one of the greatest things about learning guitar is that it isn't what you might call a "linear process". that is to say, while a structured approach has its benefits, it is not a requisite to learn how to alternate pick before learning how to play a scale -- although knowing alternate picking will definitely make your life easier when doing so!
theory, however, is very linear. every concept you'll learn builds on other concepts you've previously studied. in this way, it's very much like a language. but theory is definitely to your benefit to learn. it will help you internalize and utilize new musical concepts in a quicker and more efficient way.
your ear, however, is, at minimum, equally important. without that, any aspiring musician takes a huge hit. do not neglect your ear training, and make it a habit to sing everything you play. again, it will help you to internalize and utilize new musical concepts in a quicker and more efficient way.
you'll get the best results if you do all of what you've said, honestly. be objective and learn how to spot weaknesses in your playing and musicianship, and take whatever steps you can to strengthen yourself. this may include learning theory -- but if you are open to that you will find that progress, though incremental, will be very solid.
singing is the fastest and most reliable way to improve your ears, because it forces you to internalize the sounds to achieve a result (i.e. sing the note or notes).
it's easy to say "don't worry too much about what people will think", but something else that may help you is that you don't need to be singing like a professional. to train your ear, the main objective is simply to internalize and produce the pitches. I recommend humming if volume is a concern. if you're not aspiring to be a singer, there are ways around it. try different things and see what works for you.
but don't do yourself the disservice of training your ear without singing. it not only involves more work, but it produces fewer results.
In this type of situation I find it preferable not to think in terms of set scales, but instead to be aware of the musical context and go from there. The pool of notes I would readily select from is:
C D Eb E F G Ab Bb B
In keeping the notes from C major, I've made some additions given that the context is Fm, a non-diatonic chord. The A has been changed for an Ab, since an A will clash with the Fm chord. Eb has been added in, as it is the minor seventh of an Fm chord. The Fm chord does not specify a seventh, so it could either be major (E) or minor (Eb). Finally, Bb has been added in, because it is the 11th of Fm. If you don't know much about chord extensions, I would take a little time to work with that. B is also usable, largely more so than the A would be, but it connotes a diminished chord and has a very unstable sound, especially considering that Fm contains the note C, which is only a semitone away from B natural.
If I had to think in a set scale, I would probably use F dorian, but I feel very strongly that thinking this way and being aware of the context gives you a greater palette of possibilities. It takes a lot of time and practice to know how to use them effectively but the end result is well worth it. Remember to let your ears be your guide, and to be as objective as possible when trying new techniques.
III and bIII are hugely different things. on the tonic of D, III would be F#maj, and bIII would be Fmaj. in classical analysis, if D minor is specified, III is typically just taken to mean Fmaj, so this is an acceptable usage.
in a minor key, III serves a similar function to the tonic, being that the two triads share two notes between them. it's strange that you say you can't make it work in other progressions, because it's actually one of the easiest chords to use in a minor key. it tends to smooth a lot of movement, at least when used in conjunction with the tonic chord.
in classical minor piece analysis, because so much is based on the harmonic minor scale (not getting into that here), the chord we've come to call VII in D minor (Cmaj) would actually be treated as more of a V/III -- that is, the fifth chord built off of the third degree (which in this case is F, and to build the fifth chord off of F is to get Cmaj). if you want to emphasize the III, try to use that V/III before it, rather than after it, as you have it in the progression above. you will feel a much stronger pull if you add the 7th as well (C7). to be fair, if you really want to emphasize the III, you may want to consider building longer and slightly more elaborate progressions that draw the listener's attention -- it's difficult (though not impossible!) to properly, consistently, and effectively emphasize one particular chord in a four-chord loop. you might try a ii-V-I kind of deal (Gm7 - C7 - Fmaj) to really pull the focus to the Fmaj chord, but the problem with looping that (Dm - Gm7 - C7 - Fmaj) is that the return to the Dm from the Fmaj chord is not as satisfactory as it could have been had you added something else. these are the kinds of difficulties i'm talking about regarding emphasizing chords in four-chord loops -- these sorts of tricks aren't as effective as they would be elsewhere.
for a four-chord loop, i recommend ||: Dm | C7 | Fmaj | A7 :||
for something just a bit more elaborate that focuses on the F chord, i recommend ||: Dm | D7 | Gm7 | C7 | Fmaj7 | Fmaj7/E | Em7b5 | A7 :||
I don't know... I think BPM makes more difference than what key you are playing in. You can actually hear a (very clear) difference between the same song played in 70 BPM and 120 BPM. So it kind of makes more sense than "what's your favorite key" threads.
