Pitch Class Set Improvisation: The Sonic Resource Guide

Pitch Class Set Improvisation

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Sonic Resource Guide

The Sonic Resource Guide is a guide to pitch class set theory, providing a structure with which to organize music. When utilized, it will broaden your improvisational and compositional palette leading to a personal, and unique sound.

Sonic Resource Guide: Pitch Class Set Theory for the Improvising Musician, pitch class set improvisation

What is a Pitch Class Set?

Basically, a Pitch Class Set is just a fancy name for a scale. This scale can have between 2 and 12 notes. What makes it a bit different is that a Pitch Class Set also includes many groupings of notes that we don’t usually think of as a scale like a dyad or triad.

What sets a Pitch Class Set Apart from a Scale?

What sets a pitch class set apart from a scale is how these 2 to 12 notes scales are organized and categorized. A good example is a three note scale. A Major Triad could be thought of as a three note scale. If you consult the New York Guitar Method Volume One you will find a complete list of all the possible three note scales. There are 49 three note scales in total. These 49 possibilities are listed as degrees. For instance a Major Triad is 1,3,5 and we can then figure out the inversions from there i.e. 3,5 up to 1 is 1st inversion and 5 up to 1 up to 3 is 2nd inversion.

Let’s Dig a Bit Deeper

But this can be a very inefficient way to work with music. As you dig deeper through this list you also find 1,b3,b6. Well, that is actually the 1st inversion of a Major Triad in Ab right? Let’s think of both instances starting from the note “C.” If we take the 1st inversion of 1,3,5 the “3” is “E.” We have 3,5 up to 1 which is E,G,C. If we take 1,b3,b6 and make “1” an “E” we again have E,G,C. So both are the same. This can make processing a list such as the one you find in the New York Guitar Method Volume One tricky. If you aren’t a pretty advanced musician, organizing 48 three note combinations plus their inversions is a crazy amount of work. Besides, in some cases those inversions are already listed as other groups! In my opinion, this is not an effective way to practice with or organize sound. Not to mention that remembering 48 plus inversions is a daunting amount of material to put to memory.

Why Pitch Class Set and Prime Form?

Now let’s look at the difference if you think of scales as pitch class sets and establish their prime form. Go back to the New York Guitar Method Volume One list and this time choose 1,2,5. In “C” that would be C, D, G. But you would also find 1, 4, b7 and 1,4,5 in the list. But wait! Aren’t all three of these combinations the same things? 1,2,5 could be C D, G. If we make “1” a “D,” 1, 4, b7 would be D, G, C. Then if we made “1” a “G.” 1,4,5 would be G, C, D. Hopefully you are starting to see that we are running around in circles with this list and hopefully we could organize things more easily, so we aren’t always taxing our brains to make sure the information is not overlapping or redundant.

Enter Prime Form

With Pitch Class Sets there is a thing called “Prime Form.” The idea behind “Prime Form” is to reduce all scales (pitch class sets) into “one” grouping of notes so we don’t have to remember so many combinations as we have seen in the previous examples.

Example of Prime Form

“Prime Form” always reduces any group of notes into its smallest interval combination. For example C, D, G is already in Prime Form. You would find that if we called “C” “0” or the starting point and “D” “2′ because it’s two half steps above “C.” Then we called “G” “7” because it’s seven half steps above “C.” Using this system C,D, G can be reduced to a scale i.e. a pitch class set that is “027.” Let’s look at another example; what if we had D,G,C. If we start from “D” and make that “0” the D= 0, G is up a fourth so it’s “5” and C is up a minor 7th from “D” so it’s 10. So a D,G,C is a 0,5,10 but of course we can reduce this to 027. This is why changing your thought patterns over, so that you think of everything you play in its Prime Form, you have drastically reduced the number of things you have to remember.

Less is Best

When you are an improvisor the less you have to think about, the more spontaneous and creative you can be. So I call improvisation where pitch class sets are a part of your thinking “pitch class set improvisation.” This technique gives you a serious leg up on organizing improvisational ideas, not to mention creating some really awesome contemporary-sounding melodic and harmonic music.

Reducing our 48 Three Note Combinations

If we shrink all 48 three note scale down to their “Prime Form” we only have 12 three note combinations. OK now we are talking about something that is easy to remember. Anyone can remember 12 different groups of three notes. This is why working with The Sonic Resource Guide is so awesome. It shrinks every scale down to its smallest combination, which means in total there are only 220 possible scales that exist with all 12 notes.

The Sonic Resource Guide is really a reference book that provides you with all kinds of information about chords and scales using Pitch Class Set Theory. This helps you to switch your organizational principle over to a pitch class set improvisation way of thinking. With this book, unlike others on the same subject, everything is presented simply and clearly, without advanced math or equations. In addition, unlike these other books which are targeted toward classical music, the Sonic Resource Guide is for any improvisor, no matter the genre. This makes it unique. Using it, you can organize all scales and chords into a system that is logical and shows you relationships that might have been previously unseen. Additionally, the Sonic Resource Guide reduces all possible scales down to a manageable 220 possible combinations.

Organization Principle = Pitch Class Set Improvisation

The Sonic Resource Guide‘s logical organizing principles allow a musician to see all of the possibilities behind any scale (Pitch Class Set) in a clear and concise way. So really we are switching over to a pitch class set improvisation way of thinking. If you are a musician who wants to explore new sounds for improvisation or composition then this book will be a great resource that you can refer for years.

Bridging the Gap

The aim of The Sonic Resource Guide is to bridge a gap in music education; it is a balance between the highly mathematical approach to pitch class theory and the often limited scope of jazz improvisational methods. By demonstrating numerous theoretical relationships that an improviser can use to create original musical content, the Sonic Resource Guide provides a breath of fresh air and sound to your musical expression.

Jazz Theory Within a Pitch Class Setting

Within the The Sonic Resource Guide you will find various melodic and harmonic relationships of each pitch class set listed. This makes it easy to locate and utilize these relationships within your own playing. Along with each pitch class set is a listing of possible related jazz chords so that you can plug these sounds into your playing immediately.

Sonic Resource Additional Content

Where appropriate a listing of all three and four note chords can be found to aid in creating varied and unique harmonic palettes, as well as three, four, six and eight note subset relationships to help in exploring subset based musical ideas. All musicians will find this book user friendly because all Pitch Class Set (Scales) relationships are listed as both pitch names and scale degrees. Set theory students will find each pitch class set is expressed in its prime form so it will be easy to navigate.

Using Pitch Class Set Improvisation as a way to Organize

Thinking and organizing via pitch class set improvisation will give your thought processes much more clarity. You will be able to create any scale on the fly and immediately discern their hidden relationships. You can investigate the common scales you know, or create new scales at your whim. All this can be done quickly by using the index which helps you locate any group of notes in its prime form, which will then be your guide to finding the scale within the book. There is also a brief theory section exploring some of the many uses of the information presented.

