Welcome! Learn about us and our goals in this inaugural episode! Hosts, Matt and Jeremy, discuss our mission, our backgrounds and give a preview of the journey ahead. Though our target audience is the entry level music student, this podcast is intended to assist musicians of all levels on their paths to musical discovery.
This, our first theory podcast, is elementary but crucial. In this episode, part 1 of a 2 part series, we will have a brief discussion on melody and harmony. We will also touch on scales, intervals and triads. Part 2 will cover rhythm.
Part 2 of 2, in our theory fundamentals series, this episode will cover the elements of rhythm. Learn about note values and their durations. Explore time signatures and how to distinguish simple and compound meter.
Ear training is an essential part of musical growth. In this episode we will discuss its process and some of our own ideas on how to develop it. We will also cover some great apps, websites and other resources you can use to sharpen your ears.
Listen as we dig a little deeper into the major scale. We will also discuss key signatures and how to identify them by using the order of sharps or flats and a few other tricks we picked up along the way. The circle of fifths will make its brief debut as will the concept of diatonic and chromatic steps.
This episode addresses the music student and their study habits. We will focus on how to make the best of your time, both inside and outside the classroom. We will also give you a glimpse inside your professor's head when it comes to your interactions in the classroom environment.
In order to play with other musicians, you have to be on the same page as them, rhythmically and tonally. In this episode, we will tackle the rhythmic aspect of music and how to identify what time signature (or meter signature) by using your ears alone. We will also have a little fun discussing some odd time signatures and when and where they have been used, in the classical music genre and in pop music.
This episode is all about the minor scale. We will discuss minor key signatures and how to identify them by using the order of sharps or flats and a few other tricks we picked up along the way. We will discuss the circle of fifths, as it applies to the minor keys. Finally, we will discuss the three main types of minor scales: natural, harmonic, and melodic.
Understanding intervals is an essential part of understanding, analyzing and critically listening to music. In this episode, we will discuss the theory behind intervals. Listen and learn the types of intervals and their rolls. Find out some tips how to identify them by number and by quality (major, minor, augmented or diminished). We will distinguish the difference between simple and compound intervals. This episode, like many theory episodes, will have an ear training counter part in the near future!
Perk up your ears and get ready for more ear training. Being able to hear and identify simple intervals is the gateway to ear training excellence! If you've been through our theory episode on intervals (Ep. 09), you can just sit back, listen and experience the intervals and their characteristics.
The career path of a musician can be a little unclear and equally uncertain. But have no fear! We are here as proof that you can make a comfortable living in the field of music. We will discuss the technical path (stage hands, roadies, live and studio engineers), the education path (private instruction, academia and research) and, of course, the performance path. We will also briefly touch on other special fields such as music therapy and sound design. Be encouraged. Be inspired. Be a musician!
Triads are the building blocks of harmony. In this episode, we will introduce you to the 4 basic triads: major, minor, augmented and diminished. We will discuss the theory behind them, the moods they evoke and the functions they serve.
We've already given a good listen to the interval. Let's add one more note to it and hear what the triad sounds like. We will discuss the sonic characteristics of the four basic triads: major, minor, augmented and diminished and their inversions. We will also stack on one more note and talk about the standard basic 7th chords: major major seventh (M7), major minor seventh (Mm7 or the dominant 7th), minor seventh (m7) and even the elusive minor major seventh chord (mM7).
A musical performance should really be all about the music. But there is still a performance element that tends to engage the viewing and listening audience. Let's talk about some pointers on how to enhance your over all show!
When you invert a chord, you rearrange it's pitch order. This can serve several purposes. In this episode, we will cover inversions for triads and seventh chords, how they're built and how to listen for them. We will also cover figured bass, a means of representing them in analysis, and it's origin. We will also share several tips and tricks to help make more sense of this concept.
Many great chord progressions, in tonal music, are based on specific sequences of triads and chords that are naturally fulfilling or appealing. These chords often all consist of notes that strictly come from the major or minor scales they are based on. These chords are considered diatonic. When musicians start speaking about chords using numbers instead of letters, this is what they are talking about. Listen and learn more about the diatonic triads and 7th chords from the major and minor scales.
