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Melody Writing Tips Offering tips and hoping to receive same

#1 User is offline   ed_shaw Icon

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Posted 05 October 2011 - 08:05 PM

I am starting this as a takeoff from Alistair S's thread on melody writing, which has opened up all sorts of avenues of discussion. I have been working hard on melodies and claim the level of advanced beginner. I may not get any further than that, having talked with advanced musicians on this topic and been humbled.

OK, so I am not going to go, "How to Write a Melody" but, instead, "Ideas that have helped me write melodies." Now, you take a guitar player like Mark Knopfler, it seems like he just plays and becomes this melody factory, just blowing out original lines one after the other, all the while returning to his thematic style we know as Mark.

So, here's my first idea: "Think, call and response."

Alistair, Goodbye to Love is not simple minded.

I'll say good bye to love..
No one ever cared..

Now, here's my tip: Look at line one. It makes a statement. It is very strong. It calls for a repsonse. And the response is fantastic: no one ever cared.
Then it goes on.

My guitar improvising took a giant step forward once I began to think phrase by phrase, listening carefully to a melodic line and asking myself, "What kind of response does that line cry out for?"

Simply, call and response is:
Hey, lidy lidy lidey,
Hey Lidy Lidy Low...

What thinks ye?

#2 User is offline   FunkDaddy Icon

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 12:13 AM

I don't understand the point you're trying to make. Are you talking about lyric writing or melody? Call and response is a melodic idea to me, not a lyrical one. If you ask a question in a lyric and don't answer it, or don't explain why you've made the opening statement (I'll say goodbye to love) then it's a poorly written lyric.
Mark
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Always up for a collaboration with lyricists!

#3 User is offline   Simple Simon Icon

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 02:15 AM

View PostFunkDaddy, on 06 October 2011 - 05:13 PM, said:

I don't understand the point you're trying to make. Are you talking about lyric writing or melody?

I think I glimpse what Ed is trying to say, but I really struggle to articulate it any better than he has.

In New Zealand, I have long noticed the tendency of news-readers and reporters to vocalise their lines in a way that involves a sequence of (and I'm struggling to find the correct terminology here) one line inflecting upwards at the end (questioning) and the next line inflecting downwards (resolution). I'm not certain, but I get the distinct impression that this something they have been trained to do. Whether we call this question and answer, tension and release, rise and fall, or whatever, it does form a distinct pattern in terms of both the words and the "melody" (pitch).

Try this:

Say, out loud, (and slightly incredulously) "does he know what he's talking about?"

And then say (with firm conviction) "yeah, I'm sure that he does!".

Hear how the first line rises and the response falls? Now try singing the two lines in it a similar manner.

Pretty much all music (perhaps all art) involves tension and release. In some ways, I sometimes think of it as conversation, in the sense that the music converses with itself. Whether it's the interplay between different instruments in a jam, or the interplay between alternating lyrical and melodic lines in a song, this "call and response" principle seems to me to play an intrinsic role.

#4 User is offline   ed_shaw Icon

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 06:29 AM

Exactly, Funk Daddy. I'm talking about writing or playing musical melodies, not lyrics. I have to use common lines because of my limitations of expressing lines in notation. Thanks for commenting.

In classic country or folk, often a statement is started in the
first two bars of a four bar line and finished in the second two bars.

I've (F) tried so hard my / dear to (F) show that [Thought started]
(F) you're my every / [C] dream [Thought finished]

Simon, your remarks are on right target. The broadcasters technique is
an application of just what I am talking about. I am saying that when I
realized that if I listened carefully to a phrase with the intent to
respond to that phrase
in the back of my mind, then, almost always,
a melodic response would come out of nowhere and fit.
The other part of this equation is the progress made after becoming
a computer generated backing track addict. The backing tracks drive the
action and let the musician concentrate on other things, such as melody.

#5 User is offline   Kenneth Bradshaw Icon

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 03:05 PM

I think that the most important key to melody writing is to understand the chords you are using. Every melody follows some chord structure. Often I find myself unearthing and/or improving on some melodic line, simply by relating it to its chord sequence. A melodic line will/should almost always hit some part of the chord during the major beats of the song. Ken

#6 User is offline   ed_shaw Icon

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 12:15 PM

No doubt about it, Kenneth. As I just noted in a response to one of your posts, the broken chord study is working its way into my writings and recordings, thanks to your earlier suggestion.

