Spring  

My latest in the seasons series. I hope you enjoy Spring even though many of you in the Midwest USA are without power and experiencing temperatures below freezing. We can always hope I guess.

This piece is back to a more traditional tonal language, although it does make use of the Mixolydian mode rather than the usual major (Ionian) mode. Notice that the key signature is two sharps (D major) but the opening and closing harmony is A Major which should give the impression of a tonal center of A major but with…

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Octatonic  

Here is short piece using one of the more common octatonic (eight-tone) scales. This particular octatonic scale is often referred to as the diminished scale. It can be described as a symmetrical scale consisting of alternating whole and half-steps.

The scale I used in this piece is as follows:

A B C D Eb F Gb Ab

Of course you could also consider this scale as alternating half and whole-steps by simply starting on the second degree.

There are a couple of ways of looking at this scale and its construction…

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What is a common-tone diminished seventh chord? 

A common-tone diminished seventh chord is a full-diminished seventh chord that has a note in common with its chord of resolution. For example as is common in jazz:

Take the progression in C major:

Em7 - Ebdim7 - Dm7 - G7 - Cmaj7

The Ebdim7 chord has the note A (B double-flat) as a common tone with its chord of resolution (Dm7). If we are talking about seventh chords it actually has two notes in common, A and C.

Generally the diminished seventh chord is found in composition as a leading-tone or secondary…

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God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen  

My yearly contribution to the Christmas guitar repertory. A new arrangement of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen that I hope you enjoy. I know it's a little early but as before you might need a little time to get it under your fingers.

You can download it for free or pay whatever you like through the link below. Have a great Holiday.

 

Click here to download for free or pay whatever you like.

Hot Cross Buns - A Jazz Reharmonization  

Hot Cross Buns revised. A short example of reharmonization. I chose the simplest tune I could think of, with a slight variation, and incorporated some of the more common techniques of reharmonizing a melody that would be typically employed by jazz players. Download the PDF below and play along.

Measures 1-2

Rather than just a tonic chord through both measures I added the dominant on beat three with commonly used harmonic extensions to add motion and color. Any chord other than vii can be preceded by its…

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Carulli vs. Sor 

What do we mean when we say "Carulli was a good composer but not as good as Sor".

Let's examine a little study of Carulli's and see if we can find an objective way of comparing his work with Sor's.

The Carulli study is Prelude 7 from Op. 114. I have excerpted the first eight measures for my example.

If we consider this piece to have a four voice texture and we examine the voice-leading, we notice that there are parallel octaves between the bass and alto (C-D) in measure four into measure five.

I asked…

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John Hall

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