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Marc Sabatella

Are you being served?

published3 months ago
2 min read

Hello! I never saw it, but I know there was once a British sitcom called "Are you being served?", and that's question I'd like you to ponder today. I got all sorts of great feedback from the general survey I sent out a couple of months ago. Now I'm looking more specifically at what I can to make the Music Master Class the best experience I can. I'm most interested in how I can establish a process for selecting the pieces to feature, but I welcome any opinions you'd like to share. So if you have any thoughts about this, please take moment to respond to the thread I started in the Community.

MuseScore Café

This week in the MuseScore Café with Marc Sabatella, we continue (and hopefully complete) our tour of the MuseScore interface. So many windows and dialogs that can do so many things to speed up your workflow, make your music look or sound better, or all of these at once!

The MuseScore Café is live on Wednesday at 12:30 PM Eastern (16:30 GMT), and you can access past episodes in the archive.

Tip of the Week

Last week in the Café, we looked at the File / Export window. It got a bit more sophisticated at some point in the last couple of updates, so if you haven't created any PDF's or MP3 files lately, check it out! For a score with parts, you can specify which parts to export, and and you can also set various options such as the sample rate for audio files.

Export dialog

Music Master Class

This week I will continue to give feedback on recent submissions with a focus on harmony and chord progressions. I encourage you to share your music, and also to share your ideas for the class in general!

The Music Master Class is live on Thursday at 12:30 PM Eastern (16:30 GMT), and you can access past episodes in the archive.

In Theory

In pop and jazz circles, we often hear debates about the role of theory versus the ear in making musical choices. The reality is, these are just two sides of the same coin. If it sounds good, usually it sounds good for a reason, and theory can help you find those sound faster, but conversely, it's important to keep in mind that merely following rules won't make music sound good. Understanding the interrelationship between the two is important to good musicianship.

I thought of this the other day as I attended a performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein's version of "Cinderella". I was only slightly familiar with the songs going in, but I know the music of Richard Rodgers and the genre he worked in well, and this allowed me to understand the chord progressions I was hearing almost instantly. If I sat down down at the piano to play them now, would I be "using theory" or "playing by ear"? My answer: how could it be anything but both?

As a challenge to you, here's one of the songs that was heard repeatedly throughout the show. I am 99% sure there is nothing in the chord progression other than the things I covered in my recent workshop. Try to transcribe the meloody and chord progression using your own ears and knowledge of the techniques I described. See how far you can get without relying on computer playback (if you use MuseScore) or on trial and error (if playing on an instrument) - but do what it takes to get it right. And then, if you're feeling brave, post your attempt - either a notsted lead sheet, or a video of your playing - to the Community! Just the basic song - AABA form, up to the point where the dialogue resumes, the key of G as it is here. How much can you figure out on your own? And can you analyze what is going on theoretically? I look forward to discussing this in the coming days!