In the music I have been studying, quite often the root, or tonic, carries the thought until the last bar, when the five, or dominant, kicks in. I mean, three bars of one, one bar of five.

First four bars:
I've (F) tried so hard my / dear to (F) show that [Thought started]
(F) you're my every / [C] dream [Thought finished]
Then it often continues another four bars, as in: CCCF

I have been working on a traditional, Dumbarton Drums. I am away from the music
but will do what I can here. The Roll up and first one and a half bars go like this: It's in Dmaj with 4/5 4/5 meter: four syllables/five syllables/four syllables, five syllables.

I'll put the notes in front of the syllables:
Start in Dmaj
(a)Dum (a) bar (d) ton's / (f#) drums hold the F#
(f#) they (g) sound (f#) so / (Key change to Amaj) (f#) bon (e) nie

The roll in and first bar are the D chord:
start in D: 5 5 / 1 3 4 3 / now we are in amaj - f# e or 6 5

Notice the sixth of the dominant is the 3 of the root. So, what you are doing is making the transition by moving the 3 of the root to the 5 of dominant A. So, we are led to consider the character of the first note in any chord change. Once the pattern is seen, less strain on the memory. Don't you think understanding those chord changes is important to performance? I do. Also, for speed, if you choose for any reason to change the voicing, you know just where to go to kick off the progression.

We can talk about the melody in terms of the dominant chords and the better players often communicate where they are going in those terms. What I am getting at is so often the melody is an inter play between the key chords. Note in the example the f# is a transition note into the shift to A, which is the five of the D, and also happens to be the six of the A scale.

Honestly, not trying to be pedantic or obtuse, here, just trying to simplify the process for my own understanding and hoping for feedback and clarification for like minded seekers.

Again, not to offend.

#7 User is offline   LMK Icon

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 05:01 PM

View PostKenneth Bradshaw, on 12 October 2011 - 04:05 PM, said:

I think that the most important key to melody writing is to understand the chords you are using. Every melody follows some chord structure. Often I find myself unearthing and/or improving on some melodic line, simply by relating it to its chord sequence. A melodic line will/should almost always hit some part of the chord during the major beats of the song. Ken


Yeah, the way I see it is....melody and chord go hand in hand. One doesn't make much sense without the other to me. I'm not sure I could write JUST a melody, without automatically hearing the chord that should go with it at the same time.

Something that works for me is (and I'm sure many others do this as well) recording my writing process, listening back to it and polishing the melody afterwards when needed. Sometimes nothing needs to be done, other times a whole lot. The point is, that you can listen more objectively when you sit back and hear it come out of the speakers. If you can't improve upon your first draft but still feel it needs improvement, give it a few days, listen back to the work tape and an idea will eventually pop into your head. It's funny to me when I listen to old worktapes of my songs, the early versions, and I think "Thank god I changed that part!". It's ALWAYS an improvement.

#8 User is offline   ed_shaw Icon

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 03:08 PM

Well, you are sure making it work LMK, however you are doing it.
There is a substantive difference in melodies in Rock Rhythm & Blues,
Jazz, and traditional Folk & Church, but the same principles may apply.
I don't know. We do know that the chord change and the scale change very
often occur at the same time.
© Nearer my God to (F)thee. Scale change to Fmaj right on time.

Don't you find yourself looking at the notes of the prevailing chord,
if it is Gmaj, you are seeing where the g's b's and d's are being played.

(G)
Ca[g] sey[b] would[g] waltz[f#] with[b] a[f#] straw[e] ber[g] ry[e] blonde[d]
(D)
and[e] the[g] band[f#] played[c] on[c]

It is the three [f#] that introduces the change to D.


Hey, LMK have you tried narrowing the appeal by calling her "Monterrey Mona Lisa" or even "Memphis Mona Lisa." Differentiate from the hit Mona Lisa and kind of
Americanize it for the audience. You might have to make a couple of changes to make it work. I'm only saying this because I am blown away by the song and the guitar every time I hear it. Seems like it ought to get air play, and Memphis TN is as good as any a place to start. And no, you don't have to change your name to MLK.

