axercising the aeolian

2021 11 28 j’ART Original Digital Art by BEL

Did you see what I did there? Combining exercising with ax, a term some people use to describe a guitar, clever no?
Not certain when that terminology came into use, or when the riffs musicians played came to be known as chops? But as a species we do like to change things up, to keep it interesting. It was very probably someone trying to be clever that brought about such changes to descriptive analogies amidst the mix of humanities linguistic propensities. I personally don’t think things ever get boring, and this post is about the need to be interested in order to make progress.

About the image

Why is there an interest to share the vicissitudes of my life thusly? I don’t know, but there it is, a mangled morass of my mental ambiguity modified for mass consumption.
I multitask to make this.
First as a digital journal entry of my scatterbrained thoughts and then, by further manipulating that output I can express my experience of life to the light of day.
The thoughts rendered thusly can then be considered processed by me and leave something of interest I feel comfortable sharing.
There is also video of the process, to add as a visual backdrop for music I generate.
That will be available when the next musical composition is finished.

If you like this digital distortion of my thoughts and would like to see it in full, without the ‘Sonique Spiderweb Title’ obscuring the image, email me and I will send a .jpeg.

In the mean time here is another strand from the Sonique Spiderweb.

So I have been demonstrating the Sonique Spiderweb within the framework of the Ionian in the key of A. I have went through all the basic modes thus far now leading to the Aeolian in F# a natural minor scale.

So once again as with all modes Ionian, we have all the notes in A major but F# is the root making the A note the minor 3rd in the sequence.

The natural minor is remarkably fun to play in, and offers so much to use in any number of corresponding chord sequences, in whatever key we are playing in of course.

This is a fundamental skill that can best be appreciated by applying it within our practice.

The point of learning to use the scale to develop improvisational skill is demonstrated here in this short video about the mode.

FINDing THE WILL TO MAKE PROGRESS.

What is of interest when we imagine reaching our musical goals?

Performing a song perfectly, proficiently, painterly?
That term ‘painterly’ I mean as a painter paints, the brush strokes they use to express a tree or mountain for example, may not look like that at all, before the picture is complete. The same with playing a song, we may not hit every note exactly but we have sufficient grasp of the piece to convey it satisfyingly!

this could also be interesting.

Being on stage performing, playing in a band
Your music being streamed online and you’re banking some bucks.
Conveying a deep emotion to a significant other.
In a recording studio, comping some riffs for another musician you admire.
Writing music to inspire, to incite insight, to invigorate innovation.

options require CHOICES be made

Regardless of our level of interest though, the consistency of pursuit remains the determining factor in a sense of accomplishment.
What are we willing to do so that we can be the musician we want to be?
There is a lot of advice available to encourage action in accord with our aspirations, but such motivation can be short lived. I know this to be true, as my blog posting schedule seems to suggest. That is, I don’t really have one!?

Thus in anything we want to do, it helps if the thing that interests us is also compelling enough for our best effort to be engaged.
Consistent, constant, constructive, instructive, these are all words that are part of a vocabulary of attempting successful accomplishment. But wait there is so much to…

We CAN DO ANYTHING (+/-) we CANT DO EVERYTHING.

It is problematic to want to do everything. The wanting is possible, the doing is not.
There is always something else to pursue or is perhaps easier or more fun to do.
Distractions likewise abound and confound, challenging us to try to continue to make any real meaningful progress.
If we focus on why we want what we want then we can put in the effort needed to attain the level of success desired. To be a musician this effort will take many forms, practice, study, listening, recording, to name a few. So if we cant do one, another is available. Or we can distract ourselves and do such things later.

What matters and why? To me its all about being interested and involved, and that can have many degrees of intensity and attention. Given time we will become the musician, artist, idealistic aspirant we want to be!

So whatever the goal or task at hand then, please, prudently and patiently pursue the process of making proactive progress possible that are pertinent to your proclivities!

merci

Treize

treize original musique video here

how

So this song has been with me awhile. I generated it using ‘the sonique spiderweb’ whilst working at the keyboard. By confining myself to the notes with in a key I was not particularly familiar with, and to aid in improving my always wanting to be better mind set. I recorded this. Was I successful? You will have to make that determination for yourself if you feel so inclined.

