Well, my first post might as well be in this

Tickle the ivories? Here's the place to talk about it.

Well, my first post might as well be in this

Postby meilankev » Tue Feb 01, 2005 7:51 pm

Hello everyone,

A gentleman from another site (an audio site) informed me of this place. And so I decided to come and join.

Like everyone else here, I enjoy listening to Blues music, and I have been playing the piano for over 35 years (I am 46 years old). I started performing Blues tunes for folks when I was about 17 or 18.

Unfortunately, I have looked into 2 of the existing threads here, and I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to join in a lot of these discussions, as the terminology used is way over my head. I never learned the proper names of chords or anything like that. I've never quite understood what folks mean by "minor" and "major".

Despite these limitations, it is unlikely anyone enjoys performing any more than I do. I have had a real love-affair with the piano. Since I never took any kind of lessons, I can honestly claim that every single time I've sat down to play was because I wanted to - not because someone was forcing me to practice.

And when I'm singing and/or improvising (either by myself or for others), I feel more free and alive than any other time in my life.

Hope to get to know each of you,
Kevin
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RE: Well, my first post might as well be in t

Postby jeffl » Tue Feb 01, 2005 8:29 pm

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Feb-01-05 AT 03:30 PM (EST)]Welcome, Kev! We can always use another musician around here, especially since we don't have alotta keyboard players. Don't worry about not bein' able to talk terminology- with your experience, I'll bet you'll have plenty of opportunites to contribute, and maybe even learn a little. Pull up a stool, I mean bench.
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RE: Well, my first post might as well be in t

Postby ricochet » Tue Feb 01, 2005 8:54 pm

Oh yeah, you don't have to know music theory to be welcome here!
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RE: Well, my first post might as well be in t

Postby jeffl » Tue Feb 01, 2005 8:56 pm

>Oh yeah, you don't have to know music theory to be welcome
>here!
Thank God! Some of our best contributors are "theory deprived", if not most of 'em.
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RE: Well, my first post might as well be in t

Postby doc williamson » Tue Feb 01, 2005 9:05 pm

Hi Kevin ~ Don't let those past threads scare you on blues piano playing. Bubba and I are the most frequent contribtors to the "Blues Piano" topic here on BRB and we are both patient and ready to help you. Lessons and advice are FREE here on BRB!

You have more than half the battle won by loving to sit down and play and your desire to learn more and improve on your playing will increase not only your ability but also your enjoyment.

Let's start with something you brought up, the differences between a major and minor chord.

A Major chord is made up of the 1st (root) note, 3rd and 5th note in the scale. You can think Do-Ray-Me-Fa, etc., if that helps. Those three notes in ANY key will ALWAYS make up a MAJOR chord. Now let's play:

Key of C:

The C chord is made up of the notes C (the 1st or root note in the scale), the note E (3rd note in the scale) and G (5th note in the scale. Now, hit them all at one time. That's is a C major chord!

Now let's try an F chord all of the notes above explain the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes. So, F major is made up of the notes F - A - C played at the same time.

Next is the G major chord which is made up of G - B - D notes played at the same time.

What those three chords represent is 90% of the chords in ALL blues songs. They may be in different keys but we are just starting.

Please let me know how you do with those and I'll explain the minor chords and chord progressions. BTW ~ you just learned the first blues progression with those three chords. You just have to listen and figure out when each is played. If you can't figure it out NO PROBLEM. I'll write how to play those chords in beats or measures if you need them. Good luck!
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RE: Well, my first post might as well be in t

Postby meilankev » Tue Feb 01, 2005 9:40 pm

Thanks for the welcome, guys. I appreciate it.

Doc,
Thanks for the quick lesson. But I'm afraid this old dog is far too set in his ways to try to learn that stuff now. When it comes to my lack of book knowledge, I've never once considered it a "limitation" when it comes to my playing. In fact, I've always felt it actually gives me a big edge over other folks.

For example, I play for folks all the time. And I absolutely love listening to others play. It is extremely apparent I do things they would never consider doing - both in what notes I decide to play as well as how I'm forced to contort my hands to play them. Not only apparent to me, but to the other folks, too.

But what's most amazing is it always seems the people who are most impressed with me are those who have the most training. It's almost as if they look at me as their alter-ego or something, because I routinely do all the things their training has taught them must be avoided. To my thinking, this "freedom from the bondage of knowledge" outweighs any limitations.

Of course, when they play their classical pieces, I know their grace, touch, and technique are far above me (and my parlor tricks). I have no delusions on this point. It may come off as self-serving, but I have no interest in "precision". Not only do I tolerate "mistakes" when I play, I actually expect them and embrace them. Who knows - perhaps this "mistake" ends up being my preferred way of performing the song.

All I strive for is to impose my emotions on my audience. I don't want them to say "oh, that's pretty", or "you have a nice voice". I expect them to go "Whoa!"

Anything else is gravy.

Thanks again,
Kevin
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RE: Well, my first post might as well be in t

Postby jeffl » Tue Feb 01, 2005 9:50 pm

Hey, Kevin... the members here have done 2 compilation CDs; one in each of the last two years. We prob'ly got another one cookin' on the back burner for release in the future. We've had mostly bands, and sliders, with only a coupla harp or piano accompanied tunes. If you have recording equipment, maybe you'd wanna think about contributing a cut for the next CD. The talent level represented there is all the way from beginner to accomplished gigger, so it's a great "smorgasbord", and a good way for people to put a sound with a name. Give it a thought.
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RE: Well, my first post might as well be in t

Postby barbequebob » Tue Feb 01, 2005 10:47 pm

If you want to try your hand at music theory (NOT to be confused with sight reading skills), there's a freebie site that's excellent and will walk you thru it all without feeling intimidated called http://www.musictheory.net and it allows you to learn it at your own pace.
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RE: Well, my first post might as well be in t

Postby david » Wed Feb 02, 2005 4:10 am

All this talk about theory with piano playing makes me glad there isn't any theory to playing slide! Is there?