#9 User is offline   LMK Icon

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 11:23 AM

Ed, I guess you went to my site and listened to "Mona Lisa". Actually, it's a great example of me saying one thing and doing something else because that one I wrote in one try, without listening again and without changing anything.

But with songs like "here comes the night" and "miracle road" for instance, I did a lot of fine-tuning of the melodies before they had the right flow.

Regarding Mona Lisa, I know there is a Nat King Cole song with the same title, but to me it's acceptable since they are both named after the famous painting. It's not like I called my song "Strawberry fields forever", something like THAT is completely unacceptable. Also, my whole song is incredibly derivative anyway, so why not recycle a title as well. I start by referencing a Bob Dylan line, the song structure is the old 12 bar thing, the chords are dead simple, and the whole thing is a tribute to Steve Miller. It would almost be weird and out of place if the title was original!









View Posted_shaw, on 16 January 2012 - 03:08 PM, said:

Well, you are sure making it work LMK, however you are doing it.
There is a substantive difference in melodies in Rock Rhythm & Blues,
Jazz, and traditional Folk & Church, but the same principles may apply.
I don't know. We do know that the chord change and the scale change very
often occur at the same time.
© Nearer my God to (F)thee. Scale change to Fmaj right on time.

Don't you find yourself looking at the notes of the prevailing chord,
if it is Gmaj, you are seeing where the g's b's and d's are being played.

(G)
Ca[g] sey[b] would[g] waltz[f#] with[b] a[f#] straw[e] ber[g] ry[e] blonde[d]
(D)
and[e] the[g] band[f#] played[c] on[c]

It is the three [f#] that introduces the change to D.


Hey, LMK have you tried narrowing the appeal by calling her "Monterrey Mona Lisa" or even "Memphis Mona Lisa." Differentiate from the hit Mona Lisa and kind of
Americanize it for the audience. You might have to make a couple of changes to make it work. I'm only saying this because I am blown away by the song and the guitar every time I hear it. Seems like it ought to get air play, and Memphis TN is as good as any a place to start. And no, you don't have to change your name to MLK.


#10 User is offline   Simple Simon Icon

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 03:44 AM

View PostLMK, on 15 January 2012 - 10:01 AM, said:

Yeah, the way I see it is....melody and chord go hand in hand.

In so many ways this makes perfect sense to me, at least in terms of our diatonic, Western music model, which has been heavily oriented towards harmonies for the last few hundred years or so.




#11 User is offline   LMK Icon

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 05:05 AM

View PostSimple Simon, on 21 January 2012 - 03:44 AM, said:

View PostLMK, on 15 January 2012 - 10:01 AM, said:

Yeah, the way I see it is....melody and chord go hand in hand.

In so many ways this makes perfect sense to me, at least in terms of our diatonic, Western music model, which has been heavily oriented towards harmonies for the last few hundred years or so.


I always loved this little explanation/demonstration (starts about 1 min in), the oscar analogy has stuck with me for some reason, I think it illustrates the relationship between melody and chords perfectly so that everyone can understand it.

Billy Joel and George Martin

#12 User is offline   Simple Simon Icon

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 07:30 PM

View PostLMK, on 21 January 2012 - 10:05 PM, said:

I always loved this little explanation/demonstration (starts about 1 min in), the oscar analogy has stuck with me for some reason, I think it illustrates the relationship between melody and chords perfectly so that everyone can understand it.

Billy Joel and George Martin

Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image I love it!

A wee exercise I often recommend to people who want to improved the musical aspects of their songwriting is to take a note, work out all the chords it appears in, and sing it while playing different choices of those chords against it. For example, the note C occurs in (at least... I might have missed some) all of the following chords:


C Cm C7 CMaj7 Cm7 Cm7-5 Cdim C+

C#Maj7

D7 Dm7 Dm7-5

D#6 D#m6

Eaug Eaug7

F Fm Fm7 F7 FMaj7

F#m7-5

Gsus Gsus7

G# G#7 G#Maj7

Am Am7 Am7-5

Bb9

Eb6

Ebm6

Ab Ab7 AbMaj7

By experimenting with singing C against different chords, we can hear the different colours and moods they invoke. This, of course, was the exercise that prompted me to write the One Note Song. Posted Image But it's an exercise we can use to try different harmonic colours to add to any single note in any melody. For example, this was an exercise from a couple of years back where a few of us came up with various chord alternatives for Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. It starts with the original chords for the purpose of comparison. :)








