Anatomy and Dynamics (Guitar Lesson)


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Mark Lincoln

Anatomy and Dynamics

Mark Lincoln discusses song dynamics and the anatomy of songs. He also explains more about singing and playing.

Taught by Mark Lincoln in Guitar Performance seriesLength: 23:19Difficulty: 2.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (00:37) Musical Introduction Welcome back to another lesson in the Guitar Performance lesson series!
Chapter 2: (02:26) Introduction and Warm-up Before moving on with the lesson, please be sure to warm-up and review the following:
1. Warm up the body.
2. Single note hum.
3. Three note hum.
4. Hum "me-me-me-me" to "mah-mah-mah mah" to me-ma-me-ma-me."
5. Wake up the breath with "sah-sah-sah" etc. long and sustained then five times staccato.
6. "Sah" in five-note descending scales, then five-note ascending scales.
7. Work these scales faster and faster, then louder and louder.
8. Play each of the open chords and sing scales while accompanying yourself.
We’ve been talking about the process of developing performance skills and the singing while playing the guitar. I’ve been giving you some basic ways to start developing the skills necessary to sing and play at the same time, but there’s more work to be done!
Chapter 3: (06:36) Song Anatomy From my experience, it is important to learn the guitar rhythm and the chords that you will be playing before you start to sing along with them. If you jump into a song without getting the initial structure of it down first, then singing it can become a nightmare. The first step of learning a song is figuring out the structure. Thinking about songs in the following way can be very helpful.

Song Introduction
1. Does the introduction have unusual chords?
2. Does the intro have any unusual chord changes?
3. Does the intro have any unusual rhythms?
4. How is the intro played? Does it use picking, strumming, fingerstyle, etc?
The Verse
1. Try and figure out which chords are being used in the verse. They may be open chords, barre chords or other interesting chord variations.
2. Listen to the strum pattern played in the verse. It may be different from the introduction and chorus.
3. Listen for any melody lines. Are there notes played in between the chords?
4. Listen to the length of the verse. How many measures of music are there?
Chorus
1. Listen to the chorus and figure out which chords are being used. Are they the same chords as the verse or introduction? Is the chorus in a different key (such as a minor key)?
2. What strum pattern is being used? How does it differ from the other parts of the song? Is it faster or slower?
3. How long is the chorus? Be sure to listen to how many measures are present.
4. Are there any melody lines found within the chorus?
Bridge
1. Pay attention to the chords in the bridge. They may be different from the rest of the song, especially if the bridge is designed for a guitar solo.
2. Pay attention to the structural aspects from the other sections as well. Figure out the strum pattern. Listen to how long it is and pay attention to any hidden melody lines.
Dynamics of the song
1. Listen to the dynamics of the song. Figure out where the song is played loudly and softly. Figure out where the tempo speeds up or slows down. Pay attention to the singer and how his voice responds to each segment of the song. We will talk more about dynamics in the next scene.
Anomalies
1. Be sure to listen for any anomalies in the song. Songwriters often throw in anomalies or change things around to make the music interesting. Be sure to take note when this happens!
This is just a simplistic way of expressing the structure of a given song. You know as well as I do that songs can take on much simpler or much more complex forms involving very specific parts from the bass, drums, and vocals.
Chapter 4: (06:28) Song Dynamics Dynamics can be defined as variation and contrast in sound, intensity, and form.

When we look at the concept as applied to music, it often implies changes in volume from one part to the next. In the above outline, if one were to learn a particular song that he or she were interested in learning, it would be in his or her best interest to pay close attention to how the song changes in dynamics from one section to the next. In other words, does the song get louder during the chorus? Does the song start soft in the introduction and then get louder as it goes? Does the song fade in during the intro and fade out at the end? These are important considerations when learning (or writing) a song and should be looked at in earnest. Dynamics can determine the overall mood that the song imparts and can distinguish between parts of the song as well. Dynamics can also deliver the “punch” that the writer is intending during a particularly intense and emotional portion. Pay close attention to the dynamics of a song when learning it and listen carefully to how it changes the overall tone of the piece.

Anomalies
The final section of the outline is merely here as a suggestion that songs need not follow any preexisting patterns or guidelines. A song can be two chords played over and over and with the exact same rhythm and strum, or it can be an incredibly complex and non-repetitive piece of music that only the most talented orchestra could play. Many modern songwriters throw in an extra chord here and there or an odd change in rhythm in order to deviate from the ordinary. Pay attention to what the writer is trying to convey to the listener when you are learning a song. I’m not saying that you have to learn someone else’s song exactly as they wrote it. I’m merely suggesting that you listen and pay attention to the structure that is there for you before you attempt to sing it. I’ve learned much of what I know about music from other writers.
Chapter 5: (00:24) Exercise Time Get your guitar out! It's time for some exercises.
Chapter 6: (02:20) Practice Exercises Exercise 1
Play D A C G for your verse and strum in this pattern: down down down up or "down down down-up." Pay attention to the dynamics and/or volume that you are playing these chords and don’t forget to relax your strum and play from the wrist.
Chapter 7: (04:25) Exercise #2 and #3 Exercise #2
Play the chords F G Am G for your chorus and strum them in this pattern: down down up or "down down-up down-up down-up down-up down-up." How do you want to change the dynamics of the song? Do you want to make the chorus louder than the verse? What emotion (if any) do you want the change in dynamic to relay to the listener?

Exercise 3
Yes, you knew what was coming next! This time, pick four chords for your verse and four for the chorus.
Emotion
As I’ve said before and will probably say again, don’t ignore the element of emotion in music as it dictates whether your playing is exciting and inspiring or bland and boring. Listen to what you are playing and to others who already do it well. We all can learn from others who have preceded us even if we don’t necessarily like that particular style of music or that particular artist.

