Category Archives: Rhythm

Arranging 2

So what exactly is arranging? It is not composing in that the basic material already exists, although it might be about to undergo massive transformation. Many people mix up arranging with transcribing. Were I to take, for example, a Mozart string quartet movement and rewrite the parts for guitar this would simply be transcription – even if I changed the key (transposition) to a more suitable one for multiple guitars. Transcription is an art in itself but it is more to do with accuracy than creativity. Continue reading Arranging 2

First Showcase Rehearsal

I’ve spent many odd moments of this week finishing an ensemble arrangement for the first of six East Lothian Showcase Concert* rehearsals, which falls this Friday. Ironically, I heard this piece on Radio 3’s Making Tracks on the way home from one of last year’s rehearsals. No, I don’t have the memory of an idiot savant (only one half of that) I hunted down the piece and converted it from saxophone quartet version to guitar ensemble. Continue reading First Showcase Rehearsal

Games 4

“The ear is the avenue to the heart” Voltaire (1694 – 1778)

Aural Games – where pupils rely solely upon their ears. Written music is barred (ha ha).

Purpose – to encourage pupils to play by ear. This is a process which eventually/hopefully (delete as experience decrees) be intuitive. Thinking = hesitation = gaps in the music. Playing by ear in class only works if everyone in the group has heard the tune many times. For this reason, regular favourites include:

  • TV theme tunes
  • Christmas tunes
  • National anthems
  • Nursery rhymes

The complete tune need not be tackled – a phrase or two is often enough.

At the simplest level, playing by ear involves Continue reading Games 4

Driving Rhythm

“Listen and attend with the ear of your heart” (St. Benedict)

Today was rounded off with the first rehearsal of a staff/students band at MGS which is to take part in the Gig On The Grass at the end of term. This event is organised by Gordon Gallagher (guitar) PT Performing Arts. Bands who have come together through the school’s Live Music Club have a chance to perform more songs than they can in the normal lunchtime gigs.

Learning the three songs from a CD led me to reflect on how my views on transcription have changed over the years and therefore my advice to pupils on this. Continue reading Driving Rhythm

Joined Up Thinking

Articulation ( leading on from Spot The Difference )

“Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things.” Dan Quayle (b. 1947)

“For NASA, space is still a high priority.” Dan Quayle (b. 1947)

Articulation is?……..see when………it’s………if you have……..right……….it’s no…………I cannae……………..I dinnae……….aw man, the bells went!

It’s just one of those words which most pupils understand but few can articulate. Possibly the best we have come up with to date is that articulation is about Continue reading Joined Up Thinking