I did some guitar overdubs in one of the DAW’s (digital audio workstations) I have available. As well as taking apart duplicated MIDI keyboard parts to add interest. That involved subtracting notes at random and assigning different synth patches to those tracks.

what

I am pleased with the results for the most part. I call it a demo because of some imprecise improvisation I hear on the guitar tracks. Also audio engineering is a skill set that also gets the ‘I want to be better at this‘ mind set. The video also is a recent amalgamation of artistique enterprises combined with video expressions to add interest and make it post-able to youtube.

When

As it is, projects get started with one intention and then other ideas crop up to impact the process. Not the least of which is ‘I can do better’ but then that gets difficult to pursue and then nothing gets done, sometimes, for a long time. Treize has been on the shelf so to speak, for years. Perfectionism is a hazardous road to walk on especially in comfortable shoes!? So barefoot forward I will proceed and avoid the rough spots as much as possible.

Where

By collecting, creating, modifying, recording images and ideas, all the time. Intending to compile such into a result like ‘treize’ linked to above and thereby adhere to my mission statement.

“musique and media to incite insight and invigorate innovation”

why

Why not?

Who

Me. I realized after tracking my time, how much of it I spend creating multimedia compositions. So that is what I am doing right now, being a practicing multimedia artist. Amongst of course, all the cacophony that life has to offer, my 2¢ is now also on the table.

merci

Mixolydian mix up

Title card from the instructional video

Mixing up the mixolydian

I like alliteration for some reason. Perhaps it offers a supposed semblance of cleverness. I do imagine myself clever though there is limited feedback on that front, so my assumption that I am clever remains intact.

Making the best of what is available to present said cleverness to the world is challenging. Just keeping track of it all is a job. The blog posts, the videos, the related social media accounts, the desire to proffer more of what is me and what I produce. To what end I do not know. I see others with thousands of followers and imagine I would not know how to interact with an audience of that magnitude!? So there is…

Time and the learning process

I read that in order to slow down time learn something new. That thought comes from the author Michael Easter who wrote a book titled, ‘The Comfort Crisis’. The idea resonates with me. A lot of what makes for the passing of time gets ignored because it is so seemingly ordinary. But when learning something new, the time spent can have an impact and be meaningful. And, depending on our level of presence, be involving. But that can be true of the ordinary and mundane as well.

This effort is that for me, I am learning something new. Current technology is new to me, as far as employing it goes to get my imagineerings out into the world in some useful fashion.

But time is a concept seemingly unique to humankind as far as watching it is concerned. Animals seem to not give a wit what time it is. Maybe they do. But they do not mark time in a fashion that resembles observing a clock or calendar on a wall, as near as I can tell.

If my pets are any indicator of how to best spend time it seems it would be to enjoy it. Be curious, find something interesting to do, or rest. They rest a lot!

That’s the thing about time, and wanting to enjoy it. Enjoyment requires a commitment of some sort. A pursuit of happiness, and what that is will be unique to everyone, but we can and should try to help each other along the way.

inciting insight invigorating innovation

Well as far as this musical educational effort is concerned here is a video link comprising my take on the Mixolydian Scale. A Mixing up the Mixolydian tablature of some ideas to pursue in advancing guitar technique, as well as a quick tip video on identifying sharp (#) key signatures with relative ease. Hope it is helpful.

merci

Languishing in the lydian

Lydia Languishing

How does the word languish factor into a musical scale, other than the alliterative letter ‘L’ beginning both words? Well there is the time I spent putting this together. Hoping for a useful result.

So I imagined a person alone lying on on a guitar fret board somewhere with an arm outstretched to a stormy sky yearning for…

Some traction in gaining some useful working knowledge of the guitar.

I imagine many experience a struggle in that effort. That might feel like one is toiling and not making much if any progress.

Even after many years of playing I have sometimes felt that way.

Results might not even be seen or seem relevant to the end one imagines the effort should be leading to.

Nevertheless lessons continue to present themselves.

Lydian wants to exclaim “learn about me, I am interesting and worth knowing”

But wait there’s more !?

