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Music Lessons

The blues: musical genre, blues scale, blues progression

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…

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Monday Notes

Sharps, flats and circle of fifths. How to write alterations

My students often ask me when to use sharps and when to use flat when writing a note or chord. The answer to this question is not so simple, what is true for single notes is not always true for scales and chords. So let’s see how to use sharps and flats to write notes,…

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Piano

How to play songs on the piano. Adapting a song for the piano

How do you play a song on the piano? In this lesson we will see how to use the piano to accompany a singer, but also how to adapt a melody so that it can be played only with the piano, in an instrumental version.

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Monday Notes

Sade, Kiss of Life. A song without cadences?

[Monday Notes no. 161] Kiss of Life is a song by British singer Sade Adu that has a typical 90s sound. This piece is very peculiar because it apparently does not even contain a cadence. Let’s try to analyze it to find out if there really can exist a pop song without cadences.

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Monday Notes

Deborah’s Theme by Ennio Morricone. Analysis of a masterpiece

[Monday Notes no. 158] Deborah’s Theme is the main piece written by Ennio Morricone for the soundtrack of Once Upon a Time in America, one of Sergio Leone’s most important films. I have tried to analyse this masterpiece in film music.

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Monday Notes

Schindler’s List by John Williams, all the secrets of a great soundtrack

[Monday Note 157] The soundtrack of the film Schindler’s List has been created by one of the greatest masters of film music, John Williams. The American composer has written music for all kinds of films, from the science fiction of Star Wars and E.T. to the adventures of Indiana Jones. In this case, his music…

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Monday Notes

Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond, Take Five. An unexpected success

[Monday’s Note No. 49] Take Five is one of the few pieces in the jazz repertoire to have the unusual time of 5/4, hence the double meaning of the title, which in English means “taking five minutes off” but also hints at the rhythmic tempo of the piece.

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Piano

Learning to play the piano: how to study technique, music reading, hand independence and music theory

Those who begin to play the piano have to deal with four subjects simultaneously: piano technique, music reading, hand independence and music theory. In what order and how should they be approached in the first few months of the piano course?

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Music Lessons

Understanding music to improvise better: form in jazz standards

Jazz standards tend to consist of repetitive harmonic patterns and sequences. It is important to understand how these chord patterns are organised and the structure of the pieces as a whole. This will allow you to play in a more relaxed, and consequently more creative, way. In this lesson we will therefore discuss form and…

Categories
Music Lessons

Tonal and modal music: what is the difference?

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.

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