There is a book that was first released during my childhood called, “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”. I never read the book. I think I was 12 when it was first released. While I am sure it was a great book, my hunch is that it was written with a simple premise in mind: men and women are different. Men and women act differently, have different tendencies, and even speak different languages (in a sense). Their differences are so great that it’s almost like they come from two different planets.
Imagine that I told you some guy built my house without using a tape measure. Would you believe me? I hope not. Either that is not a true story, or my house is VERY noticeable.
For the past several weeks we have talked about becoming a musical ninja. We outlined the different parameters for musical beat, discovered how to know what notes and chords are in each key, how those chords within a key can be represented by numbers, and even what notes make up each individual chord.
We learned a lot!
With great knowledge comes great responsibility. So… what now? What do we do with all of this knowledge? Why does it matter? How is it going to be helpful to us? Most importantly, how will this knowledge transform us into musical ninjas?
There is an interesting old legend that has come to us by way of European folklore in which it is said that newborn babies are delivered by way of stork. Perhaps you have heard of the legend. Perhaps you once believed the legend (or perhaps you still do)…
It is a ridiculous notion, of course. Newborn babies are definitely NOT carried by stork and gracefully dropped into the laps of hopeful, expecting mothers. I never believed that story. However, had you told me that music chords were carried by stork and gracefully dropped into the laps of hopeful, expectant musicians and songwriters… I probably would have believed you!
It’s time to get super practical! Once you understand how to formulate the likely possible notes for any given key (seven possible notes), we can actually take those seven numbers down to the most likely four chords.
When I first started writing songs, I literally pulled out my origami skills and created a couple of cubes that would become my “chord dice”. I wrote every chord that I knew on the pair of dice, and I rolled the dice to decide what chord I would play. One of those two chords, I figured, would have to sound good!
Let’s get super practical! Music is the combination of tones, frequencies, chords, and progressions played together over a set amount of time. That set amount of time is called the “beat”. As we unpack the Nashville Numbers System, it will simply not make any sense without a basic understanding of musical beat.
When I was a kid, I was amazed by my dad’s driving skills. I was old enough to understand the basic idea of how to get from point A to point B. No problem. But somehow he always knew a faster way to get there! It was like he was some kind of car ninja -or perhaps a road wizard who understood the mystic arts of cartography at a level that mere mortals could never attain.
Worship Leaders, it is weird to sing about the matchless love of Christ, the good news of the gospel, and the hope that we have in Jesus without being excited about what we are singing! If we are excited about what we are singing, then we really ought to let our face know about it!
There is a song that came out during my childhood called, “Life Is A Highway”. It was a great tune! It has been remade by several artists since then, but I still remember that original version with the great drum beat, harmonica and electric guitar in the opening, almost spoken first verse, and classic chorus. “Life is a highway!”