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Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


silvainvpsilvainvp replied on November 1st, 2013

Id been learning the annie song, and its kind repetive the picking I do, so i guess i have to put some variation. to make it interesting.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on September 19th, 2008

Hi Sylvia, actually they're horns!

SylviaSylvia replied on September 21st, 2008

ha ha ha!! You horny little devil you! Ha ha ha...

SylviaSylvia replied on September 16th, 2008

The speculation is that there are antennae under that "northface hat." Is it true?

Guitar Performance

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Performing live or in a studio situation is a goal of many aspiring guitarists. Vocal training and the ability to sing and play at the same time are skills that will help in this endeavor.



Lesson 1

Introduction to Singing

Mark introduces you to the wonderful world of singing.

Length: 15:12 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Vocal Exercises

Mark Lincoln guides you through stretches and vocal exercises to warm up the voice.

Length: 23:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

Vocal Vibrato

Mark continues to discuss vocal warm-ups and exercises. Then, he moves on to explain vibrato.

Length: 23:42 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 4

Warming the Breath

Mark covers some singing terms and teaches an exercise that is used to "warm the breath."

Length: 19:10 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

Singing and Guitar

Mark Lincoln talks more about vocal exercise and warm-up. Then, he moves on to discuss singing and playing at the same time.

Length: 26:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 6

Singing Exercises

Mark Lincoln provides more singing exercises to practice while playing your guitar.

Length: 26:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Singing and Playing Revisited

Mark returns to singing and playing. Mark teaches proper form while singing and playing, cognitive exercises, and chord progression basics.

Length: 17:54 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

Anatomy and Dynamics

Mark Lincoln discusses song dynamics and the anatomy of songs. He also explains more about singing and playing.

Length: 23:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Rhythm in Music

Mark Lincoln explains how rhythm is used in music.

Length: 15:16 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

Technique Applied

Mark Lincoln applies singing and playing techniques to the Doors song "Riders on the Storm."

Length: 17:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

Palm Muting and Separation

In lesson 11 of his performance series, Mark discusses the palm muting technique and how to separate your singing from your playing.

Length: 23:30 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 12

Picking Vs. Strumming

Mark discusses how alternating between arpeggios and strummed chords can add contrast and flair to your music.

Length: 15:02 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

Silence Is Golden

Mark discusses silence in music and how it can transform a piece. Additionally, he explains how to use silence effectively in your playing.

Length: 16:40 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 14

Warm-up and Practice

In this lesson, Mark Lincoln talks more about warming up your voice and walks you through a few exercises that will aid this process.

Length: 16:14 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

Preparations for Playing Live

Mark provides a lecture on items you should do and think about to become a proficient live player.

Length: 20:57 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 16

Voice and Guitar

In this lesson, Mark delves into the concept of combining both your voice and guitar into one neat little package you can deliver to your listener.

Length: 21:47 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

A Day in the Life

Mark Brings us Lesson 17 today to explain the preparation that goes into a performance. Mark tracks back up to 36 hours in advance, and shows us some routines to prepare for a great show.

Length: 19:09 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

The Dynamics of a Song

In this lesson, Mark teaches all of the diverse parts to a song with regards to dynamics.

Length: 20:17 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

Proper Breathing Routines

In this episode, Mark talks about proper breathing techniques and routines. He gives us eight points to work off of when singing and playing together.

Length: 23:34 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 20

Play Along with Mark Lincoln

Mark Lincoln brings us a great play along opportunity. Mark provides lyrics as well as the chord progression for this play along. He also breaks down key elements such as palm muting, hammer-ons, bending,...

Length: 24:06 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 21

Palm Muting Technique

Lesson 21 is a repeat of lesson 20's content only with a whole new set of chords and techniques. The"chords de jour" will be a little simpler than lesson 20's and will also include a much more in depth...

Length: 20:05 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only

About Mark Lincoln View Full Biography Mark Lincoln was born in S. California but was raised near Portland Oregon in a town called Beaverton. When he was twelve years old, he began his journey into the realm of the creative by composing poetry and was later published in a journal called "In Dappled Sunlight." He wrote for four years until his older sister blessed him with his first guitar, an old beat-up nylon stringed classical guitar. Mark played that guitar for five years, continuing to compose his own lyrics and starting the process of matching his own words with chords that he was learning on the guitar. He learned to play chords from his friends and from music books that he both bought and borrowed. Mark cited his four biggest influences, at that point at least, as The Who, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, The Rolling Stones.

Mark cites his most current influences as Radiohead, U2, older music by REM, and Peter Gabriel amongst others. He performs with two acoustic guitars, one being a six-string M-36 Martin with a three-pieced back for increased bass response, and a Guild Twelve-string which is his most recent acquisition. Mark is fond of saying that the twelve-string guitar is better because you get two guitars for the price of one, but he still plays his Martin equally as much and with the same passion.

Mark ended up in Fort Collins Colorado where he currently lives, works as a Marriage and Family Therapist, and continues to write, teach and perform music. He currently performs with a group called "Black Nelson" as well as with a number of other seasoned professional musicians including his cousin David, a virtuoso lead-guitar player. Mark has performed in many of the smaller venues in Denver and Boulder, as well as some of the larger ones including the Fox Theatre, The Boulder Theatre, Herman's Hideaway, and also at The Soiled Dove where he opened for Jefferson Starship as a soloist. Some of Mark's originals are also available for your listening pleasure on MySpace.

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