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Old 10-14-2013, 11:44 PM   #1
Jaywalk777
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Lightbulb Guitar with emotion

I would like to know how to create feeling in music on the guitar specifically. And by feeling I don't mean playing with emotion like power but rather how people can play something and in the listener's mind it translates to happy, sad, scary, triumphant etc. or like I movies how they always have the right music yo match a scene. Because I think it would be cool to be able to listen to someone tell a story and be able to play the perfect music depending on what happens. If anyone knows what I mean or knows how to do this it would be much appreciated if you reply.

-JP
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Old 10-15-2013, 12:05 AM   #2
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What scale you are using can have some impact on that, but it's more based on how you play and also your note choice. For example, a major scale is usually associated with a happier sound, but depending on which notes you accent and where you choose to put certain notes in relation to the rhythm or the bass or whatever, it can sound sad or angry also. It's also about creating tension by lingering on specific notes for a short time, even if those notes don't actually fit in the scale, and then coming back to finish on a note that sort of completes it. Usually it's the tonal center, as ending with something else usually results in it sounding unfinished. And you can do it with chords too. Maybe suspend the third or something and then bring it back. All that really matters is the sound.
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:03 PM   #3
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Yeah I kind of figured that was how it worked. I figure it just has a lot to do with experimentation and knowing the notes, in or out of a scale. But like how in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LKIuOSEF7Q( he starts playing at about 8:30) you can not tell it is supposed to be scary till he it's one specific note. What did he do that changed the sound in to something scary rather than just playing notes of a scale over and over?
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:14 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Jaywalk777
like I movies how they always have the right music yo match a scene.


That's easier than just writing music for the same effect because there are other sounds and visuals to go with it; films, TV and games can work that way because they have more than one sense to work with and everything tends to be a lot less abstract.

Pure sound is much harder to do this with because that's all you've got and it's so abstract that expressing anything very specific is almost impossible. The most successful music writers write music that works in very broad strokes so the kind of things that listeners associate with it tend to be more universal.

That's really the crux of the issue though: you're not communicating anything anywhere near as specific as an idea through music, you have to compose and play and hope to god that the audience associates some part of the sounds you're making with the same thing you do because that's what music works on: associations things in the mind of the listener.

That clip you posted, again has visuals along with it but the clever thing he's doing is using dissonant tones to re-contextualise the footage. I don't think most of what he plays there is really from any specific scale; playing with more of a lean towards being atonal or chromatic is going to lean more towards sounding like that but the problem is that if you just heard that music on it's own you wouldn't know exactly what he was trying to express, it would just be "creepy" and nothing much more.
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Old 10-15-2013, 08:54 PM   #5
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This video is based on modes, yet mainly it has an approach on emotional playing. Although helpful. It's not everything. (There is also a part II)


I also recommend learning some crazy chords, like EminorAdd9 or EmajorAdd9 and understanding how they a build. I think chords help. One piece of evidence for this claim is in ode to joy. Seriously, just listen to it up until you hear the emotion at 27 - 30 seconds.


The entire song is pretty much playing over a s C major chord, but right at that moment it changes into a C augmented chord.

The whole chord thing may or may not apply to you. But the general idea with everything you play, when you find something you really like because of an emotion, learn it and learn some sort of theory behind it. The goal is you want to be able to replicate and make applications of the harmony changes in different keys.
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Old 10-17-2013, 04:05 PM   #6
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Thanks for the responses! I kind of understand that it is mainly visual cues that go along with sound to create a feeling. I have one more question that may belong in a different post but well here we are. If I am playing a major scale with no guitar playing chords of the scale behind me and if i don't mix any chords into my playing then what makes whatever major scale I am playing (For example C) different then an A minor scale (besides the root note)
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Old 10-17-2013, 05:44 PM   #7
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For example if I play something from the Cmajor scale and end on an A note, what makes that different sounding than the A minor scale?
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Old 10-17-2013, 06:50 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Jaywalk777
For example if I play something from the Cmajor scale and end on an A note, what makes that different sounding than the A minor scale?


It depends what you're playing; what notes you spend more time on, what notes you choose not to play and so on. If you literally just play the scale up and down then you don't really get much of a clue either way and it's more dependent on what notes you start and end on but if you're playing something actually musical you get a much clearer idea of what's being implied harmonically.

If you lean on the notes that are more stable relative to the A root then it will sound more like A minor but if you lean more on the notes that are stable in C major then it will sound more like C major.

This is a pretty good lesson on the subject of scales, Guthrie talks about it better than I can really.



