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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Taking Flight With A Guitar God

“Music," remarked Beethoven, "is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.”

For many, it comes in one, two, maybe more assorted flavors that will fit that mood. You might just toe tap and nod your head for a while. Maybe harmonize softly. Or if the tune is just right, caterwaul like hell.

You know exactly what I'm talking about cause you do it in the car and sometimes a cappella in the shower, blessed by the sweet resonance of magic ceramic tiles.

Classical, country, rock, hip hop, blues, folk, or blue grass. Grab the right genre that'll work.

I'm eclectic, like probably most. But no question, it's that electric guitar rock that really mesmerizes. This instrument in the hands of a certified guitar god always gets me to the promised land.

True, Beethoven never saw one. But I'm pretty sure he would've called it a mediator, if not just for the same kind of raw power it packs as his Ninth Symphony.

That's right. So let the classic music buffs go into a double tizzy. It's absolutely true.

There are so many guitar gods, past and present. The one I'm reveling in is thankfully very much alive today and kicking arse.

Virtuoso is one way to describe Joe Satriani. Rated one of the top ten greatest guitarists on earth, he's part of that noble breed called the "shred guitarist." Guitar One magazine describes "shredding's" evolution:

"....This fast playing style, speed or blind speed guitaring with it's many influences, combined with the heavily distorted tone of heavy metal music resulted in a new nickname, 'shred'....Guitar shredding techniques played usually on a 'super strat' include: Alternate picking, Economy picking, Hammer-ons, Hybrid picking, Legato, Pull-offs, String skipping, Sweep picking, Tapping, Tremolo picking, and Wide intervals...."

Okay, whatever, "Hammer-on" or "Tremolo pick" that thing. Just gimme a sound that blasts me out of my seat.

One of "Satch" Satriani's most spectacular works is the rightfully titled masterpiece, "Flying In A Blue Dream." A title song from one of his many albums, it's beautifully captured in a filmed live performance.

You tell me. Can this man make a guitar a dream?

Truly a "dream" indeed. Hearing him and the rest of the other "gods" produce such melodies elevates the spiritual side of me.

One guitar technophile remarked how this magnum opus "revolves around lydian mode."


"Lydian mode"?? Our Wikipedia friends describe it--brace yourselves, please--this way:

"The Lydian mode is named after the ancient kingdom of Lydia in Anatolia. In Greek music theory, there was a scale or "octave species" based on the Lydian tetrachord, extending from parhypate hypaton to trite diezeugmenon, equivalent in the diatonic genus to the modern major scale: C D E F | G A B C. (In the chromatic and enharmonic genera, the Lydian scale was equivalent to C D♯ E F | G A♯ B C and C E E↑ F | G B B↑ C, respectively, where "↑" signifies raising the pitch by approximately a quarter tone.) [Does it maybe resemble something like THIS???]

Placing the two tetrachords together, and the single tone at bottom of the scale produces the Hypolydian mode (below Lydian): F | G A B C | (C) D E F. Placing the two tetrachords together, and the single tone at the top of the scale produces the Hyperlydian mode (above Lydian), which is effectively the same as the Hypophrygian mode: G A B C | (C) D E F | G."

So THAT is how "Satch" does it.

Glad we could get a clearer understanding.

Carry on, rockers....

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