Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Playing/Composing from the Heart -part 2

Whenever I teach a song writing class for Native American flute players one of the biggest frustrations I hear from my students is that they have a real difficult time not ending everything on the bottom note of the flute. This is a common complaint and in this article we'll give you some ideas about how to deal with this.

Untimely many songs do end on the bottom note, the trick is to delay this so that when you finally do it land on the bottom note it will have a stronger sense of closure. Delaying an ending on the root note sets up some nice tension in your musical ideas and gives your songs a sense of progression and resolution. Like taking a little musical journey and then returning safely home.

Here is what we're going to look at:
Why All Notes Lead to the Root
The Weight and Gravity of the Notes of the NAF Scale
A Look at Each Note
How to Apply This: Some Simple Exersises

As I teach in my classes, one of the best ways to Play from the Heart is to really understand the NAF pentatonic minor scale and the implied harmonies that can be found in the notes. Each note in the scale has it's own weight, or gravity, relative to the other notes in the scale. Those with less weight tend to move to those with more. Knowing and understanding these relationships will allow you to exploit this natural phenomenon and will help give your tunes an implied harmonic motion. Normally an instrument that can produce chords plays harmonies, but you can create the illusion of harmony by the notes you choose for your melodies, especially at the ends of phrases.

Click here to read all of PLAYING FROM THE HEART, part 2.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Moki Dugway

View from the Moki Dugway
Another panorama from the top of the Moki Dugway. You can see all the way to Colorado, on the left, to Arizona on the right. Sleeping Ute Mountain, Valley of the Gods, Mexican Hat, the Goosenecks of the San Juan river, Monument Valley and the southern tip of Cedar Mesa can be see from here. ...of course we're on Cedar Mesa, from which Cedar Mesa Music gets it's name.

Comb Ridge

Comb Ridge
Comb Ridge from Hwy 95. This south tending monocline streches over a 90 miles from just east of Kayenta, AZ to just west of Blanding, UT. This photo does not show that in person the cliff slightly wrap around the viewer rather than tapering away to vanishing points.