Thursday, December 18, 2008

You killed it, Joe!

Rockers! That title is a Terry Tate quote (office linebacker.) But I think it applies here!

So, what do y'all think of that Satriani/Coldplay lawsuit? It's gonna be a ruckus! For those of you just tuning in, Joe Satriani is claiming that Coldplay ripped off his tune "If I could fly" and turned it into "Viva La Vida."

I must admit, parts of the songs do sound similar. But - only a very small part. Before I go on, I'd like to state that Joe is one of my favorite guitar players. I've seen him live a few times, and not only does he seem like a cool dude, but man, can he play! What tone! What style! What technique.

Here's the thing - regardless of who ripped who off, I think the thing that Joe should be most mad about is that he wrote a Grammy-winning, smash hit, mega millions melody - and buried it under a bunch of other licks.

Granted, I wish I could bury my melodies under musical noodlings of that caliber...!

But I think the theme got lost. Coldplay, regardless of where they got it, took one theme, and played it to great effect. And look, they're up for how many awards?

Coldplay is probably guilty of plagiarism. But if I were Joe, I'd be most upset about not letting that beautiful melody stand out in my own song.

Did he overplay? That's not for us to decide. That's like asking Picasso to paint his pictures normally. BUT - I think the smashing success of Coldplay's take paints an interesting picture, and gives a lot of food for thought.

So, here's a challenge: Take a song - any song. Play the vocal line on your guitar! In other words, take Viva La Vida, do a Coldplay, and play the vocals on your guitar. And don't look at tab. Figure it out by ear!

Not only will this help tremendously with your ear training, but it will lend a singing quality to your lines. Additionally, you won't be constrained by any guitar habits you might be entrenched in, such as only playing in shapes you know.

Give it a shot!

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