15th December 2011

Post with 13 notes

Fifths!

Last night, I listened to a Beirut concert on NPR.  I’ve noticed that more and more frequently, I get bored just sitting there listening to music; I have to do something else.  So while I was listening to this, I got my guitar and started learning parts.  Except for the drums and the lyrics, I learned all of “Santa Fe.”  Except what I learned on guitar is supposed to be played on piano, bass guitar, and trumpet.

While I was in the shower, I was wondering if trombone would sound OK if I substituted that for trumpet (I have the other instruments).  So I tried to remember the positions on trombone.  (I played trombone for a year and a half in elementary school and eight days in high school.  Don’t ask about the eight days.)

It was then that I realised something.  On trombone, you can play one note, but if you remain in the same slide position and just change your lip shape, you can play a higher note.  What I realised is the distance between those notes is a fifth.  For instance, if you were at position one and played a note, it would be Bb.  If you changed your lip shape and kept that position, it would be F.  I gave that example backwards, but it still works.  The distance between F and Bb is a fifth.

I’d known this as it applied to guitar strings for almost a year.  But it’s just NOW that I applied this knowledge to trombones.  Not that knowing this would have affected my playing at any time.  I started learning music theory only earlier this year.  But I still thought it interesting that I finally connected these ideas.

Tagged: tromboneguitarmusic theoryfifthsBeirut

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