- Garageband Music Theory
- Jazz Improv Tips
- Music To Your Brain
- Ever wish your kid had an off switch?
- New Axis of Awesome video for “4 Chords”
- Dynamic Range Day
- The story of the ᗅᗺᗷᗅ sound
Garageband Music Theory
If you’re just starting to get your head around music theory and have an iPhone, iPod or iPad, you should definitely check out these articles!
Jazz Improv Tips
If improvisation is a big part of your musicianship, whether as a jazz or blues player or ‘play by ear’ master, this series of improvisation tips blog posts by pro jazz trumpeter Jason Klobnak may provide you with a few handy clues.
Have dig back through the archives – there are 40 posts and counting!
Music To Your Brain
Ever wish your kid had an off switch?
Using a remote control, pretend your child is a radio. Explain how, when you point and click, you are switching the radio off, making it – and him – silent. Make an audible clicking noise as you press the button. When you click again, the radio turns on and music (whatever noise the child desires) should continue. Once the concepts of on and off are well understood, make things more fun: increase and decrease the time between clicks; throw in a few false movements and double clicks; walk around the room and click from different places, and so on. Any instrument will work and you can extend interest in the game by using different instruments, even attempting to switch instruments between clicks.
This is a very simple game, but a great one with which to start, because it develops impulse control and demonstrates that most fundamental binary property of music: sound and silence.
New Axis of Awesome video for “4 Chords”
We’ve been very focused on chords here lately, and have used the excellent Axis of Awesome ’4 chord song’ video to demonstrate the most common 4-chord progression. They’ve followed up the original live performance video with a swanky music video:
Check the description on YouTube for the full list of songs used!
Dynamic Range Day
After years of a musically-destructive arms race in the loudness war, it seems like the record industry might finally be realising that compressing every pop song to kingdom come may not be the best strategy… This month a new initiative celebrated “Dynamic Range Day” with a superb open letter to the record industry:
- Most people don’t notice the effects of “loudness”
- Most people who do, don’t like it
- “Loudness” has no effect on sales or chart placements
- In the near future, all music will play back at a similar level, regardless of how “loud” it is
The loudness war is insane, irrelevant, and obselete. The obvious thing to do is to stop competing.
The story of the ᗅᗺᗷᗅ sound
There are some fantastic documentaries of bands and studio engineers recounting the making of their incredible tracks and albums. This “Classic Albums” one on The Dark Side of the Moon is a particular favourite of mine. Check out this 8-minute video about ABBA’s first big hit “Ring Ring”, for which engineer Michael B Tretow used multitracking, echo and chorus effects to create their distinctive “wall of sound”:
(press the CC button to enable English subtitles)
Over to you
So that’s what we came across lately… How about you? Have you discovered a great new ear training tool? Got a great aural skills tip to share? Just want to complain about the woes of ear training class or ask for help with a song writing challenge?
Leave a note in the comments below!