Supplemental Materials

Think of the The Sonic Resource Guide as a reference book where you find cool relationships. But now that you’ve found some, how do you apply them? To that end I’ve created a series of books. Here is a list of them to check out, to help you develop pitch class set improvisation ideas.

Here are some Pitch Class Set Improvisation Books

CD and DVDs where I use Pitch Class Set Improvisation

Pitch Class Set Improvisation is Not Style Specific

Many times people think that using Pitch Class Set Improvisation techniques means you are playing “avant garde” melodies and chords. This could not further from the truth. Pitch Class Set Improvisation can be used with any style.
Here are some examples:

Bruce Arnold Music Education Genealogy Chart

You might enjoy checking out the “Music Education Genealogy Chart” located on my artist’s site. You will clearly see the historic progression of pedagogy that is the basis for Muse Eek Publishing Products. Great musicians throughout history have been studying the ideas presented by Muse-eek.com which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

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Bruce Arnolds Jazz Guitar Summit NYC

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TrueFire, Bruce Arnold and many of NYC’s best guitar educators team up to present: Bruce Arnold’s Jazz Guitar Summit NYC. An incredible 525 minutes of handpicked insights from Jazz Guitar Masters.

Among the plethora of great guitarists, it is the rare one who can also communicate ideas and techniques. But these were exactly the kinds of musicians that guitarist and educator Bruce Arnold gathered at his annual Summer Guitar Intensives in New York City. He knew that the students would pay more attention if they knew that their teachers were not just giving them great information, but that they were also monster players. So he chose very carefully and created an environment for learning that truly was a Summit. When the educational video company True Fire learned of this project, they offered to videotape selected lessons, and the result is Bruce Arnold’s Jazz Guitar Summit NYC, a course of almost 9 hours of enlightening demonstrations, and a cross section of what some of the best guitarists around were fascinated by within that juncture of time, as well.

Bruce Arnolds Jazz Guitar Summit NYC

Interestingly, the artists involved were not all specifically known as jazz players. For example. Sheryl Bailey has a solid reputation for her no holds barred rock and roll sound, and Dusan Bogdanovic is a formidable, touring classical guitarist. Yet all of these musicians had something valuable to add to the vocabulary of jazz, and they do so with clarity and precision. (And it should also be mentioned that this is also a gender neutral gathering; all choices were made on quality and content with no old boy network in sight!)

Each player has his or her own particular item to teach, and the curriculum is extensive. Scales, modes, reharmonization, improvisation, comping and playing technique are only some of the subjects covered. In particular the sessions with Dusan Bogdanovic, Leni Stern and Brad Shepik shed light on how to play and adapt African and Balkan polyrhythms to jazz, a subject of increasing interest these days. As Bruce puts it no matter what genre you are interested in, from jazz to classical to world music, you will find something here to chew on. Im proud of this course. It is full of fascinating ideas that are just waiting to be explored. I think that after learning all that you think you can from it, you will return to it –maybe years later– and realize there was something you didn’t quite catch, or maybe were not ready for. And now you are.

This summit of distinguished faculty includes: Bruce Bartlett, Sheryl Bailey, Roni Ben-Hur, Dusan Bogdanovic, Gene Ess, Mimi Fox, Jane Getter, John Hart, Randy Johnston, Peter Leitch, Peter McCann, Brad Shepik, Leni Stern, Kenny Wessel, Jack Wilkins and of course, Bruce Arnold.

Bruce Arnold Music Education Genealogy Chart

You might enjoy checking out the “Music Education Genealogy Chart” located on my artist’s site. You will clearly see the historic progression of pedagogy that is the basis for Muse Eek Publishing Products. Great musicians throughout history have been studying the ideas presented by Muse-eek.com which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

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Bruce Arnold’s Music Education Genealogy Chart

music education

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The intersections between jazz and classical music have long fascinated me, and within my own music I often use contemporary classical ideas. For the most part this was a personal journey that started bearing fruit back in the early 1990’s from a combination of my interest in hexatonic scales and a thirst for knowledge that was spurred by access to the Princeton University Music Library during my 30 year tenure there as a music instructor. But this journey was also started in part from the influences that my teachers Charlie Banacos and Jerry Bergonzi had on me in my formative years and their ways of organizing materials for practice.

I recently found the music education genealogical chart of my teachers Charles Banacos and Jerry Bergonzi Interestingly it is also a timeline showing the flow of the teaching of classical music into the teaching of its elements as applied to jazz. I think people generally don’t realize how the techniques used in composing and playing classical music are closely related to their counterparts in Jazz.

Looking at the genealogy chart, I also realized that I am the product of these great music teachers, and those who taught them. I owe so much to Charlie and Jerry because they took the time to show me what they knew, all in the cause of education, and that is why I feel compelled to pass the torch to my own students.. Charles Banacos and Jerry Bergonzi, were gurus in the fullest sense of the word. Every lesson with them was a revelation that encouraged me to study and practice more, and I would not be the musician I am now, without their guidance.

It turns out that the methods I’ve both learned from, and have presented in my books have a long history. They did not start with Charlie or even his teacher, but have been used to educate countless musicians over the ages, many of whom went on to become masters we still admire today. From looking at the Genealogy chart below you can see it’s an impressive list; virtually a Who’s Who of music running from the Baroque period through Classical, and Romantic and right up to Jazz. I am really amazed (and humbled) when I look at this.

Bruce Arnold's Music Education Genealogy Chart
Bruce Arnold’s Music Education Genealogy Chart

Although it is hard to find much information on exact teaching methods prior to Czerny, when I perused his various books it confirmed that many of the concepts he taught were also taught by Banacos, Bergonzi, Chaloff and Vergerov having been passed down intact, and one can assume that these ideas were picked up from their predecessors, such as Beethoven, Mozart, and Haydn, as well as anyone who had studied with them.

This certainly explains why some key elements that are found in my books appear in Czerny’s Complete Theoretical and Practical Piano Forte op 500 from 1839 as well. I found many basic concepts such as how to learn scales, arpeggios, ear training and rhythm could be traced from what I was taught by Banacos and Bergonzi back through to Czerny and presumably beyond. I did unearth an interesting concept used in the time of Czerny. In early music instruction a student had a lesson every day rather than once a week. This is precisely why I created muse-eek.com and offered free email interaction, so that a student can get answers to their questions immediately, without waiting for the next lesson. This ensures maximum productivity at practice time, between lessons. Banacos, who taught correspondence lessons, often told me that he never taught concepts such as ear training through correspondence because you needed closer interaction with a student to teach them correctly. Unfortunately, even though he was intrigued by computers and what they could do, Charlie was not computer literate. We spent many lessons discussing this. He was very curious as to how they could aid in the “multitasking” of musical study –and any student of Charlie’s would understand why!