But yeah, the answer is still the same - what works for the song. I don't know what the goal of this thread is.
you can easily hear a very clear difference between the same song played in Eb major and E major. i don't think anybody is arguing that there's no difference between such a huge shift in tempo. if your favorite BPMs include but are not limited to 143, 157, 128 (but not 129), and 86, that's ultimately a pointless distinction to make. that's not much different from saying your favorite key is F# major but only at 436 hz tuning.
i'm not ripping on anybody, i just think people that are so wrapped up about this sort of thing would benefit more as developing (and professional!) musicians if they refocused their priorities.
I don't think that anyone thinks that you only use those BPMs. It's just that most people probably don't think of BPMs that seriously. I personally just start playing, tap the rhythm into the metronome, and don't pay any attention to the actual number.
this is why you're getting the reaction you're getting. those sorts of negligible differences in BPM are not really important. 127 is among your favorite BPMs? why not 126? are you really capable of calculating the tempo down to the BPM of a song that you can tell the difference between 126 and 127 using only your ear?
musicians tend to think of tempo (what you call BPM) as open to interpretation, too. allegro doesn't mean 120 BPM. it could mean 115 or 127, 113 or 134. it's variable. it's something that should be considered but if you're going to say you like 5 or 6 numbers and not the rest when, to be perfectly frank, you're not going to be able to isolate and internalize the difference between 126 and 127 unless they're up side-by-side...that's a pretty pointless discussion, honestly. how a piece changes when it's shifted from 90 to 120 is totally different, and there's a lot to be said for that.
if you take issue with what i'm saying, that's fine, but then: you say you like 127 and 131 bpm. surely, then, you must have a valid reason for not liking 126, 128, 129, 130, or 132, and all of the decimal values between them.
127.099. it's a subtle difference from 127 but it's a marked improvement. frankly if you're so closed minded not to use decimals and only restrict yourself to integers you're only choosing from a couple hundred possibilities out of a theoretically infinite amount. amateur mistake.
E major. the E7 wouldn't fit particularly well IMO. unless you're really attached to it, i'd make it an E. objectivity exists in this sort of thing but it doesn't saturate it -- that is to say, while there are no right or wrong answers, there are often more effective and less effective ones. it depends, there are reasons to use E7 instead of E from a songwriting perspective. if you're writing something that connotes instability, you may want to opt for the E7 for that "it's not quite there" sound. but that's getting into lyrical prosody, and i don't want to branch out too far here. but the tonic is E, and there are stronger inclinations to hear the G# as giving the song a major quality and the G natural as being a byproduct of mode mixture, rather than the other way around.
harmonic rhythm (i.e. how quickly the chords change) is also a big factor, as the post above mentions. a big part of the reason E7 sounds like the tonic despite being a dominant seventh chord is that it itself occupies half of the first progression you give.
however, i disagree with a lot of things mentioned above. it's important to understand that there's no such thing as a "simple major key" or a "complex major key". it's E major, period. the melody and harmony don't have to fit strictly within the underlying scale to adhere to the related key -- that's pretty much the entire reason for having keys. it is also not "an academic exercise for the curious" to be able to identify the key; it's a necessity for any quality songwriter. knowing which key you're gives you cognizant control of what your options are, it allows you to make greater use of the tools in your songwriter toolbox. even having the key ambiguous is something that needs to be crafted, that's called atonality. these are things that you, if not as a musician then as a songwriter, should have control over. and this is less of an objective point but it's best not to think of "rules" (neither following nor breaking) unless you're adhering to a strict methodology (say, species counterpoint).
try to ditch the "baseball bat" grip. there are times to use it but open chords don't necessitate the use. in playing open chords try to keep the your thumb around the midpoint of the neck. a lot of players use this grip for open chords and i suppose it is doable but that doesn't make it efficient or even good.
