In addition, since it’s a tutorial on the live version I’ve had questions about the basic, and alterations of, the guitar strumming pattern for the song. I’ve also had more than a couple questions about the the outro section. Justin seems to “improvise” his way out of the tune thereby creating some very interesting rhythmic devices. It is a little tricky as Justin has clearly learned a thing or three from Dan Kanter🙂
Here are the links to part 1 and 2 of my tutorial set for Justin’s unique and guitar-friendly cover.
Lorde’s new single Green Light is a study in contrasts for a guitar cover/tutorial/play-through. It’s the kind of song that grows on you after a couple listens. But, still you sit and ponder. It is worth it? But then you realize that this one has something to work with, it does have merit after all! After listening to what seems like a patchwork of disjointed ideas scattered about it soon becomes clear in the mind of the listener that Green Light does what all pop songs are programed to do.
The content is not heavy. Basically, we have a 5 chord pop song like many others. Where as Green Light revs up slowly and patiently, most pop songs don’t have the patience for such maneuvering as their game is always centered on getting to the point early and often. It’s a mainstay of popular music. Lorde, is a “developer”. Her tendency is to take sparse material and dial things up as the minutes pass. Green Light is no exception,
The pre-chorus/chorus sections are a thing of lighthearted genius as a masterful but typical riff takes over that lights up the song with such energy that even Lorde can’t stay in control (check 3:03 of the video).
For your part, keeping the chorus riff even and controlled is no easy task on guitar, especially acoustic. Keep your right hand solid and bear down on the strumming pattern. That is, if you are covering it at it’s recorded tempo.
I can see this section played a little slower without damaging the intention of the writer. Experiment and see what you come up with.
Say what you will about pop music, but it does have quality players and producers if you look for them. Take this performance by Julia Michaels with Dan Kanter on guitar. It’s nothing but beautiful and expertly performed. Dan Kanter is the best guitar accompanist around. His work on Justin Bieber’s acoustic “What Do You Mean” opened up the world to just how good a guitar part can be behind a pop vocalist.
Dan raises the bar when it comes to harmonic choices in his playing. Give him three chords, four chords, five chords, it matters not. Dan will take what are usually easy throw away guitar forms and turn them into incredible soundscapes that lift the song beyond what most would deem possible.
In this song, Dan has tuned his guitar up one half step. Oh that Dan, you never know what he has up his sleeve. This will, of course, put more stress on your fingers as the string tension will be higher. Don’t worry if you have a smooth playing acoustic. If not, be advised that your fingers may not be happy with you. Read on for a couple solutions I’ve come up with.
For her part, Julia Michaels was nothing short of fabulous. Maybe a little nervous at first? Well, who would fault her. The nervousness did not last long as Dan’s guitar lifted the session and Julia picked up on that energy immediately. Her vocal performance is fabulous and I would dare say that it rivals the original. A wonderful artist in her own right she has also co-written works for Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez! This gives her big street credentials and should keep her busy for quite a while.
Solutions to the Dan Dilemma
My solution to the “tuned up” Dan guitar was to simply capo on fret one. The only reason I did this was to avoid the obvious sound of breaking strings as people who watch this tutorial attempt to tune up. Heaven’s no. I’m not going to be responsible for that mess. Another solution? Play it in the original key of Ab major. One warning, you will all but lose any open strings. My advice is to either capo, tune up, or play in open position (without the capo) and sing it in the key of G major. Whatever you chose will depend on your experience and finger strength.
Have fun with this upper intermediate to lower advanced guitar part and please, don’t ask me to make it easier for you. It would be irresponsible of me to do so. Hey, eventually you have to deal with the reality that playing guitar is hard work and sometimes you have to step it up and push yourself.
“Town Theme” written by the prodigious Anime composer Nobuo Uematsu, is a short but alluring piece of music. Consisting of a light texture with a hypnotic rhythmic movement, the melodicism embedded in the sections gives it the staying power it needs for its role in the game, Final Fantasy.
I chose to cover “Town Theme”theme using a acoustic guitar duo format. My obsession with random improvised harmonies was perfectly suited to the music’s construction. Not that the work needed my help mind you, it was just my way of interpreting the “hidden harmonies” one hears when the obsession with music runs deep in your brain.
Like all great composers Uematsu gets to the techniques that color otherwise plain tonal music. This is where the theme becomes legend. An ordinary composer would struggle to rise to such heights with such a project. Writing of this type can be an exercise in frustration as the limitless creative powers one has are kept at bay due to the reality of keeping the music close to home in terms of listenability and ultimately, commercialism.
The first few seconds of “Town Theme” are telling. A very clever two-measure introduction opens with an artful C major arpeggio. In the following measure the composer wastes no time and goes for the gold medal with a beautiful second-inversion iv6 chord. The Fm/C substitutes for the dominant (as it’s prone to do) giving measure 3 the push it needs to move forward like a bright, sunny, and brisk Sunday afternoon drive.
In measures 9-10, an absolutely perfect cadence is set up to put and end to the first melodic statement. The progression, V I vi V2 bVI I5 V I is nothing short of mesmerizing.
Is it genius writing? Maybe not being that the role o the theme is to bring one back to the center. But, I would challenge you who are composers to attempt such writing using the obvious restrictions during your process.
You will come out a better writer as you reach deeper into multi-part writing. Keeping track of all voices and rhythms at your disposal your creative power will grow.