My teachers’ main principals as great educators were compassion, humility, kindness and a deep sense of caring about guiding a student to fullest potential. Anyone who has studied with Charlie or Jerry would instantly recognize this in their character. I have attempted to follow in their footsteps.

From reading through Czerny’s books and comparing the education I received, here are some of the correlations I have found. I’ve also listed the relevant books or series of books available from Muse-eek.com that I’ve created to help my students master these aspects of their musical education.

1. A student should learn music theory and know what all the notes are on their instrument. Music Theory is a language that should be second nature. A student must learn both note names and degrees when working with various exercises. To help achieve this goal I created:

Music Theory Workbook for Guitar Volume One
Music Theory Workbook for Guitar Volume Two
Music Theory Workbook for All Instruments Volume One

2. Reading music on one’s instrument is essential, and reading through the music of the great composers is invaluable. I have created a comprehensive series of books on sight reading. The Time Series encompasses a wide range of books specifically addressing the rhythmic aspect of reading. I’ve also created the New York Guitar Method Ensemble Book Volume One and Volume Two which along with many other exercises includes classical music to read by such artists as Corelli, Bach and Beethoven.

3. Technical ease is not achieved through stress or tension. I always encourage ergonomic movement so that there is no wasted energy, or harmful fatigue. Playing through pain or simply holding an instrument incorrectly is a common mistake. I believe it is the main reason students may not attain the mastery they deserve. I wrote Right Hand Technique for Guitar to deal specifically with right hand issues along with the video course Guitar Physiology to demonstrate proper technique.

4. Learning essential scales, chord progressions and other patterns in all keys is crucial to mastering an instrument. This is a simple concept but completely ignored by many teachers. All of the books I have written stress the importance of learning the information in all keys and being able to hear this information in all appropriate key centers. Books such as Essential Scales, Sight Reading Solved, Chord Workbook for Guitar Volume One and Two and the 3 Volumes of Jam Tracks all contain exercises and MP3s that cover all 12 keys.

5. Music should be heard in key centers so it is necessary to learn everything in relationship to them. This is the main point behind my whole Ear Training Series and is the rosetta stone of understanding how to play music. When a student is playing a scale or any other combination of notes they should always hear these notes in a key center. The MetroDrone is a set of MP3s I recommend for every student to help them practice in this way.

6. I always recommend applying everything learned to a real life, real time musical situation. I use Jam Tracks Volume One, Two and Three along with the Direct Application books to get students to apply each technique they learn.

7. Articulation and embellishment are the keys to personalizing ones’ music. Each idiom has its set of articulations and embellishments. A student needs to learn these through transcription.

8. Practicing music in shorter periods throughout the day is better than one long marathon session. This is because our memory is engaged more by repeated short sessions, and we learn and retain information better.

9. Learning all the possible ways music can be notated is key to great sight reading ability. It also teaches you many articulations and embellishments that you can use in your playing.

10. Learning rhythm on an internal level is key to developing full musicianship skills. Through my Big Metronome, Odd Meters, MetroDrone and Time Transformation books I explore the key aspects of developing the ability to feel, rather than count music on various levels.

11. Classical composers were expected to improvise when they performed, although this practice fell out of style for a while. But improvisation plays a major role in musicianship, and indicates an understanding of structure as well as a high degree of creativity. Czerny called this preluding. By applying each thing you learn to an improvisational setting it helps spur artistic expression and an understanding of the techniques you explore.

12. Music must be learned on the micro and macro level especially when it comes to rhythm. My book Sonic Resource Guide explores a Macro understanding of all possible scales and their application. Neither Banacos, Bergonzi nor Czerny taught music using Pitch Class Sets but the way they approached the organization of musical ideas was right in line with the organizational principals of Post Tonal Theory. On the other hand much of my Rhythm Series which helps a student gain basic ability with rhythms. My Big Metronome, Doing Time Series and the MP3s found in MetroDrone which helps a student feel music and rhythm in a larger scope came directly out of ideas I learned from Banacos and the ideas of per mutating rhythms learned from Banacos as well were augmented and further organized via the computer program SuperCollider.

13. A student should use modal sequencing as a means to improve their technique but also to master scales and other musical patterns. Czerny’s books are full of modal sequences as a way to master scales. Both Banacos and Bergonzi basic concepts of learning were centered around permutation of everything ingredient of music. I furthered this idea by creating a series of books called ChopBusters that require a student to apply modal sequencing to common scales but also to various pitch class sets, thus obtaining a more modern sound.

14. You must learn music with a positive state of mind. It is a scientific fact that frustration leads to poor retention. Learning and practice should be an engrossing, joyful experience, not one filled with disappointment and feelings of inadequacy. Patience and self-tolerance will yield the most fruitful practice time.

15. A student should be encouraged through the example of their teacher to strive for playing and understanding music of the highest artistic standards. By checking out the Recordings Section of the muse-eek.com website students can see and hear the scope of recordings I’ve created to demonstrate both the standard and non-standard application of the techniques they are learning.

16. A student should work on a limited number of exercises so that they are not overburdened with too many exercises pulling them in multiple directions. This is a common problem with students who are dedicated, but make very slow progress due to taking on too much at once. Both Banacos and Bergonzi were known for the extra large assignment which they expected you to finish before moving on to the next concept.

17. Performing in front of people is an excellent way to put one into another context and stretch ones ability even it’s just for a friend, and is an under utilized tool for becoming a great musician. I often tell my students how I would play 5 duets a week with other guitarists for years to increase my flexibility, learn from others, and to play various types of music I might not necessarily gravitate to otherwise.

18. As I’ve stated earlier, music is like a language. Learning to express music naturally can be compared to speaking ones native tongue. There is no stopping to think about about individual words or grammar. It just flows.

19. A teacher should repeat the important rules over and over again until the student actually realizes their importance. I’m sometimes criticized that in my books and videos I keep repeating some important aspect of learning music. Through 30 years of experience in teaching I’ve found this is the only way to make sure a student understands a subject thoroughly.

20. In order to learn music you need contact with a teacher. You can’t expect to just go on YouTube and surf and find something that will fix some core problem in your musicianship that is holding you back. Even in Czerny’s time (the early 1800’s ) he was teaching students through letters when he could not do it in person. You can see an example of this in his “Letters to a Young Lady on the Art of Playing the Pianoforte.” Muse-eek.com does this through Skype and email to keep the distance learners in touch to make sure they are developing correctly.

