All you need to know about music theory intervals part 2

Previously on part 1 we discuss what music theory intervals are and some different types of intervals used in music. Review that post if you have not yet read it. Today we will define the distances that make up different intervals. We will also discuss how many intervals you have and how to count higher than an octave.

Intervals are counted by numbers. However, when we consider intervals we need to remember that each number has 3 notes in that group. For example: a half step is a second. A whole step is a second and a 3 half steps is a second. The difference between these is that a half step is a flat 2. The whole step is a 2 and the 3 half steps is a #2. What makes this confusing is that a #2 is the same note as a b3. They sound the exact same pitch. The #2 and b3 are called enharmonic minors. For example say we are in G and we play a #2 the note is A#, if we play a b3 the note is Bb. These are the exact same notes with a different name.

You can count numbers up to 2 octaves high. Once you get more than an octave you do not recount the numbers 1, 3, 5 or 7. However, the 2 becomes a 9, 4 becomes 11 and 6 becomes 13. Most of the time you see a flat or sharp 2 you call it a flat or sharp nine. Same thing goes with a sharp 4 is a sharp 11 and flat 6 is flat 13. This is called the rule of 7. If it is a 2, 4 and 6 you add seven to it to get an octave higher.

Intervals are all over in music. They make up chords and scales and lead us to our knowledge about music. Intervals are distances described by numbers. Each number has a sharp and flat possibility. You can count intervals up past an octave. If you take a number and add 7 to it you get the octave higher. Usually only 2, 4 and 6 are talked about an octave higher. This allows you to mention chord extensions and melody notes with more than an octave between the 2 notes. Memorize that 2 becomes 9, 4 becomes 11 and 6 becomes 13. This will be very beneficial to your music education and understanding of music and music theory.

All you need to know about music theory intervals.

In music theory, there is a concept called intervals. This term is used a lot and is very important to understand if you wish to learn music well. Intervals are the foundation for western music (music that we know of in America). All chords, melodies, scale, and everything else that is used in music is based on intervals. Without intervals there wouldn’t be music as we know it today. So in this article I am going to explain what intervals are and a little bit about the different types of intervals.

So what exactly is an interval? It is the distance between 2 notes. For example if you are on a basketball court and you run from one hoop to the other, that is an interval. An interval is a distance between 2 objects.  When you have 2 notes in music they create an interval. The notes are the object that creates the distance. There are many types of intervals. Let’s take a look at some of the different types and learn about them.

There will be some new vocabulary you should learn to understand the different types of intervals. The first thing you should consider about intervals is the distance between the 2 notes. Some intervals have very small distances, this is called small intervals. If the distance is long between the 2 intervals the word is wide intervals. There is definite definition of small or wide intervals, but typically seconds and thirds are considered small, Fourths and more are considered wide.

Another consideration when it comes to intervals is the sound of the 2 notes. Does it sound good or does it sound bad? When you hear 2 notes played together or one after the other you will hear that the note resonates well and seems relaxing. The good sounding intervals are called consonant. The bad sounding intervals which clash and sound harsh are called dissonant intervals. Examples of dissonant intervals are the raised fourth and the upper seventh.

Intervals are a very important concept to understand in music. All Scales, arpeggios, guitar licks and melodies are based on intervals. In this lesson you learned what intervals are and about different types of intervals. You have small and wide intervals depending how the distance between the notes and you have consonant and dissonant intervals depending on their sound. Next lesson we will learn how to tell what the interval distance is. Discuss below!

Discover the differences between Pedal Tones and Music Drones

If you are in a music situation where you hear the words pedal tones or the word drone you may wonder what these are. They are tones that lie over the music over a period of time. Knowing these terms will help make you a more educated musician. In this lesson you will learn the differences between these 2 words and learn how they are used.

A pedal tone is the most common technique used. It was used in classical music by the great composers, and it is still used today in nearly every genre of music. A pedal tone is a repeated note, typically with other notes around it. When a pedal tone is being performed the player will keep returning to the note even though he is playing other notes. The pedal note is typically in the bass (lowest) note, however there are instances where the pedal note is in the highest note. Most musical instruments we know of today do this because the ability of the instrument is not capable of playing a drone.

A drone is a note that is played and held continuously throughout a piece of the song or the entire song. A drone does not stop at all and it does not change notes. Typically the instruments that use this are bagpipes or an organ. This is not nearly as popular of a technique as the pedal tone is. Once again most common instruments in this era cannot play a drone. The note can be played in any octave; it does not have to be in any certain range.