#13 User is offline   December Rock Star Icon

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 11:39 AM

View Posted_shaw, on 05 October 2011 - 08:05 PM, said:

I am starting this as a takeoff from Alistair S's thread on melody writing, which has opened up all sorts of avenues of discussion. I have been working hard on melodies and claim the level of advanced beginner. I may not get any further than that, having talked with advanced musicians on this topic and been humbled.

OK, so I am not going to go, "How to Write a Melody" but, instead, "Ideas that have helped me write melodies." Now, you take a guitar player like Mark Knopfler, it seems like he just plays and becomes this melody factory, just blowing out original lines one after the other, all the while returning to his thematic style we know as Mark.

So, here's my first idea: "Think, call and response."

Alistair, Goodbye to Love is not simple minded.

I'll say good bye to love..
No one ever cared..

Now, here's my tip: Look at line one. It makes a statement. It is very strong. It calls for a repsonse. And the response is fantastic: no one ever cared.
Then it goes on.

My guitar improvising took a giant step forward once I began to think phrase by phrase, listening carefully to a melodic line and asking myself, "What kind of response does that line cry out for?"

Simply, call and response is:
Hey, lidy lidy lidey,
Hey Lidy Lidy Low...

What thinks ye?


First, I would say if something helps you write melodies, thats a good thing. Mark Knopflers guitar playing and songwriting are somwhat related but not so much. He is just a brilliantly gifted musician and composer, he is well practiced and naturally gifted at the same time.

I write melodies without music in my head all the time. Inf act I hear melodies in my head all the time, I dont know where they came from. on occasion I later realized they were somebody elses melody! but U can write interesting music melody first.

It takes a lot to complete a whole song melody first in your head, without some kind of verification but u can make great starts.

what worked for me was listening. Any aspect of music can be better learned and absorbed by listening, whether its your guitar playing or
melody writing. Listen to your favorites and let it sink into u as opposed to trying to break it down logically.

Ud be amazed how u get more creative the more u listen.

#14 User is offline   Lazz Icon

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 06:05 PM

AMereHobbyist said:

And as if this isn't complicated enough, following an example by a classical arranger (which I knew was effective), I recently harmonised a stressed and sustained C at the very start of a chorus with a full G major chord, wherein no C occurs at all for what are normally very good reasons.

The melody note does not need to be in the chord voicing at all.

I know most people here seem to think that melody note needs to be contained and expressed from within the chord tones. But another point of view (among musicians) is that if the note already exists in the melody then it is completely redundant to have it replicated within the supporting harmony. I mean, why would we need to double the note ? What would be the purpose ? Everything needs a reason.

More important is that the melody note comes from the appropriate scale-tones.

If your GMaj chord is functioning as a I chord, then the melody-note C works quite happily as a normal regular 4th step in the scale of G Major.
No problem and no surprises.

If your GMaj chord is functioning as a IV chord, however, things would get a bit difficult on the ear because the scale of the D Major tonality requires a C# to be the 7th and not a C-natural.

So your chord in the first instance would be spelled most unambiguously as GMaj11.
And in the second instance (G Lydian) you could only get away with C-natural as a passing tone resolving to somewhere else pretty quick.
Hip Pocket Music

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and the second best to sing them"

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“SONG is the joint art of words and music, two arts under emotional pressure coalescing into a third.
The relation and balance of the two arts is a problem that has to be resolved anew in every song that is composed.”

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#15 User is offline   ed_shaw Icon

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 12:56 PM

That's amazing, Simon, The One Note Song and the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star arrangement.
We conclude that Billy Joel is absolutely right, in that it is what is under the melody that makes it. To me, it is obvious that a bass or rhythm guitar can carry a tune just as much as a the right hand of a piano player or a vocalist. Some have contested that. B)
Billy Joel's arrangements and performances with a dozen or so musicians in concert are legendary. It makes you wonder about the extent of a talent that can put all that together. Just the time and money involved must be staggering.