i suggest this because it looks like your index finger is hitting the fretboard at a steep angle (which is common among players using the baseball bat grip). to be fair, i don't see a lot of players with that grip complain about index finger pain like this, so i would hazard a guess that your pain is a result of too much pressure combined with that angle. if you can learn to play with your thumb like that in the open position, your fingers should be almost perpendicular, and that hand structure will respond to pressure way better.
how long have you been playing? if you're really that new (as in, you started playing last month), then it might just be as other people have said -- that you need time to adjust and develop. even so, i'd suggest learning to hold the guitar like this. do it while you're not too far in.
also, to back what everyone else has said, if you're feeling some kind of pain while playing an instrument, 9 times out of 10 it's the result of some kind of unnecessary tension.
your objectivity will serve you very well. it's important to know your weaknesses and address them, an endeavor in which i notice many guitarists fall flat.
learning theory will begin to get you where you want to go, but not if you can't hear it. train your ear first (or do both simultaneously if you have the time to invest). sing everything you play, and i do mean everything. analyze what you're playing theoretically, so that you know what it is and have a sound to match it with. think about those few licks that you've come up with and throw at everything. i'd wager you've played them enough to know what they're going to sound like in any situation. you want to be able to get to that level with everything. it's going to take time, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes to identify, internalize, and recreate general concepts and specific sounds.
i'd suggest figuring notes out first before chords, since chords are built from notes. if you can put together the fundamental building blocks, you'll be able to identify the chords.
it looks like you're into a lot of rock and metal, given that you mention friedman and gilbert et al. as influences. these are truly world-class players that have absorbed a tremendous amount of music, and by this i mean not just rock and metal. they have heavy influence outside those genres (appropriate that jazz *fusion* came up), and, as such, once you get a slightly better foothold in theory, a stronger ear, and, therefore, a more well-rounded command of both your instrument and music in general, start looking to other genres and see what all the fuss is about. find something you like and spend time integrating it into the way you play. that's how players like the ones you mentioned got so good, and were able to add complexity and flavor to the inherently simpler genres of rock and metal, and that's a big part of the reason why they're known as being holyshitamazing.
spend a lot of time addressing your weaknesses. it's tempting to fall back into the comfortable, but if you're not doing something you have to actively think about, you're not really learning anything new.
my advice for you, TS/OP, is just to walk away from this thread and do your own thing. you will come to find that, in time, the method of thought that you're employing seldom works unless you're already known as a holistic guitar god, at which point people will be on their knees begging to pay you a cool 3 mil to record a 7 second solo over their ska arrangement of "old man river".
i can sit and call you names, but i think the better thing to say is that you should just go out and learn things on your own. the easier path is to listen to those more experienced than you who have the answers you seek, but ultimately i feel that the harder path of going through it yourself will make the answers resonate with you on a more profound level; knowing that something is right does not have the same power as knowing why it is right.
just keep playing, keep branching out, and ask yourself those fundamental questions i spoke about. you'll get your answers, and they'll stick with you for a lifetime.
i do believe each musician should be free to express their own style -- but here's the thing, there's a time and a place for that. each player expressing their own style in a jazz band is great, because the alto sax can take 16, and the guitar takes 16, and then the pianist takes 16, then the trombonist, drummer, and so on. each player being free to express their own style does not mean "metal pentatonics over a gospel groove".
no one is asking anyone to be content with playing generic boring music. and the only time that happens, you're not content with playing generic boring music, you're content with the paycheck connected with the act of playing generic boring music. in all other cases, if you're playing generic boring music, you should be listening and figuring out how to make generic boring music not be generic boring music. and that's a skillset in itself.
A few things stand out very much to me while listening to this.
1. Technique aspect. I don't mean playing something flashy or anything, but you seem to just be picking very loose and/or sloppy. Even if you are playing with dynamics and articulation, a good attack on the strings is needed.
2. Lack of direction. The improv doesn't build upon itself, it seems like you are going from playing one thing then going into something completely unrelated. Kind of asking a question like "Guess what i had for lunch today?" and then saying "You know, i just got this new car yesterday", you need to develop ideas when soloing, or atleast transition between them in a nice fashion.
3. Phrasing. Your phrasing is somewhat poor, and you don't give phrases enough time to breath before going into the next phrase. This is related to point 2 aswell, the ideas are not connected so it sounds weird from time to time.