But we might rather right now be, watching TV, trying to get to sleep, looking at alternative art on Pinterest, reading comic books, drawing, rearranging the furniture, anything but advancing guitar playing ability, the audacity!

However to get to another level as a musician we have to approach our efforts dilligently.

A claim of being this or that, of going to do this or that, will make no difference until the this or that is actually done!

Despite compulsions, the weather, various obligations all around. We can usually choose to do what we want, we just might need to focus our intention into attention.

That seems simple enough, so how can we stimulate momentum in the direction of our goals?

Answers but the questions still remain

Some questions might help.

(Why) am I working at this? ( I put why in parenthesis because, I think most times it is not needed to ask a question.

And ‘am I ?’ suggests that we have more control or capability in the equation than we give ourselves credit for)

So my answer to ‘am I working at this?’ is:
Here is an opportunity to grow as a musician, to further develop skills that I want to share.
I want to take music seriously and to share my enjoyment of the creative process.

Which in my case, is a perpetual work in progress.

Is it enough to be creative without any reward or recognition?


YES. I would still be and am creative sans reward or recognition. I have to be to survive this existence.
AND. To create something and attempt to share it, with so many options available to do so these days.
NO. Recognition and reward are not my tasks as a creative.

That is someone else’s task to recognize or ignore, reward or refute. Though as I think of recognition and reward now, I realize that in fact:

the mind never stops making connections

re = again; cognition = to learn; is happening within and,

re= again; ward = to watch over (of germanic origin); it is rewarding in and of itself to produce something even if the only one enjoying the result is the one making the effort. But that is rarely the case. I believe we cannot undertake a creative task with out having the effort affect us and subsequently those with whom we interact in some particular way, regardless if the result produced is put on display or not.

However I didn’t get to this point in my existence without input from and acknowledging the efforts of others

SO. Creative output can and should be shared as best one can for any of the above to have an effect.

inciting insight invigorating innovation

What do I hope is going to come from this effort?
A blog post that incites insight and invigorates innovation.

An outlook, an approach, a take on life and the making of music that keeps it real and at the forefront of my life

What I offer to benefit myself and any one else that might find this then, is another video demonstrating how to use the sonique spiderweb with an emphasis on the Lydian mode as found within the Ionian in the key of A major. Languishing in the Lydian video link

While the obvious forward and across the fret board approach is all that is needed for a cursory understanding of the scale.

Should one be so inclined to develop it to another level I offer my take on the subject.

There are many ways to play scales on the guitar that are unique and instructive.

Which can advance ones musical vocabulary significantly.

These that I offer can of course be applied to other scales and modes, as knowledge of the fret board becomes increasingly innate or 2nd nature.

The options available to have scale study impart a unique aspect to ones musical vocabulary can thus always be improved upon.

There is truly a wealth of possibilities available in the so called ‘basics’ if one can make some time to for it!

There is a Turning the Lydian inside out.pdf of some of the scale studies I’m advocating, available here as I’ve recently got some new software that helps me to produce that. Hope it proves useful!

MERCI

j’ART

Recent artistique result derived from the information in the post below

So I like to be practical and somehow creative. How to multitask so I can do what needs to be done, as well as, do what wants to be done?

Combinations can work. I have had jobs that afforded me a lot of free mental space to think about things that were not work related, sex notwithstanding. Coming up with new ideas that can be utilized outside of the employment paradigm, wherein I want to be proactively and productively creative! 

One such example comes to mind. Once whilst stocking shelves I thought up a game for my 5 year old grand niece (is that a thing?) to play. This involved hiding several of her toys about the house and yard, leaving written clues next to each that lead to finding one after another, and of course blaming it all on the cat! She enjoyed that so much she asked for more of the same. So I consider that and what follows a form of multitasking.

So I also want to express myself to myself sometimes, putting things down on paper sounding out my thoughts as it were. Sometimes stream of consciousness stuff, sometimes pragmatic, sometimes wistful and sometimes pedantic. Not stuff I need to share with the world but need to get out of my head for one reason or another.

I have found away to do that and make something in the process.

j’ART

Art from journaling. 

