More Tricks

A metronome for your phone or computer — https://www.musicca.com/metronome

A tuner for your phone or desktop — https://tuner.ninja/

A free Audio Workstation — https://www.audacityteam.org/download/

  • Listen to the music — what do you really want to achieve?
  • Plan
    1. Where are you at?
    2. Where are you going – folk – blues – jazz – classical
    3. What steps will take you from one to two
  • Divide and conquer – one bar, one lick, one tune at a time.
  • Slow down — practice make permanent
  • Be Accurate — play with a recording or a metronome
  • Record everything on your phone or on your computer – track your progress

Tricks of the Trade

a list from John Lyon


Tricks Of The Trade could be any little thing, any idea of piece of information that helps us provide more depth and variety in our playing.  Examples could include:

  • Turnarounds, the little 2-bar chord progressions and licks that mark the end of a 12- or 8-bar blues progression, or the end of a chorus of a jazz standard like “All Of Me”.  
  • The Circle Of Fifths as used in tunes like “Sweet Georgia Brown”—-how to play the on guitar, and the licks that can be used with these chords.
  • Tricks and licks used when playing the II-V-I chord progression. There are whole books on this subject.
  • Double stops (playing two adjacent strings at once)—-where, when, and how to use them.  Jazz guitarist Howard Alden is a master at this and even teaches a whole class on double stops for Mike’s Master Class.
  • Syncopation—how and why it makes our playing better—-examples of this. You can’t play blues, jazz, or popular music without knowing something about syncopated rhythm.
  • How and how much, and when to practice. How to learn to play fast.
  • Who each of us has learned from the most, and what in particular we have learned.
  • Voice leading, which is the idea of playing each note in a new chord no more than two frets away from the notes in the last chord—-what it is and what it can do for your playing (hint, it sounds great). Bach was a master at voice leading.
  • Key changes and modulations—examples of songs that use them, and how we manage to play them. Coker’s book on chord progressions has many examples of this.
  • Examples of using diminished chords and scales.  Where and when are they used.
  • Examples of using the #5 chord in both major and minor keys, e.g. the chord in “What A Wonderful World” sung by Louis Armstrong where he sings “And I think to myself…” it’s used in the minor blues and other minor songs too, e.g. “The Thrill Has Gone” by B.B. King.
  • Octave displacement, chromatic passing tones, repetition, blues notes (flat thirds and flat sevenths)
  • Chet Atkins and Travis Picking
  • licks,
  • string bending

Jazz it up

Mar 10 7pm – 9 pm

The main reason for having a Theme for a circle is to give us something to talk about in our introductions to the music we play.  We don’t need to exactly follow a pattern.   We can have folks at a songwriters circle talk about why they don’t write songs.   The idea is simply to indicate a path in the direction of more and better music.
I was at a Foothills Acoustic Music event the other day that had a fine set of workshops delivered by very experienced musicians.  Barry Truter was there and talked about rhythms.  4/4, 3/4, 7/4,  5/4.   Another presentation was about adding color to your chords.   We learned about add 9s and suspended 4ths.   
What we heard was just what you hear every time you listen to a good folk or country performance.   Those hammers and pulls all have technical names.   The names are only handy if you need to change the key and when you want to talk about what you are playing.  Otherwise feel free to  play any note/fret that you can reach  that sounds good.  That is how most of us learned to play.   We were told to just use a basic grip then see what works.  This is very good advice and I really enjoyed the presentation.

Some thoughts on Theme and Genre

Thomas is blue. Charles is green.

Hello Charles.        I have been rethinking your suggestions for a theme for the next meeting. I was ok with classical and Jazz. But what about people who haven’t been into classical, and have nothing to present? Would they feel excluded, and possibly even choose to skip the evening? It takes me back to the evening which was supposed to be bluegrass, and although I don’t play bluegrass, I coped by suggesting that two main themes of bluegrass are “coal mining” and “moonshine liquor”.

I’m hoping that folks who might not care to participate in a particular genre or theme will still come to listen and perhaps hear something they can use for future circles.

        The thought came to me that bluegrass, like classical and jazz, is a genre, not a theme. But then the thought also came to me that “theme” for guitar pickers means something different than for folksingers. So maybe specifying the genre is appropriate in this context, but there is still room for caution.

         Of course, there is always the debate as to whether to have a theme at all. The only difference between a song circle and an open stage is that your 3 songs are spread out over the evening instead of all at once. We wouldn’t suggest to people performing at an open stage that there is a particular theme for the evening. On the other hand, one advantage of having a theme in a picker’s circle is that it opens up the evening to more than just the songs that are being performed. We get into exploration of the given genre which can lead to some useful insights. I wonder if this should be put to the whole gang for discussion.

