In a previous lesson, we looked at Guide Tones and Shell Voicings. The next, step is to see how we can extend these voicings. Remember, we have our basic “building blocks” of Triads, and 7th chords. Now we’re going to continue to “extend” our voicings by adding 9th, 11th, and 13th chord tones. The trick is to simply take these Shell Voicings and reach forward (above the voicing) to explore which tensions are available (the words Tensions and Extensions are typically used synonymously as we “Extend” our voicings but the notes cause more “Tension” needing resolution).. As an example, take our Cdom7 Shell Voicing (1, 3, b7), reaching ABOVE the voicing, we could grab another Root, b9, 9, #9/b3 or 3.
Here is a list of the most common Major, Minor, and Dominant Family chords:
As we look at our Shell Voicings and how we can extend them, you’ll notice that we’ve discarded the one’s that are too difficult to finger. The following is a compendium of all Shell Voicing Extensions. You’ll see a lot of old familiar friends within these voicings. Remember, these are not “grips” to be memorized. Try to think of them as their Shell Voicings with extensions, and learn them slowly to add to your repertoire. As a side note, we’ve distinguished our dominant family chords as either Non-Functioning Dominants (those that don’t resolve down a fifth) and Functioning Dominants (those that DO resolve down a fifth). Non-Functioning Dominants can contain the #11 (Lydianb7) while Functioning Dominants have true alterations (b5, #5/b13, b9, #9).
6th String Root
4th String Root
6th String Root
6th String Root
4th String Root
Dominant Family – Functioning
4th String RootOkay… this is a LOT of chords. Now remember, DON’T BE INTIMIDATED. The goal is twofold: a) to see the application of these extended voicings and how they’re generated b) to perhaps find some voicings that are intriguing. To practice, take these through the circle of fifths or fourths and try to put them to use in an arrangement or while comping. In addition, try to “see” which CAGED position surrounds each voicing and all the available notes nearby. This is a great deal of work, but with diligence you’ll soon impress your friends and frighten your enemies.
Tariqh Akoni is Los Angeles Music Academy College of Music Guitar Department Chairman. He is a performing/session guitarist and currently on tour with Josh Groban.
Want to learn more about the LA Music Academy guitar department? Check out Tariqh’s video introduction below:
Need to polish up on rudiments? Well, drummers, Drum! Magazine has released a series of free online audio/video demos of 40 essential rudiments. Check them out here: http://www.drummagazine.com/lessons
Thanks Drum! Magazine!
Hi all you guitar fans out there in guitar land. Here is a lesson based on a powerful concept used by many improvisers and accompanists in jazz. Let’s take a “Theory Time-Out” and refresh our memory. The Triad (consisting of a Root, 3rd and 5th) is considered the “building block” for western harmony. Jazz and Blues music typically adds (at the very least) the 7th to form 7th chords. Although this is the case, many Jazz improvisers, composers and accompanists when looking at Jazz harmony feel that the 1st and 5th are somewhat redundant (because they typically appear in the bassline and are “assumed” to be part of the chord). As a result, a chord can rely on the 3rd and 7th alone to provide the essential harmonic information. For example, if we were to take a ii V I progression in the key of C, we could outline the harmony by simply playing the 3rd and 7th of each chord:
These notes provide what we call a Guide Tone Line. Guide Tone Lines are the essence of the harmony and are very powerful in writing background lines for accompaniment, establishing the harmony and even as the primary target notes during an improvisation. By nature, Guide Tones have smooth voice leading as the move almost chromatically. In addition, little movement is required by the left hang. Experiment with Guide Tone Lines by comping through your favorite Jazz Standards only using Guide Tones. This is a technique that has been used to great effect by guitarists like Jim Hall, John Scofield, John Abercrombie, Pat Metheney and many others.
Although this is a somewhat brief (and a bit truncated) description of Guide Tone Lines, it serves our purpose for this lesson. Beyond simply using Guide Tones for accompaniment, we can actually develop a full voicing system. Simply add the Root to our fundamental 3rd and 7th and we create a fuller sound. These “Shell Voicings” don’t have Inversions in the common sense because the Root is simply there to fill out the sound and therefore will stay in the bass. As a result, we’ll look at voicings of Root 3rd and 7th as well as Root 7th and 3rd with the Root in the bass on the 4th, 5th and 6th strings. These Shell Voicings are a GREAT way to expand your Jazz Guitar vocabulary and once you understand the basic concept, and easy to expand upon.
