needs and vocabulary that each reader brings to the text becomes their way to explore the melodic resources to get the pitches they need to create their art.

Here in Essentials, melody has a couple of key aspects that combine together to create a pespective of the evolutions of our own Americana melodies. That improvisation can and often plays a significant role becomes a fairly big part of the dialogue, the discussions ranging from ways to prepare to improvise and how an improvisor's vocabulary of ideas evolves through musical styles to understanding the various roles of our own Americana blue notes, and how we generally knit them together in the blues or to give a 'blues hue' to any and all Americana melodies, harmonies etc.

That there is a system of theory here for understanding melody whereby their letter named pitches become various series' of numbers, all related and based upon one pitch being the central pitch in creating a key center. Learning of and mastering this numerical perspective of the theory is probably the biggest game changer for the intermediate to advancing theorist.

So the aforementioned 'sequence of melody topics' begins with this next idea and follows step by step with links to additional discussions. This first idea for finding some pitches and creating melody is the original way of doing it I'd imagine, probably as old as the hills :)

Sing the line, play the line. In American musics, a lot of melodies are improvised from music we have rote learned. So an easy way we can first discover melody pitches and their relation to one another is simply by singing them in some fashion. Then by ear, by trial and error, one by one if needed, we then find and art nuance them on our guitars to emulate our voice. 'If I can sing it I can play it' is the mantra here.' The link here is to a dozen or so Americana melodies notated out with a mp3 sound file for playback. Find one you dig, already know or want to learn and explore this process if necessary.

Origins of pitch. A next step into this study is through getting a history / theory sense of how the pitches we inherit today evolved over the last few millenia. This 'silent architecture' of our music founds most of everything we hear or have ever heard on a radio, on either the am or fm dial :) Once we know the organic source of things we've a nice solid intellectual structure to organize our info as the new ideas come along and we evolve as artists.

Groups of pitches. In the middle of the theory spectrum for the study of meleody is the idea that we have as resources 'groups of pitches' from which we create our melodic ideas. These are more commonly called scales or modes etc. In Essentials, these groupings are presented, developed and sequenced by the number of pitches in each group. We then correlate numbers of pitches with musical style; that as we increase the number of pitches in our group, the style of melody we can create evolves. The basic style spectrum here spans; children's songs into folk, towards the blues, rock, country and pop and off into the melodies of jazz.

 

The blues. At the historical core of Americana melody is a wide band of blues. And whether your own style and direction is headed this way, understanding the relationships created by the blue notes in any style really, is worth the couple of hours of study to understandthe basic theory of their influence. Also in these discussions are a couple of essential Americana components; the 12 bar form, call and response and chord substitution in jazzing up the blues.

 

Improv. Improv is kinda what the Americana music thing is all about. Excepting the jazz styles here, so little of the music performed in the majority of performances is written down. So where does it come from? Well from memory. We rote learn our parts and collaborate them together with the band, or play them as single etc.

There's three parts to the improv theory in this book. Play by ear, the first listing here. The second and third are combined into, soloing over or through the chord changes. For once this distinction is made by the artist, there's a bit of a different learning pathway to follow. As jazz players are historically the majority of 'through the changes' players, the 'over the changes' cats usually cover the rest. Click the link to begin the learning process for either of these two main improv avenues.

Inside and over the changes = diatonic plus the blues hue.

Inside and through the changes = everything else.

Why does knowing about equal temper matter ? Might help in finding the blue notes.

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Stories. In the middle of the theory spectrum is the idea that we have as resources 'groups of pitches' from which we create our melodic ideas. These are the more commonly called scales or modes. In Essentials, these groupings are developed and thus sequenced, by the number of pitches in each group. We then correlate numbers of pitches with musical style; that as we increase our the number of in our group, the style of melody we can create evolves. The basic style spectrum here spans; children's songs into folk, towards the blues, rock, country and pop and off into the melodies of jazz.

Additional melody discussions. Looking to go deeper into the theory intracacies of American melody and its structures and components? Just pick and click and off ya go ... pick and click and off you go !

loops
intervals
arpeggios
sequence
#15 and beyond

"One good thing about music; when it hits you, you feel no pain."

Bob Marley