How do you apply this to your playing? Well, there are licks that utilize pedal tones. On guitar you can use a pedal tone in your solo to enhance your creativity. They sound very neat and are fun to play. There is not really any way to utilize a drone unless you play the kind of instrument that can play them. Knowing this knowledge will make you more educated about music and you will understand what people are talking about if they mention these terms.

A note that underlies melody is either known as a pedal tone or a drone. A pedal tone is a repeated note that typically has other notes played between the pedal note. A drone is a note that is held throughout the chords without stopping. Most instruments this day in age can only play pedal tones. Pedal tones are cool things you can use in your soloing to make you a better player. Share your thoughts below.

Discover why you should get a masters degree in jazz studies

If you are finishing your music degree or are finished with your bachelor’s degree in music, you should consider going to get a master’s degree in jazz studies. There are many musical and non musical benefits to studying jazz studies for a master’s in music. What are the benefits of getting a master’s degree in music?

Assuming you want to play professionally, getting a master’s in music will allow you get spend more time practicing. This will make you an overall better player, and you could possibly get better jobs when you graduate. Most of the best jobs out there are taken by guys with at least some masters’ degree level training. Of course, you do not need a degree to be a great musician, but this extra time to practice will prove beneficial to your playing.

When you are in a jazz studies program you will meet many people who want to break into the music scene. This might be how you find your full-time job after school. Universities are a great place to build contacts, and being in a jazz studies program you will likely meet other good musicians. Consider getting a master’s degree somewhere you would like to live after you graduate, because you will likely start getting gigs and will have the contacts built up for that location. If you move away you will lose this.

If you ever get tired of playing your instrument for a living you can get into teaching. With a master’s degree you are more likely to be hired by a school to teach your instrument. This provides money for a back up or if you wanted to retire from playing. It will be easier to build your private teaching studio with a master’s degree as well. Parents will respect this and trust you more with their child’s education.

There are many other benefits that you will get from getting a master’s degree in music, but it is a very helpful thing to do if you wish to perform professionally on guitar. You will get more time to practice and grow as a musician, you will meet other musicians who will help you find jobs and you can teach more easily if you have a master’s degree. Share your thoughts below. I would love to hear what you have to say about getting a master’s degree in jazz studies.

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Should guitarists consider getting university education online?

If you are a guitarist and are considering getting a music degree online, you should know that there are challenges and benefits to this. There are many good university education online programs. Will these online music education degrees give you the benefits that you desire from your music education? What other benefits will you get from the music training? What will you be missing out on by studying guitar online? Should you study online or shouldn’t you?

First, as with any music education you will receive, it can only take you so far. You will ultimately get out of it what you put in to it. Studying online will bring benefits, but it will require more self-discipline to keep going. You will certainly learn the knowledge of the topic you are studying, but you are still missing out by not having a teacher there with you. A lot of online music education degrees are now adding video to their lessons to make up for this loss. You should be able to have all the benefits of watching a lecture. You should still have the book and writing from a teacher as well to assist you in the right direction.

Not only will you receive new knowledge about something, but if you study online this makes it possible to take a class from a school you may not have been able to before. For example, you can take an online music class from Berklee. If you study music online you may also be able to find schools that are more affordable than schools near you. These are just a few extra benefits to studying music online that people normally don’t think of.

Because you are online, you will be missing out on that one on one time with a private music instructor. This leaves up the capability of learning something wrong or creating bad habits. You could always hire a private teacher outside of school to help you along the way. Another down side is, depending on the teacher some do not participate at all with their class. So getting questions answered is hard. If you took classes on campus you would be able to see the teacher before and after class to ask questions.

If you have the chance to get your music degree with on campus classes that would be the best option. However there are many musicians out there who cannot do this. You may be touring, you may have a job and don’t have the time to go to classes. This is the great thing about online educational degree is that you can do it whenever you want. You should analyze your situation and see if you can do on campus classes. If not online educational degree will be beneficial as well.

These are just a few things to keep in mind when you consider getting a college education in music online. You should be able to learn the same material you would otherwise, but it may be a bit more challenging in some areas. If there is a program you have in mind that is online by all means give it a try. You may like it more than you initially thought you would.

Should you get a music degree in college?

Many people consider music as a possibility in school, but are they really doing themselves a favor? Some people would do great getting a music degree, some would not. So how do you know if a music degree is your thing? There are no definite criteria that say you are music major material, but there are a few things you can do to check. So are you music major material?

