~ musics Americana ~

' ... that endless collaging together of culture and musics that empowers our Americana musics ...'


In a nutshell. Today, Americana becomes a term to describe the whole sum of an all inclusive, historical perspective of the peoples, their lives, times and doings on the combined North and South American continents, thus 'Americana.' Pretty vast area of geographics, cultures and its peoples. Yep, sure is.

A core basis of our Americana musics draws from and combines the African and European experiences in a new land. For one set of our pitches are sourced and tuned up to Africa standards and one set of pitches is sourced and tuned up Europe standards. And while these pitches share many similarities, they remain subtley unique. When blended together they become the pitches for making our own 'Americana musics.'

As guitarists, our own historical merge starts back around the 1800's with the African banjo, 'justly' tuned and today, usually with four or five strings and easily tuned to an 'open G' chord. Banjo meets up with the European born classical guitar, as it migrated up from Mexico via Spain. Tuned 'standard' and creating equal temper pitches on six strings, banjo players could simply tune their guitars to 'open G', (with or without the low string), grab a slide and just kept right on going, maybe even to greater acclaim. And as testiment to the timeless powers of these combined fretted instruments and tunings, we can hear them both over the radio airwaves near every day, in songs so cool and pure rockin Americana that more than just a few went top 10, and thus we still hear them on the radio

wiki ~ Africa
wiki ~ Europe
wiki ~ Mexico
wiki ~ Spain
wiki ~ fretted instruments
wiki ~ open G tuning

So what makes 'Americana music' Americana? The discussions of Americana and its theories here are probably more of a review session than anything new. For we initially look at our music's most three basic elements; time, melody and harmony. For each of these three hold one essential aspect, totally organic to only Americana, which originated here and has shaped the evolutions of the music over the generations. These main three elements are what traveled around the world and influenced musicians in their own homes and musics, and helped them find new ways forward in their own creative process by adding in some 'Americana.'

wiki ~ America

Time. In Americana musical time we have the unique character of what is commonly termed 'swing.' The idea and phrase 'to swing' simply implies to set the music in this style of time and motion. Swing is the physical feeling of 'pull' that we achieve by accenting 2 and 4. For in the 'big 4' the swing is built right in :)

Melody. Americana melodies have a sort of dual thread to them. For while their pitches and rhythms are steeped in the many unique cultures from around the world, most songs try to bring the Amer i can spirit of 'I can.' We thread this drive of self earnestness with the indomitable spirits of the blue notes and the blue hue they bring.

That whenever and wherever spoken, the blue notes remind us that our pursuit of 'free and equal' is ever generational, and must be taken up and carried forth by each of us when our turn comes along. Our experiences, successes and failures we pass along to the next generation, that we have created and raised, educated and empowered, to continue the Americana legacy. For whenever the blue hue appears, we can historically ground again to our very historical beginnings yet raise our flag anew today in the original Americana ideas.

Harmony. For the moden guitarist, the Americana musics together offer a vast array of possibilities. With all of the Euro equal temper harmonies associated with the piano recreate-able somewhere, somehow on our guitars, from 5th's to triads, and all through the color tones to #15 and beyond, all is available and in tune for performing with any of our other instuments. Sky's the limit here. Like rhythms and melody, no limts really.

Americana blues gives us an additional form and harmonic scheme, that propels our jazz musics far beyond a traditional 12 bar blues in 'G.' Based on the dominant V7 chord, whose inner two pitch tritone creates the first of many blues rubs, modernists have expanded this color into performance of jazz standards and beyond of course.

wiki ~ jazz standards

The first valence is created by placing a V7 chord before every written chord of a song. The next ring of color finds all chords in a song being V7 in their basic nature; root, major 3rd, pefect 5th and b7. At this level, allowing for chord substitution, the music becomes distinctly chromatic in nature. And given the brighter tempos of jazz, creates a sort of magical chromatic buzz that is not only fascinating to behold but just a bear to play and keep in front of.

