Tip #180 – Using the Principle of the I 6/4 Chord

This post is NOT a debate on if the I 6/4 chord acts more of a tonic or dominant chord. Instead, we will be talking about the principle behind the chord and how to apply it to other practices.

While the analysis of the I 6/4 chord is up to debate, the function is not – the chord comes before the V chord, and then it usually resolves to the I chord from there. Why so? Well, looking at the shape as well as the voice movement of the I 6/4 chord to the V chord, it is a suspension of higher tones over the shared root resolving to the dominant chord.

Basically, we can learn from this is that by suspending voices over the dominant root, we create a delayed resolution to the V chord and then to I.

Not only can this be done with a I 6/4 chord, but it can also be done with a V sus4 chord, a V chord with upper tension tones, and variations:

Try them out – that by keeping the root the same, but changing the upper structure or voicing, you create a delay in the harmonic movement resolving back to I.

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Tip #179 – Understanding the Keeravani Scale

The Carnatic music of South India has 72 scales (melakartas) comprised of seven different notes in either an ascending (arohana) or descending (avarohana) fashion. These scales are used in a kind of India music called rāga and are extremely beautiful. In addition these scales are grouped into different chakras, based on certain similarities.

Today’s melakarta is the Kiravani scale (translating to “parrot voice”), the third scale from the fourth chakra.

Below is a representation of the scale as if it was put into Western notation:

Both the first (SA) and fifth (PA) scale degrees are in a placement normal to most scales found in Western music. In addition, it looks similar to a harmonic minor scale.

Try playing around with the scale, possible harmonies, and progressions!

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How To Beat Writer’s Block – Tip #14

If you are struggling to come up with the start to your new composition or song – have no worry!

Today we are going to talk about a simple game/exercise that can spark your creative juices.

Start by taking some famous brand commercials – either by obtaining them online or just from pure memory when watching them on television. From there, erase from your memory what the music was in that commercial.

Now, be the composer and write a little musical logo or jingle that would appear at the end of the commercial. Most musical logos are only a few notes long, so this task shouldn’t be exhausting – but it does force you to be creative by making a musical jingle that consumers of the product will remember.

Or, even make up your own product. However, the focus should be on the composing of the motif that can be later recycled as a new musical work.

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Improve Your Lyrics – Tip #31

Unless it is your intention to do so, you usually never want your lyrics to come across as boring.

As you a revising your lyrics, here are some options of edits that you can make in order to make your lyrics become less wordy, or have more variety:

1.) Delete a verse – if you have too many verses, it might sound like a story book more than a song.

2.) Make a verse a bridge – say that you want to keep the lyrics, but want to change how it is performed to make it interesting to the listener.

3.) Add a bridge, refrain, prechorus, etc. – gives a bit more variety to the structure and progression of the song.

4.) Change the inner structure of the verse – instead of the predictable structure, try using one of those “surprises” we have talked about in previous blog posts.

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Tip #178 – Applying What You’ve Learned

Now I know that I’m preaching to the choir as I type up this post, but it is important to remind:

That no matter how much you read of these blog posts, you will not become a better composer/songwriter/arranger/music theorist without actually doing them.

The only tip that I can give is to actually do the tips as you are reading them, or be creative and come up with your own way.

For example: in the past we have talked about chord substitution and the use of the vi – V progression to avoid the tonic. If you remember those topics and have been using them in your writing, then this should look like a no-brainer:

A chord progression of vi – IV – V – vi to substitute the tonic and create an avoidance to resolve back to the home key area.

Basically, the more you practice these tips, the more you will discover and the better your writing will become.

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Improve Your Lyrics – Tip #30

This is going to be a short post.

Below, I have attached a photo showing different rhyme schemes and patterns depending on the number of lines in your verse:

To read this “X” is any line that will not rhyme, and “A, B, C…” are lines that will rhyme with their same letter within the same line or in a future verse.

Practice by randomly taking one from the graph above and trying it out.

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Teach Yourself Music Theory – 21.) Polyrhythms and Hemiolas

As you can see from the title, we are going to talk about some new concepts and add new vocabulary into our musical terminology usage.

Polyrhythm, is the juxtaposition of two different beat divisions happening at the same time. This will create an interesting composite rhythm of the combining beat divisions. Let’s take a look:

Above is a piece of music with a lot of beat divisions working together to create one polyrhythm. We can see that the C4 pitch is played on every down beat of the 3/4 measures, but the arpeggiation (breaking apart of a chord) of the C major triad below is in a division pattern similar to a 6/8 time signature. Play it out and you will hear it.

In the melody line, we see four notes in equal length of a dotted eighth-note. Within the 3/4 time signature, we have four notes of even value going against the quarter-note pulses and 6/8 division grouping arpeggiation. So that too is another addition to the overall polyrhythm.

A hemiola, is similar to a polyrhythm in that it goes against the conventional beat division – but it is more defined of when normal groupings of three become groupings of two:

Here is another exaggerated version of a hemiola, going from odd to even groupings:

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