Making Music

Content related to the creative process involved with making music.

Mark Knopfler: Master of Touch, Tone, Timbre and Texture

When it comes to my influences in my own music and guitar playing, I've got far more than one might expect. Sure I have my core favorite guitarists/musicians to whom I look to the majority of my inspiration, but the number who have inspired me numbers in the hundreds I'm sure, and includes saxophonists, violinists, and even a bagpipe player (no joke). I feel like if there's a great musician out there who's doing something innovative, powerful and emotional... then there's probably something I can appreciate and learn from to enhance my own music.

How Music Works Video Series

Music is an interesting art form no matter if we're talking about rock and roll or the works of Mozart. There are underlining threads that tie just about every musical style, genre and artist together at the most basic of levels. The concept of notes melody, harmony and rhythms... not necessarily the same set of notes, divisions, rhythms or types of harmony, but the concepts are always there in all forms of music. Some of these concepts, like the concept of rhythm, come quite naturally as rhythm is all around us all the time and just about anything can be used to create rhythm.

Guitarist Series: Being Inspired to Practice

Playing any instrument is really a love/hate relationship. We all want to be able to play fantastically powerful/expressive/advanced/compelling music, but rarely want to practice to reach such a goal. There are exceptions, but I think the majority of us would rather "play" our instruments than "practice" them. Why shouldn't we? Playing as the name implies, is fun, while practice, is work. Of course there are some definite benefits to practicing like, increasing our repertoire, advancing our skills or learning new things, but that isn't always enough motivation to inspire us to practice.

Thoughts on Audiophile Grade Sound Equipment

When music is as big a part of your life as it is a part of mine, you spend a fair amount of money over the years on various sound/music equipment. I have a fair amount of sound gear, much of which I own and some of which I've borrowed and adapted to make my own, of varying qualities. I like to think though, that my setup provides me with an adequate sound reproduction for most applications and I'm sure I'll improve upon it even more over the years.

Guitarist Series: Thoughts On Being Taught By Your Gear

Other instruments are not nearly as steeped in gear as the electric guitar. There are thousands if not millions of different options to choose from that range from the most basic to high end, extremely expensive pieces of electronics and they weigh in heavily in both how the instrument is learned and how it is played. In the past few days I encountered one of the more odd ideas revolving around various guitar gear. The other day, the new amp I ordered came in (a Dr. Z Rt 66 for you gear heads). I'm thrilled with the amp, but that's not the point of this post.

Thoughts on Dissonance in Musical Composition

My passion for music really got started back when I started playing music myself. Since that time, many years and many instruments ago, my ideas about what makes great music have changed drastically. When you start out learning about music, you find that there are lots of rules to stay within in order to make music that sounds "pleasing to the ear". That's all well and good to start out with. Working within a framework like that allows even beginners to create satisfying music without too much of a learning curve.

Guitarist Series: 4 Underrated Modern Guitarists

As a guitar player, I'm fascinated by just about any guitar playing, but most of my guitar heroes either come from classic rock of blues. Thats not necessarily a knock against more modern guitarists though, and so as part of my guitarist series for the Soul of Rock 'n' Roll, I thought I'd talk about 4 more modern guitarists that have really sparked my interest.

Tribute to the A Guitar and Musical Legend on PBS, Les Paul: Chasing Sound

In a stroke of luck I happened to catch another great music related program on PBS last night, this time on the legendary Les Paul, called Les Paul: Chasing Sound. He is such a legend in guitar circles and with music buffs that of course I had to watch.

Guitarist Series: Open Mindedness and Inspiration for the Rock and Roll Musician

Sometimes inspiration comes from the oddest sources. The other day, I sat down to jam on guitar for a little while and thought I'd try something new and a little more progressive. I've been very interested in the work what some might call "progressive guitarists" recently, especially Jeff Beck and Frank Zappa, but that day's inspiration came from some thing entirely unexpected.

Guitarist Series: The Zen of Guitar

When I think about how I'd spend my days if I was in a position where money was not a necessity (which I guess I do more than I'd like to admit), sometimes I think of becoming a drifting blues man, playing guitar and creating a stir, only to vanish again and move onto the next city. Other times I think I might be content just recording my own music and seeing what other people think of it. Other times still, I just think I'd continue what I'm doing now, and round out my collection of rock and roll albums and collection of guitars with a few thousand more of each...

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