music theory

Have you ever been told to learn a song in every key? It’s often talked about but rarely done. Few things can improve your knowledge of the fretboard more than working out all your favorite licks and tunes in as many keys as you can. For this article I’ve taken a simple melody version of “Whiskey Before Breakfast” and arranged it in literally EVERY key!

Lyman Lipke here. Today is going to be a little different. I’ve shared some pretty theoretically heavy guitar ideas with you before, but I just wanted to keep it a little lighthearted today. Let’s talk about the music of memes, and how I’m trying to put these songs to use towards a practical goal.

Hi, LWM blog readers. Lyman Lipke here, and it’s been a while! This week, I’m beginning a series for the Jazzandgrass instagram going over two choruses of the chord changes to “I Got Rhythm”, by George Gershwin. Many different bebop melodies have been written over these chord changes. Oleo (Sonny Rollins), Rhythm-a-ning (Theolonius Monk), Cotton Tail (Duke Ellington), and Anthropology (Charlie Parker) are just a few examples of tunes that use these chords. With the ubiquity of these changes, it would be a good idea to take a look at the framework, and some different ways we can approach these chords.

Bluegrass chord changes can be a source of confusion, but let me drop this bomb on you: the changes are simple, you can make them infinitely more complicated or less complicated. It’s all up to you, all you need to know are some simple rules to get started. In this article we’ll be focusing on dominant seventh chords and when they make sense in a chord change and the consequences and benefits of including them or leaving them out.

If you’re going to do anything with music you should make sure you’re clear on a few fundamentals. Yes, even bluegrass requires a little music theory. Don’t worry though! This isn’t one of those guitar articles that starts with, “when playing Lydian Dominant over a #11 bVI chord that you’re using for a tri-tone substitution in a circle of fifths chord progression try using the…

We’ve all heard the phrase “stick to the melody!” before. Normally those words are shouted by a bluegrass festival veteran in the direction of a pre-teen Chris Thile play-a-like. But far from a traditional versus progressive dividing line, these comments often come from the same traditionalist that will applaud a completely improvisational Tony Rice break.