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I have been improvising with instruments for 25 years now, in many different idioms: blues, rock, jazz, country, and various kinds of electronic music. Scratching is very different from playing an instrument. Intellectually scratching is something like playing loops in Ableton Live’s Session View, but it’s more like playing an instrument, while triggering loops is more like composing.

Today I want to look at his first movement from “Musica Ricercata,” a piece for solo piano which features a very unusual choice: The use of one single note for the vast majority of the composition. Listen below.

The instrument has an eerie, otherworldly quality that has led it to becoming prominent in sound design and soundtracks for films over the last 60 years. Its entertaining playability and portability have also provided the theremin with a place on the stage in rock and prog rock acts. Although it’s rare, we’ve even seen some orchestral and symphonic composers adopt the theremin as a solo melodic vehicle in concert music.

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Filippo Faustini is a guitarist and producer based in London. He graduated in Modern Guitar at the Conservatoire in Frosinone (Italy) and then he completed an MA in Composition for Moving Images at City University (London). He is the guitarist and producer for the London-based alt rock/ambient band, Alice in the Cruel Sea. Filippo is also the co-founder of a recently formed music production company called Music Brewery where he works as producer and mixing engineer. 

Delays can either thicken your drums or bring out entirely new note features depending on how they’re used, while reverbs and distortions can add vivid new colors to percussion parts by making them less pristine and obvious. These are effects we are used to using in order to layer over guitar parts, but they can do incredible things to brighten up stale percussion parts as well!

To once again refer back to Mr. Bowie, here’s an interesting fact. Surprisingly, young Bowie wasn’t considered an exceptional singer by his teachers. “David Bowie’s teachers called his idiosyncratic style “vividly artistic,” but only rated his voice as “adequate.” As voice coach Lisa Popeil writes, “though vocally agile as an adult, Bowie was never known for great pitch accuracy.”

Drumming and loud sound are such large parts of Puerto Rican culture, it only makes sense they’d be the focal point of this week’s protests. Take a listen!

Dr. Ericsson makes a similar point. Playing the same thing over and over again might feel good without ever really helping you improve at the parts that are giving you the most trouble or mastering how to approach a similar piece next time. This passage was particularly illustrative to me:

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When we apply the Dorian mode to blues music (and by extension, rock ‘n’ roll), we begin to explore some really exciting implications. The Dorian mode and minor pentatonic scales share these common scale degrees: 1  ♭3  4  5  ♭7.

We are only able to produce sound due to our vocal folds coming together and making very fast vibrations — hundreds of times per second! And the tempo of these vibrations are determined by the pitch we’re singing. For lower pitches, slower vibrations occur, and for higher pitches, faster vibrations take place.

It’s important to get into good habits about drinking water consistently throughout the day. Some people just enjoy water, and hydrate themselves enough on their own. Others need to be reminded to not end up dehydrated. You could keep a water bottle within arm’s length on your desk so you’re reminded. You can also download one of many available apps like Waterlogged, Daily Water, and Idrated to help with this.

However, sometimes the music pours out too fast, or I have to cram a bunch of writing into a single night to meet some kind of deadline, then there’s less of an opportunity to analyze oneself and the only thing to do is trust that the little musical navigator will stop you from repeating yourself… Both methods are absolutely terrifying!

Everyone has their own tastes, so it’s difficult to pin down what makes some lyrics better than others — but still, there are many lyricists who are widely regarded as particularly masterful. A good starting place is to identify our personal favorites, study their work closely, and focus on developing our own skills.