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Examining the 12-Bar Blues Pattern

If you've ever spent any time around a serious blues musician or music aficionado, you've probably heard the phrase "12 bar blues" tossed about. A bar is a musical phrase, a way of measuring the music [more…]

Trembling Tremolos on the Piano

Although piano tremolos and trills sound much the same, there are differences between how they are notated and how they sound. A trill occurs when you flutter your fingers very quickly between two notes [more…]

The Music Attorney: The Top Spot on Your Songwriting Team

A music attorney should be one of the first business associates you add to your songwriting team. A music attorney can be your best friend and ally, so hiring your attorney in the beginning will start [more…]

Concert Pitch and Transposition

The piano is a well-loved music composition tool for a reason. Not only do the piano's 88 keys contain virtually all the notes you'll ever need to create a solid foundation for a full orchestral composition [more…]

Understanding an Opera's Libretto

Like a stage play or a movie, an opera starts with words — thousands of words. An opera's words are called its libretto, whereas, in a stage play, the words are called the [more…]

Examining Rests in Musical Notation

A musical rest is simply a pause in which you play nothing. You'll see rests all over your sheet music; it's inevitable. The beat goes on — remember it's a constant pulse — but you pause. This pause can [more…]

Discovering the Timpani Drum in Classical Music

Ah, thou noble Timpanist, how well and proudly dost thou perch above thy orchestra. There you sit enthroned amidst thy noble drums, a hundred feet above the silent decks, striding along the deep, as if [more…]

Processing Gain-based Rock Guitar Effects

In the world of rock guitar, the terms fuzz,distortion, and overdrive are often used interchangeably. Regardless of what you call it, to make your guitar solo rock, it must produce one or more of the core [more…]

The Music Theory behind Acoustics and Harmonics

If you were to break music down into pure mathematics, you would end up dealing with acoustics and harmonics. An instrument's acoustics and harmonics define that instrument's unique sound; they're also [more…]

The Nuts and Bolts of Electric Guitars

Recognizing the different parts of the guitar is important, but knowing what makes an electric guitar work as a whole is essential to differentiate it from, say, a bassoon, accordion, or kazoo. Not that [more…]

Alleviating Performance Anxiety through Preparation

Performance anxiety is a big problem among performers of all kinds and at all levels of experience. Finding ways of dealing with anxiety and turning nerves and adrenaline into positive forces in your performance [more…]

Debunking the Beatles Conspiracy: "Paul Is Dead"

One of the strangest events surrounding the Beatles was the rumor in 1966 that band member Paul McCartney was dead. Not only was he dead, but was replaced with a double. More amazing was that the band [more…]

Choosing the Perfect Rhythm for Your Drum Part

Playing a percussion instrument is all about rhythm. So if you play the drums, when you get together with other musicians, you need to be able to choose the correct rhythm for each song. If you end up [more…]

Five Music Theorists You Should Know About

The evolution of music theory and notation is almost more amazing than the evolution of human writing. When you really think about it, modern music notation is like Esperanto that lots of people can actually [more…]

Keeping the Tempo of Music

Tempo means, quite basically, "time," and when you hear people talk about the tempo of a musical piece, they are referring to the speed at which the music progresses. The point of tempo isn't necessarily [more…]

Ten Famous Guitar Pioneers

Regardless of style, certain guitarists have made their mark on the world of guitar so that any guitarist who comes along after them has a hard time escaping their legacy. You'll find here, in chronological [more…]

Playing Quintessential Blues on Slide Guitar

Slide guitar may have become a stylistic choice over fretted guitar out of necessity by players who didn't have the skills or patience to fret the guitar and found it easy to slide a smooth, rounded object [more…]

Playing the Blues Guitar: Acoustic Meets Electric

Electric guitars came on the scene only in the late 1930s, and then only to those who could afford them. Thus, the acoustic guitar in blues had a long run, and the style continued even after the advent [more…]

Knowing What to Expect from Your Voice Teacher

A voice lesson is usually a time when you're alone with your voice teacher, so you want to feel comfortable with that person and also feel positive about the work you're doing on your voice. In order to [more…]

Discovering the Blues of John Lee Hooker

John Lee Hooker (1917-2001) is firmly established as one of the true giants of the blues, along with Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Howlin' Wolf. Hooker is often called the [more…]

Tuning Your Drumset

Regardless of the size of a drum or what its drum head is made of, the fundamentals of getting a good sound out of a drum are the same. You need to tune your drum to its sweet spot in order for it to sound [more…]

Exploring the Delta Blues

Delta blues also goes by the moniker Mississippi blues, but either term refers to the blues style of playing that came out of the Delta region of Mississippi, the fertile cotton-producing area of the state [more…]

Editing Your Home Recordings

If you're going to get into editing your music in a home recording studio, you need to know a couple of useful skills. These include being able to edit individual notes and phrases, and finding and replacing [more…]

Bending an Ear to Atonal Music

Atonality is a condition of music in which the constructs of the music do not "live" within the confines of a particular key signature, scale, or mode. To the uninitiated listener, [more…]

Switching Out Guitar Strings

Playing the guitar can be a sweaty, muscular, gritty activity — if you're doing it correctly, that is. And while your guitar can handle pretty much any abuse you deliver [more…]


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