The piano is a complex and beautiful instrument. It's fairly easy to learn, but quite challenging to master. In this episode, we will speak to a man that knows it up and down; Matthew Dutot Slocum. We will discuss where he is, how he got there, and where he's going. Then, it's on to practice routines and philosophies of musicianship. Finally, we will dig deep into the instrument, it's mechanisms, and it's genesis. Every musician should take a moment to get to know the piano. This is your moment!
Harmonic dictation is an essential part of the music students curriculum. It can be a powerful tool for any musician because it will help to solidify an understanding of harmony and harmonic progression. In this episode, we will give tips and strategies to on how to hear those harmonies and pass that listening exam! This episode will feature the diatonic chords (in major) I, ii, IV and V.
A piece of music is often laid out like a poem or a story. The sentences and paragraphs can be likened to motives and phases. The punctuations and ends of these thoughts can be likened to the cadences. Some ask questions. Some answer the questions. Some give you the answers you expect. Some deceive your expectations. The many available combinations of chord progressions can determine how this all pans out. This episode will cover the six most common types of cadences: perfect authentic, imperfect authentic, half, Phrygian half, deceptive and plagal.
An understanding form and analysis is a great aid in getting to know music better. Like an architect, a composer will structure their music on a foundation of building blocks. It's time to check out the blueprints! In this episode, we will take it from the ground up. We'll start with motives. We'll use them to build phrases and phrases to build periods and phrase groups.
There's no better way to get your performance feet wet than playing in a cover band! The material is there. You just have to learn it and execute it properly. The crowd will immediately connect with your music because they already know it! But there's so much more to it. Wouldn't you like to know the fine details? Miguel Martinez is going to give them to you, straight from the drummers seat!
One big goal in tonal composition is to have good counterpoint within your harmonies. To do that, we need to learn how to approach part writing in the proper manner. To do that, we must first learn the principles of voice leading and why they are useful, and even essential, to the composition process. In this episode, we will learn the main rules to keep in mind when constructing a melody and then blending it with other melodies. We will discuss parallel and contrary motion between melodies, hidden fifths and octaves. We will dare to discuss the heinous parallel fifths and octaves and how they can obliterate your texture. We will also touch on organum and other contributions to the origin of these conventions. We will observe all of these rules closely from a 4 part, SATB (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) "laboratory environment"!
A melodic dictation exam is something you may or may not have to reckon with in your musical journey. Passing this course is essential for a music student working towards a degree. But for anyone, academia aside, these tips and tricks will help you know melody better. We will discuss how to establish your tonal "home base" and how to recognize what parts of the scale are being used in the melodic line. We will also spend a little time talking about solfége (fixed "DO" and movable "DO") and how it compares to the number system that we tend to use in theory and analysis. Get ready to sharpen your sense of melody!
MIDI is one of the greatest things to happen to music and those who work with it. This music based language allows for the entry and edit of musical notes and their attributes. It also allows for the synchronization and communication between musical instruments, machines and computers. It can be a vital aid in composition and can expedite your musical work flow to a considerable measure. Learn about its origin, its language and its many uses!
When writing a song or a piece of music, it's good to know how certain chords and harmonies work together. An understanding of the circle of fifths can make this fairly simple. In this episode we will follow the circle all the way through and hit every chord on the way. It's time to apply a level of understanding to something that seems like a magical musical diagram at first glance. Perk up your ears and step inside the circle!
The bass has a special effect on the listener. The frequencies in the lower register can often be felt just as much as they are heard. The bass can tell us more about harmonic progression and it can also tie the rhythm and melody sections together. Join us, along with Aaron Branson, as we talk all about that bass!
We've learned about the major and minor scales. Now it's time to explore the 7 Diatonic Modes: Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian and Locrian. We will learn how to construct them and identify them using the "relative" and the "parallel" methods. We will also give them a listen, check out some examples and discuss what moods they convey and how they effect us.
Some times you will encounter notes that don't belong to the chords they are sounding over. These notes are just what they sound like, nonchord tones! In this episode, we will discover the main types of nonchord tones: the passing tone, the neighbor tone, the escape tone, the appoggiatura, the suspension, the anticipation, the retardation and the pedal tone.
Just in case we haven't said everything we need to say about intervals, it's time we said a little more! We will have a quick recap on the basic intervals followed by an extended discussion on other interval related topics. We will discuss compound intervals (and the recognition thereof), enharmonic naming, harmonic tendencies and much more.
