Friday, April 29, 2016

The Twelve Tone Matrix Reloaded

Hey! This week we talked about a really useful (And fun) tool, the twelve tone matrix! As always, put your answers in the comments below or on the main video. Let's get started!

1) Let's start with the new notation. Below is a twelve-tone row, with standard note names below it. How would we write this row with our new numbering system?

2) Now let's get to the main attraction. It's matrix time! Make a matrix, using any row you want. If you can't think of one, try using the one from exercise 1. Or create your own, whichever you want! And now that you have the matrix done, why not try writing something with it if you feel up to it?

3) Let's talk about composition techniques. We covered a bunch of these in the video. Did any stand out as interesting to you? Were there any that seemed like something you'd want to try? Or did you think of any other techniques or tricks that we didn't mention? Let us know!

And that's it! See you next week!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Scaling The Summit With Dominant Scales

Hey! This week we talked about the scales we use over dominant chords. There's a lot to cover, so let's jump right in!

1) First let's take a look at some examples. Below are some dominant resolutions. Which scale would you use over each dominant chord? Mind the key signatures. There are multiple right answers to some of these, so don't be afraid to get creative!

2) Can you think of any other dominant scales? We covered many of the more common ones, but there's plenty of other ways to construct them. All you need is a shell voicing: Everything else is wide open. Try to devise some of your own and, if you can, try to play them and see how they sound.

3) We mentioned that the Blues scale is often used over dominant chords, but that's really weird, isn't it? It doesn't even have the leading tone in it. So why does it work? What do you think? Or do you even think it does? It might help to do a little research on its history, if you really want to go deep here.

And that's it! We'll see you next week!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Talking Like A Musician: Solfege and Chord Functions

This week we went over some terminology so you can sound overly smart when talking about music. Let's dive in!

1) For the melody below, first identify each pitch in fixed do. Then, once you have that, try it in movable do. Remember the key signature!

2) Let's talk about fixed and movable do. I know I biased the answers by giving my opinions first, but what do you think of them? Which seems like a better system? What are some situations where fixed do is more useful? How about movable do?

3) Finally, let's talk chord functions. As the video mentioned, we've talked about the primary functions (Tonic, Dominant, and Subdominant) before. In fact, the function groups take their name from these: To be a tonic function chord means that you're similar to the primary Tonic chord, the I. So just to make sure you understand, let's sort our new names into our old function groups. We mentioned 8 names: Tonic, Supertonic, Mediant, Subdominant, Dominant, Submediant, Subtonic, and Leading Tone. For each of those, just identify whether it's a Tonic function, Dominant function, or Subdominant function chord.

And that's it! We'll see you next week!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Odd Meter Out

This week we looked at what happens when time signatures go rogue. Let's do some exercises! As always, answers in the comments below or on the video.

1) Below are some examples of rhythms in 7/8, 9/8, and 5/4. I've removed the time signatures: Can you put them back correctly?

2) Let's talk groupings. Take, say, 23/16. What are some ways we might break that up? Try to come up with a couple different ones and tap them out to see how they sound. Once you've done that, maybe pick another obscure meter and see what you can do with that one. Getting a handle on these groupings is fundamental to being able to write with them, so don't hold back!

3) Finally, try writing a melody with an odd meter. For this, probably stick to one of the basic ones, 5/4, 7/8, or 9/8. Or if you want, try writing melodies for all three! Send me some notation for them and I'll try to get you an example track.

And that's it! See you next week!

Friday, April 1, 2016

A Scale For Every Chord

Hey folks! This week we talked about chord scales, a useful tool for melodies and improvisation. Let's get to the exercises!

1) For the progression below, I want you to do a couple things. First, I want you to figure out the "correct" chord scale for each chord in it, using relative modes. Try writing a melody using those scales! Then I want you to change one or more scales to different, also-appropriate ones and see if you can write a melody using those too. Get creative! Feel free to send me your melodies and I'll try to get you a demo track if you can't play it yourself.

2) Ok, that last one was a lot of work, so let's keep this next one simple. Near the end we talked about pivot modulations, and how a chord could have multiple scales associated with it at once. What do you think of that? Which answer makes the most sense to you? Absent surrounding context, what would you lean towards, theoretically?

3) Finally, let's grab a quick preview. We mentioned that dominant chords have a lot of available chord scales. Mixolydian is, of course, the most obvious, but there's so many others. Can you think of any other scales we've talked about that would fit over a dominant chord? How about ones we haven't talked about? Are there any scales you've encountered elsewhere that would fit over a dominant 7th chord?

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