Friday, May 27, 2016

Polyrhythm of the Night

Polyrhythms! Multiple rhythms at once! Let's dive in!

1) An interesting feature of polyrhythms is how each part drifts in and out of sync with each other. For instance, look at the notation below. Notice how the second and third attacks in the top voice kind of flank the third attack in the middle one, each kind of reaching toward the next beat away but not quite making it. And as you get more and more complex numbers, you get even more intricate patterns. Take 7 against 8, for instance. How do the beats in each of those line up? Which ones are closest? Which ones are furthest away? Try to visualize and analyze the entire pattern if you can!

2) Which of the notation methods made the most sense to you? Could you see yourself using irrational meter? Also, as a bonus question, did you notice that weird clef we were using? Do you know what that clef is?

3) Let's try something new: A playing exercise. Try to tap out a polyrhythm. Start with the hemiola, that's simplest. If you can get that down, try 3:4, 4:5, whatever you want to do. The most important thing is to keep each part consistent. Don't let them get pulled into each other's rhythms or you lose the whole effect! If you can't do both parts at once, try listening to a song in 4/4 while tapping along three evenly spaced beats per bar. It's tricky!

Friday, May 20, 2016

What The Heck Is Neo-Riemannian Analysis?

Well that's... different. Let's do some exercises!

1) Let's start with transformation paths. For each of the following sets of chords, see if you can find the shortest set of transformations that will get you from one to the other:

  • G# minor to A major
  • Db major to G minor
  • F# major to F minor
  • C major to F major
  • B major to Bb minor
  • A minor to E major
2) Second... We broke down the compound transformations starting from a major triad, but what about minor? Try starting from A minor and build a tree like we did in the video. How does it compare to the major tree?

3) Discussion time! What do you think of this method? Does it make sense? Does it seem useful? If so, how would you use it? If not, does it at least seem interesting?

And that's Neo-Riemannian Analysis... For now. See you next week!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Augmented Triads: The Six Million Dollar Chord

Hey! This week we talked about augmented triads and some of their uses. Let's try some exercises!

1) Let's start at the end. I mentioned that any augmented triad could modulate to any key, but how? See if you can figure it out! Remember they're symmetrical, so you only need to find ways to four different groups of keys. Can you find more than one way to a key? What's the simplest?

2) Next, let's talk line cliches. What did you think of their sound? We covered a few of the most common types, but there are others. Can you think of any more examples? Maybe moving a different note? Or maybe the line doesn't go the same way the whole time? Come up with some ideas and try them out!

3) Finally, let's talk chord scales. Specifically, let's look at the Whole Tone scale. Whole Tone can be thought of as the notes of two augmented triads a whole step apart. What are some possible uses for that? We covered some basic places you might see it, but there's a lot of more creative options out there. Play around with it, see what you can come up with!

And that's that! As always you can put your answers in the comments below or on the main video, and we'll see you next week!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Fire The Canons!

Canons! No, not cannons, those are totally different. Let's get started!

1) Let's begin with a bit of score study. Pachelbel's Canon in D is perhaps one of the best-known canons out there, and it's a great example of the style. Here's a copy of the score, and here's a recording. Listen to it for as long as you can and try to differentiate the various violin lines. It'll be tricky if you're not used to it, and you may get distracted by the cello and harpsichord (This is an accompanied canon.) but really try to listen to how the different independent voices interact.

2) Now let's try writing one! These get harder and harder to do the more rules you add on, so I don't want to overburden you. If you want to just write a simple canon, that's great! If you want to try one (or more) of the more advanced versions, give it a shot! Whatever you feel up to. Just share it here when you're done, and if you can't play it I'll try to get you a demo track of it. Have fun!

3) Last, let's have a discussion question. Had you heard of canons before? Did you know what they were? What do you think of them? Are there any variations that particularly stand out to you? Even better, can you think of any ways to play with them that we didn't cover? Any new variations? Let us know!

And that's it! As always, you can put answers in the comments below or on the main video, and we'll see you next time!