I have been working on a classic folk, "And the Band Played On," an old Irish drinking song, I think, a favorite when played on New Year's Eve by Guy Lombardo's orchestra in the Washington Ballroom off Broadway on New Year's Eve.
It's just an amazing structure. I'll break it down for you folks later but it shows how creative little deviations from the standard chord notes, 1-3-5-7b, can result in a timeless melody, one that never fails to surprise and delight.
We know there are certain melodic patterns. Easier to execute or visualize on a keyboard than on a guitar neck, but truly rewarding when played in different positions for variety. Most guitarists don't want to be bothered with playing the pattern in different octaves, probably due to that rotten little tuned a 3rd B string. You have to step up to the plate.
Thx. for the interesting comments.

#16 User is offline   Kenneth Bradshaw Icon

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 10:57 PM

View PostDecember Rock Star, on 22 January 2012 - 11:39 AM, said:

I write melodies without music in my head all the time. Inf act I hear melodies in my head all the time, I dont know where they came from. on occasion I later realized they were somebody elses melody! but U can write interesting music melody first.

It takes a lot to complete a whole song melody first in your head, without some kind of verification but u can make great starts.

what worked for me was listening. Any aspect of music can be better learned and absorbed by listening, whether its your guitar playing or
melody writing. Listen to your favorites and let it sink into u as opposed to trying to break it down logically.

Ud be amazed how u get more creative the more u listen.


December,

I agree. Almost anything can kick start inspiration. Melodies can come without chords, as well as the other way around, or a fragment of someone else's tune can set you off in a creative direction. And I agree with the tie between listening and creativity. Let me add that a certain boldness and/or courage also needs to be there.

#17 User is offline   ed_shaw Icon

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 05:25 PM

Oh, yeah, so many different approaches and variations. I believe in working the numbers, analyzing the classics, practicing runs, scales, and chords. But in the moment of truth, inspiration usually strikes without warning. Older I get, and this is a subjective, personal point, the further I grow from life and closer to some kind of universal connection. Only stands to reason, right? So, the passions and joy of life, so important in popular music, and to people in general, give way to a kind of spiritual or heartbeat oriented production, that is, in my case. That does not mean I don't have great appreciation for the truths in song so many here produce, or the joy of living reflected therein. The exception to this would be when I am jamming along and melodies occur almost by accident. I try to keep a tape recorder charged and at the ready, because sometimes, listening to music on the radio before falling to sleep, one comes along.

I think some of the more advanced instinctively associate a key with a feeling. I mean, melodies can be transposed and played in different keys. So, I might not have a key in mind when visualizing a melody, though it usually turns out D or G major, and when the melody is played in various keys for fun, there does not seem to be a substantial difference between any. Yet, when backing chords are played, the variations are markedly different.

#18 User is offline   Greg Ball Icon

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 06:41 PM

I think the better musician tries to write with intention. Like Lazz said, "Why are we using that note, that progression, that voicing, etc.?" What purpose does it serve? I've definitly had the experience of getting lost in an arrangment, as there are so many ways that the song could go, so many instruments or sounds to choose from, etc.. I feel like some of the best advice I've ever gotten is to have a vision for the song, AND STICK TO THE VISION.

Not to be inflexible, but you're using your minors, your descending base line of notes, your use of thick chords or thin and widely separated harmony notes, etc. all to accomplish a specific goal. Its not so much that there are rules, but your audience is wired (biology or past experience) to associate certain sounds with certain feelings - hardly anybody disagrees over whether something sounds "dark" or "light" or "angry" or "upbeat" even if they don't particularly like the style. A descending line is not naturally used to express a happy thought for example.

One of your tools is playing with the audience's expectation: satisfying it, teasing it, violating it a little... Like making love to your audience, and you can make that a quickie, something serious, fast, or full of anticipation... I think some of the danger of thinking too much in chords is in getting a great big yawn from your audience, or of writing melodies that aren't very melodic, that don't move people because they work against (instead of towards) your goal for the song. You innovate, but you can't get so weird that the audience feels like you wore rubber shorts, boots, suspenders and a fireman's hat on your date together.

Anyway, my thoughts only.