He's talking about it in the context of modes (don't get in to those yet) but the idea that you can imply certain things by leaning on certain intervals in the scale or by playing certain sequences of notes, most likely arpeggios realistically.
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Last edited by Zaphod_Beeblebr : 10-17-2013 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 10-19-2013, 08:02 PM   #9
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^^ That was actually a really good video, Thanks
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Old 10-21-2013, 11:10 AM   #10
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one of the easier ways I suppose you can explain emotional feeling theoretically would with the track chords and modes. to get a "happy" sound, I would play a major mode(ionian, mixolydian, lydian) over a major chord. to get a "sad" or "emotional" Id play a minor mode(aeolian, dorian, phrygian) over minor chords. to get a "scary" sound I usually try harmonic minor and some diminished patterns and experiment with some cromatics. this is what I do for improvising.

this is not the easiest way I get my sounds from though when I write something. What I do to get specific sounds that people can relate to as happy, sad, scary, or whatever is this. I get or make the backing track, and I sing/hum over it. you brain is unbelievably musical when singing melodies over tracks. if you want to get a scary sound, chances are very likely you would sing a scary sound right on the spot that woud sound amazing with the track. the real hard part is remembering what you sung.
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:06 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bustapr
What I do to get specific sounds that people can relate to as happy, sad, scary, or whatever is this. I get or make the backing track, and I sing/hum over it. you brain is unbelievably musical when singing melodies over tracks. if you want to get a scary sound, chances are very likely you would sing a scary sound right on the spot that woud sound amazing with the track. the real hard part is remembering what you sung.


Generally I use the chromatic scale with a lot of delay and some effect with the volume knob to create a scary/anticipated sound. I'll maybe post an Mp3 of it later if anyone cares. The real hard part for me would be translating what I sung onto the guitar.
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:20 AM   #12
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And I know I've changed subjects a couple times throughout this but for example in the song The Unforgiven (the first one) by Metallica, during the intro sequence he plays a series of notes where he has a scale shape where on the 3rd string he has 1-2-4-5 and that does not seem like any basic major or minor shape, maybe harmonic minor I'm not sure.
|----------------------------|-------------------------------|
|------------------3s5--5----|--5--3-------------------------|
|------2--4---4h5------------|--------4~~---4\-1--/4--1--2s4-|
|----------------------------|-------------------------------|
|----------------------------|-------------------------------|
|----------------------------|-------------------------------|

But what would scale would this song (or section at least) be in? Because I know it could be A Aeolian with a half step out of the scale (G#) or A Harmonic Minor, the reason I ask is because when you (or me at least) here that note it creates almost a short buildup then relief when he returns back to the 2s4 and almost a "western type feel" but not cowboy, or country I dont exactly know how to describe it.
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:36 AM   #13
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Not western, I meant spanish now that I think about it.
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Old 10-22-2013, 12:35 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Jaywalk777
But what would scale would this song (or section at least) be in? Because I know it could be A Aeolian with a half step out of the scale (G#) or A Harmonic Minor, the reason I ask is because when you (or me at least) here that note it creates almost a short buildup then relief when he returns back to the 2s4 and almost a "western type feel" but not cowboy, or country I dont exactly know how to describe it.


That's actually more or less exactly what's going on; he's using the harmonic minor sound to create very strong resolution over that chord.

This explanation may get a little involved and for that I'm sorry.

One of the strongest moves for resolution available is the movement from the fifth to the root. Even stronger if you use a dominant fifth chord (in the case of A that would be an E7: E, G#, B, D). Normally the dominant fifth chord doesn't appear in a minor key, the dominant in a natural minor song is on the minor 7th.

Now, knowing these things, we can mess with things a little: if we make the V chord in a minor progression, like The Unforgiven, we end up with a harmonic minor scale, thus retaining the minor tonality but keeping the really strong resolution from major keys; that's originally what it was for: stronger resolution from the 5 to the 1 in minor songs. It also means that the natural 7 chord is diminished but that's not important right now.

Knowing this, we can do interesting things with arrangements.

In The Unforgiven almost everything is pretty standard minor fare (at least from what I can hear) but during that lead part there's two guitars and the bass; the clean lead and the acoustic backing. During the specific lead part you're referring to the bass drops down to the E note, the 5th in the scale, and the guitars don't play chords but play a harmony lead part, which is very important because it means that the harmony isn't being played across one note. This is the only point in the lead where that G# is played which, in context, implies the E7 chord giving it that super strong feeling of resolution when the lead hits the root, A, as the progression starts again.



Hopefully that makes some kind of sense.

As for the western sound... I think during this period Hetfield was listening to a lot of Ennio Morricone. They probably still come out on stage to The Ecstasy Of Gold now
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Old 10-22-2013, 03:01 PM   #15
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Yeah, that actually makes a lot of sense, so from what I understand that you said, he is taking a Fifth dominant chord and splitting the chord up between a bass and a guitar, and as soon as the lead guitar plays the G# note, that does two things. It turns it into a harmonic minor scale which allows there to be a V Dominant chord making, and the E note that the bass is playing with the addition of the G# gives you an E7 sound, which resolves greatly back to A. I never would have thought that much into it before, thanks man. and by the way the western sound I am referring to is like something out of the beginning of Knights Of Cydonia.
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