4. Playing the changes. You are not spelling out the changes when playing, of course this is a stylistic choice how to spell them out, but if you don't spell them out at all you are going to sound like you are lost.
5. Bends and vibrato. You need to be careful with your bends, they go out of tune very easily. And your vibrato tends to be uneven/excessive at places.
6. Noodling. Same as with point 2-3, it seems like you don't have ideas half of the time and then resort to noodle around the pentatonic scale. If you struggle to find fitting ideas i'd suggest three things.
6.a: Transcribe players that can solo over the progressions you are tackling and see how they played over it. Use that inspiration to develop your improv skill.
6.b: Set the instrument aside and sing a solo. If you don't have a instrument in your hands, you can't noodle. Then you have to listen and try to sing out something that fits (also, subconsciously spelling out the changes). Then learn to play that on guitar.
6.c: Ear training. You need to be better at following your ear. Scales and arpeggios are great to have under your belt, but if you can't hear yourself through a progression you are going to have a lot of trouble improvising over it.
I don't mean anything of this in a bad way, it is simply the main areas i hear you need to focus on.
excellent post. allow me to take it one step further to make it very accessible and streamlined.
points 1 and 5 go hand in hand, so isolate those for later.
point 6.c is the most important thing on this list, because it will make you better at point 6.b, which will improve everything else that has been mentioned. that includes point 5, because you will develop a taste for where and how to use what kind of bends.
to your credit, it's no small task to improvise over a progression for 4 minutes and keep it interesting, so i'll you a little slack. but only a little, because the fact remains that it can be done.
keep it up. knowing what to practice is extremely important, and now you've got a pretty good idea of where to start.
The reason that I ended up playing with a gospel band is because my friend plays bass for them and he invited me to come along and play with them. I don't really like gospel music and infact would regard myself as an atheist.
I could see that the rest of the band were feeling the music but as a non-Christian, it did nothing for me. This meant that I became bored rather quickly and it wasn't long before I started adding in licks and little lead parts, mainly to stop me from falling asleep.
> is an atheist > is also a church organist
don't let your beliefs (or anything else for that matter, especially attitude) get in the way of your ability to play music. i happen to like gospel music (i've come to like all music, really), and goddamn, that snarky puppy track is out of this world.
you seem to have acknowledged the idea that you need to return and work on your fundamentals, because that's what will get you the results you're looking for. sing everything you play. a good musician should be able to make a three chord jam sound complex, and not by throwing fancy scales or licks over it. spend more time listening if you're serious about broadening your horizons.
as far as everything else is concerned, i'm not going to get on your back, because that achieves nothing. i don't want to go completely zen on you but i suggest you spend more time studying and thinking about the role of music in general. ask yourself some very fundamental questions and make it a point to come up with answers.
otherwise it seems like you're going to be your own worst enemy.
I'd say that I just like to play something they aren't really in. Not their cup, you know.
And yes, of "know but don't feel" and "feel but don't know" I'd rather be in a second part. You can learn theory, train your ears and fingers, but without the feeling - what's the reason? It's compassion that drives.
ah, but i can do both. see, that's the problem -- you think it has to be one or the other, or that you "like to play something that isn't their cup of tea" or some such nonsense. there is way more to it than mere compassion. if that were the case every tom, dick, and harry would be able to do it. and there is nothing of merit in being able to do what everyone is immediately capable of (unless you want to give me a trophy for breathing, of course).
you can say whatever you want, but it's absolutely not true -- so don't be surprised when other people disagree with you and can utilize logical arguments against whatever opinion you assert.
i'll say it again, just to drive the point home. that's a very self-defeating dichotomy you're thinking in.
I've just never seen "b6" indicated as a chord tone, so I hesitate to pioneer such a usage myself. Sometimes you see 6 in ambiguous places, in which case I think context is the best way to determine which 6th is appropriate. Since there is no weird key change stuff going on, I would assume the diatonic minor 6th in this situation.
Usually, yes, you do assume a major 6th. It's very often stated as a "dorian 6th", in a ii-V progression. I'm not sure there's a standard convention for indicating minor 6ths.
an Em6 chord always contains a C# -- in root position it is a C#m7b5 chord in first inversion. unless you're reading figured bass in a continuo part, the sixth is not up for interpretation.
m(b6) chords are not common but that nomenclature is the most common way of notating them.
