Let's talk about those things in music composition that actually create results. Analysis and the study of conventional music theory are good starting points but let's take it a few steps further. Follow TC and Frank on the journey of explaining Interval Theory and apply those techniques to your own compositions as well.
Introduction to the MITA Podcast
Frank: Welcome to this special episode. It's the very first episode in the Music Interval Theory Academy - Podcast. You can't see the nice guy sitting across from me in the virtual room right here, but I want to give him a quick introduction. He is the co-founder of MITA, a great friend, and my co-host in this podcast. Please put your hands together for Mr. Thomas Chase Jones, and we call him TC.
TC: Oh wow! And the crowd goes wild. I'm super happy to be here. I believe it's your late afternoon or at least afternoon. Here, it's early in the morning. By here, I mean Georgia on Lake Lanier, a really beautiful place, so we have a considerable time gap. Still, it's nice to hear your voice, he has done so many things, and his music is amazing. Still, even more amazing is his ability to orchestrate this Music Academy's website and business, and even he orchestrates me sometimes. He just tells me what to do, which is great.
Frank: I'm really pleased and so thrilled to record this very first episode. Who wanted to do this podcast again?
TC: We were both doing these podcasts, and we decided that we should probably do one together because we know what we're doing, but I don't think the rest of the world knows everything that's going on in our music academy.
Frank: Yeah, that is true, and I really like the podcast's format. I used to listen to a lot of podcast shows. It allows you to do other things next to listening. You can be outside, enjoy nature, be creative, be inspired. At the same time, you can listen to some entertaining or educating materials, and I believe that the materials we're going to show in this podcast are unique. I have high expectations. We put this all into the podcast to produce something that is hopefully very valuable, entertaining, not only for the listener but also for us.
TC: Oh, absolutely! Well, I've been looking forward to this for at least a couple of weeks. And the exciting thing for me is, I'm kind of in a cocoon. Some topics consume your mind completely, so this is almost like I'm free for a morning to talk with my partner in Vienna, let him know a few things that I've discovered. This is great for the members as well. The intent is to really give people a safe place to find their voice musically.
Frank: Yeah, exactly. But it's not limited to the members because we also want to use this podcast to open up to non-members, aspiring composers, guitar players who want to get better at their instrument and go deeper into the composition and orchestration segment. And this is the best opportunity to find those techniques that we believe work the best, and we have so many of those CITs who get fantastic results. We will also listen to some of these results in this podcast, so maybe we should give everybody an idea of what you will be doing in this podcast and what I will be covering. Because yes, there will be some episodes that we do together, sure, but also there will be a lot of episodes that we do separately, so what's the difference?
The Content for Guitar Players
TC: Well, I'll tell you, it's been very interesting. The basic concept for me is, I'm a guitarist, but I also play the piano. And I'm not a great pianist, but I can get around. I use the piano for orchestration and composition for some of the feature films that we do. I realized that many guitar players out there don't know how to visualize orchestration on the guitar.
My lofty idea was to translate for the guitarist, how to think in intervals like we think when writing for film or television but using the piano.
And guess what happened, Frank? Unbelievable knowledge on how to play things that you usually would never think about on the guitar, and it's fascinating.
So, the idea is to have a podcast where I can perform some of the theories, and they're not really theories cause they work. Here's an idea on the guitar, now here's what it sounds like in the orchestra. And it's been just great, and I've been working with a couple of our CITs like Marc Bercovitz. He's always mentioned because he's a wonderful orchestrator and everybody in the academy knows who he is.
So that's what I'm doing, and it's very eye-opening. This week specifically, I've started putting together pentatonic orchestration on the guitar. It's not just a pentatonic major scale or minor scale, but all the different ways to voice things on the guitar. Whether you're with a piano or playing solo guitar, not just solo-ing guitar, but solo guitar using chords and that sort of thing, how to comp when you're in the pentatonic thinking system, all of that. So it's fun, it's really fun, and it gets pretty, pretty deep.
Frank: Yeah, great. With the approach of using the intervals, I think you open up a fantastic thing that is not easy to find otherwise because you usually start with blocky chord structures or single lines. Still, you don't usually pick, let's say 4+1 or 4+2, and fool around with that on the guitar. Nobody teaches this anywhere. And it's not even a valid chord structure, but still, it can sound fantastic when orchestrated, and that is what I'm excited about to hear.
TC: Well, it's amazing because when you think what we call an "IC" an Interval Combination, that's when you just put two or more intervals together, and that gives you a vertical structure on the guitar. It's like a chord because it has a shape, and we memorize chords on the guitar and sequences of chords, but you can do that with Interval Combinations. And if you do that, you're not stuck to a key, which is marvelous. You can use your visual skills on the guitar and recognize shapes. You can translate that into intervals and Interval Combinations, which opens up a whole new world. I just realized you mentioned 4+2 and 2+4. If you learn this on the guitar, you end up being one heck of a country guitar player because those are all like suspension sounds and resolution sounds, and a lot of the secrets to some of that really wonderful Chet Atkins-ish guitar playing, all of a sudden comes out, and this was a surprise to me, I did not expect that. I'm practicing these intervals so I could perform them, and I realized, "Hey, this is great for that real sort of sustained Country, finger-picking, some people call it "Chicken Pickin" type of guitar playing.
Frank: I really wished that somebody would have told me that years ago because I'm a guitar player, but I'm not that knee-deep into the guitar application as you are. In addition to the guitar area, I want to focus on something that is connected to what you do, which is creating music. But I will not use the guitar. I will mainly talk about composing and orchestrating using the piano as my reference instrument. However, still, you can do these things even without an instrument, and that is the fantastic thing, which leads me back to the beginning of why this is a podcast, right? You can listen to these episodes, be in nature and still work on your skills.
The Content for Composers
TC: Yeah, it's great! Well, the interesting thing about all that stuff is, you're an expert on the Overtone Series and how it applies all the way through your musical knowledge. You know, it's something people know about, but they don't really understand it. I've really enjoyed what you've been teaching in the workshops on the Overtone Series.
And when that's applied, your music just sounds better, and they're very straight-ahead concepts.
At least I never really got that topic introduced to me properly at a music university; private teachers don't really teach it. Still, all of this stuff applies, even all these intervals, to the Overtone Series. And you can find out where these Interval Combinations fit in the Overtone Series, so it's marvelous. I think what we're doing as a team is really great, and the team is growing all the time. We have more and more people adding to things.
Frank: That is so true, and I'm very appreciative about everything that comes up and everything that happens out of these activities. Let's conclude this first episode, and let's jump into some actual content in the next episode, so what do you think?
TC: I'm all for it. I'm going to let you be my guide like Jiminy Cricket, the Disney character who says, "Let your conscience be your guide." so you are my conscience, partner.
Frank: That is great! And as your conscience, then let's call it a day for today, and let's jump into some great content in the series of episodes. That's basically it. TC, I will leave the closing words for you, so I will hand over the virtual mic, say many thanks, and see you all next time.
TC: Alright, thank you, Frank. I just want to say one last time on this podcast ... If you want to understand what's going on with your creativity, we're the place. Go to the academy website, and see all the wonderful stuff that's available to you. This is the best deal you're ever going to find!
Make yourself familiar with the Overtone Series first. It will help you tremendously to create better orchestrations and organize the notes on paper (vertically and horizontally).
Authors: Thomas Chase Jones & Frank Herrlinger