Rapper’s Journey 2 (RP2)

So for now, I’m just working hard on trying to build my own individual skill set. To do that, I’m memorizing certain drum beats at specific tempos. A lot of my time learning is actually just spent memorizing. Memorizing patterns, terms, sample names… The goal being that I’ll always have a good frame of reference to start my own drums from. Everyday I’ll also try to experiment. Playing around with new concepts and ideas seem to be the best way for me to memorize and internalize ideas over time.


In terms of standard material necessary to learn, I’m still looking into music theory. Chords and chord progressions seemed to be one of the necessary tools for making complex music, so I wanted that to be high on my list of priorities. Chords are essentially just layered notes (notes that are played together) that sound nice together.


From what I learned, people have worked very hard to make the pitches between notes of any instrument uniform. In terms of a piano, that means the difference in pitch between 2 adjacent keys are the same as any other adjacent pair of keys on the piano (be it a white key or a black key). With that being said, the step between any 2 adjacent keys is called a semitone and 2 semitones is a tone. From this we’ll define a scale, and from there finally we can define chords. To identify which keys are part of a scale, you can do this algorithm with any note:


1) Add the start/base key to your scale (this can be ANY key)

2) Do this 2 times

2a) Move 1 tone up, and add that note to the scale

3) Move 1 semitone up, and add that note to the scale

4) Do this 3 times

4a) Move 1 tone up, and add that note to the scale

5) Move 1 semitone up and you should arrive at the same note


All the notes you have recorded as part of the scale make up part of the scale. Now a ‘major’ chord is when you play the notes in your scale, but remove all the ones in even spots (indexes) in your list. An easier quick-hand way to do it is to just get a note, get the note 4 steps above that, the note 3 more steps above that, and play them all together; that will also make up a major chord. A ‘dominant chord’ is just when you also play the note 4 keys up from the highest note in the major chord.


Using this simple notion of a major chord and the concept of a scale, I’ve been taught by one of the youtube gurus I’ve seen online (a guy on youtube with the channel ‘worshipwoodshed’) that chord progression and movement can take place with other major chords in the scale to sound good. All I’ve really learned thus far is that a chord A played after another chord B, with a base note 4 keys away from the base note of chord A, will sound good when played sequentially.


The guy I’m watching is not too intuitive or clear on some of the material, but he has an exhaustive list of topics covered by his videos. At the very least, I can get a survey of music theory as a whole so I find which terms to search for the next video. I still haven’t gotten a hold of the term definitions from the last post, but Tuesday I’ll hopefully have a lot more to say.

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