This breakup song has clearly struck a chord in many people, judging by the amazing list of covers people have made:

In fact, I love this song so much that it even inspired me to write a storytelling game!


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And they seem to share my love for arpeggios, too (see last week's Music Monday post!).

One of the most important bands in that genre is American Football ( ), and their most well-known song is probably the wonderful Never Meant (which was featured once in an earlier Music Monday,


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Music Monday! This, the season 2 finale, is an ode to (Midwest) Emo music in general, and a (breakup) song in particular.

For many years I had heard about the genre "emo" but I always dismissed it as something I surely wouldn't like. And sure enough, some of it is really not my jam. However, there are several variants and subgenres. One of the subgenres that I like is Midwest emo (, which is closer to progressive rock than others.


The first arpeggiated chords are Em, E5, Esus4, Esus2 (from 0:19 to 0:22 in the song):

If you want a more advanced insight, notice how the notes E and B are common to all those chords, but the third note changes... and that third note is what constitutes the "main melody" (starts at 0:19; the notes are G ↘️ E ↗️ A ↘️ F# ↗️ G G, check on Music Explorer!):


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Now, you could think of arpeggios as "deconstructed chords", that is, playing those three notes in succession, often repeatedly, instead of at the same time. See Wikipedia for more information:

Now, listen to the beautiful main theme for The Last of Us, which features an arpeggio pretty much the whole time:

Try to play G, B, E in Music Explorer as explained in this image:


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Music Monday! This week, arpeggios (and note that next week it will be season finale!). I had mentioned before that chords are three or more notes played at the same time, eg. if you play E, G, and B at the same time, you are playing an E minor chord (try playing the three notes separately, and then press the "Highlight" button to play the chord):


Music Monday! This week, the "delay" pedal. After a couple of longer, more complex posts, I figured it would be nice to have a "break" with something much lighter 😅

You know that "echo" sound in guitars? That's produced by a pedal called "delay". As an example, listen to Run Like Hell by Pink Floyd (more evident from 0:22 on):

Another good example is Walking on the Moon by The Police (almost from the very beginning of the song):

Third, a ballad by Eddie Vedder & Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan for the Dead Man Walking OST titled The Long Road:

Finally, a pop song by Selena Gomez, Come & Get It (!):


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Note when he "calls out" what kind of rhythm he's going to improvise over, at 0:23 (also check from 2:00 on, where it is a bit clearer!). It sounds like scat singing, but the syllables are not random, and tell you exactly the rhythm he's using as a reference.

The second example is the fusion band Tabla Beat Science (again featuring Zakir Hussain) with Palmistry:


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(4) (I doubt this is specific to tabla, but) soloists, when about to improvise, often call out the rhythm they are going to base the improvisation on; (5) even though a lot of the sounds are produced by moving the fingers and not the whole hands, it can get surprisingly loud!

Four examples: first, some classical (?) by one of the most well known, still alive tabla players, Zakir Hussain, with a piece called Horse Running:


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It's a pretty important instrument in Hindustani classical music but it's also used for popular music, film music, and of course it has been used many times in Western pop music. Some reasons why it's so fascinating: (1) how beautiful the sounds produced by the instrument are; (2) all the different sounds you can make with it have names, which as far as I know come from onomatopoeias; (3) it is often used as a lead instrument, with very long improvised solos.


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Music Monday! This week, the tabla. Tabla is the fascinating, versatile percussion instrument from the Indian subcontinent. Although I did play a bit of tabla years ago, I remain quite ignorant about the instrument, and Indian music generally. Please do chip in if you know more or spot any mistakes!

So anyway, the tabla is actually a pair of drums (baya and daya, lit. "left" and "right") of different size and pitch and it can produce so many different sounds!


You could sing the "in a day or two" like the original, but if you don't reach that high, you could sing one octave below like in this version:

Try on the online piano with the notes on the previous post!


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Notes with the same name (but different octaves) can be used in the same context and still sound good (just lower/higher, but still match the music). Consider Aha's Take on Me, a song with some very high notes at the end of the chorus: "I'll be gone / In a day or two" (notes are "D ⤴ A ⤴ B / ⤴ E ⤴ F# ⤵ E ⤵ D ⤴ A") (honk if you never understood that lyric!):


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In contrast, the beginning of Black goes up very slowly. Black starts with: "Sheets of empty canvas" (E ⤴ F# ⤴ G# ⤴ A ⤴ B ⤵ A)

Actually, if you look in, you will see that it's the smallest steps in that scale!

See the next posts for a bonus, explaining why we repeat note names after a while (spoiler: because they are interchangeable, sort of!).


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The beginning of Jeremy is pretty "intervalic", as in it jumps a fair amount and the jumps are relatively big, while in Black the jumps are pretty tame.

Jeremy starts with: "At home, drawing pictures / of mountain tops" (C# C# ⤴ D ⤵ C# ⤵ A ⤵ E / ⤴ C# ⤴ D ⤵ C# ⤴ E ⤵ C#):

Try the notes here if you want to see how far apart they are:


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The famous "augmented fifth" we have mentioned before:

And the last important one is "octave", which is the distance between a note and the next note with the same name:

If you want to remember how it sounds, it's the first jump in Somewhere over the rainbow! (G# to the next G# in this case, check

Next, let's compare two songs and their intervals...


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Music Monday! This week, intervals. This is going to be a thread, mostly because of the many examples! Intervals are the "distance" between two notes. In Western music (12 notes and all that), the smallest interval is a minor second (next key on a piano; the black keys count, too!):

And the second smallest is a (major) second (two keys apart on a piano):

Another important one is the fifth:



First, Building the Church by Steve Vai (at around 0:17):

Second, the guitar solo in Eruption by Van Halen (at 2:46), who helped popularised the technique, at least in a rock context:


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