You may be familiar with notes, key signatures and meter signatures. But, there's a lot more happening on a music score. Various markings, such as crescendo, forte, fortissimo and pianissimo, can tell a musician how hard or soft to play. While other expressions, such as adagio, andante and presto, will tell them how fast or slow to play. Get ready to brush up on your Italian and learn all about dynamic, performance and tempo markings.
Continuing where Episode 18 left off, this episode will feature the diatonic chords I, II7, IV and V7 (in major and minor). Listen for those chord qualities (major, minor, dominant 7th and minor 7th) and use your theory brain to find out how to decipher chord progressions. Use this skill to learn songs faster and know music better!
We've given the 7th chords a good listen. Now it's time to discuss the theory behind them and some of the conventions to consider while using them in part writing. This episode will focus on the ii7 and the V7 chords as well as their inversions. It's time to add a little spice to your chord progressions!
In the beginning, before written history, our ancestors left artifacts and paintings that gave us clues as to how they once lived. This being a few million years ago, one can only speculate on how or why they began to experiment with sound and eventually music!
Counterpoint, the art of combining two or more independent melodic lines, is a practice that has been around for hundreds of years. However, not a lot of musicians are familiar with the term. In this episode, part 1 of 2, we will discuss it's origins, it's usefulness and the many rules that revolve around it's process. We will build a cantus firmus, based on these rules. We will also learn what a cantus firmus is! Finally, we will tease part 2 of this series with a brief discussion of species counterpoint.
Continuing our discussion from episode 34-Counterpoint Pt.1, we will now discuss species counterpoint. We have already built our cantus firmus. Now, we will add a voice, using first species counterpoint. We will then take a stab at second species counterpoint. The challenge awaits! Do join us.
In the school of music, we have the "Jury". This terrifying moment occurs at the end of the semester when the student must display their progress, on their instrument, in front of a panel of professors. During this brief moment, a number of "fight or flight' symptoms can manifest in the student. In the practical world, any musician (or anyone in the spotlight) may encounter this phenomenon. Welcome to stage fright! Let's try to understand it better and discuss some possible ways to manage it.
Continuing our discussion from episode 35-Counterpoint Pt.2, it's time to tackle 3rd and 4th species counterpoint! We have already built our cantus firmus and tried it out with 1st and 2nd species counterpoint. Our trilogy now comes to a satisfying end with melodies that coexist and commingle, all the while, maintaining their independence!
Pentatonic scales are five note scales that span the length of an octave. Major and minor scales, along with their respective modes, are all considered "heptatonic" or "seven note" scales. These scales also have five note subsets that are easier to learn and recognize. They are also more universally used across the globe. In this episode, we will discuss the major and minor pentatonic scales of the west and several others from the east, including the Hirojoshi, Mongolian, Iwato and Yo scales.
Continuing where episode 31 left off, this episode will cover the previously discussed chords: I, II7, IV and V7 (in major and minor) and their inversions. We now add the VII and it's inversions. Listen for the chord qualities (major, minor, dominant 7th, minor 7th and diminished) and use your theory brain to find out how to decipher chord progressions. Use this skill to learn songs faster and know music better!
As we near the end of the theory 101 sequence, we decided to dedicate a couple of episodes to the purpose of reviewing all of the topics we've covered up to this point. This episode, part 1, will cover episodes 1-19. Part 2 will cover episodes 20-39. We humbly thank you all for your support and for the community we are building. Help us celebrate our 40th episode by enjoying this episode!
As we near the end of the theory 101 sequence, we decided to dedicate a couple of episodes to the purpose of reviewing all of the topics we've covered up to this point. Part 1 covered episodes 1-19. This episode, part 2 of "The Big Recap", will cover episodes 20-39. We humbly thank you all for your support and for the community we are building. Help us celebrate our 40th episode by enjoying these two episodes!
The guitar is an extraordinarily expressive and versatile instrument. From it's roots in 15th Century Spain to it's current prominence in jazz, rock, pop, folk, funk and blues (to name just a few genres), there is much to be said about the guitar. We're going to say as much as we can in one episode with our good friend Carlos Pino. Get ready for some great sounds because he brought his guitar!
Get ready for another great episode because he really brought his "A" game!
