Archive for November, 2013


How The Tune Of a Song Comes From Scales…

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013
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How The Tune Of a Song Comes From Scales

Today, I’d like to illustrate how simple music really is and how the tune of a song comes from scales. Let me play The First Noel.

I’ll just play a part of the song. Now, I’m going to play just the melody.

It just repeats from there. Very little change after that. Did you notice that thing? The only notes I used were the notes of the C scale, nothing else. Didn’t go above C, didn’t go below C. It was just all contained there. Now, listen to this.

Same thing, right? Nothing but C to C. Just the scale. By learning one scale there is literally hundreds of songs that you could play. Now, some songs, of course, go higher or lower, but there is many, many that just contain that scale. It’s really quite simple. I want to show you something else. Now, watch this.

Did you notice my left hand? I’ll just play the bass part.

The left hand just played a counter melody while the right hand is playing the melody. My left hand is walking right down the C scale. The only thing is right before I got to C I went to G and down, but there are so many songs that are just like that, so look for the simplicity. Don’t try to make it too hard. By looking at the analysis of a song and figuring out what it’s basically made of – the simple chords, the simple scales – you can get an insight into what songs are and they’re really not as hard as you might think they are. That’s our short lesson for today. See you tomorrow. Bye.

Here is the YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHsRYL0kKG4

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How Chords Relate To Melodies (The Tune of a Song)

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
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How Chords Relate To Melodies (The Tune of a Song)

Good morning. This is Duane, and I’d like to talk today about the way chords relate to the tune of a song. You know that in every song there’s a chord structure; a chord progression that moves from one chord to another to another and so on. They’re usually in repetitive fashion, but they’re always chord progressions of some sort. The melodies, the tunes that are created, wrap themselves around or through the chords. Let me just give you an illustration. You know this a C chord. I’m going to play that … okay. A little song; something about row the boat ashore. Notice it goes right through the C chord, doesn’t it? The C chords in force, so it just climbs through the chord, doesn’t it? I call it climbing through chords. Out of the first one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine; out of the first nine notes, they’re all members of the C chords except that one.

Okay, so melodies do wind themselves through chords. Let me give you another example. Maybe this is a better example. Here’s that Rainy Day, this song. And so on. I want you to look at the first part. That’s the F chord, then it changes to A flat. Now, watch this. Those are the three notes of the A flat chord. The A flat chord is A flat, C, and E flat, and it just goes up; C, E flat, A flat, C. Nothing can be simpler once you understand the structure. You see, by knowing that melodies do that, you can watch out for things like that, and it makes learning music a whole lot easier. It makes reading music a whole lot easier. In other words, if you can look at a piece of sheet music and see the structure of notes breaking up a chord, you say, “Oh, okay. That makes sense now.” Let me do it again. Here’s the F chord. Then, it goes to the A flat chord; A flat seventh actually. Right up the A flat chord. That’s D flat.

The next note is C. That’s G minor seventh suspended, but watch this. That’s the C seventh chord now. It goes right up the notes of the C seventh chord. You see that? By the way, if melodies are not going through chords, not breaking up chords, they’re going through scales. In fact, that’s the only possibility. Just understand that. Melodies are made out of scale fragments and chord. That’s all there could be. It’s got to be some sort of scale no matter what the chord does. I’ll go back to the first example. See now, I’m not only playing a melody, but I’m playing the whole chord, because why not? I can play into the melody. Okay, so just remember that melodies are made out of broken chords and scales. There’s really no other possibility. That’s it for today. If you enjoy these kind of musical tips, come on over to playpiano.com and sign up for my free educational newsletter.

You’ll get tips like this most every day about a wide variety of things; mostly about chords, but sometimes a lot of other stuff too related to music theory. Music theory, by the way, is just a fancy word for understanding what you’re doing. Okay, understand what you’re playing. The more you can understand about what you’re playing, the better off you are. Thanks again, and we’ll see you next time. Bye-bye for now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfCg8CLA9ok

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/melody
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Five Thanksgiving Songs

Monday, November 25th, 2013
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Five Thanksgiving Songs

Thanksgiving songs

Thanksgiving songs have been apart of American culture for a long time. Not as celebrated as Christmas songs, Thanksgiving songs are just as important to the holiday. Holidays have always had a way of bringing people together. Thanksgiving music provokes feelings of love and family, making the moments that you share with your loved ones much more special. The wondrous festival of Thanksgiving is commemorated to give thanks and appreciation for all you’ve been blessed with throughout the year. Originally created as a religious and sacred festival, Thanksgiving has now evolved into a national holiday. Though the festival has become a more joyful and fun occasion, it still has some of the traditional antiquities it began with like song and dance. This article will discuss the most celebrated songs of the season as well as their origin and creator.

Every Day Is Thanksgiving

This song is a fan favorite for many reasons, but mostly for its creative lyrics that resonate feelings of holiday joy in all it’s listeners. The inspiration for the song is to education. The authors(Karen Rupprecht and Pam Minor) believe that through music and song one can be both entertained and inspired to learn.

