Archives for the ‘Music’ Category

Hepcats, Norden Farm, 28 March 2014

Swimming—a song

In a flurry of song writing a few years ago this little thing appeared. Having recorded the guitars, bass and piano and sampled some horns from another ancient project (thanks, Amos, Duncs) I persuaded the wonderful Tamiya to sing. And oh, boy, did she sing. And when Si happened to call round for coffee, and […]

A Ditty in Open G

For guitarists contemplating alternative tunings, Open G is a seductive option—it’ll give you straightforward major chords using open strings or barres right across the neck, and it’s the tuning of choice for many slide guitarists. If you fancy exercising your fingers with a little picking, here’s a folk-style blues. Keep the thumb alternating solidly in […]

Introduction to Chord Theory—a handout

Here’s a document I recently gave out to my songwriting class at City Lit. It’s aimed at people with no previous knowledge of chords, taking them through all the basics in a visual way with plenty of diagrams. There’s no music notation. If you think your students would benefit from it, please feel free to […]

Drop D Drop G Sailor’s Hornpipe

If you haven’t tried lowering the bottom two strings of your guitar by a tone, you’re in for a treat (click here). Especially if, like me, you’re into finger picking—and you want to get a handle on alternating the bass with your thumb. Picking this way needs to be almost unconscious, so you can focus […]

The Correct Method of Visiting the Orthodontist

Dex has a brace. That thing they do, squeezing rubber into the child’s open mouth. Child bites. Impression made. And the next time you go, there on the side table is a spooky plaster replica of your son’s teeth, hewn straight from his skull and adorned with a wire-and-plastic gizmo, a foul medieval device to […]

Modes of the Major Scale

Here’s a novel way to view the seven modes of the major scale. Each row is a mode, across twelve columns representing a one-octave chromatic scale. So the top row is the lydian mode, moving down until the bottom row—the locrian mode. The lydian has the brightest sound, since it has the sharpest overall intervals, […]

Señor Blues by Horace Silver

Here’s a great Horace Silver track from yesterday’s rehearsal at Dan’s up the road. Following the greatest musical advice I ever had: “all try to start and end at the same time”. Crap recording on my phone but I think we more-or-less got there. [audio:|titles=SenorBlues]

Dan comes to my house and plays my piano on Thursdays

This has been going on for several weeks now. There’s coffee, and the cats clear off, and we warm up, and play, and discuss, and play some more. This week we recorded some things including this Monk tune, Ruby, My Dear. [audio:|titles=Ruby My Dear]