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Musicians, Not Theorists, Issue #004 -- New Stuff and Minor Scales
March 20, 2013

"Musicians, Not Theorists" gives you the information you need about the practical uses for music theory. With today's range of musical styles, the possibilities are endless. I'll show you the ways of chord building and scale finding. Learn the rules and why it's ok to break them. Explore new musical phrases to boost your creativity.

Hey thanks for signing up for "Musicians, Not Theorists" and welcome to this issue. This month's issue includes:

Table of Contents

  1. Website Update: Back on Track, and New Worksheets!
  2. Why Certain Chords Sound Better
  3. Relative Minor/Major Quiz
  4. Practice Tips

News: Back on Track!

Finally! Another newsletter. Sorry about the seriously long delays. I have been playing a lot of shows, and teaching a lot of lessons as well as working on the backend of the website to make things work a little better in the future.

New Scale Worksheets Are Up!

That's right! New worksheets are available for download. This new section features major and minor scales. Head on over to the worksheet section on the website and check those out.

More New Content by YOU!

We have a few new article additions from readers like you. One in particular that I liked was from an anonymous reader on learning to read music faster. Their suggestion involved using the line spacings and intervals together. Go check it out!

Why Certain Chords Sound Better

Most people know that certain chords chords will sound good together, but a lot of those people don’t really know why.

Here it is:

The reason certain chords will sound good together is because they come from the same place.

The chords A, D, and E will sound good together.
The chords Ab, Db, and Eb will sound good together.
The chords A and Eb will not sound good together.

*(This is relative of course. Any chords can sound good together depending on what particular sound you’re going for. If you need a really dissonant sound for something, break the rules!!)*

The reason this works is because the chords A, D, and E all come from the A scale. Ab, Db, and Eb all come from the Ab scale. What do I mean by “come from” the scale? The chords are litterally built from notes in those scales.

Let’s take the key of A first. Here’s an A scale.

A B C# D E F# G# A

Now let’s look at the notes in each of these chords:

A = A C# E
D = D F# A
E = E G# B

See how ALL of these notes come from the A scale?

Now let’s look at an Ab chord:

Ab = Ab C Eb.

See how we have notes in here that don’t fit in the A scale? In this case NONE of these notes do. Even some chords that aren’t quite as obvious as Ab can sound strange. Here’s a C chord:

C = C E G

Here we have an E note that fits, but the other two don’t. This means it probably won’t sound good in the key of A.

*(Again, sometimes you WANT a dissonant sound. There are plenty of songs out there in the key of A that have a C chord. In those cases, they are USING this principle to get that particular sound instead of avoiding it. The chords that fit in an A scale however will sound the most natural.)*

Relative Minor/Major Quiz

If you get stuck, you can always check out the circle of fifths by clicking the link below, but try to do it in your head first!:

For the minor chords, find the Relative Major. For the major chords, find the Relative Minor.











If you'd like the answers, or if you'd like me to check yours, simply reply to this email and let me know.

Practice Tips

-Practice Things in Pieces: When you’re working on a new or difficult piece of music, don’t try to tackle the whole thing at once. Some people think that if they play through the whole song enough times that it will get better. It will. But it will take ten years. Do this instead. Take one section of the song (verse, chorus, guitar solo). Now break that section into about 4 pieces. Now just practice one of those 4 pieces. When you get that down, go on to the next one. After you have several of them perfect, start putting them together. You will find that by doing this you actually save a lot of time and frustration, and you actually learn it with more confidence as well.

-Always Warm Up: This will help you get off to a better start. Run over a few scales or arpeggios, or make up your own exercises like I do, just something to get your fingers (or voice) moving around. If you launch right into a song, you will tend to ignore technique. Focus on that first, and your whole practice will go better.

-Public Practice: Here's a practice tip from fellow reader Joe from Florida:

"To gather self confidence and have some fun, practice in a public place a few well chosen pieces - who knows, you might gather in a few extra coins along the way and perhaps interest others in taking up music!"

Thanks Joe!

Have some of your own practice tips you'd like to share? Go check out the Practice Tips page and write your own. You might get featured in next month's newsletter!

Thanks for reading guys, and keep playing!!

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