Tonal Trends Pop Music Theory for Songwriters

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"Spotter Syncs" Intro Video


Hi! Welcome to the Spotter Syncs Blog. This particular Vlog is the whole reason I started in the first place: Real-time talks about your favorite music.


So, what do I mean by “real-time” talks? Well, have you ever heard of Riff tracks? They’re these guys, who put out like, funny commentaries that you listen to along with watching movies, whether they’re movies you like, or bad movies that could benefit from some witty jabs and funny stuff.


What about Sports-Casters? They give real-time commentary when you’re watching the game, or like the Olympic gymnastic routine or something.


So yeah, what a “Spotter Sync” is: is just the same concept of real-time commentary, applied to Music.


OK, but why do this, why have Spotter Syncs? Can’t we just read about all the stuff we need in music theory books and classes and stuff?


Well, I mean, you can, but here’s the problem, or at least the problem I always had a problem with: most Music Textbooks explain music concepts broken up into pieces, outside of any context—or, in made-up contexts that are usually pretty lame, if we’re being honest.


Even the Tonal Trends Spotter Smarts Blog--right next door--only explains musical concepts ‘one at a time.’ And the thing is, this can be a little bit limited, because you can only go so far as, “Sometimes songs are like this, or sometimes music is like that.”


When you learn about music concepts this way, it’s like you’re showing people the trunk of this elephant, the ears of that elephant, and the tail of another elephant, but you’re never showing anyone a whole dang elephant!


So then, the goal of the Spotter Syncs Video Blog is to lay out whole elephant after whole elephant, boom-boom-boom, and then watch them do their thing.


The major virtue of doing it this way, is, you care a lot more about learning the separate concepts, because you’re about to listen to them in context.


Thing is: music theory concepts are often very boring, they just are, but it’s when you start to see how they work in your favorite music, and when you start to see and use them in your own music, that these lifeless toys in the cupboard come alive and start going on family feature fun film adventures.


You can also think of it like this: it’s not a requirement that you know things about Tigers or Elephants, before you go on a Safari, but, thing is: you’re going to have a better time if you do.


Because if you don’t, when people yell, “Look! There goes a Tiger!” You’re going be thinking, “What the heck’s a Tiger again?” Instead of thinking “Oh, that’s a pretty dope tiger; I’m glad I saw that.” See what I mean? Okay, for each video we’ll cover the Song’s Name, the Group or Artist that made it, the Composer, the Label, the year it came out, and its chart details, if it charted that is.


Then we’ll talk about what Key it's in—or, ‘Keys’ if it changes keys somewhere. For rhythm, we’ll write down the BPM tempos, Time Signatures, and the Song’s Length.


Next, we’ll write out the Song's Form, the Cast of Chords used, along with their chord numeral types, and also any of the main riffs or hooks, in scale degrees.


And then, pen ultimately, we’ll preview and explain any cool upcoming Musical somersaults or cartwheels about to happen, so you can catch them when they leap out of the bushes at you.


Like for example, maybe there's a Modulation at 1:44, or maybe there's a rogue 3/8 measure a couple times somewhere, or maybe in the Second Chorus there's a double refrain—This kind of attention to detail is where the whole Tonal Trend Spotting, bird-watching, would you look at that, “thing”, really shines.


Next, here’s how you actually Sync up with the song: Just press play when the person in the video does, on like their iPod or Computer or whatever, and that’s all, off you go! Spotter Sync.


It’s kind of like when you start Pink Floyd’s album “Dark Side of the moon” at the same time as when the Lion Roars in the beginning of the Wizard of Oz—you should do that BTW if you haven't: the Munchkins dance around to the song “Money”, and it’s all like “bum der na ner, we’re Munchkins bern ner.” It’s great. Google that if you don’t know what I’m talking about.


Last, if you need more info than what’s on the board, we also have Spotter Sync “Scripts”, or transcripts, underneath the Videos. That’s at the site proper. So, if you’re watching on Youtube, and you want to read along, just click the link provided in the description paragraph, and you can get back to the song’s official “Spotter Sync” blog page.


So yeah, let’s get to it. Start by clicking a song you know, or pick one based off of the loose “1 out of 10” difficulty rating, “10” being the hardest of the Lions and Tigers to spot, and “1” being the back of your safari driver’s head. Sweet, well, don’t forget to like us on all the social sites, and thanks for watching. Let’s get to it!