When writing with this intention, the words I am thinking, get scrawled on the page in a rather haphazard and non linear fashion. As well as in a variety of handwritten fonts and sizes and languages, to say nothing of direction, oops just said something of direction

Then in the clearly monochromatic style that has been my go to for ever. And within the spaces between the marks made from the letters written, I color (?) those in. 

music and media to incite insight and invigorate innovation.

Here is a 2.5 minute video of the effort, and some additional artistique expression.

As I look at/within these combinations of letters, color, of light and dark, I seek some indication of what interests me. Or  maybe I’m just projecting desire into the result of the endeavor?

I ask (sarcastically sardonic) ‘if only there was some way to know what I really want ?’ 

Mundane proclivities aside, and aren’t they all mundane ? 

The want is to matter!

As we are made up of matter, and have interests that matter, sometimes wondering, what’s the matter? Seeing the word in these contexts begs the question. Does it matter?

But there is no escaping that this is a significant part of existence. 

So figuring out how to do that, how to matter and realizing the many ways in which we already do, can and does make it all the more challenging and interesting to continue to do so. I hope you know you do.

We matter, we need to, we do and we are.

Merci

What difference does a schedule make?

Dorian and Phrygian Video lesson links near end of post.

A photo of the recent lunar eclipse. The moon is on some sort of schedule so why not me?

So I track my time rather diligently but don’t schedule it so much, so a lot of what could get done does not. 

How is that working out as respects making music and media to incite insight and invigorate innovation?

Well my music skills are accomplished but also some what stagnant. 

And the hit and miss that happenstance provide as a means of adding to my catalog of artistique endeavors also suffers want.

A schedule can help to build a regimen of activity commensurate with the ideal of making progress as a musician.

Practicing, writing, recording, editing and so on. 

It can be a struggle to parse the latest song and fine tune the timing of all the parts as well as learn to play it and write lyrics for it.

Struggle though it is, it can also be enlivening to do

So help to maintain some momentum is of course needed? 

I find a lot of encouragement on Medium a writing forum that infuses me with enthusiasm, but the follow through is muted at best.

So can accountability help?

I endeavour to some accountability by way of this blog, a youtube channel and recently set up a patreon page (still needs work though)

Begin where you are don’t stay where you are.

Good advice in practically any endeavor, as for making musical advancement a matter of course, here is this.

As can be seen in the strands of the sonique spiderweb the major scale contains 7 common modes within it. 

Out of one many

So by learning one we can have many available. As there are the 7 primary modes we could schedule one for every day of the week

A is at the beginning of the musical alphabet. It seems suitable as the starting point to promote understanding of this useful aspect of music theory.

That is, by knowing all the notes that make up the A Major scale one can deduce:

  1. The Dorian scale in B (a video can be seen here)
  2. The Phrygian scale in C# (a video for your edification if you so desire)
  3. The Lydian in D 
  4. The Mixolydian in E 
  5. The Aeolian in F# 
  6. The Locrian in G#.

This is because all the notes in these modes are found in the A Major Scale!

Go ahead and try to do that

So what to do with this knowledge? Parse the other modes in the A major by referencing the notes and finding them on your instrument. 

I also recommend playing the scale in a variety of ways so as to improve working knowledge of your instrument and provide technical proficiency through shifting ones view of the possibility that scales can be a rather interesting provocation to inspire music making. 

One question that comes up is how can we employ these various modes. 

What options does this knowledge afford us to add interest to our musical expression?

Stay tuned!

merci

Too many options!?

Octavio playing my guitar

Music and media to incite insight and invigorate innovation

My mission statement such as it is. This is so I can focus on something that will lend cohesion to this effort. In that regard I have recorded another video to demonstrate making scales more complicated and possibly more interesting to play. Still within the key of A Major and slightly altered from the previous post. The intention of developing technique thus is as away to focus the mind on the goal of improving ones musical vocabulary and afford new abilities of expression.

but wait there’s more!

There is always more, more to say, more to combine, a related but presently irrelevant trajectory to take, so much more!

It is easy to get overwhelmed when thinking about all the options possible to develop and express oneself, and bewildering to wonder which ones will have the most impact.

