Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted by on Apr 23, 2013 in Recordings |

Bug Zapper

More fun with the Q2HD. Bug Zapper is a co-write with my friend Scott Bryson. I’ve reworked it endlessly, and this is where it sits right now. For years, there’s been a major II chord in the chorus, clinging like the kitten in the “Hang in there, Baby” poster. I finally got over it and went to good old V-IV-I.

Read More

Posted by on Apr 2, 2013 in Recordings |

A Performance Video

 

Mr. Natural, by the great R. Crumb

Mr. Natural, by the great R. Crumb

Sacred Grounds Cafe in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood has had an open mic of some sort since the late 60’s. In its current incarnation, it’s hosted, every Thursday, by local music teacher and multi-instrumentalist Mr. Natural, who thoroughly looks the part!

There’s a fun crowd of regulars and it’s a warm, accepting and inviting atmosphere. Every level of player shows up, from first-time-on-stage virgins (who are greeted with great enthusiasm) to seasoned veterans.

Every week, there’s a featured performer who gets to play a 45-minute set. Mr. Natural records a video of every show, and posts it to YouTube on his channel.

I played the feature this past March 7. I extracted my set from the full video and posted it on my own channel.

It’s a good way to inaugurate my Performance Video page. Enjoy!

Read More

Posted by on Nov 14, 2012 in The Lattice | 0 comments

Harmonic Space

Now to relate all this to the lattice in the video.

Listening to music is like going on a journey. Most tonal music starts by establishing a center, or basic note, and a basic harmonic framework for the song, such as a major or minor mode. A few melody notes, and a beginning chord, and you have some idea of the space in which the journey will be occurring. Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra (of 2001 fame) is a great example. The famous opening section, called “Sunrise,” gives an extremely clear sense of home. You know exactly where you are, sonically.

By the way, it’s fun to hum this while using an electric toothbrush.

The piece goes on to travel away from this home, and back again, many times. The journey takes place in a space of some sort, an auditory environment.

But what might this space look like? One way to visualize music is staff notation:

It’s beautiful, and if I know how to read it, it will tell me what the music sounds like. It doesn’t do such a good job of showing me why music sounds the way it does. Neither staff notation, nor the 12-tone scale, gives me a particularly clear idea of how music works. Why would this be restful and sonorous:

major

While this, though beautiful in a different way, has tremendous tension? Sounds like the villain (or the cat) is about to pop out and scare you.

aug

Okay, okay, here’s the resolution:major

Aaahh.

If I know a lot about music theory, I can interpret the notation and come up with explanations. The second example is an augmented chord, and yes it sounds like that. But why, Mom, wh-wh-why?

Next: The Lattice

Read More