Improv Americana. That we might get to improvise so much of our day to day lives is just the way it rolls. For while we've routines for our tasks, things often change, necessitating us to change, to improvise a solution to complete the task at hand. For many, these changes are what make life fun and interesting, an opportunity for learning thus an opportunity to evolve our understanding of the process we are creating.

We can capture this in words by phrases such as 'the art of ... ' or ... 'an artistic approach to ...', 'ah ... the artist at work ... Thinking along these lines in any task brings our creative into play.

In our Americana styles of music, we've much the same challenges. In its performance as a solo artist or in a group setting, we're very often not reading the music. We rote memorize our musics, then collaborate together. We're melding together our individual thinking with those within our group, who also have (hopefully :) rote learned their music.

So the resulting music is in a sense improvised anew each time. And as such gives each of us a chance to 'bring it', to emotionally express ourselves and share this energy with our listeners. In this we reach out to our listeners, who are included in our expressions 'in time' by the beat of our story. As cool as it gets? For those who dig this mixing, absolutely :)

wiki ~ creativity

Americana 'modern.' That the idea of 'modern' in the title of this work, Essentials Of Modern Guitar, is simply each of us as artists finding new musical elements that make our next song or performance a bit different from that last one. We've moved 'ahead' in our own program, in some way, shape or form and it will someday be reflected in our music. Once the 'modernization' has been initiated in our thinking, we're usually good to go forever as explorer's of Americana musics :)

Applied to a 'guitarist', or any instrument of course, by understanding the basic theories of our musical system of pitches we can sense a fluid spectrum of our musical styles, in this text illuminated by the numerically evolving attributes of music's most essential of components; time, melody and harmony.

In doing so, we become theory self sustaining and fully empowered to 'modernize' our own art in any stylistic direction they may choose. Like a blues artist who wants more jazz, a folk artist less of the triads and more colortones, a jazz artist an ancient folk melody, a rocker another 4 /12 cab whatever :) All modernize our art and lives through change.


Americana universe relighters. So thanks to the wizardry of the what was then modern analogue tube sort of global radio and now forward to satellite digital total global today, where the 'new coolness' travels global in say six minutes ... give or take, there was an era when the whole process to get new ideas countrywide took a bit more time :) Regardless, when their 'new' arrived via the airwaves, its waves could sweep a country by storm, oftentimes evolving our musical language overnight, as everyone in the mix dug the new licks. These artists are such sentient beings, sequenced here by through the decades, they re-lit our Americana musical universe with their own personality of music. Please add 'and forward' to each date, except for those we lost too early yet cherish to this day.

Louis Armstrong 1920's

Charlie Christian later 1930's

Charlie Parker 1940's

Louis Jordon 1950's

Elvis Presley 1950's

Hank Garland 1950's

John Coltrane 1950's

Chuck Berry later 1950's

Jimi Hendrix later 1960's

The Beatles 1960's

Stevie Wonder 1970's

Michael Jackson later 1970's

Madonna 1980's

Eddie Van Halen 1980's

Pat Metheny 1980's

Did we miss anyone ? Sorry to say yes we did, we missed about a million or so. Add them on to your list, read their bio's, study their music, it's all good and there's a lifetime of coolness to discover for those who got the juice. And how about you? Re-lighting your own universe with your songs and telling stories needed to be told? Hope so :)

wiki ~ lists of musicians

1930's public school education. So based on a fairly recent discovery of this work, the melodies for mastering here are the same one's our musical heros learned in their regular public school music education. These songs all come from this one music book, which was a basic text during the 20th century era.

Review / preservation of cultures and musics. That the scope of Essentials Of Modern Guitar is designed to include enough information so that in 1000 years, cats might come along and want to recreate the original blues of Americana, then jazz it up and then make some rock and roll, write silly pop songs for lovers and even get their politics passions ya ya's out. So we include in this opus, how the pitches get tuned, which ones can make chords, how they get rubbed together to make the blues, how to make it swing and get toes tappin', make the smiles happenin' and the dancers up on the dance floor. From the science of the pitches to evolving a newer modern pitch portal pathway for their journeys, EMG knits an Americana music story.

wiki ~ culture
"It always seems impossible until it's done."
wiki ~ Nelson Mandela