21. By reading through Czerny’s books I can see that successful teaching techniques that I was taught, reach way back into the past and have been taught to many of the great musicians in history. Here are some of them:

  • Strive to be able to play all notes with equal velocity to acquire smoothness and musicality.
  • The ear develops more slowly than the eye; teach and learn accordingly.
  • Always learn a piece of music starting at a tempo that is comfortable. Once it is perfectly played, speed can be adjusted.
    This will avoid engraining poor techniques and mistakes.
  • If a piece of music is too difficult to learn then learn one element at a time and then try putting the whole piece together.
  • Do not try to play things that are above your level. Work up to these goals over time or play the pieces at an extremely slow tempo.
  • Solfeggio is an excellent tool for understanding and developing your ear when not using your instrument.
  • Correct, ergonomic fingering on any instrument leads to maximum proficiency.
  • Understanding that time and space are infinitely divisible. While rhythmic accuracy is of course important there is know end to the finding the exact correct placement of a rhythm. This is why human feel is so important to how music is performed and why both Banacos and Bergonzi stressed listen and learn the music of other great musicians.

22. Every scale or group of notes creates a number of modes equal to the number of notes in the grouping. Remembering that these groups in turn can create unique key centers and learning to think and hear these key centers is crucial to understanding music on a higher level. This is really the core of the ear training taught by Banacos. The common idea of learning a scale and then “thinking” this scale in situations where it is not the key center is a very unmusical and fruitless approach to learning music. For instance thinking a C Melodic Minor Scale over a B7 Altered chord is not recommended unless you are hearing the B7 Altered in the key of C. My Secondary Dominant book looks at the proper way to approach the learning of scales within a key center.

As I have stated before, in Czerny’s time it was expected that a master musician would be able to improvise not only on a given piece of music but be able to improvise a prelude that embodied the spirit, content and feeling of a given piece. I believe this is still true today. Another common practice from Czerny’s time was reading in all clefs which enabled smooth transposition and the ability to read any score. Charlie Banacos stressed this in my lessons making me read through Bach’s two part inventions in all clefs. It worked wonders.

I seem to be one of the only students who actually asked Charlie Banacos where he got his ideas for the techniques he taught. He recommended many books to me and you can find a list of those in the Further Investigations section of this website.

You can read more about me in the “About Bruce” page on muse-eek.com.

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2014 Guitar Intensive Workshop

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Guitar Intensive Workshop

2014 Guitar Intensive Workshop will be starting in 2014 featuring some top educators! Workshops throughout the year that will include weekend or full week intensives in various parts of the USA.

Guitar Intensive Workshop
Guitar Intensive Workshop

Guitar Intensive Workshop

A new Summer & Year-Round Special event Workshops which will combine cutting edge guitar education with private lessons and workshops by the finest world’s finest guitarists will be starting in the summer of 2014. These one week workshop offers courses covering a wide range of subjects and a diverse ensemble program tailored to the needs of the aspiring student of contemporary guitar. Here are our core faculty Mimi Fox, Alex Skolnick, Stuart Hamm and Bruce Arnold and we will soon be announcing the remaining educators.

Courses give an in depth look into the fields of music theory, time and improvisation and are geared towards the intermediate to advanced guitarist. Ensembles concentrate on sight reading, improvisation, solo guitar playing and other subjects important to a guitarist’s development. We also offer a wide range of master classes and performances that are scheduled weekly throughout the intensive. The courses and ensemble program are cutting edge and focus on developing a solid foundation in music theory, ensemble performance and sight-reading. The camp climaxes with full-fledged concert(s) in which both students and educators will participate.

These intensives will be located throughout the USA and then expand globally over time. If you have interest in this intensive please shoot us an email.

Guitar Intensive Workshop Information

You will find more specific information on courses, private instruction, ensembles, required books, daily events, application and audition information, meals and housing, fees and age requirements along with the bios of the participating faculty on our forthcoming website.e.

Unlike most summer guitar programs you will work with a highly organized approach to music. Much of the information you will work with is not available in any other college program or course. All courses are college level but are presented so that most high school age students will have no problem with comprehension. All instructors at this intensive have a proven record of educational expertise. Their music educational skills run the gamut from creating and running whole music programs at the college and pre-college level to music instructional books and DVDs. These clinicians also are seasoned live & studio recording guitarists.

Full and partial Scholarships are available for the cost of the workshop. If you have interest please contact us below.

Contact us for further information on anything presented here or if you have general questions.

Bruce Arnold Music Education Genealogy Chart

You might enjoy checking out the “Music Education Genealogy Chart” located on my artist’s site. You will clearly see the historic progression of pedagogy that is the basis for Muse Eek Publishing Products. Great musicians throughout history have been studying the ideas presented by Muse-eek.com which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

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New Muse-eek.com website

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It’s time to give you an update on Muse-eek.com

Muse-eek.com Hit By Perfect Storm

We’ve been hit with what has to be called a perfect storm of setbacks here. First Hurricane Sandy swept away our recording studio, so 150K worth of instruments and recording gear and a year’s worth of new projects are literally down the drain. We are hoping for some relief from the Government, but we are just one among thousands and as it always goes with banks, they will gladly loan you money if you already have something in the bank as collateral. Unfortunately that’s not our case, nor is it the case with most of the folks who sustained losses here. But we’ve spent days filling out forms and sending them in and we’ll see if we can get any relief. Cross your fingers for us, all of you!

Saving the Muse-eek.com Studio

Between trying to save the studio Muse-eek.com used and trying to deal with getting our new website launched (untold hours sitting at the computer 24/7), Bruce injured his back and is still recovering. To literally add insult to injury the company that was recommended for building the new website talked a good line, but was not up to the task, we could go into a whole page of specifics but let’s just say we fired them today and are now searching for a site building company that cares about the quality of our products as much as we do!

About Muse-eek.com

That said many things are working just fine; you can visit our new site and order books but don’t be surprised if somewhere along the way you run into a glitch of some sort, just let us know and we’ll do our best to fix the problem. As most of you know we are all about customer service and some of you have even gotten help with issues at 3 AM on a Sunday night. We will continue to provide this kind of service; just be a little more patient because Bruce is still in recovery and some days are better than others for him. And of course those of you that know him, know he’s very dedicated to you as a person and a customer so he’s always pushing hard but these days we have to constrain him so he doesn’t have any physical setbacks. But the first thing to do is join the member’s area. You may have been a member of our old member’s area on the old site but your name was not transferred so sign up, wait for an email in your inbox confirm your account and your into the member’s area. The member’s area is slightly different than the old one. You all have your own member’s area which will show the books you have purchased and links to other parts of the member’s area to download free related products like midi files, PDFs, MP3s that will help you with your education. If you have purchased books on the old site and you are not seeing them in your new member’s area send us an email with the list of books and we will enter them into your account.

