An Ethereal Guitarist's Path

Saturday, February 16, 2008

may be learning isnt always the best idea...

I wish I knew what it was like to play guitar 3 months back. Not knowing what im learning and am about to learn. Im not talking about the technical aspects of physically playing, but of reading music, knowing theory, and the start of interpreting songs and chords and all this stuff. Its good to see how classical and jazz music are constructed but for a while Ive had the idea of combining many genres. It would be very different and interesting if i didnt know how classical or jazz were composed from a theoretical perspective, but rather knew it ONLY from a listening/emotional perspective. Now that ive been learning and dealing with rhythm, I naturally feel the need to move away from it at times. Every song has a time signature to it pretty much. I used to write and play songs with no guidance of time at all. I would play based on how i felt at that moment. Of course if it was always like that it would be too disorganized and possibly unlikable. Songs that are on time are great and amazing it gives songs identities, but I liked my first instincts when i created songs too. That was where pure emotion poured in. Rhythm and time are great things and im glad im learning them, but at the same time i dont always want a strong foundation in music. Music needs foundation but why cant some of it have none? I like playing based on feeling rather than paying strict attention to technical aspects sometimes. I dunno its two different worlds really. I dont want to completely lose one or the other.

ummm...something new!!

Two new things for me. One is a huuuuuuuuuuuuuge change/difference in me. So ill talk about that one last.

The other day i forgot to write that i started composing a song. Im writing it in A major and so far in 3/4 time signature. Its a guitar piece thus far. Im totally adding another part to it, may be cello, dont really know yet. The interesting thing is that I wrote it with no instrument present. I just sorta put notes on the staff. I didnt do it completely randomly. I did it based on the relationships of the notes. I thought it my head how certain melodies and rhythms would sound together. I emphasized the repetition of certain notes, and things like that. I arbitrarily (word choice?) gave it structure just by writing it and visualizing it on a staff. Im not good enough to read it well yet, though I have been progressing in my reading skills lately. Once i can read it well, thats when ill work on changing it and tweaking it.

Ive been reading this si your brain on music lately, a great book which ill delve into later. One part of the book explains that its the combination of neurons in your brain that evokes emotional responses and mental images from music. Then I realized (dunno if this is really true or not) that opening up to music is changing those connections to evoke positive emotions from music. The goal ultimately would be to keep the links very open to change to listen to other kinds of music. The same goes for rap music. Ill admit there has been a little bit that ive liked about rap music, but there was a whole lot that i did like. I unfairly judged rap music without researching and looking more into it, because everywhere i went i heard the same garbage. But there is some awesome rap out there, and this one artist i found (ironically on a death metal forum) blew my mind away. They incorporated some hjazz elements in the music more so than ive ever heard. It was very well thought out. The lyrics arent just about "shootin up bitches and banging my hoes," they have something more to say, something with substance. One thing ive been learning and understanding about music is that its a way of expression. Expressing thoughts and emotions. In essence saying something through melody and rhythm. Who's to say you cant make something good out of rap music, because you can. Im getting this idea to create my own rap music. I want to study rap a lot more and listen to it often enough to get a good sense and feel of it, and see how songs are written and put together etc. Then I want to emphasize melody in rap music. Melody of instruments. Not just a beat and a few chords of a synth with rhyming behind it. I want to make it a real masterpiece, with an interesting beats, and lyrics especially. The main thing ive always hated about rap music (the rap that ive been exposed to) is that they never have anything positive to say and its so much absorbed in controversy. The same can be said for death metal too, but the thing with death metal is its very hard to understand the lyrics. Exactly what the singer is saying isnt necessarily what the big importance or emphasis is. From my understanding, the main element in rap music is the lyrics, because from what ive heard there isnt much of anything else. In death metal, youve got complex rhythms, instrumentals, and other elements on at the same time. I dont see that with rap so much. Basically, I want to listen to more rap because i do enjoy the feeling i get from it. I will be very selective of the rap I listen to of course.

