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Some bands (like Avenged Sevenfold, for example) use isolation boxes containing their guitar cabinet during their live performances to maintain consistency in their tone across every show on their tour, no matter the room — since the acoustics of each venue are always going to be different. Using isolation boxes live also allows guitar players to block out any venue noise that could be captured through the mic.

What does this mean? It means I’m going with my first instinct: D♭ Lydian, mainly because it’s just, like, in my feelings. But you could also say it’s E♭ Mixolydian if you’re enamored with the strong beat chord, or go back to A♭ major too because of the melodies. Or, why not classify this one as multimodal?

Here is the standard fingering for the D Dorian mode in the guitar’s 10th position (remember, all shapes on the guitar are moveable). You can follow along from here on in audio, standard notation, and tablature.

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“Rockstar”: It’s hard to say how many chords this song really has. The way I hear it, it’s a C minor thing in the intro, and then you’re just swimming in a G minor and E♭ fish tank for the rest of the song. So that’s either a modulation from C minor to G minor, or you just start on the iv chord which was quickly dispatched by ninjas — take your pick. Watch how the phrase leading up to the first chorus stretches it to nine bars, rather than your regular eight, and how the outro has an irregular number of bars, too. What’s cool about this is how it obfuscates where the different sections begin or end.

Anytime you want to use intervals based on perfect fifths, you’re multiplying and dividing by 3, but anytime you want to use intervals based on major thirds, you’re multiplying and dividing by 5. Starting from C, it’s possible to produce any note on the piano if you multiply or divide your frequencies by 3 enough times, but those notes won’t be in tune with the notes you’d get multiplying or dividing your frequencies by 5, because 3 and 5 don’t mutually divide evenly. This is not just an abstract mathematical issue. It’s the reason that it’s impossible to have a guitar be in tune with itself.

There are some slightly more expensive pedals built by Devi Ever FX like the Soda Meiser, the self-explanatory Shoegazer (used by Ringo Deathstarr) or the Rocket fuzz. They’ve got nearly endless sustain, can sound chaotic and super duper fuzzy. But Devi pedals are also pretty unpredictable, which can be fun but sometimes you have to fight with some disturbing frequencies that show up to the party. That’s what you get with analog pedals though — it’s the true experience!

Modes and Key Signatures have a variety of different characteristics and are great for outside-the-box songwriting. Here’s a cheat sheet to remember them!

So far, we’ve kept to pretty mainstream pop tunes, but when we start to move away from those, things can get murky pretty quickly. For instance, while verses and choruses might be easy to recognize in a big pop anthem, how they function in an electronic dance song might not be as clear. Or how would you describe the form of something like “A Day in the Life” by The Beatles? It’s basically two entirely separate songs smashed together, so there’s no obvious “verse” or “chorus” section. Same thing with Travis Scott’s “Sicko Mode,” but for three songs’ worth!

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It starts in a Motown style with the chorus which uses a dotted and sustained two-note motif on the lyric — title and hapless subject “Jerome,” with variations — before the verses crank up the pace. Enjoy and take note of the contrast.

My sister is a TV comedy writer, and she once told me all she wants to do when she gets home is watch CSI or some other dark, dramatic show — because all she does all day is write jokes! I’ve noticed a similar pattern (have you?). When I’m done with a long string of shows, all I want to do is listen to nothing. But I found a loophole for this: Listen to the stuff you listened to as a teenager or when you first started getting into music. For me that’s ’90s R&B and neo-soul. Give me Ms. Lauryn Hill or Destiny’s Child and I’m instantly transported to a happy place, where I can dance around like a dummy and not care about anything.

The djembe is one of West Africa’s best known instruments. It is essentially a goblet-shaped drum carved from a single piece of African hardwood with a head made from rope-tightened animal hide.

Jeremy is a Montreal-based musician, sound artist and improviser who loves giving advice to emerging artists on how to make their tours more effective. He writes, records and performs electroacoustic “concrète” music for tape, oscillators and amplified objects and surfaces, as well as solo guitar. He has performed and released material throughout Europe and the UK, Asia, the US and Canada, mostly with his trio Sontag Shogun.

Since many styles of electronic music don’t include lyrics, it lends itself well to the endless development of an idea. Andrew Bayer’s “Counting the Points” is a beautiful example of this sort of repeated development of a theme or idea.