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 04:13 PM

Lazz and Kenneth: I am wondering what early training hmight have to do with it. My teacher taught me to first, put checks on all the flats and sharps, and two, go through the page and mark all the non-chord notes. I never gave it a minute's thought.

Greg, good thoughts they are.

I'll sort of obliquely respond with the first four bars of one I practice and play lately, "The St. Louis Blues." It's 4/4 C/F7/C/C7 And in my somewhat misappropriated
terms, the melodic call is:

© I hate to see / (f7) the eve-nin' sun go down/ © rest / (c7) rest

Blues players like those nice long rests.

The first c chord is easy to play. "I hate to see." It's one bar e-g-e-c. I do my work on the guitar, so you just start on the 10th fret g and walk up and down the c chord, if you want.

Now, the fun starts, The response is "the eve -ning sun go down"

g#-a-c-eb-d-c (and hold)

Not an f note in sight. How would you know by looking at the notes that the comping chord was f7? One of the greatest melodies ever written. You can just about picture the blues players along the Miss. River about half loosened up coming up with this one.

#20 User is offline   Lazz Icon

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 09:25 PM

ed_shaw said:

Lazz and Kenneth: I am wondering what early training hmight have to do with it. My teacher taught me to first, put checks on all the flats and sharps, and two, go through the page and mark all the non-chord notes. I never gave it a minute's thought.

I think it must depend on the nature of the training.
Some can open you up and some can close you down.

I know many skilled orchestral players who first embarked on rigorous training as little kidlets and whose motor-responses became so finely-tuned that they can read fly-droppings on-sight - but, when you remove the music from in front of them, they seem unable to carry even the simplest tunes. It's a trained incapacity. Like ballet dancers who have lost their natural sense of rhythm or had it taught out of them.

Then again, I have envied other friends who grew up in families where playing music was as natural and everyday as supper-table conversation. You can whistle a melody at them and they can instantaneously render it on their instrument, they can imagine melody and play it immediately, harmonise it too. Wish it had been me with that background.

I had no early training. Didn't start performing and facing up to the challenges before me 'til I was thirty. My subsequent education was largely informal - on the bandstand with great teachers. Feels like I squeezed in just before the end of an era when this was still possible. And I picked up a private lesson here and there whenever opportunity presented.

ed_shaw said:

Not an f note in sight. How would you know by looking at the notes that the comping chord was f7?

I believe you could only take a stab at it through the context - i.e., it's bar 2 of a blues in C - but if that melodic fragment was isolated then in truth the harmonising possibilities would be as many and varied as those demonstrated in the Twinkle Twinkle example.
Hip Pocket Music

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and the second best to sing them"

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“SONG is the joint art of words and music, two arts under emotional pressure coalescing into a third.
The relation and balance of the two arts is a problem that has to be resolved anew in every song that is composed.”

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#21 User is offline   ed_shaw Icon

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 09:29 PM

That's a good perspective, Lazz. I think most of us in pop, blues, folk, want to strike a balance, especially to avoid that syndrome like people who have worked for hours on end only to find themselves robots who no longer have any feel or love for music.
The simple 1-4-5 in C, D, G, A, Ab -- it's repetitive enough to allow some degree of mastery
while allowing for original expression at the same time.

That's quite a life's journey in music you summarize on your profile. A lot of people will identify with the portrait of an artist as a young man, and be glad in the fact that the journey has taken you to such a good place.
I associate with several older gents who picked up their instruments after career and family was completed. Usually, they are pretty darn good guys. Me, I am in the middle somewhere.

#22 User is offline   Lazz Icon

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 11:45 PM

ed_shaw said:

worked for hours on end only to find themselves robots who no longer have any feel or love for music.

Wasn't my intention to diss them as robots - because they are great at what they do and made huge sacrifices and application to get there.
Forefront of my mind when I responded was Yehudi Menuhin, who was an undeniable master of Violin repertoire. I think academy institutions and training captured him when he was 7 years old, the clever little bastard. He loved music of all kinds with passion and commitment. He especially loved jazz and the art of improvising. Pity was that he couldn't get his head around how it was done. He recorded, I think, four albums with Stephane Grappelli, partner to Django Reinhardt of the Hot Club du Paris. All his solos were written out for him beforehand so that he could prepare for the studio readings. He was unable to do it any other way. Shame. But still a great player.
Hip Pocket Music

"It is the best of all trades to make songs...
and the second best to sing them"

Hillaire Belloc

“SONG is the joint art of words and music, two arts under emotional pressure coalescing into a third.
The relation and balance of the two arts is a problem that has to be resolved anew in every song that is composed.”