O God, Beneath Thy Guiding Hand

This is a song that is used to celebrate the presence of God in all that matters. To keep the holiness of the spirit alive, this soulful hymn was created. The song was originally sketched in 1833 by the famous American preacher and writer Leonard Beacon. The song in part, was created to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the founding of New Haven, Connecticut.

Faith Of Our Fathers

This is a melodious hymn, that is sung in both homes and churches throughout the country. Composed originally by Frederick W. Faber in 1849 the hymn was created in memory of the cathloic martyrs from the time of the establishment of the Church of England by Henry VIII. The song was also sung at the funeral of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Today however, it is sung more as a Thanksgiving song to the tunes of St. Catherine by Henri F Hemy.

Lone Pilgrim

This Thanksgiving song is enriched with legends and symbolism that are inspired by the journey of the pilgrims who sailed to America in 1621. Also called the Mayflower Survivor Song, this song celebrates courage and the will to survive. The lyrics of “Lone Pilgrim” are written by Bob Dylan, but its origin and claims to authorship are many.

Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

This song was written by Henry Alford in 1844, this song has long been considered a favorite of the holiday. Traditionally, sung to the tune of St. George’s Windsor by George Job Elvey. This harmonious song makes a great entry into your Thanksgiving song. This song will impress both The Lord and everyone else in the mood of celebrating the harvest season.

Over the River and Through the Wood

This is a happy family song by Lydia Maria Child. Written originally as a poem celebrating her trips to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for Thanksgiving. Most of us can related to it in some sense. I remember walking through the orchard adjacent to our home on our way to my Aunt and Uncle’s house where 15 or 20 cousins and other relatives would always gather for Thanksgiving.

Although the Thanksgiving holiday has many songs and hymns, the songs selected have a sentimental and traditional value. In spite of the food and festivities, one should always be mindful of the spirit of the holiday. Each day is a blessing and should be celebrated in gratefulness to God. Thanksgiving music will always be a big part of our tradition and country.

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What In The World Is a “Tri-Tone” Chord Substitution?

Friday, November 22nd, 2013
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What In The World Is a “Tri-Tone” Chord Substitution?

Good morning again. This is Duane, and today I would like to talk about the tri-tone substitution. The tri-tone chord substitution has been a mysterious concept for hundreds of years, but it is really simple. It is like a lot of things in life. They reality of it is very simple, but it looks complex on the outside and so don’t let it scare you. For years, I had heard about the tri-tone substitution and I didn’t know what it was. I discovered that I had probably been using it for 20 years before I knew what the word meant. You may be using it as well.

A tri-tone is simply 3 whole steps from any given note. In another words, a whole step above C is D, another whole step is E, another whole step is F sharp, so from a C to an F sharp that’s called a tri-tone. Back in the Middle Ages that was considered not exactly evil but certainly unlikely, kind of like the number 13, probably because of the distant sound that you get between those 2 notes. But it is very useful when it comes to chord substitutions. Let’s take a chord progression like G seventh to C, you run into that progression all the time don’t you. That is the most standard of all chord progressions, right? A 5 chord going to a long chord. Now, for that 5 chord we are going to substitute the chord that’s a tri-tone below. What’s a tri-tone below G? There’s a whole step, there’s a whole step, there’s another whole step. So D flat is a tri-tone below a G. Now, the secret to this is finding the third and the seventh of the original chord. In other words, here’s a G seventh chord. There’s the root, there’s the third, there’s the fifth, and there’s the seventh. So, the third is there and the seventh is there. Those are the 2 key notes or keys we need to keep in mind because what the third is in the key of G becomes the seventh in the key of D flat, and what the seventh is in the G seventh chord is the third in the key of D flat. So in other words, the best substitute for chord progressions between G seventh and C is D flat seventh because it has 2 common notes. You see, it has those notes in common.

Let me play the other notes of the chord now. You see that. So that means I can substitute for G seventh C and I can substitute D flat seventh and then go up to C. Now you can voice that in a variety of ways. Let’s say you are playing along and you get to there, that’s a D flat seventh where I have a ninth in it, but there’s the seventh and there’s the third, which used to be the third and the seventh of the G seventh; well, they still are but you just invert them right, and they become the third and the seventh of the new chord, D flat, and that allows you to slide in there.

Let me do another situation. [piano playing 00:03:19]. The voice is different, but it’s the same chord. It’s G flat seventh with a sixth on top. It doesn’t matter what other chords you put into it.

Let’s do a couple more. Let’s say that we are on D seventh, what’s the best substitution between D seventh and of course it’s going around in circle for D seventh where it almost always goes to the G chord. Those chords want to move up a perfect 4th. D seventh goes to G. So what’s the tri-tone in the G seventh chord? Well, we have to find the third, which is F sharp and the seventh, which is C, and then put the seventh down here. Okay, now just reverse that. If that’s the third and the seventh of the D chord, what is it the seventh and the third of some other chord? Well, it would be a half step above G, which is A flat. If I play the root and the fifth of the A flat seventh chord, root, fifth, I already have the third and the seventh. So in other words, A flat seventh can be the substitute because you go from the D seventh chord to G and you can slide in in other words like that. If you are at the C seventh chord, again let’s just do the third of the C seventh chord is E, the seventh is B flat. So let’s reverse that. In the chord substitution that we are going to use G flat seventh, that’s the third and that’s the seventh. So if you want to go from C seventh to F, you could go there [inaudible 00:04:56] of F sharp seventh that is in our mind.

