The M3 guitar - Road rage

Road rage

Road rage is a strange phenomenon. It is a symptom of a problem that lies elsewhere. A happy and content person wouldn't feel the need to have a go at a total stranger.

Tension and release

All music relies on striking a balance between the familiar and the unpredictable. When a tune starts, it usually gives you a feeling of where 'home' is. When the key changes, 'home' is still fresh in your mind, and it provides a reference for the new key. Subconciously, you will be waiting for the key to return to 'home', and until that happens the harmonically-thinking part of your brain will be in a state of tension (when somebody gets totally lost in a solo, and hits all the wrong notes, it is common to hear the joking appology, "Hey, man, I was just creating tension"). The tension-release mechanism works on several levels. If somebody goes into a very busy solo, you also feel some tension. You are waiting for things to return to 'normal' because you have a built-in reference that tells you that 'home' is not represented by very busy playing.

Well You Needn't (mp3) by Thelonius Monk creates tension by repeatedly moving the root note up by half a step. The melody on its own is not that interesting but it works well when played against the chords.

A Night In Tunesia (mp3) by Dizzy Gillespie is a weird and wonderful tune that was well ahead of its time when it was written (if you haven't heard Chaka Khan's version, you are missing out). It actually starts 'sharp', a half-step above 'home', which is unusual. The last section contains some very modern sounding chords.