Heres the rap group Im talking about, may be youll get a better understanding if you listen to a song or two:

Friday, February 15, 2008

Jazz lesson 3

I can play the chords pretty fluidly now. He gave me a totally new arrangement using the same chords pretty much plus one other. This time the rhythm is pretty complicated. Well for me anyway, its more or less straight forward i suppose. Not a whole lot to update on

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Classical guitar lesson 3

This was a small lesson today. Pretty much, my teacher corrected me on my positioning of my right arm and taught me not to reach with my fingers when i play the lower strings. Other than that he showed me to keep my hand still mostly when playing pieces so that they'll flow better. Then he gave me a few pieces to work on for two weeks, since next tuesday theres no class. So ive got mostly scale practicing and music reading to do. Thats all really

Monday, February 11, 2008

viola lesson 2

I really should have written in this right after my lesson. It was a small lesson but one that contained a lot of information. My teacher gave me these wrist/bowing exercises to work on, and taught me fully/properly how to hold the viola, which she complimented me on as well as my grasp on the bow. I apologize if this post seems so disorganized.

So here are some wrist exercises im doing
1. the first one is to hold the viola bow properly and rotate my wrist making a windshield wiper movement.

2. This one is to hold the viola bow vertically with both hands, and then I move me arm in a small, then medium, then large circle. My arms is supposed to make the movement but the shoulders are the primary muscles being used. That is ultimately the muscle movementI use for bowing.

3. For this one, I place my left hand at my left shoulder, in a circular shape. Then I bow back and forth through it

4. The next exercises is to hold the bow to my belly button and extend it as if i were stabbing someone.

5. Last one was to grip the viola bow and scrunch my fingers in toward my hand so that my knuckles are flat, and then put it back into position.
-Im having a lot of trouble with this one. I dont think i truly understand how to move my hand in that sort of way. The important thing is to not lose my grip which is ultimately what im having trouble on.

Now, when holding the viola, instead of having my chin on the chin rest, it is supposed to be mostly over the tail piece. My jawbone is what is supposed to "clamp" on to the edge of the chin rest. The viola rests against my left shoulder to angled slightly, making it pretty straight/flat. It will be a lot easier to move my hand up and down the neck like that. As I said in my first viola lesson post, I need to remain completely balanced and relaxed. My left arm right now serves as balancing the viola right now. I havent actually been taught about holding the neck yet, but its better this way.

When I physically bow the strings, my shoulder is what's donig the work and my forearm is what is guiding the direction. The direction of the bowing is to be parallel to the bridge. Its hard to keep the bowing so straight at first, since the viola itself is slightly angled, but with time ill get used to that.

The strings on the viola starting from the left side are titled CGDA. When playing on the A string, my elbow is mostly down, close to my body, but not super close. When i move up to the D string I pretty much move my elbow up, as with going to the G and C strings. Then the important thing is to stay completely aligned and not bow in crooked. I think thats what produces that screeching sound, which I didnt have much of.

I also just found out that the music building's rehearsal studios are open nearly all the time. I can pretty much stay there till a janitor kicks me out. I dont think its 24/7 though. I will be putting myself there for a lot of time on mondays, though not as much on tuesdays, unless its late at night. Anyway, That will be very good for me and I cant wait to start taking advantage of that. Soon I hope to get much better at viola and eventually start meeting other people just to be friends or to start collaborating musically with. Im getting more and more ideas for music in general and specifically what I want to create. Im so glad im in college and switched to music. This is the best decision ive made in my life. I just wish i knew more, and could do more on my instruments. I have so many ideas, and lots of musical knowledge coming at me from many different directions. I cant express my ideas ideally how id like to because of my skill, but I think im going to start writing simple music for now, and write within my limitations, as opposed to waiting till im really good and going all out. Simple music is just as beautiful as technical music.