In his Treatise on the Hexagram, the Chinese musician Wu Dao-Gong proposes the adoption of a music notation system alternative to the pentagram. The idea is very ingenious, let us see how it works.Continue readingWu Dao-Gong, Treatise on the Hexagram
Category: Music Lessons
In this section you will find free lessons in harmony, music theory and improvisation. If you are interested in individual music lessons, discover my online piano lessons.
What is the blues? The answer to this question is not as simple as it may seem, in fact the term ‘blues’ refers to many different things, all of which have to do with music, but the point of view can be very different. In this lesson we will discover different uses of the word…Continue readingThe blues: musical genre, blues scale, blues progression
Songs in general, and jazz standards in particular, tend to repeat patterns and repetitive harmonic successions. It is important to understand well how these chord successions are organised and the structure of the songs as a whole. You will then be able to play more relaxed, and consequently more creatively. In this lesson we will…Continue readingForm in pop songs and jazz standards
What is the difference between modal and tonal music? Often when analysing jazz standards we distinguish between modal and tonal pieces, and the same happens when we talk about improvisation: there is modal improvisation and tonal improvisation. So let’s try to explain the difference between modal and tonal music by giving some concrete examples.Continue readingTonal and modal music: what is the difference?
Modulation is a movement of chords by which a piece of music changes from one key to another. Modulation is most often used in the classical and jazz repertoire, while it is used less in rock and pop, where songs usually remain in the initial key throughout their entire duration.Continue readingModulation in music: what it is, what it is used for
What is a cadence in music? In this lesson, you’ll find out what the three most important cadences are and where they are used: the perfect cadence, the plagal cadence and the minor cadence. We will also talk about a special type of cadence called a turn around.Continue readingPerfect cadence, plagal cadence and minor cadence
Timbre is that quality of sound that allows us to identify a sound source and distinguish it from any other. Unlike pitch and loudness, timbre cannot be measured on a scale and is difficult to define, so much so that people often resort to the even more confusing expression ‘colour of sound’. So let’s try…Continue readingTimbre and classification of musical instruments
From a scientific point of view, intensity can be measured precisely, but in music notation intensity does not have an absolute value but a relative one. That is why in music we do not speak of sound intensity but of dynamics. So let’s see how we move from the concept of sound intensity, or volume,…Continue readingLoudness and musical notation, how music dynamic works
The Jazzmaster Cookbook by Jim Grantham is a very comprehensive and ambitious book on jazz theory and improvisation. In this review I explain why I recommend reading and studying it, but also what are the limitations that can render even relatively simple concepts complicated and lead a beginner student to be even more confused than…Continue readingJim Grantham Jazzmaster Cookbook, a review and study guide
How does music notation work? What are the five lines of which it is composed? In this lesson we will look at how the staff works and in particular how it is used to write down one of the main qualities of sound: pitch.Continue readingSound pitch and notation, how the staff works