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That Can Be Arranged: Trick or Tune

A new tune from Bill Piburn inspired by a haunted piano

Since I can’t give you a Milky Way this Halloween, I thought I’d offer you a tune inspired by a haunted piano. With guitar in hand, I was flipping through the TV channels when I spotted a dusty, turn of the century piano on the front porch of a house... an odd place for a piano unless it is possessed by lost souls! With sheer terror I turned to my guitar to calm my fear. Soon the demons left, the show was over and I had a new tune. I hope you have fun with “Haunted Piano Blues.”

Performance Tip
“Haunted Piano Blues” should be played with a strong steady pulse. The song is filled with syncopations that make the tune swing, though the eighth notes are played evenly. Use the recording for reference.

You may find that you like the tempo a bit slower. I’ve noticed that after playing a tune for a while it always seems to find the right tempo. We have all heard great musicians talk about "the pocket." This is not only in reference of the placement of the beat, but also the tempo.

Techniques Used
1. Syncopation
2. Slurs
3. Contrary motion
4. Half-step approach chords
5. Implied harmony
6. Passing chords
7. Bass line motion
8. Chromatic lines
9. Chords inserted between primary harmony
10. Inversions

For those who choose to analyze the tune I suggest you challenge yourself to find the above bullet points.

An Observation About Creating Music
There is no GPS or Mapquest when we start the lifelong journey of learning music. In a perfect world we could always move in a straight and clearly defined line. Of course music is an art, and any and all art is about personal expression and, yes, opinion. Many aspects of music are concrete, however those aspects alone do not create music. I am neither a poet nor painter but I know that all art has a point of departure from the explainable.

Recently I attended a performance of the great Nashville guitarist Jack Pearson. As he soared into one of his unearthly solos, a friend leaned forward and asked, “How do you explain that?” I replied, "You don’t."

There is a time and season for all things. Study what can be explained, work hard, let go, and create from that unexplainable place in you. I am searching for it every day.

Haunted Piano Blues - Download Example Audio - Download Printable PDF
By Bill Piburn, © 2010