Just out of curiosity. It is interesting how people can play well and claim to not know much about how music works. Though I doubt the really good and fast players do not understand rhythmic notation.
being able to utilize rhythm and being able to understand it when written are two separate skill sets. frankly, they'd be almost unrelated if they weren't tied together by the notion that they are both related to rhythm.
it very much depends on the style. if you want to play rock or metal you don't really need the ability to transcribe (although it obviously can't hurt). you're pretty much ****ed as far as jazz or more complex styles go if you can't transcribe, though.
Quote by rootsofmy
Barely know music theory, play loads of stuff with some piece that make even "knowing" people scratch their heads. Sometimes you just have to feel it.
these "knowing" people you're talking about are merely developing their skills then. if there is a rhythm in any way shape or form it is possible to notate it. the same goes along the lines of music theory.
you should ALWAYS be able to feel it -- it is not a matter of the feasibility of notation. that's a very self-defeating dichotomy you're thinking in.
Okay, so, that would be me you're hearing :p Thanks for the feedback anyway, appreciated. And I mean that. Bit harsh but I can take it. Actually I AM taking vocal lessons as we speak, so, working on it (besides, I'm not very happy with my vocal takes either, I was tired and know I can sing better).
as you practice, you'll get better, but honestly i really do stick to what i said about the mixing being at least partly at fault.
Quote by GuestRoomFan
Okay, any ideas on how we could spice it up? Do we need to make the songs shorter, or are the arrangements the problem - not enough hooks, as you put it?
both. if you want to write songs that appeal to people, and i mean really appeal to people, you have to stop thinking of music as a musician and start thinking of it as a listener. does it mean being a musician's musician is bad? hell, no, you ever listen to rush? seriously.
as a songwriter, you need to understand what the average human ear is capable of interpreting. i forget where i read this, but someone once said that "the human is ear is only capable of understanding one melody at a time. anything else is appealing only to the mind or the eye." i'm not sure i agree 100%, but the underlying point is very valid -- when's the last time you heard someone complement the synth sound on a rihanna track?
if you're doing vocal-based music, the function of the song is, 99 times out of 100, to be a vehicle designed to deliver the vocals. pop and rock, whatever the subgenre, is almost always vocal based music. even riffs and the like come second. so don't overcompensate. given the quality of your vocals and the persistence of the guitar, it's almost as if the vocals don't even need to be there.
learn to deliver melody, and learn to deliver lyrics. these are the keys to what you want to do. i suggest writing a four-chord pop song. seriously, about whatever. if you can't do that convincingly, you're not going to be able to do anything more complex convincingly without so much trial and error that you'll have forgotten why you were doing what you were doing in the first place. start there, and branch out.
Does anyone know of a good resource for learning what scales to use in what key?
the answer to that is exactly what hotspur said:
Quote by HotspurJr
Some sounds are more popular than others, but really, if the question is "what scale should I play" the resulting music is not likely to be interesting. Start by internalizing the sounds of the major and minor scales, and then work on adding the most common accidentals. (eg, b7 in major, #6 in minor, b2 in minor) Once you've internalized those sounds, they will naturally come out of you when you play.
Quote by KarateRick
Also interested in a comprehensive chord progression resource.
Free and online is best if you know of any, but I will buy books as long as they are definitive.
these aren't the kind of things you can buy. these are the kinds of things you earn and attain through years of practice and study.
yes, even if you manage to find a resource.
think about it this way - suppose one day i decide i want to conduct a surgical operation. if i go out, buy a few tools, read a book or two, and somehow find a poor sap willing to be operated upon, am i properly equipped to do what i'm seeking out to do?
the answer to that, of course, is no. but it's because the answer is no that you need to work, study, listen, learn, apply, etc. if there were a quick fix, everybody would be a hit songwriter, and there would be no value in it.