This happens a lot when I try to learn new things both on the guitar and the keyboard, as well as in my video and recording efforts.

Then whence once engaged, the questions flood in. ’Is this clear?’, ‘should I add this?’, ‘what of saying that?’

Should I over explain in my effort to simplify the subject or limit my fear of being misunderstood and let the reader viewer take what they can from my expression.

This is ultimately all that is really hopefully going to happen.

For the most part its all going swimmingly!

So when feeling overwhelmed by the gimungous hunormities of potential possibilities I sometimes revisit that which I know well and put off leveling up to use the parlance of the gaming world. Having reached a certain level of competence it can be comfortable to leave it at that and merely imagine a time when progress will be made instead of doing something about it now.

However, often times I find that after putting forth the effort to move beyond my current abilities then returning to the well trodden paths of been there can do that I have improved there as well!

Now if I can just find the will to produce more content…

Underwatermelon soup outro

Another Direction in search of THE ZONE

Finding away to get into focus direction.
Paying attention to where you are going.

Backwards and forwards on the guitar

simultaneously!

What do I mean by ‘The Zone’? It is that mental space that allows for serious motivated attention in which to pursue an interest. Seeing how the ‘Russian Method’ or at least a portion thereof, worked on the keyboard in finding that space when practicing to develop skill further. I decided to try and find it on the guitar using my invention, ‘The Sonique Spiderweb’ as an aid.

This way of playing scales is of course possible, however the guitar is unique in that some notes that sound identical can be fingered quite differently, that being said the principle is the same.

The idea is to move from a root pitch 3 octaves apart through the sequence of notes/intervals making up the scale. Instead of playing all the notes in a scale an octave apart simultaneously as is common on the piano keyboard, (now that I think about it, that would be a challenge on the guitar! which will be explored soon, thank you very much mind of mine). Back to topic. We move away from the root pitch by both ascending and descending through the intervals. An example in the A major scale can be seen here.

Here are the specifics in writing

So we begin 3 octaves apart with the A pitch.

Then moving away from the root up in pitch to the major 2nd a B note and down in pitch to the major 7th G#/Ab,

(it is possible to go in either direction with the intervals, higher or lower in pitch, current example shows one way)

Next we move up to the major 3rd C#/Db and down to the major 6th F#/Gb

Then up to the perfect 4th D and down to the perfect 5th E

Then up to the perfect 5th E and down to the perfect 4th D

(same notes different octaves!

as will be the case as we continue)

Now we move up to the major 6th F#/Gb and down to the major 3rd C#/Db

Then up to the major 7th G#/Ab and down to the major 2nd B

once again at an octave A note or pitch

Then inverting again we move down to a major 7th G#/Ab and up to a major 2nd B

Down to a major 6th F#/Gb and up to a major 3rd C#/Db

Then down to a perfect 5th E and up to a perfect 4th D

Followed by its opposite up to a perfect 5th E and down to a perfect 4th D

Then up to the major 6th F#/Gb and down to the major 3rd C#/Db

Then up to the major 7th G#/Ab and down to a major 2nd B

And voila we are back to the root A note and none the less worse for wear.

invigorating innovation

So we can see two ways to reference and relate to the scale, one by the note names, but also as importantly by the intervals or distances from the root. I have found a kind of mnemonic device to remember this. Octaves are obvious, 2nd and 7th begin with the same 2 letters, the 3rd and 6th intervals are divisible by 2, and 4th and 5ths are right next to each other.

So, while this can be a challenge if we haven’t done this before and that is kind of the point here. This can be a useful method for getting into the zone or put another way, a more involved mind set for practicing other concepts we would like to make progress with.

merci

In Search of the Zone

Too many focus issues I think!?

Frustrating sometimes

It can be so frustrating sometimes trying to improve ones ability to make music. I have often found myself feeling like no progress is being made after so many years of trying. This despite being able to actually play many pieces of music of my own and others compositions on the keyboard, guitar and drums, while singing too!

Why would I feel this way after decades of musical pursuit? The feeling is, ‘I could be better’, if I just practice a bit more maybe it will produce the result I am in search of.

