It’s that time of year again. The dreaded few weeks of intense rehearsals and music director stress. Assessment season leaves its mark on many weary music teacher. This phenomenon is not lost on the students who bear the brunt of this hyper-preparedness syndrome.
This past Saturday, a student of mine came in for his lesson and immediately began talking of his escapades in his 8th grade middle school band class. Seems he was removed from class for his “attitude”. Well, long story short, he proceeded to play a smooth little pentatonic/aeolian riff during his warm up that caught my ear. Immediately, we transcribed it and named it “The Assessment Lick”. It’s always a thrill to see young students creating such gems out of the blue. Creativity born of frustration and teen angst.
Make sure to work slowly picking each note. Once you master the pattern you should proceed to repeat it slowly making sure you have locked in pick direction and articulation.
For a change of mode, simply change the F natural note in the pattern to F# (fret 9, string 2) and you have a Dorian riff that will sound funky and hip.
Of course, if you take the same note and make it a G natural (10th fret) you have a pure pentatonic pattern that will impressive your friends and maybe, just maybe, your band director:)
This is a right hand exercise using only the right hand thumb and index finger.
It is a little tricky at first as the movement collapses from the top to the bottom (lower) 6th string. In order to keep the exercise within the first year limitation, the thumb plays on the 6th string only.
*Keep in mind that we are working towards the Travis Style of picking and in that vein, you will use both the index and middle fingers on the upper three strings.
Please take your time with this going slowly and carefully. This will develop your ability to play more complex patterns with independence between the thumb and the index, middle, and ring fingers.
“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.
This is a nylon-string cover of the beautiful ” Bratja (Brother)” written by Michiru Oshima.
Here is more information about the song that will put things in context:
Brothers (Russian: Братья, Bratja; Japanese: Buraacha) is a song composed by Michiru Oshima for the anime Fullmetal Alchemist. It can be found on the first Fullmetal Alchemist O.S.T.. Other orchestrated versions can be found on Fullmetal Alchemist O.S.T. 3 and the Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa soundtrack.
The song is about the Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse, and their feeling about the tragic incident that happened at the very beginning of the series. They attempted to resurrect their mother who had died of an illness. However, during the transmutation, Alphonse lost his body while Edward lost his left leg, and, consequently, his right arm.
In the first verse, Edward expresses his grief and regret for pushing his brother into doing the transmutation with him. He blames himself for what happened, admitting that “there is no cure for death”. Alphonse, in the second verse, attempts to console him. He urges Ed to forget whose fault it is, as they both chose the same path, so neither of them is more guilty than the other. In each of the choruses, they sing about how much their mother meant to them, but how their tries to bring her back were in vain. In the final stanza, both brothers question where they should go from where they are now after realizing that it is impossible to bring back that which has been lost.
Another version of the song was recorded in english by Vic Mignogna, the voice actor who played Edward Elric in the series.
Here are the lyrics translated into English:
Forgive me, younger brother
I am to be blamed
It is impossible to return
that, which has been taken by earth
One that knows the law
would help me find the answer.
I made a terrible mistake,
there is no cure for death.
Dear Mother! So Soft! (soft as in loving)
We loved you so much.
But all our powers
were spent in vain.
I intrigued you
With the perfect hope
To return our family
My brother, the blame is all mine.
Don’t cry, don’t despair, older brother
You are not the only one to blame
We both have one road
Lets bury the blame to the depth (meaning lets forget whos fault it was)
I can’t blame you for anything,
And I hold no hard feelings. (as in Im not mad at you)
Heavy is our cause
The desire to be stronger than all
Dear Mother! So Soft!
We loved you so much.
But all our powers
were spent in vain.
I was intrigued myself
with the wonderful hope
to return our family.
I am the one to blame.
So what do we do now?
How do we correct and forget?
When you can’t return
That, which was been taken by earth.
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.