Continuing where episode 39 left off, this episode will review the previously discussed chords: I, II7, IV, V7 and VII (in major and minor) and their inversions. We will now add the III (the mediant) and VI
(the submediant). Listen for the chord qualities (major, minor, dominant 7th, minor 7th and diminished)
and use your theory brain to find out how to decipher chord progressions.
Use this skill to learn songs faster and know music better!
Transposition, the act of changing a piece of music to a different key or mode, can be one of the most useful tools any musician can have in their kit.
In this episode, we will discuss diatonic and chromatic transposition, as well as when and why we use them. We will also have a discussion on transposing instruments, instruments that sound out different notes then what is written on paper. It's time to change it up a bit! It's time for transposition!
Join us as we venture toward chromaticism with this discussion of secondary dominants. We will talk about how these chords can be used in the tonicization of chords other than the tonic, with their dominant function. In this episode, we will focus on the V of V (V/V) and the V of IV (V/IV).
The overtone series is alive and well in every note you hear. Within the vibrations of tone, or a note, there are other smaller vibrations that are occurring. We will start with the fundamental and look deeper into the overtones, or harmonics, that occur and at which order they appear. We will also discuss timbre and other things that are influenced by and, likewise, influence certain overtones.
Song writing is different for everybody. Sometimes we can be inspired by the experiences of others. We will talk all about it with our friend and colleague, Colin Soniat. We'll dig deep into his musical background and find out how his songwriting has evolved alongside. Hear some great original music examples and enjoy an in depth, yet light-hearted, discussion on creating something from within!
What exactly is sight reading? What is the difference between reading music and sight reading music? What are some factors that contribute to good sight reading? How can I improve my sight reading skills? Good questions, all! We shall address them all in this episode!
Join us, as we continue to venture toward the coming mountain of chromaticism. We will approach the foothills as we resume our discussion of secondary dominants. We will talk about how these chords can be used in the tonicization of chords other than the tonic, with their dominant function.
In this episode, we will focus on the V of ii (V/ii),
V of vi (V/vi) and the V of iii (V/iii).
We celebrate our 50th episode by breaking the ice on the much anticipated topic of modulation.
This discussion will include an introduction to the concept of modulation, or change of key.
We will first cover modulation to closely related keys and what makes a closely related key. Then will discuss the pivot chords that can help to facilitate this technique. Also included will be some tips on how to hear key changes in music and recognize them on paper. And, of course, we will share some advice and tips on how to write them!
Not every musician ends up on stage. One of our goals is to cover, in depth, the many career opportunities that can be available to a musician. In this episode, we will talk to Chris Knutson about how his music tech skills opened the door to a profitable career in stage and film production. This one's for all you music "tekkies" out there!
At this point, we've discussed the 2 most common diatonic 7th chords: V7 and II7. Now, we will discuss "The Others". These are the VII7, IV7, VI7, I7 and III7 chords.
We will take a little time with each of these, give them a listen, discuss the way they sound and briefly discuss their functionality. Just because these are a little less common, that's no reason to not bring them up because they are often featured in great music!
In part one of our "Form and Analysis" series, we familiarized ourselves with the building blocks of a form, such as motives, phrases and periods. Now, we will begin our official discussion on small forms. We will cover rounded, simple, sectional and continuous binary forms. Then we will move into ternary and compound ternary forms. Finally, we will close it out with a brief discussion on theme and variations.
The chord chart can be an essential tool for any musician, gigging or not. They allow you to get a lot more accomplished in a lot less time with your fellow musicians. In this episode, we're going to keep it simple but we're going to cover the three common types of chord charts.
Get ready to learn about the lead sheet, the standard chord chart and the Nashville number system.
Just as you can use secondary dominant chords to aid in the movement to any diatonic chord, you can also use secondary leading tone chords for the same purpose. These chords can add intrigue, color and tension to any harmonic progression. We'll discuss how to identify them, how to spell them out and
how to analyze them. Give them a listen. Give them a try.
Continuing where episode 43 left off, this episode will review the previously discussed chords: I, II7, III, IV, V, VI and VII (in major and minor) and their inversions. We will now add some secondary dominants:(V/V, V/II). Listen for the chord qualities (major, minor, dominant 7th, minor 7th and diminished) and use your theory brain to find out how to decipher chord progressions. Use this skill to learn songs
faster and know music better!