Again, the concept is not hard. It’s a little hard to describe because of the inversion of the third and seventh, but think about that for a while and try it out and I think you will find it very useful. It’s a nice chord substitution that you can use in a lot of settings and it just adds interest and excitement to your piano playing.

Thanks for this time you spent with me. If you want to get more tips like this, come on over to Play Piano and sign up for our free newsletter, so we will see you there. Bye.

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/606050/tritone

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZARB6yQ6pY
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The Healing Power of Music: Music Therapy – Ready

Thursday, November 21st, 2013
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The Healing Power of Music: Music Therapy

Music therapy

Musicians and other music aficionados don’t need a reason to love music. They know inherently that music is more than a collection of organized sounds. They have experienced what Leonard Bernstein called The Joy of Music.

Bernstein’s book has been called “the finest collection of conversations on the meaning and wonder of music.” In it, the maestro imagines conversations between himself and a cast of made-up characters, all on the subject of music, what it is, what it means, and what it does.

One of things music does is provide healing. The healing can be spiritual, emotional and even physical. The overarching subject of the healing power of music is the basis for a branch of the art called Music Therapy.
What is music therapy?

According to the American Music Therapy Association: “Music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.”

In plain English, music therapy is a branch of music that is health-related. In it music becomes a tool used to address any number of physical, emotional, cognitive, or social needs or illnesses.
A practitioner of music therapy is called, naturally, a music therapist.

What is a music therapist?

A music therapist is, first, a musician. The range of musical abilities and training for a music therapist varies. Most sing and play basic instruments like the guitar or piano. Some are also dancers or even composers. Training to become a music therapist includes many of the same skills involved in becoming a general music teacher.

The training does not stop there, however. Music is the medium but the goal is healing. For that reason, music therapists receive extensive training in assessment, treatment, evaluation, and follow-up. Obviously, they do not provide medical intervention but they do provide musical intervention.

What kind of training is required?

Becoming a music therapist involves obtaining a college degree in the profession. A professional music therapist has at least a bachelor’s degree. Many music therapists end up with a master’s degree. Training must be provided at one of more than 70 American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) approved college and university programs.

There are three main areas of study: musical foundations, clinical foundations, and music therapy foundations and principles.

In addition to classwork, a potential music therapist is required to complete 1200 hours of clinical training, including a supervised internship.

Following graduation, candidates take an exam to obtain MT-BC (Music Therapist-Board Certified) credentials.

What does a music therapist do?

Music therapists assess emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning, communication abilities, and cognitive skills. They do this through a patient’s responses to music.
Music, through performance or listening or movement is used to stimulate the brain in order to improve whatever condition the patient or client has.

Whom does a music therapist treat?

Everyone. Children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly are all candidates for music therapy. People with mental health needs, developmental and learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease and other aging related conditions all benefit.
Music therapy has been successful for people with substance abuse problems, brain injuries, physical disabilities, and acute and chronic pain. Music therapy has even proven helpful to mothers going through labor.

There is almost no illness or condition that has not been treated with music therapy. While music therapy isn’t likely to cure cancer, it can be used to reduce pain, lower blood pressure, and even regulate heart and respiratory function.
Where does music therapy happen?

Music therapy takes place in schools, hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, community mental health centers and even private homes.

In other words, music therapy happens wherever people are in need. Often therapy happens in a group setting, although private sessions also take place, depending on the needs of the patient or client.

Is music therapy only useful for people who are musical?

In a word, no. Just as a general music education is appropriate for all schoolchildren, music can provide beneficial therapy for someone who does not consider themselves musical.

The truth is everyone has some type of musical ability inside them. It is how humans are made. Music therapy takes many forms – and does not just involve the patient or client “making” music.

How can I get more information?

To learn more about music therapy and how it works, look up any of the organizations below:

American Music Therapy Association
The Center for Music Therapy
World Federation of Music Therapy

In addition, many individual states have their own music therapy associations. A Google keyword search can probably turn up information for music therapy in your area.

Personal note: When I was in college, I functioned as the music therapist at Dewitt State Hospital in Auburn California for a summer while the head music therapist was on maternity leave. It was a wonderful and educational experience. I witnessed a patient (this was a mental hospital) who had undergone shock therapy gradually discover that he was a pianist. At first when he tried to play it sounded like a child playing random notes. Gradually the notes started to make sense until finally he began to play much better. Unfortunately, the summer was over before he was entirely recovered, so I never knew how proficient he had been, but from his early attempts I suspect he had been a fine pianist.

http://www.musictherapy.org/
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