Archive for June, 2012


What everyone needs to know about key signatures

Thursday, June 28th, 2012
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Everyone, no matter what instrument he or she plays, needs to know about key signatures and how they work. And most people don’t realize that the flats in a key signature always occur in the same order – BEADGCF. In other words, if there is only one flat in the key signature, that flat is always Bb. If there are two flats, they are Bb and Eb, and so on. Same with sharps – they always occur in the same order – FCGDAEB – which is just the reverse of the order of the flats.

Watch this short video and in five minutes from now you should know all about sharps and flats in key signatures for the rest of your life.

For a complete course in playing in all 12 major keys, click on “How To Think In The Key Of…”

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Natural Minor Scale or Harmonic Minor Scale – Big Difference in Sound

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012
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Please listen to the two songs I play on this short video. They are both in the key of A minor, but there is a big difference between them. Can you hear what it is?

Once your ear gets used to hearing that raised 7th in the harmonic minor scale, you will begin to recognize the difference in sound between harmonic minor and natural minor.

In a future video I will demonstrate the melodic minor scale and how that works.

Want to learn all about such things and much more? Then take this great course in Music Theory! Click here: http://www.musichords.com/

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The ii – V7 – I Chord Progression using Straddles in the right hand

Monday, June 25th, 2012
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This short video shows how to use straddles on the ii – V7 – I chord progression – one of the most used chord progressions in songs.

For an entire course in Chord Progressions click here.

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“When Johnny Comes Marching Home”, A Song Of Motivation

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012
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The song “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” was published in 1863. This was written as a motivational song. It was used by both sides in the American civil war. Both soldiers of the North and the South dreamed of the lyrics in this tune. Songs like this were what kept up soldier morale. It was not so much the cause as it was the motivation to go home to loved ones, which kept these heroes marching on. Below is some information on this historical tune which you may find interesting.

“When Johnny Comes Marching Home” was written by a band leader of the name Patrick Gilmore. However, it was published under the pseudonym of ‘Louis Lambert’. The dedicated love of Gilmore’s sister inspired him to write the song. She insistently worried and prayed for the safe return of her fiancé, Captain John O’Rourke. O’Rourke was a light Artillery soldier for the Union army. Gilmores sister never gave up hope of his safe return. The depth of her devotion and love were what kept the soldier marching on.

The song is a joyful reflection of what a soldiers homecoming is like. The lyrics speak of the day when “Johnny” comes home. Johnny being the generic name of any soldier who makes his way back home.

The words go on to talk about how happy all the town will be. Friends and loved ones will greet them happily. Children will shower their paths with roses, the church bells will ring, crowds will shout hooray hooray, and love and friendship will fill the warriors heart.

The song provided something to look forward to for soldier and love ones alike. Soldiers would brave the battle with determination to get back home. Wives, fiancé, children, moms, dads, and friends, would dream of the day they saw their “Johnny” walking down the path for home. The thought kept motivation alive for all.

When Gilmore wrote this song over 200 years ago it is certain that he had no idea how much fame it would earn. He most likely never dreamed that his work of art would go on to become a nationally treasured piece of war history. However, it truly has become just that.

Whether you read the lyrics as a poem or listen to this masterpiece set to music, you should take the time to enjoy it. “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” is a treasured part of American history. It tells the story of homesick soldiers and heartbroken family. Most of all it paints the picture of the healthy return of heroes, Americas most brave.
Learn to play American Patriotic Songs!
Click here for American Patriotic Songs

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The Battle Hymn of The Republic: How It Came To Be

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012
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The Battle Hymn of The Republic, like many old songs that sprung during the Civil War of America, started out as a tune sung by soldiers as they marched. The original song went by the names of Say, Brother, Will You Meet Me and Canaan’s Happy Shore. The original tune was composed by William Steffe back in 1856, just a few five years before the break of the Civil War. The song spread all across the United States and became one of the most widely sung songs around campfires and during marches. The change that turned this song into the Battle Hymn of the Republic occurred during the early years of the war and most of the lyrical shifts were brought about by the Union’s intention to abolish slavery across the nation of the United States.

How and Why the Song Changed and Where?

One Thomas Bishop, who was a militia member of Massachusetts, compiled several marching songs and the famous Canaan’s Happy Shore became the marching song of his particular unit. It was during this time that the song shifted in its lyrical focus and became more adamant about portraying John Brown. This version of the song is known as John Brown’s Body. Brown was an active abolitionist who attempted several riots to stop slavery. From this point of view the song became a marching song for the Union and became a symbolic reference to their standpoint to rid the nation of slavery for good.

When the unit was dispatched to Kentucky and then gathered for troop reviews at Virginia, musical lyricist Julia Ward Howe heard the tune and was then requested by a reverend known was James Clarke to write new lyrics for the tune. Julia and her husband, Samuel Gridley, were avid supporters of John Brown and were active members of the Union. Samuel was a scholar and teacher of the blind. She took the task given upon her and from her the modern lyrics of the song were born.

So Who Wrote the Final Version of the Song?

Julia first began writing down the lyrics of the Battle Hymn of The Republic during the early waking hours of November 18, 1861. She relates that she awoke very early in the dawn of morning with the lyrics formulating in her mind. She immediately got out of bed to work on writing them down before her mind faltered and forgot what she concocted in her mind.

Howe’s version of the song, now formally referred to as the Battle Hymn of The Republic, was first seen on February of 1862 when it was published on The Atlantic Monthly. It was published several times after along with John Brown’s Body, most notably for the Old Folks Concert Tunes which was released in 1874. The sixth verse of the song was not yet published during this time and until now it is hardly ever sung at all during performances. Both versions of the song carry the same chorus and the changes in lyrics are in the verses. The original lyrics of John Brown’s Body was about the actions the abolitionist did to remove slavery while the latter was about the judgment of the wicked.

The Song as It Is Today

The Battle Hymn of The Republic is still famously sung among soldiers today. The overall tone and the lyrics of the song were originally meant to link the story of the judgment that would occur at the second coming of Christ at the end of the world with the Civil War and the wicked doing of men during the time. These days it is sung as a battle hymn to encourage soldiers as they march off to war, its lyrics signifying the coming of justice to those who are wicked and evil.

The song has seen several revisions over the year. The US Paratroopers during the Second World War sang it as The Blood on the Risers or Gory Gory What a Hell of a Way to Die, while it is sung as Glory Glory as an athletic theme for the Georgia Bulldog’s. Several parodies and covers exist. It was rendered with a slight change of key in the song In the Name of God by Dream Theater. The original song was also performed by Whitney Houston back in 1991 as well as by Judy Garland in 1963 as a dedication on television to US President John F. Kennedy who was just assassinated.

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For an excellent course in playing this song and other patriotic songs, click on “American Patriotic Songs”

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