This week in my learning project I decided to work on my lead part for my composition, which we be in my next post. The technique I decided to work on this week is octaves.
Octaves are a really cool technique that aren’t difficult at all to play but still sound really melodic and cool. Funnily enough, I have actually been playing octaves for a lot longer than I thought, as a lot of music I listen to utilizes them but I’ve never known their name before doing some research. What really helped me understand octaves (specifically how they work and why they sound good) was an article by WorshipTutorials.com.
Basically, on a guitar, there are 6 strings. Each of these strings touch specific spots on the neck called frets. Each higher strings is exactly 5 notes higher than the string below it; for example, string 2 fret 1 is the same as string 1 fret 6. By this principle, we also need to know that there really are only 12 notes you can play, but you can play the same notes at higher and lower octaves. Because we can’t play two notes on the same string at one time, to play an octave we must use two strings. The best way to do this is to play your first note, say string 1 fret 3, and then play two strings up to get 10 notes, and then two frets down to get 12. This would then be string 1 fret 3 and string 3 fret 5. It’s a little bit confusing if you don’t have a guitar in front of you, so I’ve made a short video with a brief demonstration.
Similarly, in my video I showed off a little lead riff part I wrote using some octaves that complemented the chord progression from my last post. You can find that video here. Stay tuned for my full song next week!