Interval exercises

If I asked you to measure the distance between two objects, you could reply with a variety of valid responses- Feet and inches Meters Paces Cubits Smoots (Anyone from MIT?) Well, the same can go for the aural distance between two notes- A number of pitches Several notches Steps and skips These musical units of […]

Learn a chord. Save a night.

Tons of people have guitars. Affluent people have pianos. Those two instruments are almost as ubiquitous as singing voices (though suffer from far less social stigma), so I think it would behoove society to give some passable instruction to every youth so they could raise the quality of life with a I-V-IV progression at a […]

Music, the Arts, and Ideas – Leonard Meyer (1967)

Earlier this summer, I finished reading Meyer’s Music the Arts and Ideas.  Now Leonard Meyer is no slouch in the field of music theory—his classic text Emotion and Meaning in Music (1956) has been endlessly cited for convincing music theorists that there might actually be something to *gasp* empirical descriptions of musical works!  Of course, […]

For Once In My Life

Paul Williams of the Temptations, singing For Once In My Life by Ron Miller and Orlando Murden.  The tune was originally composed for the Motown label, and Stevie Wonder’s version made it famous, but it has been performed and recorded by a variety of other outstanding artists.  This live rendition, Williams’s most famous, is from […]

Autotune Magic

The Gregory Brothers, more popularly known as the people who Auto-Tune the News, are not only satirically cunning, but they use their musicianship in a particularly effective manner. If you don’t troll YouTube like I do, seeking out memes and delighting in double rainbows, Auto-Tune the News is when popular/recent news clips are set to […]

That old honkey-tonk

I just finished watching Avatar: The Last Airbender, which I must say is an awesome TV series. Evidently the movie was a shame, which pains me considering that the TV series was so good. It’s the kids of series where you don’t want the show to end because you’ll miss the characters so much. Kind […]

First-time arrangements, Third Installment

~I wholeheartedly support all kinds of research that you can do before putting notes to a page. Steal ideas! Save yourself time! Don’t reinvent the wheel with every new arrangement, especially if you’re cutting your teeth for the first time. ~Ostinatos, or repeated bits of music, make teaching and retaining a lot easier…so you should […]

First-Time Arranging Suggestions, Part Deux

As far as first-time arranging tips, I’d advise against taking the basses too low.  Even if they have a solid low E, the chords will ring better with the basses up the octave, and they’ll sing better, too!  The same goes for the low F and frequently the low G as well. If you’re stuck […]

Lisztomania Mashup

Don’t miss Phoenix — and get their album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.  Those French know what’s up! Here’s a mashup: If you can see this, then you might need a Flash Player upgrade or you need to install Flash Player if it’s missing. Get Flash Player from Adobe. Update: It’s offline—another case of major industries sniping […]

First-Time Arranging Advice

A reader wrote in requesting some pointers on arranging for his high school a cappella group, and I thought I’d post a few here: advice for writing your FIRST arrangement.  These tips do not necessarily apply to ALL arrangements and are not general rules, but are good ways to make sure nothing goes too haywire […]