Bradd Szonye
  • Member for 8 years, 6 months
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  • San Jose, CA
What does "Open Vamp" mean?
Accepted answer
20 votes

A vamp is a repeating musical figure, like a guitar riff. In jazz, Latin jazz, and musical theater it’s often given for the accompaniment so that they can repeat as necessary during intros or solos, ...

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What's this weird sound coming from my speakers?
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14 votes

The noises are caused by electronics picking up wireless signals from your mobile phone and translating the interference into sound. Well-shielded circuits won't have this problem, but it's common in ...

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Etiquette of Quitting a Band
13 votes

The best advice I've seen for rejection was in the context of dating, but I think it applies equally well to the kind of social and professional rejection involved in leaving a band. The ABC’s of ...

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Hands-separate piano practice doesn't seem to help with hands-together playing
12 votes

Yes, playing both hands together is quite difficult for beginners, even if you feel like you have mastered each hand separately. You will likely hit another big bump when you move on from playing ...

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Which hands to use for Für Elise by Beethoven?
11 votes

Fingering suggestions, including handedness, are always just suggestions. You can play it how you like. That said, there are a few reasons to use both hands in this passage: The octaves are much ...

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How can the ukulele D7 chord have different fingerings with different sounds?
11 votes

The D7 chord is D (root), F♯ (major 3rd), A (perfect 5th), C (minor 7th). Any voicing that includes all four of those is correct. For example, the barre fingering is A–D–F♯–C, which is correct. ...

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Is it okay if I play guitar/bass with wet fretting hand?
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11 votes

Dirt, oil, and moisture accelerate the wear on your instrument’s strings and finish. Wet hands will make your strings wear out faster and may damage the finish of your neck. Moisture will also soften ...

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What is meant by a "release"?
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11 votes

He’s referring to tension and release, an element of music theory which states essentially that music uses tension to create an expectation, followed by a release that fulfills the expectation. ...

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What is the difference between minor and major chords?
11 votes

Major and minor chords are both triads: a root note, a third, and a fifth. Major chords have a major third, four semitones above the root. Minor chords have a minor third, three semitones above the ...

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What is the name of the scale containing A, Bb, C#, D, E, F?
Accepted answer
10 votes

That looks like a mode of the D harmonic minor scale. D natural minor is D, E, F, G, A, B-flat, C, D. The harmonic minor has a raised seventh degree, so D, E, F, G, A, B-flat, C-sharp, D. If you ...

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Do I risk ruining my guitar by switching the tuning often?
10 votes

Switching between standard E tuning and drop D tuning is so common that some guitarists use special tuning knobs that flip between the two with a switch. I have a bass guitar version on my Fender Jazz ...

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How to calculate the difference in cents between a note and an arbitrary frequency?
Accepted answer
10 votes

c = 1200 × log2(f1/f0) The frequency f of a note n semitones away from A4 is (Wikipedia): f = 2n/12 × 440 Hz More generally, to calculate one frequency from another based on their distance in ...

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In 12-tone music, how frequently do composers allow themselves to alternate between adjacent notes of the tone row?
Accepted answer
10 votes

Wikipedia explains (emphasis mine): When rigorously applied, the technique demands that one statement of the tone row must be heard in full (otherwise known as aggregate completion) before another ...

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What is the definition of 'playing in the pocket'?
9 votes

In The Jazz Theory Book, Mark Levine defines playing in the pocket simply as grooving, where the rhythm section is locked in and working as a unit. in the pocket When the music is rhythmically in a ...

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How to develop rhythmic sophistication in writing music?
9 votes

When I studied music composition, one of our basic exercises was to compose rhythms without melody. This forces you to develop rhythms that are interesting in their own right. You can then develop the ...

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What do you call this alternating melodic pattern?
Accepted answer
8 votes

That musical figure has two voices: a melody in the upper voice and a pedal tone in the lower voice. Bowed strings do not permit sustained chordal tones, so to play multiple voices they must be ...

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How to tell the time signature of a song by listening?
8 votes

For popular music, you can determine the time signature by listening to the rhythm section, especially the drum kit and bass. These two instruments typically carry the musical pulse. You can figure ...

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What is a "Chord of Nature"?
Accepted answer
8 votes

The “chord of nature” is a theory that roots harmony in the natural, physical elements of music. Specifically, it refers to the way that natural sounds have harmonic overtones: the octave, the perfect ...

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How to play B major? What is the finger placement?
8 votes

A major chord is a triad of three notes: the root note, the major third, and the perfect fifth. For the B major chord, the notes are B, D♯, and F♯. Any combination of those three notes on your ...

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Bass guitar: how to avoid sound when string hits fret
7 votes

There are two likely causes for this, depending on where the strings are clicking. If they click directly under your fingers, from the force of your fingertips striking the frets, then work on ...

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How to improvise a walking bass line
7 votes

Mark J. Smith’s video lessons at TalkingBass.net include an excellent introduction to walking bass lines. His technique is to target a chord tone (usually the root) at each chord change, using three ...

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How do I tell which power chords go with a key?
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6 votes

Power chords omit the third, using only the root and perfect fifth of the chord. You can substitute them for any chord with a perfect fifth, major or minor. You cannot, however, substitute a ...

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Why is Salsa music counted in 8 if it is in 4/4 time?
6 votes

Dancers count by steps rather than by measures, and salsa typically features eight steps per phrase (two measures of 4/4 time). See this similar question on Quora for details: [In] each 4/4 measure,...

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Why is the treble clef (in the lower staff) parenthesized?
Accepted answer
6 votes

The first bar establishes that the piece has three voices, one in bass clef and two in treble. As the two treble voices comprise the vast majority of the notation, the piece continues with both staves ...

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What are the Solfège names of the semitones between the basic do, re, mi, etc?
6 votes

In moveable-do solfège, the usual practice is to indicate sharps with an -i vowel and flats with an -e or -a vowel. For example, a sharp do becomes di, flat sol becomes se, and flat re becomes ra. ...

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Guitar tuning problems
6 votes

Changing the tuning on a Stratocaster is always a slow and painful process, unless you block the tremolo system. Small changes, like normal day-to-day tuning, simply return the bridge to balance and ...

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Do songs written in certain modes not have keys?
Accepted answer
6 votes

The basic point that Mr. Ewer makes is correct: a mode is not the same as a key, just as a mode is not the same as a scale. However, he then confuses things by using a different definition of “key” ...

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What should I take into consideration when buying my first digital piano
5 votes

I have played piano for about three years now, and as a beginner, the feel of the keys was the most important aspect of my digital piano. Specifically, you will want 88 full-size, weighted keys with ...

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Can blues be upbeat and cheerful?
5 votes

Yes! While blues often deals in hardship, that’s not universal. Early blues were often comical or raunchy. Songs like Led Zeppelin’s “The Lemon Song” continue that tradition. And some blues are ...

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How do I play notes in a scale/key freely up and down the neck without getting caught in boxes and shapes?
5 votes

Here are three methods that I especially like for learning the fretboard. I often sing the names of the notes as I practice these exercises – you can can even combine guitar practice with solfège. 1- ...

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