Have you ever thought of music as being a language? I know a lot of players that think of it that way, and it can be a powerful analogy to help you learn.
Today I thought we’d explore that analogy a bit…
Language is a powerful thing, it can convey all kinds of stories and emotions to others remarkably effortlessly.
And yet our language (English), is made up of just 26 letters.
Consider that music is even more basic, with just 12 chromatic notes at our disposal. These are like letters.
To make words, we arrange letters together in chunks, or sequences.
Well, a “chunk” could relate to a chord. A chord is simply a collection of notes that work together.
A sequence of notes is a riff. Again, just a collection of notes that work together.
Just like in English, there are some notes/letters that work great together, and some that don’t.
A scale defines all the notes we have available to use in a given key, and thus is directly related to the chords and riffs that we use.
If you want to say something in English, you choose words and phrases (chord progressions – groups of chords) that are appropriate, right?
Well, the same holds true for music.
In music, there are many different genres, (dialects, anyone?) but they all use the same principles of theory (spelling & grammar).
I could go on with this all day…
In fact, I recently got an email that contained this:
“The biggest thing I got out of your lessons is the need for me to learn the language of music. Sure I may know most of the alphabet and I can even put some words together and maybe a sentence or two but until I understand the language and composition I am basically playing pigeon music if you will.”
~ Tom Sherbert
I couldn’t have put it better myself!
If you’re struggling to get the hang of music in general, I recommend breaking it down to the smallest parts before you try to to tackle the whole thing. Don’t try
Learn how & why the letters (notes) work together, and start building from there.
That’s why my course Unlocking I IV V does, in detail. Check it out here.
If you’re a bass player, my course Decoding the Bass Guitar covers the same concepts, but applied to the bass. Check it out here.