So that’s were we are at as we approach the big Black Friday. We ask you again to please let us know if you had books from the old site that you want added to the new site. We will be happy to add those products. If you sign up for the free weekly video “Tips and Tricks” we will send you a free video each week. These may take us a while to get up and running, but sign up and as soon as it’s functioning you’ll start getting these short videos which we think you’ll find useful. In the long run we will start offering a series of free videos for each book you purchase. They most likely won’t start soon but don’t be surprised if you purchase a book today and in a few weeks you start getting a series of free videos with tips on how to use the book. Of course Bruce has to create these videos, but right now he’s so full of medications and muscle relaxers we can just picture him sliding off the chair in front of the camera! -but he’s planning to be back ASAP to start adding content. We will also be offering some courses where you can sign up for “X” number of weeks and get one-on-one with Bruce to help you solve specific issues like technique, ear training, music theory etc. If you have some ideas for needed courses like this let us know, your input is always valuable to us. We are hoping to get those going in January once Bruce’s back is better. And one more thing if you place a book into the cart to purchase at Muse-eek.com don’t be surprised if you find another book listed there that we feel would complement your purchase at a lower price! So check around you might find some great deals and we will be adding more as time permits.

It is our dream to make this new website your long distance learning portal, where you get cutting edge education through products that work and really do help you improve your musicianship. If you get a product and don’t feel like it’s working for you, let us know, let us help you get going in the right direction because although this site may be our bread and butter, it’s really your site too, and the more you communicate what you need, the better the site will become. Bruce of course has 40 years of teaching experience, so he usually knows what you need already, but as he has often said, “Learning music is like undergoing psychotherapy. Not everyone learns the same way and each person can have preconceptions, specific physical problems, ego/inferiority issues, etc… and all of this has to be taken into consideration to get a student learning at maximum potential.” At Muse-eek.com dialogue is essential!

And last but not least we now have reviews for our products at the bottom of each page. If you have a story please write in and share yours. It creates community, and helps other students so much to know that for example, it took you 4 years to get the ear training but now you hear what everyone is doing in your band– or that you had almost given up on your rhythm problem and Bruce’s recommendations did the trick. Some of Bruce’s ideas may seem crazy but they work and he has seen students that had pretty awful musical skills become some of the best musicians on the planet. His list of famous students goes on and on, and believe me those students weren’t great when they started! But all they needed was the right information and approach. They kept at it, resolved their problems and found themselves as artists. So please check out Muse-eek.com

Bruce Arnold Music Education Genealogy Chart

You might enjoy checking out the “Music Education Genealogy Chart” located on my artist’s site. You will clearly see the historic progression of pedagogy that is the basis for Muse Eek Publishing Products. Great musicians throughout history have been studying the ideas presented by Muse-eek.com which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

Bruce-Arnold-Guitar-Flutterby-19 Guitarist Bruce Arnold BLOG Logo music education ear training course ear training Ear Training For Young People Guitarist Bruce Arnold BLOG Logo music education ear training course ear training Ear Training For Young People Chord Spellings New Muse-eek.com website

New Rhythm Ear Training Course?

Guitarist Bruce Arnold BLOG Logo music education ear training course

Rhythm ear training course

Today I’d like to tell you about a very important moment in my musical life. It happened way back when I was a student at Berklee, and I thought I was a pretty hot player. I was in a recording session that one of my teachers attended.

When I had finished my track, my teacher took me aside and said to me privately, “Man you have GOT to get your rhythm together.” I felt like I was falling through the floor, and he kept on going as my track played back “Listen: here and here and here, you’re messing up the rhythm section.” And you know what? I heard it. It was even obvious. But for some reason I didn’t hear it while I was recording! I went into panic mode and all I could think about for the next few days was how to get my rhythm better, how to hear when I was off, how to get the rhythm section to WANT to play with me, ‘cause the way I was playing, they sure weren’t going to call me.

Looking back, I think I was really lucky to have a teacher who was willing to tell me the hard truth. I was so obsessed with soloing, with learning all the jazz tunes that everyone was crazy about, learning how to identify pitches, and getting all the scales and chords under my belt, that I was thinking that rhythm would just sort of take care of itself. Well, it didn’t and it doesn’t. It needs to be worked on.

I have had the great fortune to play with some of the most evolved, amazing players, and without exception they all have not just extraordinary technique, can play blazingly fast through the most sophisticated music, but they just NAIL the rhythm.

Rhythm Ear Training Course

And after all these years of teaching, I can also tell you that too many music students don’t pay enough attention to their rhythm skills. I get so many students sending me files of them playing and asking for my evaluation, and without exaggeration, I’d say 70-80% of the problems are rhythmic!

Rhythm Ear Training Series

And that’s why I created the Rhythm Ear Training Course.

Yeah, you probably knew where this was all going, but I really had to say all this, because if you know anything about me by now you know I’m a straight shooter and a hard worker. And I created most of my educational tools because I never wanted other students to go through what I had to go through, wasting precious practice time on the wrong things, or heading off in the wrong direction.

Look, if you’re a drummer or a bass payer, you are going to be obsessed with rhythm, and seeking out a teacher who can focus on that. But if you aren’t, the chances are that you are ignoring that crucial, can’t-make-music-without-it thing that is rhythm. And it’s going to take its toll. It will manifest itself in slower playing speed, less accuracy, and inconsistent grooves.

So if you find that you slow down or speed up when you play, or don’t understand quite how a complex rhythm is put together, or just feel frustrated that your playing tends to sound monotonous, and you can’t figure out how to break the pattern or if the guys just aren’t calling your for the dance gigs…..I’ve got a course for you.

Let me tell you about it, and even give you some samples, so you get a real specific picture of how it works:

Each Level of the Rhythm Ear Training Course. Rhythm Ear Training Series does the following:

1. You hear a count off and then a rhythm played by a piano. Then you hear a voice telling you what rhythm was played. Here is an example:

2. You hear a rhythm and you write it down on staff paper and then check the rhythm with a PDF containing the answer.

3. The course also recommends you apply these rhythms to popular tunes. For instance if you wanted to apply an eighth note rhythm you might take the following tunes and play that rhythm along with the tune.

“Fire and Rain” by James Taylor

“Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson

“Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles

“Go your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac

I’ve included a list of tunes in the course to use for each rhythm level. Overall the course contains 4171 rhythms that you are quizzed on so it’s quite robust and if you can hear and recognize all those rhythms and easily apply it to the recommended “real music” examples then you are in a much better place with your rhythm.

