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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."



« Arpeggios and Crossword Puzzles | Main | Improvising: Throwing mud on the wall »

July 9, 2009 | How deep is your love?

Mel Bay's online webzine "Mandolin Sessions" underwent a recent facelift. Not much changed as far as content format, still the same great writers with absolutely free educational offerings and tunes, but in addition to the cosmetic upgrade, there is now the opportunity for public comments and feedback. Another interesting tool is the information on how many times each article is read.

We try to keep up with these sorts of behind-the-scenes web statistics on the JazzMando site. A routine self-examination lets us know how we are serving our readership. When the numbers are up, we try to look at what issues piqued interest (and attempt to duplicate), and when they start to lag, we try to figure out where we are going wrong.

We noticed on MandolinSessions, the writers who simply contributed tunes, with no cerebral analysis or heavy text tend to get more attention. At least, a higher "reads" number. We discussed with one of our part-time staff assistant editors, Anton Darby, whether or not it would be serve our readership if we got away from deep prose, and his response was we didn't want to go too far to "dumb down," (no disrespect to other fine authors who choose to got the tune route). He felt the JazzMando readership still craved the analytical exercise; even though more players might simply want to just grab a tune or two, we had something special that would afford a mandolinist the option to "go deep." He did suggest starting with a tune, for practical application sake, was a terrific idea, but applauded our efforts to go into the nitty gritty of theory, to look under the hood.

Chances are, if you are a regular here, the detail is what you crave. You can get tunes out of lots of free online resources, but the sort of text we offer is a tad more rare. We hope we have this right, but if you don't agree, we're open to new ideas. We know that Mel Bay offers MandolinSessions to engaged the mandolinist, but ultimately, if readers aren't buying books because of the webzine resource, it would likely go away. Yes, we like to sell books and strings around here, too, but our deeper goal is enlightening a global community on ways to get better at the mandolin.

There is nothing wrong with just wanting to sit on the porch and play tunes. Probably a larger proportion of amateur musicians is wired to approach their music in this way, and while a minority of players are inclined to want to know how a watch is built rather than just knowing what time it is, we are likely to continue to serve in this way.

As always, we appreciate your feedback, and want to know "how deep is your love?"

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Further:
Arpeggios and Crossword Puzzles
Arpeggios Math, eggs, and mandolins; higher level understanding
The Regressive Method
Harmonic Implication
The road to harmonic sophistication

Posted by Ted at July 9, 2009 2:07 PM


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