THE LEADS ARE WEAK: TOO MANY NOTES
My favorite movie of all time is Amadeus. I recently re-watched it for the bagazillionth time and it yanked me in the direction of this column. I take the stance that if you don’t like classical music you cannot be my friend, much like how I don’t respect people that don’t like Hawaiian Punch. There’s so much to be learned from the baroque/classical/romantic periods of music. In the music I write I’m not utilizing very many of the progressions from those kinds of music — at least in a riff sense — but the shit you learn from recognizing the chord progressions and using some of the arpeggio techniques is really helpful to your ear and good for your chops. Translating classical progressions and techniques is also ridiculously easy to do on the guitar.
Back to Mozart: I built a little arpeggio sequence based off of a common classical progression in Mozart’s music.
This kind of practice serves multiple purposes:
1) Technique building. Creating a little exercise like this is more beneficial to your playing then just practicing a pattern over and over again. This is fucking standard procedure by this point, and I don’t think any real musician would say otherwise, so practicing your standard sweep/tap technique is much cooler and useful when used in the context of a familiar and sonically pleasing progression.
2) Learning to hear progressions and hear where the melody is heading. It’s also good for improving your chord knowledge, since all these sweeps are just basic chords: 7ths, half diminished, major, minor, fucking whatever. It translates better to my playing when I look at arpeggios rather than just chords because it helps me learn the inversions all over the neck.
The progression is in C major starting on C. Each arpeggio is connected with taps and some legato. The progression goes down the circle progression in fourths and I threw in a wildcard chord in the third to last arpeggio. Which I believe (?) is a Neapolitan sixth chord (F Ab Db), cool to do before a V7 chord in the cadence. I can’t remember that far back in theory (I learned it years ago), but either way it sounds cooler to me so fuck it.
It’s best to take a moderate tempo to try and just make the sequence flow like a piano. The taps and hammers are almost not important to the progression or the technique. Start experimenting with repeating and going between chords back and forth at random, adding extra taps and slides, etc. Use your own ideas. This is also cool to do with string skipping and tapping ala Michael Romeo and Paul Gilbert.
This is fun to do and it’s fun to throw into your leads. Yadda, yadda, you get the picture. F. Murray Abraham is a badass. WE GET IT ALREADY.
Take it easy.
– Tony Sannicandro / Job For A Cowboy