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220 | Circle of Fifths - Guitar Lesson
Using the ChordMap to make music
June 15, 2023
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All the best songwriters use the circle of fifths to write good music. Great music, really. Because the circle of fifths guides them in the process of crafting cool chord progressions.

It’s like a map musicians have in their heads — of how chords are related. Which helps them navigate through harmonic space. And the result is magic … at least once you know how it works.

In this video, I explain using Paul Simon’s masterpiece, “Kodachrome” from 1973.

When I say the circle of fifths is like a map, I mean it literally. It’s a ChordMap that shows how all chords are connected in music. And the best songwriters understand this map — whether it’s a conscious knowledge, or simply intuitive. But all the greats get it. Because it’s how music really works.

These images accompany the video, for you to study at your own pace.

If you look at the chords of this song in order of appearance, they seem sort of random at first glance. Using traditional black-and-white diagrams chord diagrams, that is.

But with colors, different connections between chords begin to stand out. Like the fact that some chords are just variations of one another. So all of these harmonies are a little less overwhelming.

Using the circle of fifths adds even further insight — revealing that this song is made up of three progressions. And while one progression is in E Ionian (the Intro and Verse sections), two of the patterns are in A Ionian (the Chorus, Interlude, and Outro sections).

In other words, the song shifts back and forth between two neighboring keys in the circle of fifths. Which is what gives this song its interesting sound.

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February 11, 2024
269 | Lesson 19 - Quick Update

Hey there. I worked on Lesson 19 (Circle of Fifths) all day yesterday. Here's a short update that we filmed last night. Enjoy!

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264 | Lesson 18 Update
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November 26, 2023
On the Topic of Holiday Discounts

Hello! 'Tis the season for this message:

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hi all, where do i go to get started on learning the colour music

278 - Easy Trick to Play Piano Chords

How do musicians move around the piano keyboard so quickly? And how do they know which notes to play in a progression?

Let's look at the underlying patterns that guide your eyes, mind, and hands to play chords on the piano with ease -- in any shape (or "inversion" ).

Join the live stream -- Monday, March 25 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern:
https://youtube.com/live/UQvloeRZGKU

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Lesson 19 update & Supporters stream peek

Hey there, everyone! Lesson #19 is coming along, and I want to give you a quick update-- The text is written. I've spent the weekend creating illustrations. 100 of 126-ish are done. We just wrapped one of our weekly supporters streams here. (Weekly? Yes, with things wrapping on the course soon-ish, we are kicking those up to weekly. That starts now. THANK YOU for being here, supporters.) If you'd like a peek at what the supporters streams like, the link to today's stream is here: https://youtube.com/live/4HnquM6Qriw

Hope your week gets off to a good start. Talk soon!

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Open Hour Q&A - Saturday, April 20

Hey -- I'm answering your questions and hanging out via live stream Saturday, April 20 at 9:00 a.m. Mountain. (Ask any questions Live or post them on Locals in advance.) This Open Hour is for supporters. THANK YOU!

Here's the link to join:

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281 | The Beatles - Glass Onion (music theory)

The Beatles' song, "Glass Onion" from the White Album is one of their best tracks. It has a distinctively tense sound that gets stuck in your head. So let's look at this tune through the lens of music theory to see how John Lennon wrote this chord progression.

https://youtube.com/live/N4cFE4sbC3w

To play along with (and pick apart) this song, here are the chord diagrams for each section:

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Open Hour Q&A - Saturday, April 13

Join me for this week's Open Hour Q&A live stream Saturday, April 13 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.

No planned presentation -- just answering questions and talking music theory.

If you can’t join this week’s Q&A, post your questions here in advance.

Here's the link to join:

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