Blusician

Author: Kirt Cathey

Converting PDF to MusicXML

Spent a bit of time trying to figure out how to convert a PDF to MusicXML, so that I can import into Notion. I have some melody PDF from Berklee classes that I would like to pull into some composing software and lay down the final tune. There doesn’t seem to be a free way to do this. Hmmm….

August 11, 2016     0 Comments   , , , , , , ,

More Scales…

Mid last week I spent a long time trying to put all the scales together across the fretboard, then spent some time with the metronome to put those scales to heart. I tend to fall back and use only one or two scales when I sit in front of the metronome, so have purposely been using other less familiar scales.

For the time being, I have finally put all this together.
Major Scale
C – Berklee Pattern 3
A – Berklee Pattern 1
G – Berklee Pattern 4
E – Berklee Pattern 2
D – Berklee Pattern 1A

Minor Scale
C – Berklee Pattern 1A (but with 3 roots)
A – Berklee Pattern 3 (but with 1 roots)
G – Berklee Pattern 1 (but with 4 roots)
E – Berklee Pattern 4 (but with 2 roots)
D – Berklee Pattern 2 (but with root on 1st finger 4th string)

So, we see that everything just shifts.

January 17, 2016     0 Comments

Putting Scales Together — Berklee, CAGED, Pentatonic — Major and Minor

I initially learned the CAGED major scales and how those tied to pentatonic scales, then took some classes at Berklee. Berklee teaches scales in a different manner, by pretty much making you know the fretboard without using patterns that fit. I got through that just fine, but when I solo to Blues, I really fall back on the pentatonic scales (based on CAGED) often and needed to rationalize how to move between my Berklee scales and pentatonic scales in both major and minor, so here is what I have come up with. First, the major scales:
Berklee Major Mapped CAGED Pentatonic

This works out great now as now I can just memorize which Berklee scale applies to which pentatonic, and inherently providing root not association, since I already know root note positions with the scale patterns from Berklee studies.
Now, it gets tricky when all this turns minor scale. With CAGED, you could just move up a pattern and that would be minor. Berklee did not teach it so clearly and instead pushed up to flatten 3rd, 6th, and 7th accordingly during modes studies. While this was an educational and challenging exercise, I still wanted a methodology.
So here is the minor scale conversion:
Berklee Minor Mapped CAGED Pentatonic

Analysis shows that if you memorize the Berklee patterns (1, 1A, 2, 3, 4), then CAGED Major patterns would be 3, 1, 4, 2, 1A. So, the C pattern would apply to Berklee pattern 3, the A pattern would apply to Berklee pattern 1, etc. If you want to play Aeolian or minor with the same scales, the Berklee patterns shift one over just like the relevant pentatonic patterns. So, the CAGED minor patterns would become Berklee pattern ordered 1A, 3, 1, 4, 2. The tricky part is that while the patterns change, the roots do not!!

January 14, 2016     0 Comments

Doodling

Yesterday I broke away from my regular practice regimen, which is focused on rhythm and timing and just doodled and practiced a bunch of different riffs. Mostly blues, but looked at some jazz compositions as well. It’s fun to break away momentarily from the metronome.

January 9, 2016     0 Comments

Rhythm in the Air…

Did a whole day focused on rhythms today again. Just went over about ten strumming patterns and really focused on strumming while keeping strict time. Guitar players tend to just strum to the beats around them in a band or with a play along, but don’t really discipline themselves to counting and tapping their foot. I am trying to distance myself from that crowd, so am going through a strict rhythm workshop this week before the Berklee classes start next Sunday.

January 7, 2016     0 Comments

Rounded Out My Home Studio Today

I woke this morning with the intent to sit down and learn a couple of Jazz songs and recording a couple takes this morning. I copied the Jazz-Blues play along track from iRealPro over to my DAW and started to record a guitar track onto that. I have been experimenting with rhythms and practicing beat a lot lately, so wanted to try some variations on swing and shuffle and record myself. I have a Kemper profiling amplifier, so get very good guitar sounds through the powered monitors, but after recording and while listening to playback, I was rather unsatisfied with the sound quality.

After a bit of research on Kemper forums, I realized that the best way to resolve this issue was to purchase a sound interface that would take an S/PDIF input from the Kemper digital output. This led me to realize I would need to purchase a better audio interface than my Audibox VSL44, so after a bit of looking around, I found a great deal at the local music store (I live in Tokyo) on Focusrite 18i20. I just tested it and it sounds much, much better. Now my recordings sound exactly like what I am getting through the monitors.

January 6, 2016     0 Comments

Very Musical Start of the Week

On Monday and Tuesday of this week I spent a total of about 12 hours of logged and unlogged time covering rhythm and focusing on rhythm alone. Most of late Sunday and Monday were focused on the timing of rhythms, using hand claps and foot taps. This was supplemented with some drum time, which I do believe helped immensely. Then yesterday (Tuesday) I kept on focusing on timing within the rhythms, while also listening to the actual rhythms and practicing many of them until I could play them. Rhythm is really the other half of what we are doing, and I have realized that I have not paid enough attention in this area.

Today I am looking forward to starting a Jazz and Blues song list. To start with I have the following songs from iRealPro:
1) Kindhearted Woman Blues – Robert Johnson
2) Freestyle Blues Jazz 12 bars X6 – warmup
3) Adam’s Apple – Wayne Shorter
4) Gravity – John Mayer
This is a mellow start and not too complex, but at least gives the start of the playlist. I will also add the Croatian Waltz to the mix to make it an even five.

January 5, 2016     0 Comments

I Started A Practice Log

I started a music practice plan and log on New Year’s Day as outlined in the book The Inner Game of Music. This came recommended to my from Justin Guitar. The book is a good read, but need to work on a revision with guitar tab.

After about two months with the electronic drums, I decided to try the lessons out at Drumeo. So far I am impressed. Just after two days of about 30 minutes each, I was doing a basic drum line with simple fills. Today I have to work on the play along. That seems a little tougher than everything I have studied so far.

January 3, 2016     0 Comments

Good Start!

I woke up this morning and worked on music for about 3 hours. I did some guitar/song writing for the first hour, then did a long rhythm practice session on guitar. As a result of the rhythm practice session, I think I will purchase Justin Guitar’s Understanding Rhythmic Notation as it comes highly recommended from a drummer/guitar friend. The book covers the notation thoroughly but it also covers reading of rhythms and many rhythm practice exercises.

After practicing rhythm for a while, I embedded the exercise a bit further by practicing drums for about an hour. I am liking the exercises and courses over at Drumeo. Drumeo is one of the online music lesson services that is paying for itself. I purchased a one-year subscription, but only really dug into it over the past couple weeks.

After all that, I backed this up with a short session on working out a cover song by Oasis. Getting kind of bored with drudging over cover music, so have been taking a long time to learn cover pieces recently.

After all that I went to the Shinto Shrine to pay respects for the new year in good Japanese tradition.

January 1, 2016     0 Comments   , , , ,