Stringed instruments have a number of environmental and conditioning considerations that we need to be familiar with, if we want them to have a long and happy life. In this episode we will talk about the piano (really a percussion instrument but it does have many strings), the harp, the acoustic and electric guitars (along with other hollow-bodied and solid bodied, wooden instruments), the banjo and the symphony strings (bass, cello, viola and violin).
We are bringing chromaticism to your doorstep! Today's special delivery? Mixed modes and borrowed chords! Learn how borrowing just two or three notes from a parallel key can allow for several new chords that can add intrigue to your progressions and help to smooth our your modulations.
Composition is the art of simply creating music out of nowhere, from within, and organizing it into a finished piece. It can be an expression of what is going on with you emotionally. It can be an expression of something you've been inspired by, visually, sensually, socially, politically, or by other external sources. Either way, it all begins with you sitting down and taking the time to piece together a musical masterpiece. Let's talk about some of the processes involved, however simple or complex, with our own
Matthew Scott Phillips!
We wanted to end the year by letting us all get to know each other better. We're going to share some more of your stories and then a few of our own. We will also talk a little more about the genesis of this podcast, reveal some recording secrets and discuss where we want to go from here!
The Neapolitan chord and the Neapolitan Sixth chord add a very distinctive sound
to a progression. You've heard it many times and you probably LOVED it. Now you're going to learn all about it! We will discuss how to build one, how it's used in a progression and we'll play a few examples you may recognize. This ain't just some boring ice cream favor. This is good music!
Playing an instrument and listening to music can have a variety of positive effects on children and adults alike. It can rewire your brain to better accomplish mental and physical tasks. What's a good way to get your children into music? What's the best instrument to start with? Let us discuss!
Continuing where episode 56 left off, this episode will review our previous discussions on diatonic chords and secondary dominants. We will now add the secondary dominants of the mediant and submediant (V/III, V/VI). Listen for the chord qualities and use your theory brain to find out how to decipher chord progressions. Use this skill to learn songs faster and know music better!
It's about time to have a discussion about the blues! This can't be done, properly, in one episode. This episode will be the first of a few on the history of the blues. We'll go way back to origins of the African people, in America. We will learn of their struggles that resulted in this rich, emotional, honest and powerful music. This is the story of American music. We're going to take it back to the roots!
The augmented 6th (+6) chord is a very tense predominant chord. Like most chromatic chords, it can add motion and color to your chord progressions. In this episode we will discuss the 3 main types of augmented six chords: Italian, French and German.
Just like any instrument, your voice needs a great amount of care and attention in order to perform at it's peak potential. If you're a singer, a public speaker, a bartender or a cheerleader, you have to use your voice at loud volumes for extended amounts of time. Let's find out how to best accomplish this while keeping your voice strong and healthy.
The hexatonic scales are six note scales. In many cases we are simply adding a note to a pentatonic scale or deleting one from one of the seven modes. But there are other interesting possibilities: the blues scales, the whole tone scale, the augmented scale, the tritone scale and the elusive Prometheus scale. We will also create some of our own by combining triads. Let's listen!
When we compose for film or television, we have many considerations at hand. We want to accent the mood and the emotions involved in the picture. We want to do our part to tell the story. But we also have to make our client happy. Our special guest, Craig Brandwein, is here to answer some questions and share his experiences, in the world of film composition.
Picking up from where we left off on episode 50, we will continue our discussion on modulation to closely related keys. We will talk about modulating to relative keys. We will discuss chromatic modulations, with and without pivot chords. We will also take on sequential and phrase modulation and we may get
blind sided by a direct, or abrupt, modulation or two.
Finally, we will take a moment to harmonize some modulating melodies!
We've long dreamed of having an episode dedicated entirely to showcasing the composing and songwriting talents of our listeners. Finally, the dream is alive!
This episode will feature the original music of:
Marc McDowell, Eamon Kelly,
Nancy Mitchell, Chris "Tex" Owen, Andersonlane,
Don Ferguson, Jason LaRay Keener and
Jon Magnusson Monreal.