The Encyclopedia Britannica

#23 User is offline   Salley Gardens Icon

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 02:36 AM

View PostLazz, on 31 January 2012 - 09:45 PM, said:

ed_shaw said:

worked for hours on end only to find themselves robots who no longer have any feel or love for music.

Wasn't my intention to diss them as robots - because they are great at what they do and made huge sacrifices and application to get there.
Forefront of my mind when I responded was Yehudi Menuhin, who was an undeniable master of Violin repertoire. I think academy institutions and training captured him when he was 7 years old, the clever little bastard. He loved music of all kinds with passion and commitment. He especially loved jazz and the art of improvising. Pity was that he couldn't get his head around how it was done. He recorded, I think, four albums with Stephane Grappelli, partner to Django Reinhardt of the Hot Club du Paris. All his solos were written out for him beforehand so that he could prepare for the studio readings. He was unable to do it any other way. Shame. But still a great player.

Interesting. I remember a part of an interview where Menuhin said the violin came so naturally to him as a child, he was totally unaware of how it all worked. At one point in his life (still young, although I don't know what age), he set the violin down, only to pick it up later and actually have to learn how to play as though for the first time. It was a struggle to regain what had been innate abilities. I wish I could remember more of that interview, and where I read it.

#24 User is offline   Greg Ball Icon

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 01:35 AM

View Posted_shaw, on 30 January 2012 - 03:13 PM, said:

Not an f note in sight. How would you know by looking at the notes that the comping chord was f7? One of the greatest melodies ever written. You can just about picture the blues players along the Miss. River about half loosened up coming up with this one.


Interesting thing I read in a couple of books - one on mixing and another on music and the brain - was that our brain will "hear" missing fundamental frequencies or notes that aren't actually there, but that it expects to be there based on past experiece or possibly just the math. (I think its interesting me that every octave is a doubling in frequency - but no one could have measureed/known that back when the octave was defined) So maybe that F didn't fall in the forest, but we heard it anyway? I love that music is a complex part of being human.

#25 User is offline   Simple Simon Icon

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 03:16 AM

View PostLazz, on 01 February 2012 - 04:45 PM, said:

He especially loved jazz and the art of improvising. Pity was that he couldn't get his head around how it was done. He recorded, I think, four albums with Stephane Grappelli, partner to Django Reinhardt of the Hot Club du Paris. All his solos were written out for him beforehand so that he could prepare for the studio readings. He was unable to do it any other way. Shame. But still a great player.


I vaguely remember those recordings, and I remember being vaguely uncomfortable with them, but I never knew that!




#26 User is offline   Dottie Icon

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 11:29 AM

This is a VERY cool thread. I'm going to come back to this when I have plenty of time for it all to sink in. :)

Dottie

#27 User is offline   ed_shaw Icon

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 12:31 PM

I wasn't putting down concert musicians. On several occasions, I have remarked that what they do and what I do, I'm embarrassed to even call mine music. To which, the usual reply is, "Oh, it's really nothing." Some of our best folk musicians are in the symphony. I think they just get a kick out of playing it. Then, there is always the symphony bass player, the one in the skinny brimmed black hat, who plays, you know, modern jazz.
Nonetheless, the rule seems to be that with enough training, you could lose the ability to improvise. I have two rigs. One for sight reading, the other for improvising and recording. One's upstairs and the other is downstairs. How anal is that? Actually, it has something to do with the fact of being 20 degrees warmer upstairs and its Feb.

After analyzing and working through melodies upstairs for a month or so, I'll go downstairs thinking, man, I'm really going to kill 'em now. Doesn't work out that way. I pick up just where I left off with the creative side. Go figure.
In sight read, you know where you are supposed to be, In improv, you search and hope to find something.

#28 User is offline   kesha Icon

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 09:46 PM

:rolleyes: :rolleyes: Useful tips here!

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