I'm down with new learning new terminology. My musician lexicon is never too full.
this is a good way to think, but you want to be careful of learning which terminology discusses concepts that are related to terminology discussing other concepts. you don't want to learn about a noun, verb, and adjective while you're trying to focus on things like alliteration or assonance.
i agree with the singer. have him take some lessons. though i can also tell a small part of it is in the mixing, it might be better if redone.
the biggest problem is that there are no clear hooks and the structure isn't very -- you used the word compact, i think that's a good word to use. like, i was listening to tied and eventually i ended up going to facebook for three minutes before realizing "****, i was supposed to listen intently". so i'll give it to you that i may have missed something, but what i WILL tell you is that a great song never gives the listener the opportunity to wander off -- it always keeps the audience interested.
it doesn't sound bad, but it doesn't stand out. a good first place for you to start would be working on your hooks.
Well yeah, that's what I was mostly going for in my post. My playing has always been quite harmony oriented so piano is naturally a better instrument for me. What always annoyed me with guitar was running out of fingers or being unable to reach all notes and thus having to omit some.
With piano I can play a ton of notes without many limits and easily voice chords however I want.
yeah, that's a tremendous benefit.
the key inherent in thinking of music in this way is that you truly begin to realize that you don't need to play every note in every chord with a doubled root or a tripled fifth or anything like that. you can really start to get away with playing a maj13 chord as 3 7 13 instead of worrying about the 9, R, 5, or a muted string.
i think you've probably got that pretty well figured out, though.
I was simplifying for to make the idea more clear to the original post. Yes, it's a tonicization, not a modulation(depending on rhythm and structure).
by bringing up unrelated terminology?
Quote by cdgraves
The presence of the dominant at the end doesn't preclude modality in the rest (though I think this case is ambiguous). It's not like a completely black and white thing - the same piece of music can be modal AND have functional chords. Plenty of modal music changes key a few times and then uses V7 to reestablish the original key.
one of the very essences of modal music is that it lacks chord function (EDIT: or it is at least extremely suppressed), and the example given is certainly not ambiguous -- unless, of course, you consider || C | A7 | Dm | G || to be D dorian and C major (it's not, though).
Quote by cdgraves
Either way, the progression in question can be viewed as either modal or tonal, but the way it was written out earlier, it has too many elements of functional harmony to consider it strictly modal. I think a listener would hear circle of 5ths and secondary dominants and have a natural expectation for non-modal melodies. The B7 really sets up an expectation for a tonal resolution.
no, it cannot. it's in a major key with a V/V, for the very reasons you listed here.
Quote by cdgraves
Now, if those chords were stated were stated at great rhythmic/structural length, like 8 bars each, and dressed up with extended harmonies, it would look more like an unambiguously modal chord sequence. For example, 8 bars each of AM7#11, B13, EM9, F#m11, and just use the E7 for a turnaround. In that case, you would have a lot of sensible modal options, such as changing the mode with each new harmony, or using the same mode across all the chords.
TS is definitely not talking about 8 bars on each chord. that's a very different situation and depends on a multitude of factors that are of no benefit to discuss here.
you properly started to learn to play last night, and you want to go to 5 hours a day on workdays?
would you start on a bench press at 235 lbs?
my point is this isn't wise. not only are you not physically used to the act of playing guitar yet, but that much time in the beginning stages really is not necessary. unless you're bringing all of a year's training and topics into a month, and even then, you run a huge risk of glossing over a lot of it because you didn't spend sufficient time on it.
i see you're enthusiastic and that's great, don't lose that passion. but just because one can do something doesn't mean one should. dial back a bit for now and as you become used to it you can start raising your numbers.
if you're making the dichotomy between "music i like" and "pop music", then, honestly, chances are you could stand to learn some things from studying pop music. most of the guitarists i've ever met who have some sort of hatred or disdain for pop music were incapable of writing even a half-decent song, let alone a captivating melody or rhythm.
so yes. do both. sickz gave some killer advice, and i'm glad you picked up on that.
i hate to be that guy, but i'm going to tell you exactly how to get where you want to be.
you need to study things like composition and orchestration extensively to be reliably able to make music in his style. not to mention study his work, but that one's a given.
it's a lot of work, and, frankly, it's a lot more than emulating his style unless you're already very well experienced in composition, orchestration, etc. this is not to say that it can't be done, but it's a lot more involved than writing a few riffs or chord progressions on guitar.
listen. learn. analyze. without the conscious study it's almost impossible to get it out of the pipe dream stage. good luck.