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How does Beyoncé use music theory to make “Singles Ladies” hit harder?

How does Beyoncé use music theory to make “Singles Ladies” hit harder?

 Chelsea Zellner and Steve Newbrough


8/12/21

The quick answer is that Beyoncé uses a bass lines to imply the minor iv chord in the second chorus right on the word “shoulda...” (this is 51 seconds into the song). Notice how this makes you feel as a listener. What was light hearted jam suddenly becomes more serious and heavy.

The harmonic analysis of Single Ladies is actually hotly debated in the music theory community. This piece of music is extremely unique, and deceptively complex given the apparent simplicity of it on the page. It contains a pretty simple melodic line, percussive accompaniment, and very little harmonic support (pitched instruments playing harmonies). Because of this, there is some room for interpretation. While some minds feel this song is an example of polytonality and some pretty complex borrowed chords, there is abundant evidence pointing to the...

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Why are there two letters in the chord name? What are Slash chords?

Why are there two different letters in the chord name? What are slash chords?


3/23/21 
 
The first letter stands for the chord that needs to be played. The second letter stands for the bass note or the lowest note that should be played instead of the root of the chord.
 
For instance, in the "C" chord, the lowest note played would be "C." In an "C/G" chord, all of the notes of the C chord would ring but you would also play the low G on the sixth string (third fret). 
 
 
In the lingo, musicians would call C/G, "C over G." Meaning the C chord will literally be ringing over an G bass note. Here's a diagram of a C/G:
 
Just in case you're unsure, the bottom part of your third finger can mute the fifth string.
 
What are some common songs with slash chords?
 
This list could get long... I'm going to add more songs at the end of the...
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What are the benefits of playing improvised music on guitar? And how do you start?!

What are the benefits of playing improvised music on guitar? And how do you start?!

Casey Saulpaugh and Steve Newbrough


3/1/2021

Improvising music is a fantastic neural challenge. It requires the performer to instantly taking into account what notes will sound the best with the harmonies and rhythms of the tune. A performer can get started by improvising over music with minimal harmonic change, any typical pop song will work.

 

Musicians can improvise on many different levels: from playing a couple notes spontaneously that weren’t in the original melody, to burning through complex changes in a bebop tune that is so fast it burns.  Whether a player wants to dabble in improvisation, or advance on a deeper level, learning improvisation can go a long way for the player. 

 

For instance, since improvisation is a form of music composition, this is an excellent skill for song writers. Developing a knowledge of common and uncommon chord progressions, the...

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What are chord-melody fingerstyle arrangements? And why are they amazing?

What are chord-melody fingerstyle arrangements? And why are they amazing?

Casey Saulpaugh and  Steve Newbrough


3/1/2021

What is a chord-melody arrangement? That's when a guitarist plays both the chords or harmonies of a song while also playing the melody. The reason people bother to say chord/melody rather than just "arrangement" is because it is so blasted difficult to play chords and melody simultaneously on the guitar! 

 

There aren’t many greater feelings than hearing one of your favorite guitarists play an awe-inspiring, soul-stirring solo that gives you goosebumps down to the bones. Add a killer band with rhythms that groove and tones that please, and the music is undeniably powerful.

 

Any guitarist or listener knows this power that music can have: lifting spirits, conveying deep emotions, and bringing people together with harmony. But this electrifying sensation isn’t just limited to groups or bands communicating what they feel...

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