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Monthly Archives: February 2017

Information of Guitar Music Theory

Let me tell you some of the basics, music theory as it applies to guitar is built up of the following: scales, steps, chords and chord progressions. Each of these contribute to the overall song. It can be thought of as a recipe as if you are making a type of food. Start with a tortilla, add some rice, beans, some chicken, sauce and cheese. These are each parts in the recipe that contribute to the overall delicious burrito. The better each of these ingredients are, the more well defined and unique the taste but each of them contribute, even if they have been tasted before to making it something you can recognize.

To make a song you need to use different things like: a major scale, a chord progression and rhythm . A scale is typically a major or minor scale, it represents the relationship that notes have to each other. The C Major Scale is defined as: C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C. A G Major Scale is defined as: G A B C D E F# G. Now each of these has a step sequence between them. It helps to use different amounts of steps like a whole or a half step. For C Major it’s: C whole step D whole step E half step F whole step G whole step A whole step B half step C.

The next piece of information to understand with regards to guitar music theory is that there are also chords. A chord is like a scale, you typically only hear two types, major and minor chords. A C Major chords looks like this: (C E G), the intervals that define this are: C 2 steps E 1.5 steps G. A major chord is defined as: 2 steps – second note – 1.5 steps – third note and a minor chord is defined as: 1.5 steps – second note – 2 steps – third note.

Now that you know something about scales and chords you can see that you need to learn about progressions. If you can start to add these variations in to the progression: ACE, DFA, CEG, FAC, GBD, EGB and BEG you will have achieved a song. You alternate what chords you play and then that is the building block of the song. There are plenty of other resources out there to make sure you learn guitar music theory. I hope you have the terminology down now so that in the the future when you see how these relate to styles you will know that you can just play certain chords and scales with progressions and make happy songs.

Guitar Music Notation Tools

* Guitar Pro

While you will probably find Power Tab sufficient for many purposes it does have a few limitations and quirks and being free, doesn’t evolve much. If you want something a little easier to use and more powerful then it is well worth forking out US $60 or so for Guitar Pro (you can try a free trial version before deciding).

Guitar Pro is a very complete tab editor and playback tool that offers all the features of Power Tab plus a few more and is friendlier to use to boot, for example you can enter music with an on screen guitar fretboard or from your instrument via MIDI. Note that Guitar Pro can read and edit all your Power Tab files, but the reverse is not true.

Apart from ease of use the main advantage Guitar Pro offers is better sound quality and easier control of playback. It has a useful looper feature to repeat a selected passage at slowly increasing speed to help you learn it. Guitar Pro is also good at handling multiple tracks and instruments, useful if you want to create rhythm and lead parts or arrange your music with bass, drums or other instruments.

Finally, it’s worth noting that you can find many guitar parts tabbed in Guitar Pro format on the Net.

* Forte

Forte is a music notation tool that provides a neat and simple interface for editing standard music notation. It is not specifically designed for guitarists but the light version (US $60) handles guitar and bass tablature input.

Vocal Warm Up Exercises

Breathing Exercises

As a singer, breathing correctly is imperative. First, take a long deep breath to loosen up the diaphragm. In order to breathe correctly while singing, you need to make use of the lower part of the lungs as well as the diaphragm. An easy and effective exercise to attain this is deep breathing. Breathe in deeply, your rib cage and back should expand and count to 5 before breathing out. Force out every single air in your lungs by breathing out for 4 counts. Deep inhalation and exhalation is imperative to make your singing voice sound pleasant.

Vocal Strength Exercises

This is another good vocal warm up exercise. First, hum to make the vocal chords relax. Gently press in your cheeks with your hands; press in your checks until the inside touches your teeth. After that, press your lips together and begin to hum the sound ‘brrr’. Try to make the sound your produce even for 2 minutes. As you do this, you are going to feel vibration on your lips, however there will be no vibration on your throat and mouth as they will be relaxed.

Lip-Roll Exercise

This exercise helps to relax the larynx and ease vocal tension. This doesn’t only make you sound clear when singing; it as well helps you sing easy. To do this, you just expel air from your lungs past your lips. Your lips must be relaxed. Your lips will be pulsating and slapping together as you send air out and hum, and thus producing a dopey BRBRBRBRB type sound.

Jazz Rock Fusion Guitar

Jazz was constantly around in Steve Khan’s home since his father liked to hear recordings of any and all versions of his own hit songs. Khan remembers when Bob Spickard, The Chantays’ lead guitar player, introduced him to The Jazz Crusaders’ “Tough Talk” and Wes Montgomery’s “Boss Guitar” albums. It was years later, when he purchased Wes Montgomery’s “Movin’ Wes” recording and heard “Caravan” that he knew he would never be a drummer who could play on the level of Grady Tate!

At the age of 17 Steve Khan changed over to guitar and was quickly playing gigs in the Los Angeles area. Through an unexpected set of conditions and his working with the R & B group The Friends Of Distinction he wound up playing and recording with keyboardist Phil Moore, Jr. That led him to playing on Wilton Felder’s solo LP, “Bullitt”. Steve could not believe that he was doing something with one of the members of The Jazz Crusaders whom he so admired.

Steve Khan graduated from U.C.L.A. in 1969 with a B.A. in composition and theory. His father aimed to direct him away from the possible disappointment of artistic mediocrity and toward a life as a lawyer. However of course, Steve didn’t and wouldn’t listen to any of that. After having performed with vibraphonist David Friedman and bassist John Miller while on a gig with Tim Buckley, Khan was invited to come to New York during the summer of 1969 and perform live for a few weeks at The Music Inn. He soon moved there for good.

A member of The Brecker Brothers by 1971, Steve Khan starting performing acoustic guitar duets with Larry Coryell between 1974 – 1975. Bob James and Bobby Colomby signed him to Columbia Records in 1977 which provided Steve the chance to shine as a solo artist when no one else seemed to be interested in hearing him play. On his first recordings as a leader including “Tightrope”, “The Blue Man”, and “Arrows”, Steve was aiming to single-handedly keep alive the sound of the original Brecker Brothers Band.

It is fascinating to keep in mind that at one point in time during the 1970s, in or near the Chelsea region of Manhattan, the following famous guitarists who were all good friends lived within a few blocks of each other: John McLaughlin, Ralph Towner, John Abercrombie, Bill Connors, John Scofield, and Steve Khan. What a wonderful situation that must have been for jazz guitar music lovers living in that area at the time!