Picking up from where we left off on episode 69, we will now learn how to modulate to distantly related keys using chords that are diatonic, or chromatic, in either key (or any combination thereof). Some pivot chords we will use to pull this off will include the German augmented 6 chord (Gr+6), the Neapolitan chord (N) and secondary seven diminished vii chord (viiº7 of ?). Let us invite a few more
accidentals to the table, shall we? Join us!
It's time to try something different, though "music-adjacent"! The Schumann resonances are the vibrations of the Earth's atmosphere. Some believe that if we tune our instruments to these resonances, using 432Hz as our tuning standard, our music will be more satisfactory and enhance our well being. Let's talk a little about the physics behind this and why it has become a topic of controversy!
Continuing where episode 63 left off, this episode will review our previous discussions on diatonic chords and secondary functions. We will now add the secondary seven of V and seven of ii (iiº) chords. Listen for the chord qualities and use your theory brain to find out how to decipher these chord progressions. Use this skill to learn songs faster and know music better!
Solfege has been used for centuries to help vocalists and music students acquaint vowel sounds with certain notes. In this episode, we will discuss solfege in major, minor and chromatic terms. We will also cover the two different kinds of solfege ("fixed do" and "movable do") and the advantages of these systems. Finally, we will address the Curwen Hand Signs and try some exercises that you might find useful.
Middle Ages music occurred roughly between the dates of 500-1400 CE. In this episode, we will mainly talk about monophony. We will discuss plain chant, Gregorian chant and the antiphon, as the common types of vocal music within the church. We will also cover some of the secular music, made popular by the troubadours, trouvères and Minnesängers. Climb inside our time machine!
In part 1 of this series, we heard an original song (by one of our own listeners) for the first time. By the end of that episode, we put "Dewey and Dora" (by Keith Andrews) to paper with key and time signatures, tempo and a chord chart! Now it's time to round it out with lyrics and a melody, in proper lead sheet fashion!
Melodic dictation, the act of transcribing and notating a melody by ear, is an important skill for a musician to cultivate. In this episode, we will share some tips and get right in to some examples. Ready your ears and get ready to explore the major scale!
Picking up from where we left off on episode 71, we will now further our discussion on modulation to distantly related keys. The focus, on this show, will be the use of chromatic mediants!
Everyone enjoyed our last listener compositions episode so much, we decided to make this a regular thing. Our listeners have bared their souls. Let's listen! This episode will feature the original music of: Cody M. Gibson, Ray Parker, Alex O' Hagan, Seth Hammonds, Paul Olsen, Chris Waite and Scott Jackson.
Our discussion on the significance of women in music history is well overdue! Join us on this series as we highlight some of the notable female composers, from the advent of recorded music history!
Melodic dictation, the act of transcribing and notating a melody by ear, is an important skill for a musician to cultivate. In this episode, we will focus on the Mixolydian mode. It has one small difference from the major scale, or Ionian mode. Let's listen!
We talk a good bit about theory, ear training and history. But let's talk about you and your craft. The only way to get better at playing your instrument, ear training and theory is to practice like crazy! In this episode, we will focus on how to practice more efficiently and effectively. Let's get to work!
When you learn or write a melody, you may want to add some harmonic textures to it. In this episode, we will learn a melody. We will write harmonies that move along with it in parallel motion. We will then find the chords that suit it best. Get ready to know harmony better!
In episode 65, we discussed the Italian, French and German augmented 6th chords and their main functions. In this episode, we'll dig a little deeper into these chords and talk about some other functions and placement options that can really color your chord progressions!
It's time to get a little out of step with time! Syncopation is a technique that can add more color and interest to your rhythms. In this episode, we will define syncopation, give some examples and share some stories where we've been challenged by this composition technique.
For some reason, creative types are often drawn to mind altering substances. Musicians have been no exception. In this episode we will discuss the lure towards nicotine, alcohol, marijuana and hallucinogenic influences. We will discuss their effects and some of the risks involved. We will also share some stories of those who have fallen to, and those who survived, some of the dangers that come along with this lifestyle.
Dive with us, face first, into chromaticism with this discussion on extended and altered chords. We will make sure we're well acquainted with the concept of suspended ("sus") chords and added ("add") chords. This will prepare us for an ongoing exploration of altered chords. We will also compare the use of these chords, in classical theory, to their rolls in the jazz and pop music genres!
MUSIC STUDENT 101