Thomas

This discussion goes to the issue of what are we doing here. My reason for hosting a Pickers circle was to improve my playing and to provide a forum for others to do the same. That was in response to a suggestion that we do something for beginners. I’m amazed at the quality of players who have showed up to help out. We must be doing something right.

Garth has suggested a number of other possibilities:

More blues, Celtic , roots, funny , hurt in’, prine,Dylan,Emmy Lou Harris,Beatles  ,sad ,old,happy so we have lots of things to do.

The You tube channel and the website give us the opportunity to build a resource for interested players. I’ve found that most of the learning is done creating the lesson plan. Explaining things to others makes us careful and leaving our work on the web is an incentive to continuous improvement.

My current thought is that we should move to Jazz and Classical guitar for a couple of sessions then circle back to blues and roots. If we are responsive to suggestions we can stay relevant to our audience. If we can improve on past workshops we may create a lasting resource for new performers.

Please email me or add comments to this post.

Multi Track Video

The video edit on this clip is pretty good. I suspect they are using ProTools which is pretty expensive and they are pros.   

We can achieve the same effect as follows:

  1. Create a click track on an mp3 file.    Sound recorder and a metronome will serve.
  2. Each musician records the song using whatever they have to create an mp4.   A smart phone on a tripod works pretty well.  Count the start in 1 2 3 4 to sync the tracks.  We cut this out of the final production.
  3. We pick the most likely version and each listen to it while re-recording our own part.
  4. The tracks are mixed into a video using LightWorks or ShotCut.  
  5. We could post the individual .mp4s on vfss.ca  so we don’t need to email huge video files.

 The mix is the big job I think I can do it in a day or so.   I’ve created a demo with SHOTCUT, just me playing two videos rhythm and lead side by side.  When you see it remember I don’t play all that well but the video and sound quality is pretty good.   The video shows the process for creating the combined track which is the last part of the presentation.   Two tracks are harder than one but three or four will not be that much more difficult.

Multi Track Video Demo

Performer pages

Prerequisites

Anyone who has performed a feature at the Vancouver Folk Song Society or is presently listed on Folksongsociety.org as a performer may request a page provided only that they produce the required material.

Any board member may nominate a performer if they produce the required material

Required Material

  • Performer Head shot. — jpg or gif or png picture
  • Media — video or audio material — need not be perfectly edited we can trim

Optional Material

  • Website — shall we link to your website
  • Biographical material — whatever you think we need to know
  • Copywrite notice if necessary

What I’ve listed above is just what is needed to create more entries for the performer menu item that you see on the right side of this page.

Adding to the Website

1.   A WordPress website/blog is nothing more than a set of posts, blog entries.   That is the base case for a free site. 

2. VFSS.CA is a WordPress site with the content and structure, more or less, of the folksongsociety.org website.    It has a page for “PERFORMERS” that has only four of us at the moment.   I’d be happy to create a page for you or anyone else that has audio or video content we could post.

3.  If you accept my invitation to become an AUTHOR you can make posts to the BLOG which can contain audio or video.  That is you can just create a post like a web page with content.   Anyone with editor access can link posts to pages.

4.  If you graduate to EDITOR  you can create and maintain the static pages that host the content from folksongsociety.org.  You also have input into the format of pages that is unavailable to Authors. That means you can create a new performer page and link the performers posts to the page.   Volia a performance site. 

5. Another important task for new EDITORS could be to assist in the migration of parts of the current folksongsociety.org website that they think are particularly important.

Charles.

Video Editing

Video editing is a pretty big topic.  I made a video a few years with LightWorks which was a real bear to operate.   Microsoft Movie is no longer easily available on windows 10 so  I searched WordPress and someone recommended  SHOTCUT.   

Here is a good example of what I have done so far — https://youtu.be/T6J1vHNrdk0

Shotcut enables you to assemble images and clips or parts of clips onto a timeline just like LightWorks  and MS Movie but the user interface is much easier to mange.   The timeline contains both audio and video tracks from videos in your playlist. 

 
You can easily create transitions between shots and remove all of the audio from the clips you load and replace it with custom sound if you are so inclined.   You can create and manage Titles and text overlays that follow parts of your movie.   


I’m still learning to use SHOTCUT but if anyone wants to create  a video from some smart phone footage I’ll give it a try. I use AUDACITY,  as a digital audio workstation.   It lets me create multi track audio and mix tracks down to stereo for publication or to use as a studio audio track with a video.


Both AUDACITY and SHOTCUT are open source and cost only time to download and install.