How dedicated to music are you? If you can see yourself doing something else for a living, then don’t do music. Music is such a challenging profession to make a living in. If you would be happy doing something else then do it. If you are someone who can’t live without music, you might be able to make it. If you can’t even see yourself doing anything other than music you are on the right track. If you are that type where music is your life then the next category should follow.

How dedicated to music are you? Many professional musicians have a time in their lives where they practice 6+ hours a day, and yes, if you’re going to study music in college you most likely want to be some kind of music professional. That includes school band teachers. If you don’t want to work in music don’t study it. Most professional musicians spend a long period of their lives practicing more than 2 hours a day. As a music major you will be expected to practice a lot. Of course some schools have higher standards than others. When you aren’t practicing you will be busy studying music stuff such as conducting or music history. If you don’t mind putting in the work consider taking a music theory class over the summer.

Music theory seems to be the class that most people have the hardest time with. Take a music theory class over the summer; see if you do well at it. Do you like it? How well are you doing at it? If you find that you do well at it, and it is interesting to you that is great because now you have a head start for when you go to college. You will have to pass a test at the end of your sophomore year to prove you know enough to remain music major. Any help you get is good.

Another thing to consider when you think about getting a music degree is how good you are at your specialty. Some programs require more skill than others. For example a performance major will have to have more skill on their instrument than a music history major. Do study in music most likely you will have to pass an audition, and depending on the school it may be very hard to pass or too easy to pass. Are you willing to put in the work to audition? Are you good enough to beat other good players who are also auditioning? If you are looking at going to a school that will let anyone in because they are the only school that will accept you, then you may want to find a different degree.

These are just a few suggestions to help you figure out if you should study music in college or not. Ultimately, you will find out if you’re ready or not when you’re in the program. Even then some people still don’t realize it. One final suggestion is to ask your private teacher if they think you should. I wish you the best of luck in your long journey of becoming music major.

Six steps to transcribing music.

You have a melody or solo you want to learn by ear, so how do you go about doing this? There are 6 steps that you can do to get the most benefit from this. 2 of the 6 are optional, but I recommend you do it for maximum benefit. So what are these steps?

Step one: Listen. This is the most important part of transcribing. Do you think a deaf person could transcribe? Open your ears and listen to what the musician (or singer) is playing. You can listen as many times as you want before you start. Keep in mind, this step will be continuous. It will never stop. Even when you are on step 2 – 6, you will still need to listen very carefully. This is the foundation for the rest of the steps.

Step two: Sing. This is one of the optional stages, but it does help. Once you listen to the melody or solo of choice try to sing with it. Depending on the difficulty of the piece you may need to cut it into smaller sections to sing with it. This will help you hear it better. It will help you memorize how it sounds. Humming works too, but singing is in my opinion better.

Step three: Put it on your instrument. Once you hear what it sounds like try to figure out how it lies on your instrument. This part helps build the connection between ears and fingers. Someone who transcribes a lot can play melodies they hear in their head without sitting down and working it out. This is an important part of the transcribing practice. This step is also connected closely with step 4 and 5 of transcribing music.

Step four: write it down. This is optional, but for certain genres of music this is almost necessary. For learning a 4 measure rock solo I don’t think this step is necessary, but for a 32 measure jazz solo it is. This will allow you to analyze what the musician did, his note choice and rhythms. It also is beneficial because you can go back and review it later. Everyone forgets their transcriptions after time. This gives you the option of reviewing that cool lick that you forgot existed.

Step five: Memorize it. This is a necessary step for all styles of music. When you come across a new word, does it help you at all if you go “word” and don’t look it up or try to memorize it? You won’t remember it. So memorizing your transcriptions is an important part of transcribing.

Step Six: Analyze. As mentioned earlier under writing it down. Analyzing the solo is a useful step. Even if you don’t write the transcribed piece of music down, you should still try to analyze it and figure out what he is doing. What scale he is using, what rhythms he is using. This will make you a more educated musician and you will know exactly why you do something and why it works.

These 6 steps are a great place to start if you want to start transcribing music. You will slowly change and alter these steps to go along with your own personal practice routine. Everyone is different; there is no concrete thing in music. This is one of the great things about music. You get to be yourself. Take these steps and utilize them to get the best benefit you can. If you find something works better than something else for you, take it and run with it.  Best wishes!

