September 26, 2017 at 7:31 pm #1985
– Create as many as you can, but at least 4-6 chord progressions that make use of retrogression. It can be in part of the chord progression or in all or it.
Bonus points for using the triad inversions that also allow you to create descending baselines.
– Matt and Liou especially – also continue to experiment with the All The Chords hand out and the activities associated with it to create and compare diatonic and non diatonic progressions.
In your journals, post up the chord progressions and/or any audios of you playing them.
In any compositional activity there is the pure creative act of choosing or experimenting with different combinations of elements, and this process will become more precise the more you do it and the more you are able to predict what certain combinations are likely to sound like; and the technical side of playing what you are writing.
Don’t worry if you create some progressions or ideas that you can’t play fluently – don’t limit your creativity by what you can currently manage. Your dexterity and technical proficiency will increase, and you may end up composing for other instruments or using sequencers like GarageBand that allow you to develop your ideas further beyond the guitar.
October 6, 2017 at 1:40 pm #2075
Matt, Alan – Changing keys smoothly
– Review the topic.
Try out at least three more navigations from one key to a new key using each of the methods supplied (common chords, using the V chord). Even if you don’t like the result of the first one you try, you’ll find that different contexts create different results.
Take a F C F G progression and a C Am Dm F as another progression from which to start.
– Experiment with creating Dorian lines using different methods – target the natural 6 in a regular scale pattern; and then try playing notes from Bm pentatonic but starting on an A note. This will foreground the 6 and 2 which give us a strong dorian flavour. You can also experiment with Em pentatonic which foregrounds the 2 and b7. Try creating a line that initially features the ‘6’ in an important position in the phrase – like at the end – and then repeat that phrase but replace the 6 with b7. Then return to emphasising the 6. You can do this with any other note.
October 12, 2017 at 6:57 pm #2161
Tuesday 10th October
Beginning to explore rhythm!
The 5/4 track is here
and the 7/8 track is here
Ring of fire – mixed 4/4 3/4. Many Johnny Cash songs use very simple chord progressions, but when you count them out, they drop or add beats in weird places and that is part of what stops them feeling too simple.
Try listening through and counting along. It won’t take you long but it’ll start to dial in that new time signature and feel. See if you can notice how the pieces overall feel – and consider how the rhythm affects that.
Rhythm is a very good subtle way to work with tension and release. Moving from 7/8 to 4/4, as on the track of mine I played and as happens at the end of the first link above, tends to create a feeling of releasing tension.
It will feel odd to start with and you may struggle to sing over the top. Slow it right down until you can comfortably count the rhythm you have chosen to experiment with.
The other angle you can explore is remaining in 4/4 but accenting 8th or 16th notes in groups of three or five. You will need to work this out on paper – and using basic sequencers (you can get free drum sequencer apps for smartphone) is a way to hear the effect of this without needing to be able to play it.
Challenging yourselves to come up with a melody or riff in 7/8 or 15/16 is a very good way to become more creative. The track of mine I played began as an assignment at music college and ended up being a song that was played on BBC 6 music when it came out – so it’s worth persisting.
With these topics, don’t expect to have mastered them in one week. We could spend weeks getting right into depth with all kinds of rhythmic development – but even starting to broaden your thinking so that you have more awareness of it will raise the quality of your creative decision making.
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