Guide Tone Lines and Shell Voicings are very useful when playing with keyboardists or in Big Band context as they are unobtrusive. The great Jazz rhythm guitarist Freddie Green (from Count Basie’s Band) based his entire style on Shell Voicings and Shell Voicing derivatives.. Later, we’ll investigate how to develop these to include extensions and altered sounds, and we’ll see that a great number of our favorite and most common voicings are derived from these Shell Voicing basics.
Tariqh Akoni is Los Angeles Music Academy College of Music Guitar Department Chairman. He is a performing/session guitarist and currently on tour with Josh Groban.
Want to learn more about the LA Music Academy guitar department? Check out Tariqh’s video introduction below.
Unless you have been holed up in a basement lacking electricity, you probably realize the future of music is digital recording. For some of the younger students at LA Music Academy, you probably don’t remember the dark ages when bands would have to slave away at day jobs for months or years to pay for analog tape — not to mention a day or two at a nice studio to track and mix their project. Here are some tips we’ve put together for students about to delve into digital recording:
1) STUDENT DISCOUNTS
Apple computers running Pro Tools have emerged as the premier hardware for digital music recording. You are in luck if you are a LAMA student because Apple loves to sell to students. All you have to do is visit HERE and see what deals they have going. As of right now there are some great deals on MacBook Pros and even a $100 coupon at the App store with your purchase.
2) GET THE BASICS
You have your hardware, now you have to choose your software. If you are looking to make the highest quality recordings, then Pro Tools is your only option. The cheaper option is to use GarageBand which comes with every Apple computer. While not as “pro” as “pro tools,” it is a great beginner program. In fact, artists like Ben Folds and Nine Inch Nails have even released raw GarageBand files for fans to remix their songs. Either way, you will probably need some sort of Preamp to connect microphones and instruments into your computer, this gear will run you anywhere from $200 to $1000.
3) DON’T OVERBUY
The truth of the matter is that you probably aren’t going to record the LA Philharmonic on your laptop in your dorm room or basement. You have to be very realistic about the kind of recording you are going to do or otherwise your budget will skyrocket. Think about the kind of music you will be recording and isolate the different pieces of gear. For instance, a folk singer with an acoustic guitar, you need a good vocal mic, and a good instrument mic, or to save money, track the guitar first and record later using the same mic. Just remember — there are no rules in the creation of music. Prince hooked guitar pedals up to drum machines to get his classic sound, Guided By Voices used radio shack mics to create their mid 90s low-fi sound, experiment! It is often cheaper.
4) CONSIDER USED GEAR
Especially with the current state of the economy, there are tons of great gear out there people are re-selling! Deals are to be had. Check Craigslist, eBay, Garage Sales, and Guitar Center used. You must be diligent because good deals disappear quickly. For more comprehensive info make sure to view our post, 10 Tips: Buying Used Musical Instruments.
5) TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION
With so many people recording on their computers, large professional studios are in financial crisis and creating ways to game the system to your advantage. A popular trend is to “track” your basic tracks yourself and then bring them to a professional mixer in a nice room with great speakers to do the final mix. Although, some would say you are better off spending your money TRACKING in a great room, especially for drums, which are often hard to get to sound right. Mastering Engineers are also having to compete with home engineers and often offer very conservative prices.
Hint: find an engineer who offers mastering per track and pick your best song to get mastered.
The good news about being a LAMA student is that if you want to learn more about recording we have our very own “Music Producer” program; more info can be found here. Even if you are not in the program you can learn a lot just from talking with private instructors and teachers and asking them questions. Excellent resources exist on-line as well. Make sure to check out www.gearslutz.com and www.recording.org. Just popping in there once a day to see what audiophiles are talking about, will be a great free education.
What other tips do you have for students interested in digital recording?
It’s another round of David Letterman’s Drum Solo Week! We have a whole new respect for the man, who is dedicating a second week of his show to “giving the drummer some.”
Ever since the first Drum Solo week in June featuring everyone from Sheila E to Neil Peart, drum aficionados have been clamoring for more — and we got our wish! Returning to Letterman this week are a slew of great drummers — here’s the schedule:
Last night we saw the 26-year-old drumming prodigy Tony Royster Jr., who began playing at the age of 3, performed on the GRAMMY® Awards at the age of 15 and has worked with artists such as the LATE SHOW’s Paul Shaffer and Jay-Z…
Tonight is progressive drummer Gavin Harrison, who has worked with artists Iggy Pop, Lisa Stansfield and King Crimson.
