Monday, April 24, 2017

The Morning Show - Bizarro Metaphors

The Morning Show is a blog companion to the podcast audio.

Happy FRIIIIDAY!  Yo, let's check out some bizarro chords, so you too can be driving north on I-95 saying "well, this strikes me more as a sharp eleven chord."  Argue my metaphors, man!  If you're just tuning in, we've been looking at music for non-musicians this week, and how certain scenes in life can be related to with the color of music.  Hopefully this will not only help you add a dimension to your poetic outlook, but also give you a closer look at the music you love.

  We learned that if we take 7 of the 12 notes and play a scale, we get this sound.  Then, if we take certain notes of that scale, and play them all at once, we get a chord.  Selecting different notes, or modifying them, alters the chord.  Yesterday we looked at three note chords, or triads.  But, what if we play more than three notes?  If we start off with the first note of a scale, the third, the fifth...what if we add the seventh?  Sounds like this!  How about the ninth?  Like this!  By the way, when I say the ninth, I mean nine scale tones, or degrees, above where I started.  You'll notice that the triads are akin to primary colors, and the more sonic information we add, the more subtlety we invoke, and more dissonance we involve.  We can really start to mess with things and play these big fancy jazz chords like so...And here, ladies and gentleman, is that chord I was referring to driving north out of Richmond on that beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon last week.  The thirteenth chord in all it's glory.

Have a great weekend!  And see what chords you see!

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Morning Show - Pugs not Drugs

The Morning Show is a blog companion to the podcast audio.

Good morning, and welcome to the Signalman show!  It's 420...but pugs not drugs, bro! OK, so yesterday, in our quest to understand music for non-musicians, we looked at notes, and a major scale.  Now, let's build some chords - combinations of notes- from that scale.  On it's own, a note doesn't really tell us much.  It's just sitting there, minding it's own business.  But when we put it in a context of other notes, then we start getting these beautiful colors.  I'm going to take the do-re-mi scale I did yesterday (plays scale) and then select certain notes to combine.  The most common is the first, or root note, the third note, and the fifth note.  This gives me a major chord.  Note how it sounds happy or warm.  If I slide the third back one notch, listen to how it's suddenly sad, as if a cloud has gone over the sun at the picnic.  If I slide the fifth back one notch too, now it's raining at the picnic.  If I put the notes back, but raise the fifth one notch, now it's a flashback to a picnic in 1979.  Technically speaking, these are major, minor, diminished, and augmented triads, or three note chords.  Now we're getting some color, and a few new ways to relate to the world.  Tomorrow we'll look at those weird chords.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Morning Show - Building metaphors (and scales)

The Morning Show is a blog companion to the podcast audio.

Yesterday I was going on about some nonsense about how a northbound road trip on a beautiful spring afternoon felt like I was driving through a thirteenth chord.  What does that even mean?  Musicians might nod knowingly, but I'd like to introduce the rest of you to the beautiful language of chords...and to give you a new way of seeing the world!  To understand chords, we have to understand scales, but don't worry, it's easy.  Western music is based on a system called the even tempered tuning system, which breaks sound up into 12 blocks.  I can start with this note, A, and play up 12 blocks, and then it repeats again as a multiple.  So, if A is ringing at 110 cycles per second, or Hertz, once I play through all 12, I arrive again at A, ringing at 220 cycles per second.  From A to A is called an octave.  If I take 7 of these 12 notes, and arrange them in a particular recipe or formula, I arrive at a major scale.  This is the do-re-mi we've heard about.  FYI, the formula is WWHWWWH, with a whole step being two "blocks", frets on the guitar, or keys on the piano, and a half step being one.  So, there you have it.  One step closer to understanding a metaphor, and using it yourself!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Morning Show: This Afternoon brought to you by Limeade!

The Morning Show is a blog companion to the podcast audio.

Good morning, and welcome to the Signalman show! Happy Tax Day.. Man, what a fun time in Richmond this past Saturday.  Got to host a four hour radio broadcast on the six year anniversary of my first show, and spin some records for retired soldiers earlier.  Got to talking to a gentleman wearing a WWII hat who had landed on the beaches of France, and driven a captain 7,000 miles in a Jeep all through the back roads of the European theater.  The captain also was from Richmond, and after the war, they both went out to dinner.  How cool!  I get to hear these stories while I set up gear!

  Heading north after a fun day of music, I marveled at the sunlight filtering through the budding trees and fresh green leaves, and the good news of spring greeting even the stern and focused concrete of the interstate.  If Limeade could have sponsored an afternoon, this would have been the one to pick.  As a musician, I have a few extra things to relate experiences to, in addition to delicious drinks.  "I feel like I'm driving through a 13th chord!" I thought to myself, which sounds like this (plays chord.)  Sure, it's a slightly strange Josh thought, but as a instructor of music, I'd like to include you, the listener, in this thought, and give you a new set of metaphors and ways to relate to the world.  Don't worry, you don't have to be a musician.  I'll make it easy to follow.  Tune in tomorrow when we start our journey!