How to get the most out of transcribing music with transcribing software

There are many types of software out there that are beneficial for transcribing. Some cost money, but some are free. Before you go and spend money on anything let’s talk about how you can get the most benefit from the transcribing software. Remember, the transcribing software is just a tool. It only assist you in what you are trying to do, it cannot replace the process. So with this is mind lets jump in.

Transcribing software can slow the music down if it is too fast for you to hear it. This is a last resort tool in my opinion. You should first try to transcribe at full speed. Once you know it, then you can slow it down to check your accuracy. If the phrase is over all too fast, you can slow it down a bit. However the closer it is to normal speed the better your ears will get. This is the whole point of transcribing, to train your ears. So yes slowing the music down can be beneficial, but as mentioned it is only a tool to assist you.

Most transcribing software comes with a key adjustment. It allows you to take the music in a key that is better for you. It may even come with a fine adjustment in case the recording is not quite in tune with your guitar. This is nice to have especially for people like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Yngwie Malmsteen who tunes their guitars down a half step. The only thing I would warn against with this tool is don’t learn everything in the same key. If someone is playing in Bb suck it up and learn it. Don’t take the easy way out. Learn it in the original key if possible. It will really benefit your playing.

Most transcribing software comes with a control to help you repeat sections of a song. This is beneficial so you don’t have to manually rewind a section of a solo you are trying to learn. Use this as much as you want. It really saves a lot of time. It can really help you memorize a sound of a lick as well.

Of course all transcribing software is different, some may have more tools than these, some may only have these, but what else do you really need? Anything else is cheating. You don’t want to cheat do you? So what transcribing software should you get? Well I use the program called “BestPractice”. It is free, and it does everything I listed above.  I would suggest you try this program out, if you don’t like it then you can search for other ones. I wouldn’t pay for this software unless you really have to, but everyone has different preferences. Just keep in mind what was mentioned earlier.

Transcribing software is a valuable tool if used properly. It can help you learn extremely hard passages of music that you wouldn’t be able to learn otherwise, or it could help you play in tune with the original recording easier. Whatever the reason it is nice to aid your practice. Transcribing software is a tool to assist your practice. You can’t replace the benefit you receive using your ears. So try to push your ears as much as possible, but this program can help with that process. There are many transcribing software programs out there, just do some research. You don’t need to spend $75 on this software. Blessing!

What is transcribing music?

Music is an aural tradition. A lot of music history only survived because some people listened to it. Without using our ears music is useless. So what is transcribing music? It is the best way to learn how to improvise in music. Transcribing music is the process of intense listening and repeating. We hear a solo we like so we listen to it and try to get the same sound that the musician on the record is getting. This process is the basis for a lot of things we already know.

Consider a child who is just starting to learn how to talk. He first listens to his parents. He spends a year and a half to 2 years of just listening before he even says a word. Then after that intense listening he starts to try to reproduce the sounds his parents are making. He has no concept yet of what he is really saying. After a few more months he starts to realize that certain words mean certain things, and that they fit in certain situations.

Learning music is the exact same process. Music is a language in itself. You don’t need to spend 2 years listening, but the process of listening closely, repeating, and finally understanding the context is important. The only way you can achieve this is to transcribe music. Once you start transcribing music you will start to learn licks (words) that you can combine together to make musical phrases. When you hear a solo, especially longer solo such as the ones you hear in jazz, the artist is trying to tell a story with his playing. Transcribing music will help you learn the language of music faster, more authentically and over all better.

With the advance of technology transcribing music has become much easier. In the older days you didn’t have MP3 players, internet, YouTube etc.  How you transcribed before was ways like listen to the radio and try to pick out as much as you can while it played by, or you would have a record player and if you wanted to replay a section it would make it difficult to find the spot you want. My favorite story about transcribing music before technology was Charlie Parker. His nick name is Yard Bird; this is because of how he learned to play. When he was learning to play he would go sit in a yard bird pin behind a bar and listen to bands play and try to catch as much as he could. He couldn’t rewind, I’m sure this wasn’t the easiest way to learn, but this is the old times. These days there are programs out there that slow music down, and change keys for you. So if you are interested in this read my post on Transcribing Software.

Music is a language, you learn it the same way, and you use it the same way. Transcribing music is the same process a child uses when they learn their first language. They first listen then they try to mimic the sounds of their parents. This is the best way to learn, it makes you sound native, speeds up the process of learning, and helps you hear it. Learning music is getting easier because of technology, so use it for your benefit.