Welcome to the board.

What blues do you listen to most?
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RE: Well, my first post might as well be in t

Postby houndog » Wed Feb 02, 2005 8:52 am

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Feb-02-05 AT 03:53 AM (EST)]Yip ,
David there is,
see Houndogic Yogic Logic below...:D
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RE: Well, my first post might as well be in t

Postby meilankev » Wed Feb 02, 2005 12:41 pm

Bubba,

Thanks for the invite. About 20 years ago, a friend back in Texas loaned me a recording machine, and I put together a couple of cassettes. One was of some of my original stuff, and one was some of my favorites from others. Hmmm, I need to see if I can find those - I haven't listened to them in God-knows-when.

As for contributing to a new CD, I'll ask some of my audio friends here in Tampa if they have anyway of recording live music to CD. If I can find a way, I think it would be cool to do this, and send you a song or two.

Of course, don't confuse my unlimited enthusiasm with some expectation of talent. :)

++++++++

David,

I have a pretty wide assortment of Blues artists upstairs (probably around 40 artists), but I don't have more than 4 or 5 from any one guy. Lately, I've been on a Bill Broonzy kick, and I have been exposing his music to everyone I can. Some of my other favorites are Willie Dixon, Howlin' Wolf, and Rice Miller. For Christmas, I got myself brand new 180g vinyl copies of Memphis Slim "At the Gate of Horn", Leadbelly "Good Morning Blues", and two by Lightnin' Hopkins: "Free Form Blues" and "Trip on Blues". It's really cool to find "new" releases of material from these type of artists.

And unlike many people who prefer their Blues from these (and other)"authentic" historical figures, I'm also capable of enjoying listening to more modern "pseudo-blues" performers like Allman Bros, Janis Joplin, John Mayall, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. And last but not least, Tom Waits (whose music is a distant kin of the Blues) has been my favorite and most influential musician and pianist. So, I'm not a total "Blues Snob". :)

Kevin
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RE: Well, my first post might as well be in t

Postby jeffl » Wed Feb 02, 2005 1:05 pm

Kevin: many of us here compensate for lack of immense talent or ability with "unlimited enthusiasm". Barbeque Bob, who is one of the finest harpers in the U.S., has remarked a couple times in threads about the "enthusiasm to talent" ratio, and not in a negative way. It's a fact of life. And, if the goal of some music is to entertain, occasionally enthusiasm goes farther than talent. This forum is a vacuum cleaner for knowledge and information, and my harp and piano playing has benefitted greatly, in only 15 months here, from newfound knowledge, and challenges.
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RE: Well, my first post might as well be in t

Postby ricochet » Wed Feb 02, 2005 3:42 pm

>All this talk about theory with piano playing makes me glad
>there isn't any theory to playing slide! Is there?

Of course there is.

Music theory's just a system of "rules" about what's previously been found by experience to sound good. Gives you ways of predicting things that'd likely sound good if you tried 'em, that you might not've thought of on your own. Learning music theory can't kill your musical creativity any more than learning English grammar and vocabulary can kill your writing ability. It's just a set of tools that you use to enhance your creativity. You can "reinvent the wheel" by experimenting on your own, but you're not going to find anything that hasn't been done already, over and over, long ago. Lots of folks with a good "feel" for music, of course, come up with great music without ever being able to state systematically what they're doing and why it works, which is fine. But knowing some of the theory behind it can help to communicate to others what you're doing and help them contribute to it. (Or learn from you to do stuff like you're doing more easily.)

The classical musicians have no experience improvising. That's their trouble with playing blues or other improvisational music. Not that they know music theory. In fact, IMO they're the ones with the least need to understand music theory, because they're only using it in the abstract to describe what they're playing, and playing only what's written on the sheet in front of them. (Those who compose classical music, of course, rely heavily on music theory, and as bluesmen do, on the conventions of their musical tradition.)

So, have fun playing your music without theory. But don't think that not knowing any theory somehow makes you a better musician. It ain't so.
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RE: Well, my first post might as well be in t

Postby david » Wed Feb 02, 2005 4:11 pm

>
>So, have fun playing your music without theory. But don't
>think that not knowing any theory somehow makes you a better
>musician. It ain't so.


No doubt about it, I'm gonna have to figure out how to put those little smiley faces in my posts.
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RE: Well, my first post might as well be in t

Postby meilankev » Wed Feb 02, 2005 5:17 pm

Richochet,

Perhaps we're getting hung up on semantics here. I certainly have no formal knowledge of music theory. Hell, I never even cared to learn the official names of the different notes and chords. I've gone out of my way to stay as ignorant to this type of fundamental knowledge as possible.

However, I've been composing songs for almost 30 years (songs I play for folks). How do I do it? Do I just stumble around on the piano until I luckily find some notes that sound good when I haphazardly string them together? Of course not. There can be growth without knowing the proper terms.

From playing as long as I have, I have developed my own foundation of knowledge when it comes to composing new material or re-creating something I've heard. Perhaps this is a type of music theory - just personalized, and without the formal knowledge of the commonly accepted jargon/terminology. And I fully admit my knowledge is a small subset of what there is to be learned.

Could I benefit by absorbing all the music theory known to mankind? Sure, as long as I can learn it without having to know where a "G" note is on the piano. :)

Kevin
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