Monday, May 17, 2010

Music Theory Lite

Here's a cool recent find of mine. While browsing the podcast directory on iTunes, I bumped into Pandora Presents: The Musicology Show. The Musicology Show is a series of short podcasts courtesy of internet radio provider Pandora, that cover a variety of musical topics from the "The Art of Sampling" to "Melodic Construction." They're basically pocket-sized music theory lessons.

Take the episode on "The Basics of Vocal Harmony." Host Kevin Seal and guests Greg Giles and Kelly Atkins from 20 Minute Loop, broke down types of harmonies including tutti harmony, unison singing, parallel and contrary motion, and call and response, with clear discussion and examples of each one.

The Musicology Show won't make you an expert, but it helps dial down the ignorance. The episode on guitar riffs was pretty slick. We all know what a guitar riff is and what one sounds like, but pinning down specifics and learning the language (definition: a repetitive melodic line apart from the actual melody) is helpful for articulating thoughts on a piece of music beyond, "that one part was pretty sweet."

Of course, the real goal is to be able to sling as many polysyllabic music terms as possible the next time you have a listening party with your friends.


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