Wednesday, Aug. 24, Stewart Copeland, best known as drummer for the legendary GRAMMY® Award-winning rock band, the Police, and also an acclaimed composer and solo artist in his own right, takes to the Ed Sullivan Theater stage.
Our “coda” of the week, Thursday, Aug. 25 is a performance by renowned drummer Dennis Chambers, who has worked with artists John Scofield, Maceo Parker, Santana and Parliament/Funkadelic.
For more information, visit this link – http://www.cbspressexpress.com/div.php/cbs_entertainment/release?id=28951
The way media make it out to be, seems like no one listens to music anymore. As self-proclaimed music fanatics, we here at LAMA are playing or listening to music all day long. The media also lead you to believe that if anybody is listening to music, they are doing so illegally (mostly by downloading from torrent sites). We like to support our alumni and faculty by getting our music the legal way. Believe it or not – this can all be done super cheap now. In this post, we offer 5 tips so your house is never silent. In the words of Henry Rollins, “Silence sucks!”:
USED RECORD STORES
Almost every town has one, no matter how small. You can find some amazing deals on used CDs. The media have it right, not many people are buying music anymore, so get in while the getting is good. Trade your old MC Hammer and Ace of Base CDs to buy the newest Muse or Kanye.
Tip – Most used record stores, like Amoeba Music near LAMA, offer a greater value if you trade in used CDs as opposed to getting cash in return.
Think of all the record companies out there, and all the record stores, now imagine all the consumers who are sick of their CDs or ripped them already…Guess where most of that product ends up? Ebay! Often times, the brand new shrink wrapped CDs are just as economical as the used. Be weary of used CDs on Ebay, there is little thing with accountability when it comes to scratches.
STREAMING SERVICES & INTERNET RADIO
Who uses physical products anymore to listen to music? It’s all about the cloud man. From Spotify to Napster to Turntable.FM to Pandora- there are TONS of free music-streaming services. Don’t forget YouTube! Now with Vevo, it is completely legal to stream as much music as you want. It’s pretty crazy, we remember having to take the bus to buy David Bowie records for $19.99 at Tower Records! Now you can stream his ENTIRE catalog in one click.
START A MUSIC REVIEW BLOG
What if I told you that you could wake up every morning and get CDs of the newest and most underground acts delivered to your doorstep, for free, each day? If you have a music blog, this could be a reality! Unsigned musicians are desperate for publicity of any kind (stay tuned for our Music Publicity 101 blog coming soon). If you start a Tumblr, WordPress, or Blogspot and include an address, say that you accept music review submissions- watch how fast you can start getting CDs in the mail. All it will cost you is some time listening to music and posting short reviews. Sounds like a good trade-off to us.
VINYL & CASSETTE
Just because everyone in the world is listening to music on his or her fancy smartphones, doesn’t mean you can’t go old school to save a bit of money. Often times some of the best deals are on older technology like vinyl records and cassettes. You can find a cheap turntable on Craigslist and many cars still come equipped with tape players. A few months ago I got an old Sonic Youth cassette tape that I have been driving around with and it sounds really great and was only a dollar. Stop at that garage sale or visit relatives and see if they have their old record collections from the 70’s. They might be able to donate to your recorded music fund.
I left something off the list; the cheapest way to get free music is to start a band and make your own music! But until that time, you might want to use our tips listed above to get you listening in no time. Did we leave something off the list? Make sure to let us know what your favorite way to get music on the cheap is.
Musicians, have you followed our previous advice to keep up with goings-ons in the music industry? If so, you probably already read this, if not – listen up! If you want to make a living as a musician in the 21st century, touring is going to be a huge component of that. That was one of the things we took from Drummers Reality Camp 2011; often times touring pays the bills.
According to Billoard, the top 5 touring artists are – U2, Roger Waters, Bon Jovi, Lady Gaga, and Usher. What an interesting mix of old and young. Notice that the top two tours were giant spectacles, with the U2 360 tour and Roger Waters with “The Wall”. Another thing we noticed is that there were no independent artists in the top 25, which isn’t unusual.
Take a look at the list for yourself – HERE (http://www.billboard.com/#/events/top-25-tours-of-2011-so-far-1005295352.story)
You’ve made it! You finally got accepted to the music school of your dreams. You’ve worked so hard for this moment. You have your instrument, a binder, your books, and a new backpack. But wait…the hardest part of your journey is just beginning. There are many perils and risks that await you in your education that could lead to bad grades, dropping out, or expulsion. Don’t be one of those students! Assembled here are the Top 10 Mistakes Music Students Make; so get off to a great start and avoid these like a bad note!
