Category Archives: *Music NonTheory

Tutorial: Using Your Brain (Part 5)

This is last part of a series on making your brain your main instrument. Eh, musical instrument. If you haven’t seen the other parts you should start at the beginning.

There are 12 notes in Western music. Yes, there are a gazillion combinations but in Part 3 I claim there are three two-note bass lines you should memorize. Yes, there are a gazillion plus infinity number of chord combination but in Part 4 I showed you how in the real world you only need to memorize the sound of eight of those combinations.
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Tutorial: Using Your Brain (Part 4)

In Part 3 of this series I talked about the three two-note bass lines you need memorize. In this part we’ll discuss what goes “on top” of those bass notes.

How about if I told you that you only need to ‘hear’ eight chords in your brain. That’s right, not 8,000, just eight. There are variations on those eight buy they make sense so don’t be intimated by that. Your goal is to get these eight in your brain so that you can sing all the way up and down them (‘arpeggiate’ as they say in wine country), recognize them when played and conjure them when creating music. People do it every day.
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Tutorial: Using Your Brain (Part 3)

This is Part 3 of an article about using your brain as your main musical instrument. If you missed it, you should start at Part 1 or at least Part 2. Otherwise you’re a cheater.

At the same time you’re teaching your brain about sounds played together (a.k.a. chords) there are three two-note bass-lines you should immediately memorize. That’s right, three bass-lines with two notes each. It turns out if you can hear these three lines you will recognize the bass lines of 99% of pop music and all related genres and that includes jazz.
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Tutorial: Using Your Brain (Part 2)

This is Part 2 of a series about techniques for embedding sounds into your head. Sounds painful and it might be, you have been warned. Part I is here.

Here’s a test: compose a piece of music completely in your head. Can’t do it? Just write the first four bars, the first phrase. Compose the melody and harmonize it (figure out the chords). It’s not easy but that’s what musicians do. The instrument (piano, guitar, sequencer) then becomes a validation and recorder.
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Tutorial: Using Your Brain (Part 1)

Woody Allen famously said that his brain is his second favorite organ. When people ask me what instrument I play I’m beyond tempted to paraphrase that line. The question of what instrument a musician is proficient at usually reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of what creating music is all about.

While there is no formula for how music is created here is, in my very humble breakdown, the way it should happen:
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