Picking up the fundamentals
In my last post, I mentioned I have started learning the guitar and was at a point where I wanted to start learning western musical theory. Having a good understanding of the musical theory is important if I ever want to create original music which is my end goal. In any system, you first have to learn the rules and the fundamentals before you start breaking them and that is my plan here. Hence I am taking the theoretical aspect of music very seriously.
Just another language
Having learnt a bit of French and minuscule amount of Japanese I approached it in a way I would approach learning a new language. Having spent a few days with it I view it as a constrained language with a very rich vocabulary. Also, I am not finding it very easy. I am able to pick it up and translate it to actual music on the guitar but at least in the early stages it is hurting my head (which I love). In fact, I would say it is much closer to learning a programming language with observable patterns that can speed up your understanding of the instrument and break it down to it’s bare essentials. Long story short it even if you are a natural learning the fundamentals will add to your skill set.
Finding a pitch
There are a lot of resource on the inter webs so I am not going to regurgitate everything that I have learned but will mention a few things that I find interesting
- Commit to your memory how you go from one pitch to the next : A -> A sharp/B flat -> B -> C -> C sharp/D flat -> E -> F -> F sharp/ G flat -> G sharp / A flat -> A
The trick to finding any musical alphabet at any scale on the fretboard (for the uninitiated, this is the neck of the guitar) :
- Think of the fretboard as divided into two parts :
- Frets 1 to 12
- Frets 12 to 22
- Let’s start at low E string. This is the topmost string
- As this is an E string, the first fret will be F, second will be F sharp (seeing the pattern?) Walk through the alphabet as you go up the frets.
- Next, say you are playing E on the low E string i.e. open string i.e. without pressing any fret or at position 0. To play E on the A string subtract 5. Since our first part of the fretboard goes to 12 you start counting back from 12. Hence, E will be the 7th fret on the A string.
- As you move down from low E to high E follow this pattern :
- On low E : Find pitch
- On A : - 5
- On D : + 7
- On G : - 5
- On B : + 8
- On high E : - 5