1) YOU UNDERESTIMATE MUSIC SCHOOL
An unfortunate stereotype has been created: that music school is “fun” college where as people who study business and English are in “hard” college. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Music school will test you academically and musically in a way that you have never been tested before. Don’t underestimate music school, treat it the same way a lawyer treats law school!
2) YOU DON’T TAKE MUSIC SCHOOL SERIOUSLY
A lot of students have the perception that studying music will involve jamming all-day and listening to your favorite CDs. Wrong again! While music school involves a lot of musical performance, you should brace yourself because, academically, it’s going to be something you need to bring your “A game” for.
3) YOU RELY ON YOUR MUSIC SKILLS YOU ALREADY HAVE
Often times music students will come into music school and think, “I was in choir, band, drumline, and I had a band of my own back home. How much better, skill-wise, could I get?” Answer? To be successful in music school, you MUST get better! Don’t rely on the music skills you think you have; change your mindset and come into music school asking what new skill can I pick up today? Mastering more tools increases your chances of working regularly while establishing your career.
4) YOU ARE CLOSED MINDED TO OTHER STYLES
The greatest thing about music school is you will meet many great musicians and teachers from every conceivable background and nationality. Equally, at your music school you will be exposed to literally hundreds of different musical styles and genres that you will be asked to learn. Just because all you listen to at home is “metal,” doesn’t mean you should close your mind off to the other types of music you will learn about. We’re not saying you need to throw out your black t-shirts and dedicate your life to Calypso, but you’ll never know if you aren’t open to new music styles!
5) YOU DON’T PRACTICE ENOUGH
Simply put, you are not going to graduate from music school if you don’t set aside a decent amount of time to practicing (and no, playing Guitar Hero doesn’t count!). Brilliant technical musicians have failed in music school because they thought their skills could allow them to coast through school. Not if Mike Packer is teaching your private drum lessons – he can will recommend a 3½ hour daily practice regimen for you!
6) YOU DON’T TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR PROFESSORS
The worst thing you can find yourself doing when you aren’t getting the material in class or just can’t nail that drum pattern or guitar exercise is keep it to yourself. You are paying tuition so that you have access to a great faculty! Go up to your professor after class and explain what’s wrong. You will be surprised about how happy they are to help you! If you are lucky enough to be a student at LAMA, the student to teacher ratio is purposely kept low so that receiving this extra help is even easier! Also, the school is always happy to discuss your coursework to make sure you are getting the education you need.
7) YOU DON’T TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR SCHOOL’S RESOURCES
If you are just going from the parking lot to the classroom and back you are doing it wrong. Many students go their whole music school career without exploring the many great resources that are available to them on campus to help them on their journey to graduation. LAMA, for instance, has fully equipped practice labs for drummers, guitarists, bassists and vocalists. During your first week of school get acquainted with instructors and administration to make sure you are taking advantage of all the resources the school has to offer.
8) YOU DON’T STAY ORGANIZED
Just because you have all your scales memorized in your head doesn’t mean staying organized isn’t important! Get yourself a good binder or notebook dedicated to your semester. Divide it up into your different classes; you will be getting a lot of paperwork. Figure out a calendar system, whether it’s online or physical, so you don’t ever forget a class or performance. Don’t underestimate taking some time before the school week starts on Sunday night, to look over your itinerary for the week, to make sure you keep on track.
9) YOU OVEREXTEND YOURSELF MUSICALLY
If you are at a music school (like LAMA), that’s at the heart of the coolest music city ever (Los Angeles), it can be easy to overextend yourself musically. Whether it’s hitting too many concerts or joining in on too many late night jam sessions, it could distract you from your studies at your music school. There will be plenty of time for all the fun that comes with being a music school grad but make sure your musical adventures don’t distract from getting good grades.
10) YOU DON’T NETWORK ENOUGH
Last but certainly not least, network with other students, instructors, administration, local retailers and businesses etc. Get involved around town at music events/mixers or with your performing rights organization for example. Perhaps up your trips to local clubs and festivals. Know your key audience? Join social media sites where they hang out and have a presence there—engage them, network and make new connections.
Well fellow musicians, you did the hard part and got into the school, now it’s up to you to not make any of these mistakes! If you do, don’t get discouraged, pick yourself back up and talk to your teachers to see how you can correct the path you’re on. Never forget how lucky you are in finding something you are passionate about and turning it into a career.