Evidence to the contrary …

My guitar from my formative years learning to play

Evidence of a life devoted to practice here. A well worn fret board of the only guitar I had for the longest time. I do have proof that practice works, but there are plateaus it seems where not much progress is being made. New musical pieces original and from others prove to be a challenge to perfect. And developing technique that can be called upon in an instant with out much mental effort requires significant mental effort to get to that point.

From time to time in this dogged pursuit of musical ideals and recently amidst my study of studying, as in how to study to make progress, I found an ability I didn’t think would be possible given my skill set. But within an almost zen like presence I was able to achieve the realization it could be done.

Amidst the cacophony going about in my brain I managed to find a still space to actually study, to practice in such away as to make an advancement maybe not immediately as in developing virtuoso technique but in the mind set it might take to get there.

Much of the cacophony going about in my thought processes was about being able to do that which I was already doing. Playing the keyboard. But I wanted more. Another song to pursue, to jam with another musician, to record my effort for posterity, or a post anyway. All these thoughts confounding my effort to make progress to the next level.

Obviously that was a problem, not being in the right frame of mind to achieve next level technique. Til one morning I attempted something I thought impossible for me but managed to do anyway. I immediately endeavored to notice what had happened to make this possible and found it was a quiet and still mind not desirous of anything but a particular aspect of playing.

The revelation that I could be of such a mind, was and is confounding because the only thing I really can remember besides the sense of stillness and focus was that I was at the keyboard to play. I have been wondering ever since, how do I get back there to that mental state? All I can do is sit and play and try not to let the cacophony of mental distraction whittle away my resolve to pursue musical ideals despite my abilities or lack thereof to realize them.

it cAN BE DONE

Playing Scales and the Russian Method

The skill that I am referring to has to do with piano style keyboards and my limited understanding of something called the Russian method of playing scales. Basically there is a way to play scales where the fingers are playing the notes of the scales simultaneously but opposite of each other like a mirror image. This is some what easy for certain scales that use all the fingers in a certain fashion.

For example a D minor scale is played: (1=thumb, 2=index, 3=middle, 4=ring, 5=pinky)

D Natural Minor keyboard fingering

Usually played right to left and or left to right.

As I understand it the Russian method uses the same fingering and direction as above until at a certain octave of the root or tonic pitch, one that I choose at random, at which point the hands then play away from each other, in a mirror image of fingering the scale.
Start in the middle one octave apart. Of course one can traverse another octave if desired.

D minor Scale with alternative direction
This is how the Russians do it!

In this pattern the same fingers of the hand are playing at the same time as they move away from and back towards each other.
It is as if and is in fact playing from the center of the scale indicated above and outward!
You will notice the scale is not in unison same pitch different octave, but still sounds somewhat harmonious as it still uses the same notes in the scale.

And yet its not quite that simple

Easy enough when the fingering pattern aligns thusly but with certain scales this is not the case. For example F major D minors significant counterpart. The fingering does not align as easily to this method as one might hope. This was the challenge I was referring to earlier about lacking the ability to make those specific fingering combinations and could not even imagine putting in the work to try and do so. But one morning my head space was such that it just happened. While I am still not fluid and its not second nature as I would wish it is good to know it is possible to get there.

F major fingering concisely displayed indicating Russian method and straight forward style

What made this possible of course was the consistent desire to make it so despite many attempts at not quite getting the results I wanted in other many other musical pursuits. I am finding that the desire for second nature or muscle memory playing really does stem from some very basic principals and concepts regularly engaged with and applied.

Here are the scales in musical notation by way of garage band!

Musical Notation of D minor and F Major with inversion pattern

I will post a short video of the practice I am describing shortly.

insight innovation?

This isn’t to suggest my practice regimen is by any means the ideal that anyone could use to achieve musical excellence but mostly it is offered as encouragement to continue to develop and entertain one self above and beyond the oft passive activities that might otherwise corrode and inhibit ones ability to achieve alternative potentialities.

Though it might sound like it, I am not complaining. No after writing this and realizing playing scales backward and forward from the middle is really not that much more difficult to learn than the forward and backward again method I started with! It just seemed difficult because I hadn’t thought about it as really just the same but different!

merci