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 […]

Pitch! It exists!

Not only does pitch exist, it’s part of the trifecta of all music (the other brothers Timbre and Rhythm will have their day). Sound is a giant pitch. Not just one, but lots of pitches. Big pitches, small pitches, pitches you can pick out in a crowd, and pitches that don’t sound like a pitch […]

Staff, clefs, notes, and rests

To start off the Music Theory section of SmarterMusic, I’ve written the first article in the Fundamentals land: Staffs, Clefs, Notes, and Rests. It is a brief introduction to the most basic music symbols and how they tell us neat things. If you have no music training or you chose to drift into a coma […]

Non-traditional notation teaser

Something to spur imagination while I’m working on a new part of the arranging guide: Non-traditional notation. While sheet music is super-handy, and provides a common language to communicate music, sometimes people just don’t speak Wookie, and you have to think outside the box. ~How would you write out parts for someone who doesn’t read […]

Arranger’s Toolbox: Vocal Percussion

“Guh, chicka chicka tss” “Doof, tepuh kss” “Pfft dubba dubba, kcha” It’s a fallacy that drums noises are reserved to just drums, just as vocal percussion is limited to the vocal percussionist. If you can speak, you can do VP, and if you’re writing arrangements for people who can speak…well, everyone can be a drum […]

A brief Quick’n’Dirty 10-step Arranging guide

So maybe you don’t want to peruse the multitude of articles right now, and you just want fast and easy directions of how to do an a cappella arrangement. Will do, but here’s the caveat- this is just one way of going about an arrangement. I would recommend reading the other articles on this website […]

SmarterGuide: The art of song selection

Song selection is tricky business. It might not make or break your group, and each individual song choice might not matter that much, but a group’s audience and reputation are largely determined by the catalog of music they present. So before you decide on your group’s lineup for the year, or the semester, mull over your priorities.

Guitar From the Ground Up 2: What You’ll Need

Alright, here’s what you’ll need to get started. First, A guitar, duh. Odds are pretty good that someone you know, like your dad or your friend, has a guitar in a closet somewhere. Steal it. Ok, wait, that might not be good advice. If it’s anything like the guitar I stole from my dad’s closet […]

Benjamin Zander at TED

Required viewing: I cannot imagine a more captivating talk on music appreciation — he accomplishes so much in a very very short time period.

Bobby McFerrin at Montreaux

Bobby McFerrin is a master of music, but also of the arts in general — his concerts are focused on breaking the audience free of their bounds and investing themselves personally in the performance, becoming performers themselves.  Removing people of their fears and encouraging them to expore music is the best way to educate and […]