One thing is sure, people still love live music. If there was any worry that is was slowing down that’s surely gone. Fans want the real deal. Audio improvements, ease of downloading music, and the saturation of music in the media have not dimmed that internal desire for live performance. Our GM put it best when he said that “the business is healthy, and business is good”. The pubic’s desire to become, as it where, part of the experience continues to bring them to venues in droves.
All of us deal with concert goers that come up to us pleading that they know someone in the band. I knew rock stars were “prolific” but I didn’t know it spread so far. My reaction is always “You don’t say?!” “How do you know him?” Crickets…:)
Rob Zombie’s set smoked. He sounded great and to be honest, for a few moments I forgot who the headliner really was. I kept thinking, “How can the show get any bigger than this?”John 5 played a blistering four minute long guitar solo during Rob Zombie’s covert walkathon through the crowd. Ya, maybe a little cliche at times but still great. It’s about time he was allowed to cut loose. It wasn’t going to happen with Marilyn Manson as the music wasn’t about long guitar solos. But with Rob’s vibe, it fits perfectly.
Zac Brown’s horn section ripped out some of the most thrilling lines I’ve ever heard during their spotlight. For sure horns in a country band are unusual. Credit has to be given to Zac’s vision of the band as the variety of instruments in Zac’s music is what creates the magic.
Korn has to have the largest female following in Metal. Easily. I’m not saying I have the reason for it, it’s just a fact. What does it mean? I dunno, maybe there’s something to be learned here for other bands who carry a heavy “guy” fan base.
Breaking up fights during shows is dangersome and delicate. But, there is an art to it. One things for sure, a girl fight is the dread of us all.
Zac Brown’s cover of The Who’s, “Baba O’ Reilly” was explosive. The keyboard part at the beginning could have been tweaked a bit better but nevertheless, it was refreshing to see fans of all ages singing along. It was a genius move to cover that gem.
I still don’t understand mosh pits. How more young people are not injured is beyond me. Flailing arms, karate kicks, muscular hulks with fire in their eyes, females fearlessly running around impervious to the danger. It’s interesting to watch but that doesn’t make it any more understandable to me. But…hey, it’s there and it’s part of what makes this music burn.
Korn’s music has a unique element in it that produces an aggressive and hyper-ecstatic reaction in its fans. What that element is centers around their unique harm and very tight and compressed sound. There were moments when it felt as though the venue was about to go nuclear.
Zac Brown’s music is at times fun, sad, reflective, lively, and safe. But, when he hit the stage it all changed. The high-octane crowd took it to another level. Zac rocked hard. I must say I was pleasantly surprised! Be assured that Zac Brown is the real deal. He runs a very well oiled music machine and they are tight.
The key to being good at working on the floor during high energy shows is a very keen sense of people. If you can’t read a situation instantly you won’t make it. You have to look, evaluate, judge, and keep your eyes moving. Other than that it’s a piece of cake.
Experience. There is no substitution for it. Every show, every situation, and every moment is an opportunity for growth and movement forward. This is the greatest job I ever loved.
Mark Jeffery Campayno runs a music performance studio, Musicians-inc/StudioRock of Northern Virginia. Mark also directs the guitar department at Broad Run High School in Ashburn,Virginia. He also works on the pit crew at Live Nation’s Jiffy Lube Live Pavilion in Bristow, Virginia, and hosts his own internet radio show, The Studio Rocks at http://www.jazzbites.com.
Yesterday, beginning at 1:00 pm I set out on a mission of sorts. I left early to assist a current student on her first day at Jiffy Lube Live (Live Nation). I won’t go into the details of the early part of the day but let’s just say the she saw the “other side” of the music industry up close and personal.
After our three or so hours in purgatory we took 5 minutes to recover and then moved into the house area. She and the majority of the 16,000 (more or less) fans understand well what was to come. But I remain perplexed. As I got closer the music got louder…much louder. As I descended the steps into the pit area the energy was as high as I can ever remember in my two plus years working on the floor.
I can still feel those first few moments. But alas, I am left this morning with a puzzling problem that won’t go away. Why do I remain in a state of confusion over an element of music that I was sure I had mastered. An element that is present even when it’s not obvious, that is, the beat.
The show, G-Easy and Logic was basically, and for lack of a better term
, was (mostly) White Rap. The crowd was energized and looking at the faces of the mostly 17-24 year old audience I realize once again just how powerful this music is.
There’s no use, nor is it my intention, in analyzing or getting into the lyrical content, the delivery, or the sometimes conflicting messages and meanings behind this musical phenomenon. I have a bigger issue with the music, and if you are honest with yourself, you can find socio-lyrical dilemmas in all styles and genres of popular music.
It’s been bugging me for a while that I cannot get what makes a good hip hop/ rap beat. I know, and can construct, rock beats, Latin beats, jazz beats, funk beats, metal beats, and electronic beats. But when it comes to rap I don’t have it “locked in” yet. I just want to understand it in theoretical terms
I’ll say one thing for rap, they have the bass sound locked and loaded. There was a point last night where I thought my body was going to split in two. I was positioned directly in front of and slightly below the wall of bass cabinets that were stacked on top of the stage. The bass was not just loud but was vibrating every cell in my being.Wait, I think I’ve hit on something here! Is it possible that the bass supersedes the beat and is subservient to it? If this is so then hell, I’m letting it go. I mean, I’m not going to become a rap dj or a producer of rap beats for that matter. But wait, I’m a nerd. I have to know. I can’t drop it.
Someone help! I need the beat! Just tell me what is different a
bout the role of the beat? What should it have? What shouldn’t it have? Do I need a cowbell?