Common Pentatonic Pairings

The ordinary, common-as-muck pentatonic scale gets much more interesting when you move it around.

Good Chord Books

Maybe one day I'll write my own big book of chords, but chords are much harder than scales so until that day I thought it might be useful to make a list of useful things that are out there.

Melodic Minor with a b5 or b4?

In my last post the Melodic Minor b5 scale cropped up unexpectedly; I wasn't expecting this so I dug into it a little bit. On paper I found quite a few interesting properties, but when I sat down with the guitar it became obvious that this was something very familiar. And then a little more experimentation revealed something more interesting.

The Sucharitra Coscale

A while ago I posted about some chords from the Sucharitra scale and then I mentioned them again in connection with using the coscale idea. This post expands a bit on what I've been doing with this approach.

Feed Your Ears: John Cage

My tinkering with the nail violin has led me into the world of the late modernists or the proto-postmodernists or however you want to style them: those composers who let go of the tight control the modernists had insisted on and let sounds just be sounds. Of course, the most famous of them was John Cage. Here are some Cage pieces I like, or that mean something to me.

The Nail Organ / Violin, Part 1

I've decided to try building a nail organ with a view to gigging it at an event I'm speaking at anyway in the spring. Here's a bit of background and where I got to this afternoon.

A Quick Bitonal Trick

Here's a kind of cheap trick using coscales, because sometimes you just want a good sound without having to work through reams of stuff to get it.

Neetimati and Gayakapriya: A Secret Connection?

Neetimati and Gayakapriya are Carnatic scales that have come up a few times on this blog, but that I've never really dug into. In my last post I discovered they share a slightly obscure property; on closer inspection it turns out they have a close and musically useful bond.

Overlapping Transpositions

Every scale has twelve transpositions, some of which are modes and some hypermodes of the original one. Unless the scale has only one note in it (!) there will be some overlap between the original scale and at least some of its transposed copies. Indeed, for seven-note scales, one of the most common categories we work with, every transposition will share at least two notes in common with the original. Let's see if we can use this to our advantage.

What Does "Building New Harmonic Vocabulary" Mean?

For a while here I've been publishing page after page of chords, which is something I hardly ever used to do. It's probably time for an explanation.