Rhythm Ear Training Video Course

I also created a Rhythm Ear Training Video Course which shows you how you can apply the rhythms from the Rhythm Ear Training Series to real music. I use the Jam Tracks Volume One and Jam Tracks Volume Two that were released earlier this year. But I’ve altered these tracks so that you here me counting every beat. Here is an example:

Jam Track Volume One with Count ExampleJam Track Volume Two with Count Example

I put the counting in because believe it or not there are many musicians that do not know where the beat is when they hear music. By including 20 tracks that give you the counting which includes tracks in 4/4 and 5/4 hopefully this will help musicians get on track to counting music properly.

In the Rhythm Ear Training Video Course I cover 14 rhythms through the course again contains 4171 rhythms examples. In these 14 videos I show a student how to take each rhythm and use it in a real musical situation via the jam tracks. Here is an example from Level 6

So in this example I demonstrate how to apply a sixteenth note rhythm. It’s also a good example for you to check out. If you can just play and use this rhythm straight away, then you are probably not someone who needs the Rhythm Ear Training Course. If it’s taking you a minute or way more than a minute to play this well, then you probably need to sit down and think a bit about rhythm and how it might be holding you back.

My hope is that you will at least give some thought to that other 50% of music called rhythm that is so under practiced and under the radar for most players. If you decide that you need to get that together, the Rhythm Ear Training Series was made for you.

Bruce Arnold Music Education Genealogy Chart

You might enjoy checking out the “Music Education Genealogy Chart” located on my artist’s site. You will clearly see the historic progression of pedagogy that is the basis for Muse Eek Publishing Products. Great musicians throughout history have been studying the ideas presented by Muse-eek.com which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

Bruce-Arnold-Guitar-Flutterby-27 ear training course

Ear Training Guided Tour

Guitarist Bruce Arnold BLOG Logo music education ear training course ear training Ear Training For Young People Chord Spellings New Muse-eek.com website Bruce-Arnold-Guitar-Flutterby-24 Guitarist Bruce Arnold BLOG Logo music education Guitar Intensive Workshop Ear Training Encouragement Ear Training Guided Tour

Ear Training Guided Tour

Ear Training Guided Tour

I’d like discuss in this Ear Training Guided Tour the courses that are available at Muse Eek Publishing Inc.

There are many methods of ear training; some work some do not. We have found that the most popular ear training method i.e. the use of “intervals” will not help you to develop the skills you need as an improvising musician. Instead, we have found that an approach we call Contextual Ear Training will help you develop the skill to hear pitches. This method is based on hearing notes in relation to a “Key Center.” This important distinction will make all the difference in your ability.

First, doing ear training in the right way is absolutely crucial and will determine how quickly you improve. At muse-eek.com we have created many products to help musicians develop great ears. Along with discussing these methods below, we give recommendations on how to work through our products for the best results.

As mentioned we call our method “Contextual Ear Training.” Let’s look at some things involved in this approach:

1. Improvement in ear training comes through listening and singing. Obviously listening is basic but we have found that students improve faster if they also work on singing exercises. Since improvisational and compositional skills come from the same place in our mind, working on singing is extremely useful.

2. In order to improve ones ear training it is necessary to work on two aspects of memory; the short-term and the permanent capacity. Overall you need to first get a sound into your short term memory and then with repetition it will go into your permanent memory. This is why throughout this method we recommend doing the ear training exercises many times throughout the day to build your memory of the sound.

3. Since we believe that you learn in one “context” at a time you will need to change up your “context” in order to use our ear training in the many situations that come up when you are playing music in real time. For instance the exercise in ”Ear Training One Note Complete” where you hear a cadence, note and then a pitch is a great exercise but it’s only one of the many ways you might hear a note played that you need to identify. We therefore introduce many other books to change up the “context” so that a student can develop their skills in allthese different “contexts.”

4. In order to make ear training useful in a real musical situation you have to have instant access to it, so speed is important. When doing our ear training exercises we always recommend guessing the first thing that comes into your mind. If you over analyze an answer you will develop a habit of thinking too much which in turn slow down your ear training. It’s best to just react and not “think” too much. Although this might feel like you are just guessing, over time your accuracy will improve. Remember music happens in “real time” so you need an instantaneous reaction in order for ear training to be useful. This is why creating schemes in your head where you count intervals –or whatever– will never work when you are “in the moment” and need to know what notes are being played.

If you purchase a book from muse-eek.com you will have access to the author Bruce Arnold to answer any questions that might pop up as you work. You can find out more information on various aspects of our ear training products by reading our FAQs.

There are two books that we most commonly recommend to begin working on our ear training: (We recommend digital download for all books mentioned in this blog.) You will find the physical copy also available on each page.)

First we have the listening side of the ear training which is contained in the book Ear Training One Note Complete Book which also contains 3 CDs worth of audio. Each CD has the same exercise but is twice as fast because you need to first develop your recognition of each note within a key center and then you need to speed up the process. Many students with prior musical background start with the intermediate level and move up to the advanced level once they get 80% correct answers. The beginning level is of course recommended for beginning music students but also for those who start at the Intermediate level but find the speed is to intense. We recommend listening to the exercises at least 5X a day for 10 minutes; Obviously the more the better.

For the singing side of things we recommend starting with the book Contextual Ear Training. This book contains 300 audio files that have you sing a note after hearing a cadence in a major or minor key. You will then hear the correct answer. This type of exercise can also be found in the Fanatic’s Guide to Sight Singing and Ear Training which we will talk about shortly. The major difference between the Contextual ear training files and the exercises in Fanatic’s Guide is you hear the answer from the audio file while with the Fanatic’s Guide you have to play the answer on an instrument. Obviously hearing the answer from the audio file allows you to work on this singing method anywhere. Again you want to listen to the exercises at least 5X a day for 10 minutes.

Because we always learn in the “context” that we practice you want to diversify the type of exercises you do as soon as possible. We recommend that when you reach around 50% correct answers in Ear Training One Note, you start working with “Direct Application Ear Training Volume One.” Basically you have the same “one note” exercise but now you are doing it with real music. We also often recommend starting the “Instrumental Color Series” which gives you again the same “one note exercise” but is played by another instrument. Again our mind needs to change the “context” by hearing the sound on a different instrument. It’s important to realize that with the “Direct Application Ear Training” you can use your instrument and play along with the tracks. This again gives you another “context” because now you are improvising and playing your instrument while you are doing the ear training. There are also additional Direct Application Ear Training products such as the “Direct Application Book.” and the “Direct Application CDs” which will help you apply the ear training to many different kinds of real time, live situations.

The Ear Training Guided Tour Next Step

We haven’t yet spoken about doing melodic ear training. When you are getting over 50% correct answers on the Ear Training One Note Complete audio files or the Contextual Ear Training exercises it is time to start the “2 Note Melodic Ear Training.”

