Sunday, November 29, 2009

CAGED System part II: Map to Everywhere from Anywhere (level:beginner - intermediate)

    In the previous post I implied that upon grasping this concept you will know where the major and natural minor scales are on the neck in every key.  Well that is just the tip of the iceberg.  Upon further study, you will find that the CAGED system provides you with a map to the entire fretboard from wherever you are on the neck.  In so doing, it also provides a logical system for translating "music theory" to the neck of the guitar, something that most guitar players seem to have trouble with.  I believe this is because music is almost always described as in relation to the piano, which is nice if you're a piano player, but a "piano-centric" study of music is not very helpful in learning the guitar.  The CAGED system provides us with a very practical and easy way to apply knowledge of music theory to the guitar from a "guitar-centric" viewpoint.

Friday, November 27, 2009

CAGED System part I: Introduction (level:beginner - intermediate)

    So you've heard of the CAGED system and maybe even glanced at it once or twice, but didn't know what to make of it.  Well, it is actually quite a simple system, as you will see, to learn to visualize patterns on the fretboard of the guitar.  Having grasped the concept behind it and practiced with it a bit, one should expect to know where all the major and minor* scales are across the entire neck, or at least be able to figure it out. The CAGED concept simply provides a systematic method for doing so based on the guitar's tuning.  In this next series of posts, I will be explaining the CAGED system.

*I mean natural minor, as in being relative to a major scale, i.e. A minor (A B C D E F G) shares the same notes as C Major (C D E F G A B), therefore, if you know where the notes of the A minor scale lie on the neck, you know where the notes of the C Major scale lie as well.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

About Myself


     I am new to the whole blogging experience, so after looking at some other blogs I decided I should write a post about some of my interests and what I do so you can get to know me a little better.  So here goes:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Who is this Pythagoras Character, Anyway?

    Pythagoras was a Greek philosopher in the late 6th century, B.C.  In fact, he was the first person to call himself a philosopher, or "lover of wisdom."  Many of you are probably familiar with, or at least aware of, the Pythagorean Theorem, or the right triangle theorem (A squared + B squared = C squared).  Pythagoras is credited for the first proof of this theorem.  He was obsessed with numbers and believed that everything in the universe is governed by them.

    So what does this have to do with music?  Well, Pythagoras is the reason we have twelve tones in the western system of music, as a result of his obsession with numbers.  He was the first to discover the mathematical ratios of intervals.  The legend goes something like this:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Articles Wanted!

    Anyone with fresh ideas is welcome to submit articles to me via email to be published on this blog.  I'm looking for enthralling articles on concepts, theory, music history, music philosophy, or anything music related that you would consider "forward thinking" and/or just plain interesting.  You may be wondering what history has to do with forward thinking, and my answer is this: in order to move forward in any given subject, one must have a grasp of the current state and how it came to be.  To quote Dave Liebman: "Before you can break the rules, you have to learn the rules, or else it just sounds like you're breaking the rules."

    I will of course accredit the article to the author if I decide to publish it to this blog.  Please send any articles you want reviewed for the blog to and be sure to put "PYTHAGORAS" in the subject line in ALL CAPS so I don't accidentally delete your article.  I didn't create a direct link to my email so as to avoid spammers.  Sorry for any inconvenience.  Also, please allow a week or so for me to review any articles, but if I'm not busy I may get back to you sooner.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

George Russell and Tonal Gravity

    I've been reading a book by jazz composer George Russell called "The Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization."  It is a brilliant concept which I would recommend to anyone studying jazz improvisation.  Apparently Miles Davis derived his modal jazz concept for the album "Kind of Blue" after talking with Russell about his Lydian Chromatic Concept.

    I won't explain it in detail, as you should buy the book yourself, but the basis of the concept is this:

Modern Understanding of "Key Center"

    This is an essay I wrote earlier this year.  It is just some thoughts I had about the current understanding of "key centers."

     In the past, it has been common practice to define a key by its diatonic minor or major tonality.  I find this to be limiting to the thinking process since it requires one to think of chords relative to their diatonic origin.  The music being composed and performed now, in the beginning of the 21st century, doesn’t sit pretty within the theory of diatonicism, but rather exists within an expanded diatonic framework.