Friday, October 30, 2015

Writing For Bass

This week is gonna be a little different. There's no real way to practice this stuff without just writing, so instead of asking questions, I'll just give you three chord progressions that you can write basslines for. I'll also include links to recordings of the progressions being played without bass, so you can try your compositions out if you know how to play. if not, try to write them from what you know, send me the written version, and I'll try to make you a recording of what it would sound like.

(The winged brackets are repeat brackets, they indicate that the passage is played twice. The first two examples resolve back to the first chord at the end. The third has an extra figure.)







And that's that!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Modal Interchange

Hi! As always, put your answers below or as comments on the video. Let's get started!

1) Identify the borrowed chord in each of these examples:

2) Here are some progressions with no modal interchange. Try to spice them up by exchanging one chord with a borrowed chord from a parallel mode. There are no wrong answers here, but try playing them for yourself if you can to see if your additions sound good to you.

3) Discuss how modal interchange sounds to you. Do you like the idea? Do you like the sound? Experiment with it on an instrument if you can. Are there specific chords you really like borrowing? Specific progressions that sound especially cool to you? There are no wrong answers, just play around with it and see what works for you.

And that's that! Write your answers in the comments below or on the video, and we'll see you next week!

Friday, October 16, 2015


This one seems hard to do practice exercises for since the concept is so simple, so let's just do some discussion questions.

1) What are some songs you like that use triplets? Try to find a few that use them as brief incursions and a few that are in triple meter the whole time. Are there any artists or styles you find these in more frequently? How are they used in the music you enjoy?

2) How do triplets make you feel? Again, think about both the incursion-style triplets and the full triple meter versions. Do they feel different to you? How would you describe that difference?

3) What about shuffle and swing? Have you encountered those terms before? Do those terms seem synonymous to you? Do they carry any different connotations? What would make you more likely to describe a piece as "shuffle" instead of "swing" or vice versa?

And that's it! post your answers below or on the video, and we'll see you next time!

Friday, October 9, 2015


Modes! Seriously one of my favorite topics in music theory, but admittedly a slightly complicated one, so let's make sure we understand what's going on.

1) Let's start by making sure you get the concept. Can you name all the relative modes of E major? For instance, C# Aeolian is the 6th mode. What are the others?

2) Now let's look at a single mode. Can you tell me the notes in each mode when the tonic is F?

3) Finally, let's identify some modes. Each of these is in one of the modes, with a random tonic. can you tell me which mode it is?

That's it! See you next week!

Friday, October 2, 2015


Well, this is complicated... Normally the best way to practice this would be to just write a bunch in different textures, but some of you probably aren't at that stage yet, so let's keep things simpler. If you can, though, definitely try writing in the various different textures. You can also switch back and forth between them during a song, so keep that in mind.

1) The following are all the same melody with different textured accompaniments. Which is which? Remember, the 5 textures are Monophonic, Heterophonic, Homophonic, Homorhythmic, and Polyphonic.

2) Try to find examples of the different textures. See if you can find one for each: Monophonic, Heterophonic, Homophonic, Homorhythmic, and Polyphonic. Some of those will be harder than others, but they're all out there! Try to find a bunch of examples: Is there one texture that you find you like more than the others? If so, why do you think that is?

3) Aw, heck, let's write some stuff. Here's a melody, give me a countermelody that compliments it. A good rule of thumb is that when one is busy the other should be more calm. That doesn't mean resting, of course, but less active. If you don't feel up to counterpoint, maybe try a homophonic or homorhythmic accompaniment instead?

And that's textures! Thanks for trying the exercises, and we'll see you next week!