Once you are getting around 80% with the “Contextual Ear Training” you can move on to the second singing book Fanatic’s Guide to Sight Singing and Ear Training. You could also add in the “Secondary Dominants” book. This book shows you how to hear chord progressions in one key center which is essential to understanding how you should think and hear music when you are playing. We can’t over emphasis the importance of this book. It’s also a great way to apply the melodic minor ascending scales so commonly used in contemporary improvisation.

Key Note Recognition will be the next level after you are getting 80% correct on the Ear Training One Note Complete Advanced audio files. Because again we are moving to another “context” it can be a tough going for a student, but over time you will get the correct answers.

There are many additional singing exercises in the Fanatic’s Guide to Sight Singing and Ear Training. Most important is the singing exercise found on page 17. Once you have mastered this exercise you can move on to the Key Retention Builder. Key Retention Builder concentrates on improving your short term memory of a key center which is important for working on all the ear training levels that will follow.

Ear Training Guided Tour Final Steps

When you have completed Key Note Recognition the Ear Training Guided Tour moves to a lot of other books that take you to the next level. These books will help you to hear chords, melodies and modulations.

1. Ear Training Two Note Complete is the beginning of developing your ability to hear two note chords and developing the ability to modulate.

2. “Melodic Ear Training.” with two or more notes will obviously help to you to identify the notes you hear in melodies and with our graduated study you can slowly build up your recognition skills.

3. Ear Training Three Note Direct Application uses uses the Arpeggiation of three notes to again put the ear training into another “context.”

4. Very commonly we get students who want to sing in choirs. The Lines Volume One: Sight Reading and Sight Singing Exercises is an excellent book for learning part singing.

There is an additional level for the Ear Training Two Note Complete. The Ear Training Two Note Advanced Volumes gives you harder two note combinations to prepare you for the next level.

As you can see this is quite an involved series of books. But we are almost through, and when you have made it this far you aural comprehension will be totally on another plain. Recognizing how you hear chord progressions and how you hear melodies is how you will decide what scales to use when improvising. This is just one of many benefits you will have with this ear training program.

We have created two series of levels after the Ear Training Two Note Series:

1. Ear Training Three Note Volumes containing 5 volumes.

2. Ear Training Four Note Volumes containing 5 volumes.

This completes our Contextual Ear Training offerings. Next we have the Perfect Pitch Training.

Other Ear Training Courses

“Perfect Pitch Ear Training” is a completely different kind of ear training. You learn perfect pitch on one instrument at a time and in most cases you can learn one instrument in about 2 years of study when you work approximately 1 hour a day.

There are few more things we should mention. One is that your knowledge of music theory gets to be more and more important as you work into higher levels of ear training. We have some books to help students gain a better knowledge of music theory through the use of workbooks that require you to fill in answers to music theory questions. Remember music theory needs to be as quick as your ear training skills so that you can find the note you hear on your instrument in short order. We would recommend the following books:

For guitarists:

1. Music Theory Workbook for Guitar:Volume One or Music Theory Workbook V1 Video Course

2. Music Theory Workbook for Guitar:Volume Two

3. Music Theory Interval Recognition

For other instrumentalists:

1. Music Theory Workbook for All Instruments: Volume One

2. Music Theory Interval Recognition

We have also created a series of videos to help you understand the whole process of ear training

25 Tips for Developing a Master Musician’s Ear

Our latest creation is a practice tool that combines a metronome with a drone so that you can do ear training as you practice your instrument. This is called the MetroDrone which we highly recommend as a way to practice and improve your ear at the same time.

And of course we haven’t mentioned Rhythm ear training. We have two courses. First we have the Rhythm Ear Training Series that is really unique because along with getting a visual answer to each exercise you get the answer verbally. With this addition you can do rhythm ear training anywhere. We also have a video course called Rhythm Ear Training Video Course which helps you apply rhythm.

Overall the skill of Ear Training in all it’s different aspects is key to becoming a great musician. We have many more products on our website that can help musicians learn. We encourage you to come by and of course email us if you have any questions.

Bruce Arnold Music Education Genealogy Chart

You might enjoy checking out the “Music Education Genealogy Chart” located on my artist’s site. You will clearly see the historic progression of pedagogy that is the basis for Muse Eek Publishing Products. Great musicians throughout history have been studying the ideas presented by Muse-eek.com which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

Bruce-Arnold-Guitar-Flutterby-29-1 Guitarist Bruce Arnold BLOG Logo music education ear training course Ear Training Guided Tour

Ear Training For Young People

Guitarist Bruce Arnold BLOG Logo music education ear training course ear training Ear Training For Young People

Ear Training For Young People

Ear Training For Young People

I frequently get parents contacting me about teaching ear training to their children. The only way I have found this to work is for the parent to do the ear training with the child. Keep in mind that most likely your child will outpace you, so try to keep your spirits up. 🙂 This ear training method is entirely about using your short term memory to learn, and there are several reasons why children usually take to it more easily.

A child learns faster because they are not burdened with all the baggage that older people have when learning something new. That is, young children usually don’t have layers of referential information built into their learning process and that condition helps them absorb memory based things more quickly. A child also uses his or her short term memory better mainly because it’s one of the first learning tools they develop. They are information sponges from the get-go.

Ear Training For Young People Problems

One of the main problems adults have in learning ear training is understanding that they should not be relating the sound they are hearing consciously to anything else. I know that seems to go against what I’ve written before in FAQs for these books but there is a subtle difference. Usually I would say that when you guess a note or sing a note you are relating it to the “key center” via the chord progression cadence you hear before answering. This is still true but don’t obsess on the key center; the key center is there as a matter of course, because you’ve learned it just the way you learn how to identify color. You see color all the time but most of the time you don’t think about it. If you left the room you’re in right now and were quizzed about the various colors of objects in the room you most likely would be able to answer correctly. It’s the same with ear training so you need to trust that after hearing the cadence you are in a key center and not concentrate on holding the “root” of the key center in your mind or trying to hear each note within the cadence. Remember if you were unable to hear key centers music would sound like random noise so everyone can hear a key center though often their key center retention is weak.

Adults (as opposed to kids) tend to get upset when they don’t get the correct answer for an exercise. This comes from years of being taught that the right answer is “good” and the wrong answer is “bad.” A child usually hasn’t had decades of this type of programming so they just answer right away because they are not scared about getting it wrong and they don’t get as upset when they miss an answer. (Assuming a patient and loving parent.) On the other hand an older person can get quite upset if they listen to 20 ear training examples and get none of them right. This can set off self defeating thoughts like “I suck,” “I’ll never be a great musician.” Then, as a protection mechanism, the brain releases chemical reactions to protect our minds as we get more and more upset. These protective chemical reactions help us forget these situations, which is exactly what you don’t want to happen because this ear training is again all about building up a short term memory of what a pitch sounds like, until through repetition these sounds go into your permanent memory. So it’s truly important to keep a positive frame of mind when doing the ear training. If you get upset, just stop and wait until you are in a better, happier state of mind.

