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Sage Wisdom

"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."



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January 6, 2014 | Use your Lizard Ear

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From the April 2010 Mandolin Sessions "Chord Combinations for the Lizard Ear:"

"Biologists will describe the physiology of the brain, using long, multiple-syllable words illustrating cortexes and regions of where processes occur, varying in degrees of motor and analytical complexity. You have the more complicated areas of thought and decision-making, and others more basic in life function, like keeping your heart going and breathing. There's a section that handles the most primitive of survival needs, informally called the 'Lizard Brain.' Those who study anthropology view it as the archaic section that houses nothing intricate or complex, in contrast to regions that get the deeply analytical or philosophical dimensions of thought. One says "Ice cream satisfy." The other observes the hot temperature of the air, the consistency of the ice cream on the tongue, the vanishing emptiness of the stomach, and concludes 'Ice cream was the answer to my hunger, cooling me off, and that chocolate really tastes good. I wonder how many calories I just ate; maybe it wasn't such a good idea.'"

How about skipping the complex cerebral processes and shortening the distance from mandolin chord to pleasure center? Just play, in other words. We tackled this notion in the aforementioned article.

Sometimes you just want to play pretty chords...

Read archive column: Chord Combinations for the Lizard Ear

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Posted by Ted at January 6, 2014 5:38 AM


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