Kids love games and they also love doing things with their parents –especially if they do better than their parents! So make the ear training a daily situation where you bond with your child and also teach them a valuable skill and as an added bonus your musicianship is also improved. Below is an email I received from a parent about her experience with her child and some of the added benefits she received from the ear training.

Ear Training For Young People Email

Dear Mr. Arnold, it has been several months since I updated you with the progress made by my 7 year old son and me. We started One Note Intermediate and Contextual Ear Training in late January 2010. We can both name all seven diatonic notes with accuracy and speed, and the non-diatonics are starting to stick. We can both sing 1, 2,3,4,5, and 7 and some 6’s. We are currently working on 6.

Just last week, I was admitted into our church liturgical choir. Admittance is based on passage of quite a few skill tests, including sight reading 4 unfamiliar hymns, perfectly. Before I started your program, sight reading seemed an impossibility. During the sight reading test, I was singing a hymn in an unfamiliar key signature (I need more theory work) and I sang a 4 when I should have sung a 5 (having guessed at the key degree, but not the pitch). But, the very next note was a lower 6, and I jumped down to it solidly and continued on from there. The proctor commented how solid I was getting back on melody on the six. She said that in her experience once a person gets off, they have real trouble getting back on the melody. Of course you know why…jumping around based on interval distances has its drawbacks, but I knew what a 6 sounded like, so I was able to jump right to it, no matter what the distance!

By the way, the proctor and everyone else knows all about you and your programs. When I entered the prep choir three years ago, I had trouble even discriminating between a higher and lower pitch. The Choir Director heard me sing recently and his comment was “Your pitch matching has really improved!” I said, “thanks to Bruce Arnold!”

Below are links to the books I would start with for a child. I’ve given both digital downloads and physical book links. Remember the digital links give you a PDF and MP3s; the physical book links give you a physical book and CDs.

Digital Downloads with PDF and MP3s

EarTraining One Note Intermediate Book and MP3s
Contextual Ear Training bundle Book and 4 CDs of MP3s

Physical Book with CD(s)

Ear Training: One Note-Intermediate Level

Contextual Ear Training Memorizing Sound Through Singing

Bruce Arnold Music Education Genealogy Chart

You might enjoy checking out the “Music Education Genealogy Chart” located on my artist’s site. You will clearly see the historic progression of pedagogy that is the basis for Muse Eek Publishing Products. Great musicians throughout history have been studying the ideas presented by Muse-eek.com which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

Bruce-Arnold-Guitar-Flutterby-19 Guitarist Bruce Arnold BLOG Logo music education ear training course ear training Ear Training For Young People

Asher Electro Hawaiian Slide and new Duet Group

Guitarist Bruce Arnold BLOG Logo jazz guitar Bruce-Arnold-Guitar-Flutterby-24 Guitarist Bruce Arnold BLOG Logo music education Guitar Intensive Workshop The Music Rhythm Series Time Transformation Music Rhythm Series Course Asher Electro Hawaiian Slide

Asher Electro Hawaiian Slide

Asher Electro Hawaiian Slide Uses

Recently Dave Schroeder and myself started a duo project where we both play instruments that are not our main axe. Dave, usually a saxophone player, is playing Blues Harmonica and I’m playing my new Asher Electro Hawaiian Slide.

This has been quite a challenge for both of us. The harmonica has many idiosyncrasies and the slide guitar has no frets so intonation is of great concern as is the adjustment to the limits of playing with a steel bar. I’ve created practice regimens to deal with these new challenges but the purpose of this post is to just let you see my new Asher Electro Hawaiian Slide , experience some of the music and a small glimpse into some of the theory behind the composition.

The composition is called Windies (which is a midwest slang for “tall tales.)

Here is a rough mix of the tune:

Asher Electro Hawaiian Slide Meets Pitch Class Sets

Windies is a simple composition with a bass line outlining a C-7 sound and a bridge of simple flat 6, to flat 7 to “one” chord and finally a iv minor at end. The bass line is of particular interest because it is made up of two 025’s:

Bb, C, Eb
G, F, D

For those of you not familiar with integer notation an 025 is just a three note group of notes where there is a whole step and a fourth. You can see that the bass line is composed of these two groups found above. I’ve been studying these three note groups for almost 20 years now. I’ve spent a lot of time on:


I’m now turned my attention to 025. I usually spend at least a year on each group, sometimes much more time as in the case of 013 where I’ve been writing compositions with this group for over 10 years.

Hope you enjoy the composition. It has been quite a challenge to learn the Asher Electro Hawaiian Slide and to play and solo on it in a duo situation. We are hoping to have our CD done by the end of the month so look out for more information soon.

Bruce Arnold Music Education Genealogy Chart

You might enjoy checking out the “Music Education Genealogy Chart” located on my artist’s site. You will clearly see the historic progression of pedagogy that is the basis for Muse Eek Publishing Products. Great musicians throughout history have been studying the ideas presented by Muse-eek.com which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

Bruce-Arnold-Guitar-Flutterby-10-1 Asher Electro Hawaiian Slide

Example of Chord Spellings in 12 Tone Tune

Guitarist Bruce Arnold BLOG Logo music education ear training course ear training Ear Training For Young People Chord Spellings

chord spellings

Below is a chart of a composition recorded on my 1st CD Blue Eleven called Variation 1. You can also find a detail analysis along with a recording of this tune in the book:

MY MUSIC: Explorations in the Application of 12 Tone Techniques to Jazz Composition and Improvisation

This tune uses 015 (half step and a 4th) as it’s basic building block. I play this composition both as a solo guitar piece and with a trio. If you take an 015 and move up in minor 3rds you get all 12 notes:

E, B, D#
G, D, F#
Bb, F, A
C#, G#, C

Chord Spellings

Notice the chord spellings in this piece. I really tried to let the musicians know exactly what was going on via the chord symbols. This can get very tricky to anticipate what works best but usually a chord symbol is preferred by jazz musicians. The chord symbol gives them a basic idea of the sound you are playing.

The MP3 below is from the solo version of Variation 1. The rhythms are simplified but notes are the same. Hear Trio version in the My Music Book

Chord Spellings in 12 Tone Tune
Variation One By Bruce Arnold

Bruce Arnold Music Education Genealogy Chart

You might enjoy checking out the “Music Education Genealogy Chart” located on my artist’s site. You will clearly see the historic progression of pedagogy that is the basis for Muse Eek Publishing Products. Great musicians throughout history have been studying the ideas presented by Muse-eek.com which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

Bruce-Arnold-Guitar-Flutterby-14 Guitarist Bruce Arnold BLOG Logo music education ear training course ear training Ear Training For Young People Chord Spellings